The Cleveland Cavaliers are doing all they can to ensure the team will repeat as NBA Champions in 2016-17. NBA trade rumors have been circulating that the Cavs are interested in adding a center to join forces with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. A new trade target has emerged, as Cleveland looks to bolster their roster in order to keep pace with Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors.
According to YIBADA, Cleveland has recently turned their attention toward Washington Wizards‘ big man Marcin Gortat. Reports indicate that Cavaliers’ guard Iman Shumpert could be headed to Washington in a deal for Gortat.
Over the last few weeks, Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins and Nerlens Noel of the Philadelphia 76ers have been mentioned as possible trade options for the Cavs. However, nothing has come of those rumored discussions, and Cleveland may now be turning to a more realistic target in Gortat. Virtually all of the NBA trade rumors involving Cleveland this summer have focused on Kevin Love, but a deal for Marcin Gortat would likely allow the NBA champs to keep their starting lineup intact.
Marcin Gortat has played well for Washington, but the team seems ready to move on from him after signing free agent center Ian Mahinmi to a $64 million contract in July. It has been said that the Wizards don’t feel Gortat is worth the five-year, $60 million deal he signed in 2014. With the recent addition of another expensive center (Mahinmi) to the roster, it appears that Gortat will be dealt if Washington can find the right trade partner.
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Cleveland’s willingness to trade Iman Shumpert for Marcin Gortat also depends on the status of shooting guard J.R. Smith. Smith and the Cavaliers are currently engaged in contract negotiations, but there is no guarantee that an agreement will be reached, per 247Sports. The Cavs would be very weak at the off guard position if they lost both Smith and Shumpert, so that is something to keep an eye on. If Cleveland is confident they will eventually sign J.R. Smith, then the Shumpert-for-Gortat deal would benefit the defending NBA Champions.
Shumpert would see significant backup minutes behind Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, and may also be able to play some small forward in Washington’s “small ball” lineups. Shumpert is known as a strong defensive player, and would compliment the team’s offensive weapons such as Beal and NBA All-Star point guard John Wall.
Marcin Gortat would be a likely starter in Cleveland, allowing current starter Tristan Thompson to become a key part of the Cavs’ second unit. The addition of Gortat would strengthen Cleveland’s starting five, but would diminish their backcourt depth with the loss of Iman Shumpert.
Marcin Gortat has taken the long road on his way to NBA success. He was one of the last players taken in the 2005 NBA Draft (57th overall), and didn’t play in the league until 2007. Eventually, Gortat began to make an impact, with his peak production coming during the 2011-12 season with the Phoenix Suns (15.4 points and 10.0 rebounds per game). Gortat is a very effective and efficient scorer around the basket, boasting an impressive career average of 55.2 percent shooting from the field.
Iman Shumpert doesn’t fill the stat sheet like Marcin Gortat does, but he is a valuable player nonetheless. Shumpert was New York’s first-round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft (No. 17 overall), and has carved out a niche for himself as a tough one-on-one defender, as well as a solid rebounder from the guard position. Shumpert has played five years in the NBA for the Knicks and Cavs, averaging 7.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per contest.
NBA trade rumors this off-season are continuing to revolve around Cleveland’s pursuit of a center, and Washington’s Marcin Gortat is their latest reported target. Do you think the Cavs can pull off a deal for Gortat without giving up any of their starters?
[Photo by Mark Duncan/AP Images]