Cleveland Cavaliers’ superstar LeBron James has been vocal about the things he feels that the Cavaliers need. In LeBron James’ eyes the Cavaliers are in need of a backup point guard who is a playmaker and one more frontcourt player. Usually when LeBron James speaks, his bosses listen. The problem that the Cavaliers have is that they do not have a lot of tradable assets.
Draft picks are not plentiful, given the fact that the Cleveland Cavaliers have traded away the first round draft picks for the next two seasons. And the younger players on the Cavaliers are on small contracts. When putting together NBA trades the contracts incoming and outgoing have to come within 25 percent of each other. Without the lure of first round draft picks, the Cavaliers have to be creative.
What Cleveland does have at their disposal are a few trade exceptions. One of them, a $9.6 million exception, came from the 2016 Anderson Varejao trade with the Portland Trailblazers.
That was a mere salary dump by the Cavaliers in an effort to shrink their luxury tax bill. This season is different. The NBA has an inflated salary cap, thus the luxury tax hit will not be as staggering as last season’s, except for the fact the Cavaliers are tax repeaters.
If the reward for paying a high luxury tax bill is a second consecutive NBA championship, the Cleveland Cavaliers will happily oblige. An upgrade or two will help Cleveland and LeBron James reach that feat.
Playmaking is paramount to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ bid to repeat as NBA champions. And the need is primarily at point guard. Perhaps the best playmaking point guard available is the Chicago Bulls’ Rajon Rondo.
Rondo has fallen out of favor with the Bulls and no one can truly explain why. One possibility could be that the Bulls want to get an extensive look at Michael Carter-Williams and Jerian Grant. Grant is in his second year, while Carter-Williams will be entering restricted free agency. The Bulls have to find out what they have in the both of them. Sitting Rajon Rondo for five games gave the Bulls a glimpse in the future, but the benching of a veteran (courtesy of CSN Chicago) with Rondo’s pedigree is questionable.
There has not been any animosity created between the Bulls and Rondo, but acrimony is a different story.
Few will argue that Michael Carter-Williams and Jerian Grant are better options than Rajon Rondo as the Bulls’ point guard. The best thing for everyone involved is for the Bulls to part ways with Rondo. The Bulls can do that by either trading the point guard or choosing to eat the remaining money on his contract by waiving him.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in having Rajon Rondo and Mario Chalmers to backup starting point guard Kyrie Irving. pic.twitter.com/4J0REN1dCh
— BallersHype (@BallersHype) January 6, 2017
The trade market for Rajon Rondo is razor thin, but not bare. Not with the Cleveland Cavaliers looking for a point guard.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer caught up with Cavaliers’ general David Griffin, who confirmed that the Cavaliers are in the hunt for another playmaker. Griffin would not commit to that player being a point guard.
“It’s something where we’re all pretty keenly aware that it would help take some burden off of Kyrie and LeBron as our primary playmaker, so if we could get somebody else that could do it – and it really doesn’t even have to be a point guard, it’s just we need playmaking. So again, the hope is that Kyle gives us the opportunity to create some offense another way, and make us less dependent on those two play creators.”
There might be a few other players available for the Cleveland Cavaliers, as they try to solidify their position as the favorite to win the Eastern Conference. The list could include free agents Mario Chalmers, Will Bynum, and Orlando Magic guard D.J. Augustin.
Ramon Sessions. Norris Cole. Raymond Felton. Jameer Nelson. DJ Augustin. Mark Price. Would all look great on the Cavs right now.
— Jason Nicholas (@JasonNweather) December 2, 2016
Of that group, one good option is Chalmers. Chalmers is familiar with LeBron James after they played together on the Miami Heat. The problem is that he is coming off of an injury, which has led to him being unsigned.
Bynum is a solid option, but he looks to get his own offense going first. Would that mesh well with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving?
Acquiring D.J. Augustin will require the Cavaliers to give up something more than their trade exception. Plus, Augustin is playing well for the Orlando Magic who is looking at making a playoff push themselves. One cannot see the Magic giving him away.
— Bulls Nation (@BullsNationNet) January 7, 2017
That leaves the Chicago Bulls’ Rajon Rondo as the best possible option for the Cleveland Cavaliers at this time.
The Bulls, despite trying to make the postseason themselves would not be adverse to giving Rondo away. Taking back the Cavaliers’ $9.6 million trade exception could become beneficial to the Bulls down the road as they look to add a star player during the offseason. Getting back guard Kay Felder along with the trade exception is a nice return for the Bulls if something can take place between the two rivals.
Adding Rajon Rondo would be less of a risk for the Cavaliers. Again, LeBron James is in place, and will keep things in order. There will be no arguments when it comes to which guard is better between Irving and Rondo. Also, what objections would Rondo have being the primary backup point guard on a team with title aspirations?
Cleveland is stocked with shooters that Rondo needs in order to be effective. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving also know when to shoot. That is an added bonus for a player who thrives on gobbling up assists. This could be the difference between the Cavaliers winning the title and losing to the Golden State Warriors.
Whether or not the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls decide to talk about an NBA trade remains to be seen.
[Featured Image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]