NBA trade rumors continue to follow the Cleveland Cavaliers, as their pursuit of a starting center has become a terribly kept secret. One answer to the Cavaliers’ problem possibly plays for the Chicago Bulls.
In recent weeks the Cavaliers have been linked to the Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan and Jonas Valanciunas from the Toronto Raptors. It is clear that the Cleveland Cavaliers will look to acquire a center before the February 8th NBA trade deadline.
One of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ weaknesses is their rim protection. Opponents are attacking the Cavaliers in the paint at every point possible.
As a countermeasure, the Cavaliers have played Tristian Thompson off of the bench and gone with an unconventional lineup that features Kevin Love in the middle. Kevin Love is not a shot blocker, neither is Tristian Thompson. However, Love’s ability to shoot gives him a considerable edge for the Cavaliers.
The Cleveland Cavaliers acquisition of a center via a trade would allow them to play a more balanced lineup, also possibly shed a bloated salary. The latest NBA trade rumors do not involve the latter.
According to Basketball Insiders, the Cleveland Cavaliers could turn their attention to Robin Lopez of the Chicago Bulls. Robin Lopez is not the all-star that DeAndre Jordan is, but he is more than capable of manning the post for a Cavaliers’ team with championship aspirations.
Lopez provides interior toughness and rebounding that the Cavaliers have lacked. Tristian Thompson is terrific around the glass, yet he is not a presence that incites fear into players driving the basket.
Judging from the NBA trade rumors involving the Cavaliers, they want to deal Tristian Thompson in any deal that would net them a center in return. That would not happen if the Cavaliers begin to target the Bulls’ Robin Lopez.
The Chicago Bulls have been fielding calls for Robin Lopez, according to Bleacher Report. It is noted that the Bulls want a first-round pick for Lopez. That immediately eliminates the possibility of the Cavaliers attempting to offer Tristian Thompson to the Bulls in a Robin Lopez trade.
In order to acquire Lopez from the Bulls, the Cavaliers must be willing to part with their 2018 first-round pick. It is something that could be regarded as a small price for a starting center, who is not an NBA all-star, but fits a need.
Sources: Cavaliers Willing to Move Tristan Thompson in Trade: As teams pick up trade activity before the trade deadline, the Cavaliers are shaping up to be perhaps the most fascinating contending team. They have two first-round draft picks… https://t.co/6WYi7gkJdp @bballinsiders pic.twitter.com/0ZdpmCDrOn— Basketball Insiders (@BBallInsiders) January 13, 2018
If the Cleveland Cavaliers were to include an expiring salary, such as Channing Frye and their draft pick for Robin Lopez the Bulls could agree. Frye, included by the Cavaliers for salary purposes would likely be waived by the Bulls. The Bulls view getting an extra draft pick as another building block for their future.
The Cavaliers could also substitute Ante Zizic for Channing Frye in the trade for the Bulls’ Robin Lopez. That could also convince the Bulls to make the trade. Zizic could be seen by the Bulls as a potential rotational center. The Cavaliers would part ways with a player who seldom gets game action, along with a pick that would likely be glued to the bench as well. The Cavaliers would be well-positioned to complete other moves.
Acquiring Robin Lopez from the Bulls, without including Tristian Thompson could turn into a plus for the Cavaliers. Thompson does have value around the NBA. The Cavaliers could use him to add another important piece for a championship run after trading for Lopez.
That piece could be DeAndre Jordan if the Cleveland Cavaliers are willing to relinquish their biggest trade asset. Having both Robin Lopez and DeAndre Jordan alternating in the frontcourt would perhaps give the Cavaliers the NBA’s second-best group of centers. Adding Robin Lopez from the Chicago Bulls opens the doors for that.