The Cleveland Cavaliers continue to struggle in the 2017-18 NBA season, and as the February 8 trade deadline approaches, multiple signs are pointing that the reigning Eastern Conference champions are planning for another blockbuster deal to bolster their roster. According to the latest NBA rumors, the Cavaliers may consider trading Isaiah Thomas to the Charlotte Hornets for Kemba Walker.
The return of Isaiah Thomas was expected to make the Cavaliers a better team and help them rise to the top of the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, they lost seven of their last 10 games and currently reside in the 3rd spot in the East. So far, Cleveland is one of the worst defensive teams in the league, allowing 109.8 points per 100 possessions, according to ESPN.
Isaiah Thomas undeniably filled up the hole left by Kyrie Irving, especially on the offensive end, but no one can deny the fact that the 5-foot-9 point guard is a liability on the defensive end. As of now, the Cavaliers are out on the trade market searching for a backcourt boost. Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Cleveland is targeting George Hill of the Sacramento Kings and Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers.
On Monday’s edition of The Jump on ESPN, NBA insider Brian Windhorst talked about a blockbuster trade involving Isaiah Thomas and Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets.
“The question is… would they consider making Isaiah Thomas available? I can tell you this. It’s going very poorly with Isaiah and the Cavs right now. There is a lot of frustration with the team because he’s a guy who shoots the ball a lot. He holds the ball a lot. And when he’s averaging 30 points and shooting 45 percent from the field as he did last year for the Celtics… things went well. Right now, there’s a lot of frustration with the way Isaiah’s playing on the team. And I wonder, even though it’s so early in terms of his return from injury… I wonder if the Cavs would consider moving Isaiah and would they put in a call to the Hornets to see if they could figure out if they could get Kemba Walker,” Windhorst said, as transcribed by Uproxx.
With the Cavaliers’ goal to reclaim the NBA championship title this season, trading Isaiah Thomas for Kemba Walker makes sense. Thomas missed the first half of the 2017-18 NBA season due to injury, and it remains questionable if he can remain healthy when the postseason started. Trusting the role as a starting point guard to an injury-prone player is quite risky for the Cavaliers.
Kemba Walker is also an offensive weapon, but unlike Thomas, he can defend elite point guards in the league. In the past games, he showed a huge improvement in his playmaking skills. However, the Hornets are very unlikely to straight swap their best player for Thomas, knowing that his contract will expire after this season. The Cavaliers, who have been hesitant in moving the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick, should come up with an offer that can convince the Hornets to make a deal.