The Cleveland Cavaliers are apparently hoping the Los Angeles Clippers sell low on DeAndre Jordan.
As they continue to make the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round picks off-limits in trade talks, the Cavaliers are trying to use their own first-round choice, plus some salary filler, to make a dent in advance of Thursday’s deadline. We know they’ve been linked to George Hill of the Sacramento Kings ad nauseam, but Jordan has loomed as a potential target as well.
The issue? The Cavaliers have yet to offer the Clippers more than Tristan Thompson and their own first-round pick, according to USA Today‘s Sam Amick:
It’s a whole lot more complicated than the fatigue factor, and it has everything to do with the layers of dysfunction that the Cavs are battling. Cavs general manager Koby Altman is trying hard to shed the contracts of Tristan Thompson (two years, $36 million remaining) and J.R. Smith ($14.7 million next season, team option worth $15.6 million in 2019-20 with $3.8 million guaranteed), two players who were re-signed in large part because of LeBron’s omnipresent influence. They’re all represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who built the agency with a huge assist from James. As it pertains to the Cavs’ interest in the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, a person with knowledge of that situation said Cleveland continues to offer only its own first-round pick and this kind of unwanted money in those stalled negotiations. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
This framework isn’t going to get anything done for the Cavaliers. If they swapped out the Nets’ pick with their own, they’d be in business. But it doesn’t make sense for them to burn that asset on a soon-to-be 30-year-old center slated for free agency this summer.
For the Clippers’ part, though, they’ll want no part of the three years and $52.5 million left on Thompson’s deal (including this season). They’d almost be better off accepting Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye and Derrick Rose to get the trade done—any combination, really, that prevents them from taking on Thompson.
Keep an eye on these two teams leading into Thursday. The Clippers have ostensibly lost a Jordan suitor with the Milwaukee Bucks’ acquisition of Tyler Zeller, so maybe they and the Cavaliers can find some common ground.