Despite being in first place in the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers fired head coach David Blatt mid-way through his second season in the NBA. The general consensus is that the move was done in large part at the behest of LeBron James. It came days after a 34-point loss to the defending NBA Champions Golden State Warriors. Regardless, the first game the Cavs played under new head coach Tyronn Lue was a losing effort against the Chicago Bulls.
It’s always a good time for Dubs highlights???? https://t.co/SPYKwWaBXA
— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) January 20, 2016
The loss to their Eastern Conference rivals got many people talking about additional moves that the Cleveland Cavaliers should make. While Kevin Love was the focus of many of those trade rumors, names like Anderson Varejao, Timofey Mozgov, and even Markieff Morris of the Phoenix Suns have come up as the February 18 NBA trade deadline approaches.
No name has been coming up more frequently in regards to Cavs trade rumors than Love. The Bill Simmons Podcast got people talking about the possibility of the Portland Trailblazers trading C.J. McCullom for Kevin Love. Simmons argued that it would save the Cavaliers a lot of money, would prevent the Trailblazers from having two undersized shooters, and would result in less playing time for J.R. Smith, something he sees as a positive.
Others have tried to argue that Love could realistically end up with the Toronto Raptors, while others simply speculate about the possibility of moving him to such teams as the Boston Celtics or the Detroit Pistons.
General Manager David Griffin may have something to say about all of that, however. Despite such sources as CBS Sports indicating that the writing’s on the wall for Kevin Love, Griffin told ESPN that the Cavaliers have no interest in trading Love and haven’t even postulated or considered an offer.
— NBA (@NBA) January 22, 2016
In fact, some have argued that Kevin Love — and Mo Williams — will actually thrive under the coaching of Tyronn Lue.
While Mozgov was a part of several trades last season that helped the Cleveland Cavaliers come together as a team and propel themselves into the NBA Finals, some believe that Mozgov may get traded due to his inability to play well against smaller teams. With Blatt’s firing coming soon after the Cavs’ blowout loss to the Warriors, it’s clear that Cleveland is focusing on finding a way past Stephen Curry and company. During last year’s Finals match-up, Mozgov was relegated to the bench quite a bit.
— Cavs Nation (@CavsNationNet) January 26, 2016
If the Cavaliers truly are looking to unload Timofey before February 18, they may have some work to do. As of yet, there have been no sources confirming parties interesting in acquiring Mozgov, although there surely will be if he becomes available.
One of the most beloved players on the Cleveland roster, Varejao hasn’t seen a lot of playing time this year. While he has a history of injuries, there are certainly other teams in the league who could use some serious minutes from Varejao, who hasn’t played in eight of the Cavaliers’ last ten games. It would make sense that Anderson might want to seek employment somewhere that his role in more crucial.
Varejao, however, has said that he has no interest in leaving Cleveland, even if his playing time has been drastically reduced.
“If I go anywhere else and win a championship, it’s not going to be the same. I want to win a championship in Cleveland. That’s where I want to stay. I love Cleveland.”
According to a story published at Cleveland, “influential figures within the Cavaliers’ locker room” would like to see Markieff Morris come to Cleveland from the Phoenix Suns. It appears what that really boils down to is that some of the Cleveland players would like to play with Morris and think he’d be a good fit.
Of course, just because the players want to play with someone doesn’t mean that the front office agrees. While Morris could provide great support for someone like Kevin Love, the team’s management doesn’t seem interested in the idea, even if Morris truly does want out of Phoenix.
For what it’s worth, ESPN also postulated the idea of trading Kyrie Irving for Chris Paul of the L.A. Clippers. Whether or not that’s a good trade for either or both teams, the idea is completely speculative at this point.
If the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to make any more moves this season, they have 23 more days to do so. While the upper management tosses around ideas for roster upgrades, LeBron James and the rest of the current occupants of the Cavs’ locker room will be focusing on Markieff Morris — and the entire Phoenix Suns lineup — as they play at home on Wednesday night.
[Image via AP Photo/Tony Dejak]