Written by: Jared Hammer – Staff Writing Intern (@jjjhammer)
“We need a (Expletive) playmaker.”
LeBron James didn’t sugar coat things after an embarrassing 124-122 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans two weeks ago. Despite getting big performances from their stars Kyrie Irving (49pts, 4ast), LeBron James (26pts, 10reb, 12ast) and Kevin Love (22pts, 16reb), the Cavs couldn’t overcome a Pelicans team that was missing a guy named Anthony Davis.
They followed that up by once again falling to a sub .500 team, losing to the Sacramento Kings 116-112 just two nights later. That marked 3 straight losses for the reigning champs, who have since rebounded somewhat. James did recognize that it’s easier said than done when it comes to making a move for a viable backup at the Point Guard spot. “I’m not saying you can just go find one, like you can go outside and see trees.” LeBron continued.
He’s right about that, after losing Matthew Dellavedova in free agency this summer, the Cavs haven’t been able to find a qualified replacement that can run the offence and defend both guard spots. The Cavs held workouts for Mario Chalmers, Kirk Hinrich, Lance Stephenson, and Jordan Farmar, but could there be some options out there for General Manager David Griffin? Specifically, on teams unlikely to make the playoffs, who’d be willing to give up a veteran for a future pick or one of the Cavs younger players?
| Dallas Mavericks: JJ Barea, Devin Harris
The Cavaliers would be able to trade away one of their young guards and use either the trade exception of Anderson Varejao, or Mike Dunleavy to acquire one of the Mav’s veteran backups. Just ask Lebron what he thinks about Barea and the 2011 NBA Finals. Both have plenty of playoff experience and could be trusted to create for the Cavs.
| New York Knicks: Brandon Jennings
Jennings is another guy who may have what the Cavs are looking for on offense to create for himself and his teammates, but his defense would give the Cavs more issues. His $5 million contract would also be hard for the Cavs to swallow this year, making him one of the less likely options.
| Miami Heat: Dion Waiters
Having won 10 in a row, the Heat may look to sit tight and see if they can keep it rolling. They’re just two games back of the East’s 8th seed, but if their fortunes change again, the Heat may look to unload some of their assets for a draft pick. Since being traded by the Cavaliers, Waiters has grown both on and off the court. His return may be what the Cavs need.
| Sacramento Kings: Darren Collison
The Kings find themselves in a battle with the Nuggets, Pelicans, Mavericks and Trail Blazers for the West’s final playoff berth. Collison has an expiring deal, and may leave in the offseason. Do the Kings risk keeping him and losing him this offseason? Do they even want him as a piece moving forward? He’s a proven backup that would fit perfectly behind Kyrie Irving, and the forever rebuilding Kings could use the picks (To draft another Centre).
| Los Angeles Lakers: Louis Williams, Jose Calderon
Williams and Calderon are two experienced vets who you can trust to run your team and move the ball. Their contracts however make it difficult for the Cavaliers to make a move. Williams has 1 year left on his deal after this season, while Calderon will become a free agent, making Jose the more likely candidate to be moved. He’s played in just 23 games this season for the Lakers, but when he’s been on the floor he’s been steady. Exactly what you’d expect from a 13-year veteran.
| Minnesota Timberwolves: Ricky Rubio
As The Grandstand’s James Harrison pointed out, Ricky Rubio (who’s name has resurfaced in trade talks once again) would be an excellent piece for the Cavs, both short and long term. Rubio could come off the bench to run the offense and his defense would be a premium for the Cavs. Not to mention he’d already have great chemistry with Kevin Love.
With Zach LaVine to miss the remainder of the season after undergoing knee surgery, the slim playoff hopes the Wolves had have vanished. Minnesota may be willing to part ways and collect a few future picks or another perimeter player.
| Denver Nuggets: Jameer Nelson
Even though the Nuggets are currently holding onto a playoff spot, they’re one of those teams that are sort of in no-mans land. Not good enough to truly compete in a playoff series with the West’s top teams, but better than the bottom feeders. Jameer Nelson has had a nice rebound season and could reap some picks for the Nuggets.
| Free Agent Options: Norris Cole, Greivis Vasquez, Jarrett Jack, Andre Miller
I’m really rooting for an Andre Miller signing. Just think about what Richard Jefferson has done with the Cavs. Miller could make the same comeback, and impact. Or he could be way too old and wouldn’t even get through a tryout. But how good would his comeback story with Lebron be?