The Cleveland Cavaliers were tagged as winners of the NBA trade deadline after making a roster overhaul, which could dramatically change their fortunes this season. But before they pulled the trigger on the flurry of trades last week, the Cavaliers were reportedly close to acquiring Los Angeles Clippers superstar center DeAndre Jordan.
The Cavaliers were heavily linked to Jordan since the start of the season. And according to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Cleveland has already convinced the Clippers to ship the 29-year-old center to the Cavaliers before the trade deadline.
Cleveland and Los Angeles engaged in a long discussion about a deal for Jordan, who is the only remnant of last season’s superstar trio of the Clippers. The Clippers traded Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets and Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons, which made it quite clear that they are also willing to part ways with their starting center.
According to Wojnarowski, Cleveland initially offered Tristan Thompson, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, and their 2018 first-round pick to the Clippers. However, Clippers general manager Michael Winger and team president Lawrence Frank were not open to taking the expensive contracts of all three players.
Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman continuously talked to Winger about a deal for Jordan. The two sides went close to finalizing an agreement after the Clippers expressed willingness to approve a trade involving Jae Crowder, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, and Cleveland’s 2018 first-round pick.
Altman also got the approval from the ownership group. However, the deal cannot be finalized yet because the Clippers told Altman that they do not need Shumpert in the deal, asking the Cavs GM to look for a third team. The Clippers also wanted to talk to Shumpert’s agent about a contract buyout, but Altman did not give in.
Cleveland tried to look for a third team that is willing to take Shumpert, who still has two years left in his contract worth $21.3 million, according to ESPN. While looking for a third team, Altman managed to finalize a trade agreement with the Los Angeles Lakers the night before the deadline.
In the deal with the Lakers, Frye and the first-round pick will be sent to Los Angeles along with Isaiah Thomas in exchange for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. Altman kept in touch with the Clippers and tried to acquire Jordan without their first-round pick, but he failed to find a way to make it work.
With the Clippers deal dead, Altman turned his attention to a three-team trade with the Sacramento Kings and the Utah Jazz. The Cavaliers eventually acquired Kings guard George Hill and Jazz wingman Rodney Hood by giving up Crowder, Shumpert, Derrick Rose, and cash considerations.
Since the deal, the Cavaliers have won three straight games, two of them with their four new players. Clarkson, Hood, Hill, and Nance combined for 49 and 48 points in their wins over the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder, respectively.