The Cleveland Cavaliers are targeting marquee players before the trade deadline, as they are looking to get out of the deep hole they are currently in. The Cavs are reportedly interested in trading for San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard and Oklahoma City Thunder’s Paul George.
Cleveland does not have much to offer in trades aside from Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick, which is expected to land in the lottery. However, the Cavaliers are reluctant to trade the coveted pick, as they are treating it as an insurance policy in case LeBron James leaves next summer.
However, New England Sports Network’s Marcus Kwesi O’Mard reported that Cleveland is open to trading the pick if it will help them acquire one of the players on their “short list” of targets. O’Mard added that Leonard and George are both on Cleveland’s radar heading into the trade deadline.
Leonard’s name floated in trade rumors after ESPN’s Jalen Rose reported that the 26-year-old wants out of San Antonio. However, the Spurs have not shown willingness to deal Leonard, and the Cavaliers are reportedly aware that getting the two-time All-Star in a trade before Thursday’s deadline is highly unlikely.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich also denied the rumored rift between the team and Leonard. The five-time NBA champion coach told News 4 San Antonio that Leonard wants to continue playing in San Antonio and is eager to return to action. The seven-year veteran has only played nine games this season due to a right quad injury.
On the other hand, George also appears unavailable in trades at this point of the season. He was also linked to Cleveland in the offseason. However, the Cavaliers and the Indiana Pacers failed to complete a deal to bring George to Cleveland to team up with LeBron James.
The Thunder eventually acquired George from the Pacers in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. George was initially viewed as a one-year rental for Oklahoma City, but it appears the 27-year-old superstar is now considering signing a long-term deal with the Thunder in the offseason.
George, who is averaging 21.7 points and 5.5 rebounds this season, told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that he really considered moving to the Los Angeles Lakers. However, it appears the Thunder now have the advantage because George said that he has built “real brotherhood” with Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony in Oklahoma City.