Much like the 2017 off-season, the 2017-18 NBA season has been a roller coaster for the Cavaliers.
A 5-7 start led to mass hysteria around the league as talking heads and basketball fans around the country wondered if the Cavaliers and the second LeBron era in Cleveland were toast.
Fast forward to a 19 wins in 21 games stretch and all is right in the world for the Cavaliers as they ascended back near the top of the eastern conference.
Things have gone south again as the team tries to incorporate Isaiah Thomas and two 30 plus point losses in a week have led to mass hysteria yet again and plenty of anger and frustration from their leader, savior and pending free agent, LeBron James.
While the current swoon is to be expected in my opinion in their adjustment period with a new star, there is one big issue that is legitimate and needs to be addressed: protecting the rim.
Tristan Thompson has never been elite at that and has been even further from that in his limited time this season, which apparently means that he is on the block for the first time, to an extent…
Shams Charania of The Vertical:
“Multiple NBA teams have cited Tristan Thompson as an asset Cleveland is willing to move in the right deal, such as one for the Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan.”
Ding, Ding, Ding. Jordan may be the one asset potentially on the market who can help improve this Cavaliers team, currently ranked 29th in the NBA in defense, from a rim protection perspective.
Will the Cavaliers be willing to trade their golden trade chip, Brooklyn’s unprotected 1st round pick in 2018, in order to facilitate a deal? The one real contingency plan that they have at this moment if they are facing a post-LeBron world yet again in 2018?
I say they should. Thompson is not rebounding or defending at the rate that he has in the past, and if you are able to get off of the final two seasons and $36 million of his contract (if LeBron approves of course, they share an agent) while picking up an improvement who can increase your chances to compete for an NBA title this season and therefore get LeBron to re-sign, then paying the cost of the pick to go all in this year and on keeping LeBron is worth it.
Jordan has a player option of $24.1 million next season, which means if LeBron re-signs he likely re-signs and you have a top-tier defensive center moving forward, or if LeBron leaves, he probably opts out and signs elsewhere and you have $24 million off of your books for a rebuild.
If the Clippers are willing to part with Jordan, the Cavaliers should not pass up on the opportunity.