Thanks to a series of trades that revamped their veteran-laden, old and non-athletic team, the Cleveland Cavaliers suddenly are now younger, more athletic and most importantly–able to compete in a faster NBA.
Cleveland would trade six players; Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and their own 2018 first-round pick to the Los Angeles Lakers, Dwyane Wade back to the Miami Heat, Iman Shumpert to the Sacramento Kings and Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose to the Utah Jazz.
In return, the Cavaliers retained the highly-coveted Brooklyn Nets pick they received from Boston, acquired the Heat’s 2020 protected second-round pick and added some much need defense, shooting and athleticism at point guard and forward in Rodney Hood, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
Cleveland’s new main nucleus now consists of LeBron James, Jeff Green, Kevin Love, Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith and rookie Cedi Osman.
If I’m a Cavaliers fan this morning, I’m actually generally excited in seeing this new NEW team–Cavs 2.0–and will not miss the lack of energy and effort on defense, questionable and selfish ball-handling and bad shot selections by some of the departed.
Below is my projected Cavs starting lineup.
PG: George Hill: A longtime pest and nemesis of Cleveland during his days in Indiana, it is finally good to see Hill in a Cavs uniform. At 6’3, 188 pounds and at 31, Hill averaged 16.1 points per game in 49 starts for the Jazz.
A 47 percent shooter from the field and 40.3 percent from three-point range, the former IUPUI standout may just be what the doctor order for the Cavs at PG.
SG: J.R. Smith: When he’s hot, he’s almost unguardable. The ever streaky Smith keeps his spot in the starting lineup thanks to his recent streak of hot shooting.
SF: Jeff Green: A solid defender in the low post and able to dunk with the best of them, Green slides into LBJ’s usual spot at the three, giving Cleveland more defense and the ability to finish at the rim.
Also, don’t be surprised of Korver platoons with Green at the three depending on the matchup.
PF: LeBron James: Until Love comes back from his broken hand, LBJ slides over to the four, and will likely rotate and switch between both forward spots.
C: Tristan Thompson: Perhaps THE happiest member of the Wine and Gold, Mr Khloe Kardashian can breathe a huge sigh of relief that he is still in Cleveland.
The subject of what would have been a blockbuster trade involving Los Angeles Clippers center, DeAndre Jordan, Thompson can now focus on being the Cavs defensive anchor at center.