The Cleveland Cavaliers have bounced back from their early-season struggles by winning 19 of their last 21 games. The team is now third in the East behind conference leaders Boston Celtics and the streaking Toronto Raptors.
Despite the evident improvement, the main question remains: Are the Cavs good enough to dethrone the Golden State Warriors in June?
Some NBA analysts believe that Cleveland is still one trade away from that, and it is more likely a deal that would further improve head coach Tyronn Lue’s bench even more. With the NBA trade season underway, the Cavs have found themselves in the middle of almost every emerging trade rumor.
One of the latest speculations is by Bleacher Report, suggesting a deal with the Charlotte Hornets that would send two of Steve Clifford’s starters, Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, to the Cavs in exchange for Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Cedi Osman, and the popular 2018 Brooklyn first-rounder.
There are also rumors that Cleveland is unwilling to include the unprotected Brooklyn pick in any trade transaction as the team is said to be planning to keep it as an insurance in case LeBron James bolts out in next year’s free agency.
However, the chance to get two of the league best defenders at their respective positions could be too good to pass up for LeBron and company.
According to the report, the real issue is whether the Hornets would be willing to give up Walker and Kidd-Gilchrist, who both had been the franchise’s cornerstone players for the last five years.
Charlotte has never had a long stretch of success with the two players, though. They have qualified for the playoffs two times in five seasons and were eliminated in the first round both times by the Miami Heat.
Both Walker and Kidd-Gilchrist are set to become unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2019, and it could be the deciding factor that would force the Hornets to let go of the two via a trade.
The Brooklyn pick would be a great “launchpad” for the Hornets’ rebuild, the report said, as it would give them two first-round picks next year. Frye and Shumpert are excellent veteran role players while Osman is a suitable wing prospect.
Meanwhile, the Cavs could choose to put Walker and Kidd-Gilchrist in their second unit. A substitute backcourt composed of Walker and Dwyane Wade is starter quality as compared to the rosters of some of the other teams in the league.