The recent NBA trade which sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics could indicate future deals are on the way for the Cleveland Cavaliers. At least one analyst believes a big trade is still possible that could really help Cleveland in terms of taking down the Golden State Warriors. With the Cavs trying to keep LeBron James in Cleveland, could a major move to bring another NBA All-Star to the roster help convince him? Would the Cavaliers benefit by bringing All-Star DeMarcus Cousins to their roster to join LeBron, Isaiah Thomas, and company?
On yesterday’s episode of FS1‘s The Herd with Colin Cowherd, NBA analysts Nick Wright was a guest to discuss the latest Celtics and Cavaliers trade. During their discussion, Cowherd said he doesn’t believe Cleveland is done because LeBron won’t be interested in remaining on the team to play with whoever the Cavs use their draft pick on. The Cavaliers received the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick from the Celtics along with Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Ante Zizic in exchange for Kyrie Irving. The major NBA trade arrived several days ago and shook up the landscape of the Eastern Conference. Some say it helped the Cavs quite a bit in terms of their future, though.
Nick Wright believes that the Cavaliers could swing a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans to get All-Star DeMarcus Cousins. He was traded from the Sacramento Kings to the Pelicans just after the All-Star Game this past season and joined big man Anthony Davis as part of a powerful front court. However, Wright proposes that Cleveland could send shooting guard Iman Shumpert, power forward Channing Frye, and the Nets’ first-round pick in 2018 to the Pelicans. In exchange, the Cavs would bring DeMarcus Cousins to their roster to join LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Isaiah Thomas.
With the proposed deal, New Orleans would need to keep veteran Iman Shumpert as part of the roster for at least two years. They’d also get an expiring contract with Channing Frye. Frye ranked fifth on the Cavs’ roster this past season in scoring with 9.1 points a game and nearly four rebounds. Shumpert averaged 7.5 points, almost three rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. Both players could give New Orleans bench support until the Pelicans decide to go a different direction with them.
In the deal, the main attraction for the Pelicans would be that 2018 first-round pick. Several of the touted prospects for next year’s NBA Draft are considered top talents who could really help a team moving forward. Among them are Missouri small forward Michael Porter, Duke power forward Marvin Bagley, and Slovenian star Luka Doncic. New Orleans hasn’t exactly been one of the teams inspiring any fear in NBA opponents, but with the right moves, they could certainly begin to build that team with Davis and whichever prospect they bring on board.
As for the Cleveland Cavaliers, they’d add Cousins to give a boost to their frontcourt. Cousins was tied with Damian Lillard for sixth in scoring average this past season with 27 points a game. He finished ninth in rebounding with 11 rebounds on average per contest and was averaging a career-high 4.8 assists per game with the Kings before the trade. Bringing Cousins to Cleveland would also reunite him with Isaiah Thomas as the two played together for multiple seasons in Sacramento. SB Nation‘s Tom Ziller notes that there was a manufactured rumor indicating Thomas and Cousins clashed, but that’s never been officially reported. Cousins has been known to have his issues with teammates, though, so Cleveland may be cautious of a deal.
Cousins can also be outspoken, as seen by his recent comments regarding Confederate statues. The New Orleans power forward and center was asked by TMZ about how he feels about all of the uproar caused by these statues around the nation. Among that uproar has been the violence seen in Charlottesville, Virginia, and of course, comments by Donald Trump about it. Cousins indicated with regards to the statue situation, “Take em’ all down.” As far as Trump goes, Cousins said, “I don’t really want to say too much, but I don’t really respect the guy who’s in the front office.” The Cavaliers’ front office could take all of the available input into consideration when bringing Cousins to Cleveland, or they may simply bring him there to try to win now while they still can.
As of this report, Vegas Insider still lists the Golden State Warriors as favorites to win the NBA Championship. The Warriors are at 20 to 37 odds, followed by Cleveland at 5 to 1, and Boston at 6 to 1. Those odds are likely to change depending on how these teams look once the 2017-18 NBA season starts to unfold. Boston could prove to be much better than expected, or much worse after shaking up their roster. Isaiah Thomas could struggle in Cleveland or flourish. A deal sending Cousins to Cleveland could make them stronger contenders.
If that speculative deal happened, a Cavs’ lineup might feature Isaiah Thomas at the point, LeBron as the small forward, Cousins as the power forward, and Tristan Thompson also manning the paint. Talk about taking some serious pressure off “King James” in terms of all the statistical roles he fills. A Cousins to Cavs move certainly seems like it could aid Cleveland’s quest to contend with the powerful Golden State Warriors, but would it be enough to keep LeBron from leaving for Los Angeles?
[Featured Image by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images]