As the NBA trade rumors continue to fly prior to the latest basketball season’s start, the Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves in a bit of a dilemma. They are currently trying to improve their roster depth while doing a bit of contract cleanup in the process. That would involve trying to solve their issue with veteran guard Mo Williams, who has been a contributor for many teams, but at this point has a murky future. In addition, the team could be looking to package him with another player in order to trade for a backup guard for Kyrie Irving.
Cleveland.com writer Joe Vardon reported on the Cavs’ situation with Williams, indicating that the team was hoping to make a deal before the season starts on Tuesday. Vardon also notes that a source said the team was in “advanced discussions with at least one club.” There was also talk that one or multiple trades could be put together in order to fill their need of a backup guard. Jordan McRae could be a valuable addition to any trade discussion, as the 25-year-old led the team in scoring this preseason. He’s not expected to get anywhere near the team’s rotation, though.
Williams has been in the league since the 2003-04 NBA season and has shuffled around between seven different teams. That’s included two stops in Cleveland with the second of those resulting in an NBA championship ring. However, the team learned from Williams in September that he was planning to retire ahead of the upcoming season. That news came after he said he planned to make this latest season his last in the league.
The dilemma comes in the form of an expiring $2.2 million contract and the fact that despite he said he was going to retire, he never filed the appropriate paperwork with the league. So he’ll keep a hold onto a roster spot until the team either cuts him or trades him. As Hoops Rumors mentions, the team wants to deal Williams along with McRae to save on possible tax penalties. The good news for the Cavs is the fact that they have an $11 million trade exception which could give them a sizable contract to use on another player they acquire in a deal.
There were previous discussions by the team’s management to pick up someone like Norris Cole or Mario Chalmers, both of whom have played alongside LeBron James in Miami. However, Cole doesn’t seem viable at this point. Earlier this month, CBS Sports reported that Cole signed to play for a Chinese team. Chalmers is recovering from an Achilles injury but still could be a possibility. Another name that surfaced was Bulls’ guard Kirk Hinrich.
There’s been lingering trade rumors of a multiple team deal involving Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio. There’s also the fact that Phoenix Suns’ guards Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe continue to get mentioned in NBA trade rumors. Cleveland would certainly benefit from pretty much any of these players being added to their championship roster, but one has to wonder if any of the teams mentioned would want Williams who may be on the way out before the season even starts or as it ends.
Williams played in just half of the games for the 2015-16 season and started in 14 of them. He averaged 8.2 points, 2.4 assists, and 1.8 rebounds in about 18.2 minutes per game. However, looking at a season before that, he was a pretty good addition to a Charlotte Hornets team where he was able to put up 17.2 points a game, just a notch below his career-high in the category. He certainly could find his way on another team, if he’s able to contribute for at least another season.
McRae could be the one who really sweetens the deal, as he’s still young and could emerge as a talent on the right team. He’s only been in the league one season so far and averaged just 4.5 points, 1.1 assists, and about a rebound. Given more minutes and the right team to make a difference with, those numbers could certainly make a leap. He showed what he’s capable of in the preseason, and any young team that is still working to rebuild could probably give him a chance.
Just recently, the Cavaliers waived John Holland from their roster, so now they’re down to 16 players. However, they have until Monday at 5 p.m. to get it down to 15 for the new NBA season. Could that mean a trade is on the way involving Williams or will they make a surprising cut just to get the roster right? Stay tuned as the NBA champions will look to keep things optimized in Cleveland as they seek a second-straight title.
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