LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are on a downward spiral at the moment, losing nine of their last 12 games. The team managed to keep the third spot in the East, but the star-less Miami Heat are now only a half-game behind at No. 4.
Many analysts believe that the Cavaliers’ defense is the primary cause of their recent slide. Cleveland currently has the second-worst defensive rating in the league, giving up 109.8 points per 100 possessions. Only the Sacramento Kings are worse with 110.2, as per the NBA’s official website.
Basketball Insiders’ analyst Tommy Beer recently revealed a shocking statistic about LeBron. Beer tweeted that James was able to help any team he had been on prevent their opponents from scoring more than 132 points during the “first 1,318 games of his career.”
However, in their last five games alone, the Cavaliers have given up “more than 132 points twice.” The first one was in a 133-99 loss to the Toronto Raptors on January 11, while the second was last Saturday’s 148-124 defeat at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Cleveland’s defensive struggles have become so evident that rumors abound of a potential roster blow up in midseason. ESPN analyst and former NBA player Jalen Rose even said that the defending champion Golden State Warriors would sweep the Cavs should they meet again in the finals at this point.
With that, several reports are out that the Cavaliers are likely to make a major move before the league’s February 8 trade deadline.
One of the latest speculations regarding the Cavaliers is their interest in two Los Angeles Clippers players, namely DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams.
Sam Amico of Amico Hoops reported earlier this month that the Cavs’ interest on Jordan was “obvious” and that the team knows “they need help defensively,” which makes the former two-time NBA rebounding leader a natural target for Cleveland.
There are rumors that the Clippers could be willing to trade Jordan for the right return, but with Los Angeles winning six of their last seven games, the narrative may have already changed at this time.
Meanwhile, CBS Sports’ Chris Barnewall said that Cavs are also interested in getting Williams, who has been carrying the Clippers’ offensive load as of late. Williams has scored more than 30 points three times in the Clippers’ last five games and is currently averaging 23.4 points, 5.0 assists, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game as Doc Rivers’ new starting shooting guard.
Barnewall indicated that the Cavs could give up J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson to get Williams, but a more interesting trade scenario had recently emerged.
FanSided’s LA Sports Hub blog suggested a trade that would send both Jordan and Williams to Cleveland in exchange for Thompson, Channing Frye, and the Cavs’ 2018 unprotected first-round draft pick coming from the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets’ pick has long been considered a high-value trade asset with many teams reportedly interested in getting it in anticipation of a deep 2018 draft class this June.
However, with the Nets’ decent performance this season, the draft pick’s value might have somehow lessened. If Brooklyn continues to win games, then the pick’s chance of landing at No. 1 would be no longer as high.
Even so, the blog said that the proposed deal would be the “perfect trade” for both the Cavaliers and the Clippers, as Cleveland gets the players they want, while Los Angeles potentially earns two top 10 selections in the upcoming June draft.