The trade deadline is fast approaching and although the Cavs’ fired their GM, speculation surrounding possible deadline deals continues to fly.
The latest comes from Tim Kawakami, Warriors’ beat writer for the Mercury News. In his evaluation of where the Warriors stand at this point in the season, Kawakami suggests multiple scenarios in which Golden State makes a move at the deadline to go after the services of Cleveland’s Luol Deng.
-Lee and Barnes TO CLEVELAND FOR Deng and Waiters. (Because Deng was already traded once this season, he can’t be traded with another player, so these would have to be split into two separate trades.)
-Why Cleveland might consider this: Deng is a pending free agent and I highly doubt he’d want to return to the Cleveland craziness and lousiness; also, Waiters is in the middle of a second bad season after the Cavaliers drafted him 4th overall in 2012 and he reportedly is at odds with star point guard Kyrie Irving.
Also Lee and Barnes might fit that roster better than Deng and Waiters–certainly personality-wise they’d be better than having Waiters brawl with Irving.
I know that Cleveland is probably trying to do what it can to lure LeBron James back as a free agent and that adding Lee’s money won’t help that… but you won’t draw LBJ if there’s nobody any good on the team, and Cleveland probably has to get what it can for Deng right now because if he hits free agency he’s out the door and they get nothing back.
Lee is something. Barnes is something.
Despite the reported chemistry issues that surround Dion Waiters, the Cavs may not want to give up on the 22-year old just yet. If that’s the case, Kawakami outlines a Waiters-less trade, inserting former Warrior, Jarrett Jack, into the deal in Dion’s place.
An alternative deal would be Lee, Barnes, Ezeli and Nedovic TO CLEVELAND FOR Deng and Jack. The Warriors would need to add more money into this one because Jack makes more than Waiters.
Why the Warriors should try to do this: While Deng isn’t a natural PF, is a little duplicative of Iguodala, and isn’t the kind of low-post scorer the Warriors badly need, he’s an excellent all-around player who can score in multiple ways and maybe take some of the load off of Curry and the three-point bombing.
Deng, 28, can’t match-up with the great Western PFs… but Lee (who is 30) doesn’t really, either… and in the toughest situations it’s always Bogut guarding the rough PFs, anyway.
And while Waiters doesn’t have the greatest locker-room reputation, he’s a tough-guy scorer and that’s something the Warriors could use coming off the bench–somebody who is ferocious about getting buckets and not afraid to bark while he’s doing it.
By the way, the Warriors were very high on Waiters in that 2012 draft; West loved Waiters’ toughness–if Waiters got to their 7th spot, I believe the GSWs would’ve taken him over Barnes, though it was a close call. Things have not worked out for Waiters in Cleveland, but I would imagine the Warriors still like him a little bit.
If the Cavs were to make the Waiters/Deng swap for Lee and Barnes it would be a swap of draft picks from two years ago as well as the Cavs landing an All-Star power forward in Lee for, in essence, the King’s protected future first round pick and the two Portland second-rounders that the Cavs’ sent to Chicago in exchange for Deng.
If the Cavs are not going to re-sign Deng they have to trade him before the deadline. As Gilbert has spoken about before, if a high caliber player is not going to re-sign, you can’t let him walk out the door without getting something in return. The second deal outlined by Kawakami would be much more optimal for Cleveland. They could hold on to Waiters and unload Jarrett Jack, giving them a “re-do” on last summer’s signing on top of a “re-do” for the Deng trade.
Lee, while among the worst big men from a defensive standpoint, would give the Cavs a long needed scoring option in the paint. The 29-year-old is having one of his typical seasons, averaging 18.9 points and 9.7 rebounds on 51% shooting.
Exchanging Deng for Barnes in the Cavs’ starting lineup would make the Cavs younger, finally give them some more outside shooting, and make their salary cap flexibility even greater with Barnes under his rookie contract for two more seasons. Barnes is averaging 10 points per game on 39% shooting from behind the arc in his 29 minutes a night for the Warriors. He is also, reportedly, good friends with Kyrie Irving, something that we may not be able to say about others on the Cavaliers’ roster.
The NBA trade deadline rumors are just getting started, be sure to check back at WFNY for all your up to date Cavs’ chatter.