Cleveland Cavaliers: Goodbye To Mo Williams, Hello To Nerlens Noel? [NBA Trade Rumors]

Ever since the Golden State Warriors acquired Kevin Durant, the sports world has been waiting for the Cleveland Cavaliers to make a bold move in the NBA’s off-season. Primarily, sports analysts have been debating which player the Cavs could sign or trade for that would help bolster their front court. Names like Marcin Gortat of the Washington Wizards and Jahlil Okafor of the Philadelphia 76ers have been thrown around quite a bit. Meanwhile, current Cavs players like Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, and even Kevin Love are rumored to be on the trading block.

An important deadline approaches for the Cavaliers as many of these trade rumors continue to make the rounds. Backup point guard Mo Williams is said to be considering retirement. If Cleveland wants to waive the former NBA All-Star, they must do so by Wednesday. However, having lost Matthew Dellavedova, who would the Cavs use as a back-up for Kyrie Irving if Mo Williams isn’t around for the 2016-17 season? At the same time, can LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers genuinely expect to repeat as NBA Champions next season if they don’t find a new big man like Nerlens Noel, who many believe may, in fact, get traded to Cleveland?

Mo Williams: Waived, Traded Or Retired?

As reported by Cleveland, there are several ways things could play out between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Mo Williams. The Cavs signed Williams to a two-year contract before the 2015-16 season, and they still owe him around $2.2 million, whether they keep him or not. If Cleveland decides to waive the 13-year veteran, they can spread the $2.2 million over the next three years, helping Cavs owner Dan Gilbert minimize his luxury-tax penalty. With their payroll already more than $4 million over the luxury-tax threshold — and J.R. Smith yet unsigned — any reduction would be helpful.

Mo Williams and Kyrie Irving on Cleveland’s bench. [Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images]
Mo only played in 41 games for Cleveland last year while he dealt with knee issues. He also has a desire to coach, which may be a good fit for him in Cleveland (or elsewhere) if he doesn’t keep playing. In fact, the video below shows Mo Williams at a workout with Kay Felder, being something of a mentor for the point guard that the Cavaliers selected in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft. So even if Williams is ready to stop playing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he can’t help the Cavs win back-to-back championships.

Acquiring Nerlens Noel

Whether or not Mo Williams plays with the Cavaliers in 2016-17, most experts believe that Cleveland needs to pick up a solid big man if they want any chance of winning their second NBA Championship. One name that comes up over and over is Nerlens Noel of the Philadelphia 76ers, as noted by Morning News USA. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, 76ers president Bryan Colangelo is willing to let go of one of his three solid big men (including Noel, Okafor, and Joel Embiid) — especially for someone like Kevin Love. However, as Cleveland continues to leave J.R. Smith unsigned, could they work out a deal with Philadelphia to re-sign Smith and then trade him for Nerlens Noel? That is certainly one option.

Nerlens Noel up against Timofey Mozgov with LeBron James looking on. [Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]
However, LeBron James has expressed his desire to see Smith on his team next year, while Kevin seems to receive considerably less love from the King. If LeBron is unwilling to part ways with Smith and the Cavs are unwilling to part ways with Love, is there another option? The same Morning News article suggests so.

Philadelphia may be willing to let go of Nerlens if Cleveland offers Iman Shumpert. If Mo Williams doesn’t choose to retire, he could be sent to Philly as well (keeping his salary off of Cleveland’s books), where he would likely be waived. Since the 76ers may need more than Shumpert (since they’re reportedly eyeing Kevin Love), the Cavs would likely need to give up some future draft picks, something that they have been more than willing to do as they created the super-team that finally brought home the gold.


Since LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are normally the guys bringing the ball down the court for the Cavs, people often forget that they have a legitimate need at point guard. If Williams is done in the NBA and Kyrie were to have another injury, the next point guard on Cleveland’s depth chart would be Kay Felder, a rookie drafted in the second round. At the same time, Cleveland has a serious need at the center position so that guys like Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love can remain focused on their duties as forwards.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will begin defending their NBA Championship when the 2016-17 regular season begins on October 25. The Cavs start the season by hosting the New York Knicks.

[Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images]

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