Before the season began, most analysts predicted a fourth straight meeting between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. However, after the first three months of competitions, the two teams appear to be going the separate route.
The Warriors are currently the best team in the league in terms of win-loss records with a 37-10 slate. Despite losing to the Houston Rockets, 116-108, last Saturday at the Toyota Center, they are still on the summit of the NBA.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are going the opposite direction, losing nine of their last 12 games and settling at the third spot in the East. Some of those losses included lopsided blowouts, such as their 127-99 defeat in Minnesota on January 8, 133-99 setback in Toronto on January 11, and a 148-124 whitewashing in the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Quicken Loans Arena also on Saturday night.
Despite their contrasting fortunes, both the Cavaliers and Warriors are being mentioned in the latest trade rumors. Here are some of the updates.
Cleveland ‘Very Close’ On George Hill Deal With Sacramento
CBS Sports reported that the Cavaliers are “very close” to reaching an agreement with the Sacramento Kings for their veteran point guard George Hill. The report said that ESPN analyst Brian Windhorst revealed in a recent episode of The Jump that discussions to move Hill to Cleveland is currently on the “1-yard line.”
Windhorst’s colleague, Adrian Wojnarowski, confirmed the report on Twitter, saying that Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert are the “primary players” the Cavs could give in return.
The Cavs have been linked to Hill in the past few weeks as the team’s current struggles seem to be caused by a lack of efficiency at the point guard spot. Isaiah Thomas’ presence has not made a difference yet for the Cavs, although the former Boston Celtic is reportedly not yet 100 percent healed from his hip injury.
Some analysts believe that Thomas is simply a mismatch with LeBron James in terms of on-court chemistry as both players require the ball a lot to be effective in their games. There are opinions that Hill could be perfect for the Cavs as he is a better complement for James as well as being a much better defender than Thomas is.
Warriors Target Knicks Center Kyle O’Quinn
Meanwhile, a separate CBS Sports article said that the Warriors are “eyeing” Kyle O’Quinn before the trade deadline. There had been speculations earlier this month that Golden State was trying to trade JaVale McGee or Zaza Pachulia to interested teams to alleviate their current logjam at the center spot, which makes this rumor somewhat of a surprise.
The Knicks are said to be also looking to unload some of their centers with Enes Kanter and Willy Hernangomez reportedly earning the favor of head coach Jeff Hornacek. Joakim Noah is not a trade asset, which leaves O’Quinn as the odd man out.
O’Quinn, 27, has lately been playing the best season of his career. He currently averages career-highs in scoring and rebounds with 6.9 points and 5.8 boards per game, as well as producing 2.0 assists and 1.0 blocks in only 17 minutes a night.
Back to Cleveland, there are also rumors saying that the Cavaliers are presently in talks with the Los Angeles Lakers for a possible deadline day deal. SB Nation‘s Silver Screen & Roll reported that the Cavs may “look to shake up” their roster before the deadline, and the Lakers have emerged as a potential trade partner.
Windhorst disclosed the said rumor, saying that he “was told” that the Cavs have been “talking to the Lakers.” The analyst then said that the idea of a negotiation happening between the Cavaliers and the Lakers is “stunning” since the latter is expected to target LeBron in free agency this summer.
The Lakers have made three of their young studs available, namely Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr., as well as veteran Luol Deng and his albatross of a contract. It would be interesting to see which Lakers players the Cavs would demand should a deal push through.