NBA trade rumors have followed the Cleveland Cavaliers all season, but when superstar small forward LeBron James recently had his say regarding the Cavs’ need for another point guard (per Bleacher Report), those rumors grew to an entirely new level. There have been many names mentioned during this trade speculation: Deron Williams, Jameer Nelson, and Rajon Rondo, among others. However, a new trade target has emerged as Cleveland continues their quest to add a playmaker to their roster.
According to NESN, the Cavs are now looking closely at Utah Jazz point guard Shelvin Mack. Mack is a solid veteran player, but he has fallen to third on Utah’s depth chart at lead guard behind George Hill and Dante Exum. Mack is also in the final year of a very affordable $2.4 million contract, so there would be virtually no risk for the defending NBA champions if they were able to swing a deal for Shelvin Mack.
One player who is currently out of Cleveland’s rotation, but has some value on the trade market, is shooting guard Jordan McRae. McRae lit up the NBA Summer League last July, averaging 24.3 points per game, which was on par with his 23.4 points per contest average in the NBA D-League during the 2015-16 campaign. McRae has the potential to be a big-time scorer at the NBA level, and even though he is not a household name, teams around the league are aware of his talent. McRae has generated trade interest from several teams in recent months, as reported by the Plain Dealer.
Current NBA trade rumors are focusing on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ pursuit of a point guard to play behind starter Kyrie Irving. The scenario that is making the rounds online suggests that the Cavs may be working on a deal that would bring Shelvin Mack to Cleveland. In this rumored proposal, the Utah Jazz would receive Jordan McRae and a future second-round draft choice.
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This hypothetical transaction makes a lot of sense for the Cavaliers. Jordan McRae is more than likely a long-term project, and since the Cavs are primarily focused on the here and now, Shelvin Mack would have more value to them than McRae does at the present time. Mack would seem to be a nice compliment to Kyrie Irving — Mack is not a great shooter, but he is a physically strong guard who is also a good passer. Acquiring Shelvin Mack would be a way for Cleveland to fill a need, and do so in a very inexpensive and low-risk fashion.
The Utah Jazz don’t have a great deal of need for Shelvin Mack at this juncture, but adding an offensive talent like Jordan McRae would be a way to add some value to their roster, in exchange for a player who is expendable. McRae probably wouldn’t make an immediate impact for the Jazz, but the team could develop him behind their other shooting guards (Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles, and Alec Burks). McRae has shown the ability to score in bunches and get to the free throw line, and he could eventually become a key rotation player for Utah.
This offering from the most recent group of NBA trade rumors appears to help both the Cavaliers and the Jazz, but there is one problem with this rumored proposal. A Mack-for-McRae trade would not be a legal deal according to the ESPN NBA Trade Machine, because the Cavs would have a surplus of incoming salary ($1.2 million).
This speed bump would require Cleveland to add at least one throw-in player to this proposal, or, they could use part of their trade exception from the previous Mike Dunleavy or Anderson Varejao deals to make this a legal trade. Ideally, the Cavaliers would like to add an upper-tier point guard before the NBA trade deadline, but it’s unlikely they can make such a deal without breaking up their current playing rotation. Barring a bigger (and more costly) transaction, this rumored swap with the Jazz to obtain Shelvin Mack would be a solid move for the Cavs.
[Featured Image by Brandon Dill/AP Images]