It was known for weeks that the Cavaliers were trying to acquire Clippers All-NBA Center DeAndre Jordan. It just made too much sense with the Cavaliers dire need for more rim protection, size and athleticism and the Clippers seeming to be unlikely to sign DeAndre to a new contract extension this summer.
By the time the NBA Trade Deadline passed last Thursday though, the Cavaliers had made three other trades with teams not named the Clippers and DeAndre Jordan remained in Los Angeles.
What was the reason a deal couldn’t get done? Was it because the Cavaliers were unwilling to trade the Nets 2018 1st round pick? Apparently the answer is Iman Shumpert.
Here is an excerpt from a piece by Adrian Wojnarowksi:
“What’s more, there was significant progress: Altman had ownership approval to send the Clippers Jae Crowder, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert and the Cavs’ 2018 first-round pick for Jordan. The Clippers were willing to accept the trade, but on one significant condition.
Clippers general manager Michael Winger explained to Altman that LA didn’t want another shooting guard. He hoped to find a third team that would take Shumpert and his $21 million with draft compensation, and have the Clippers get a center back. Altman and Winger agreed to make more calls to try to find a third team to make the deal work. Winger wondered whether Altman would let him talk to Shumpert’s agent on a possible contract buyout, but Altman wanted trade talks to be further along before granting that permission.
Clippers president Lawrence Frank, Winger and Altman had talked for weeks on a trade, but they got nowhere. The Clippers wouldn’t take Tristan Thompson, JR Smith or Shumpert in a deal, and that never changed.”
So in a broader sense, the Clippers weren’t willing to take on any bad contract from the Cavaliers, be it Shumpert, J.R. Smith or Tristan Thompson. It is pretty interesting to find out that a deal was essentially agreed to though with the condition that another team take on Shumpert and trade the Clippers a center, which the Cavaliers couldn’t pull together in time.
It makes sense, the Cavaliers had very little in the way of tradeable assets that another team would have wanted, and weren’t able to deal another 1st round pick in the near future as a sweetener to incentivize another team to take on Shumpert’s contract and trade the Clippers a center.
The only scenario I could even envision is the Bulls being willing to deal Robin Lopez if that appealed to the Clippers and taking back Iman Shumpert with the Cavaliers likely trading the first 1st round pick they are able to, possibly in 2021.
You can debate if the deals the Cavaliers did do were smart for the long-term, but it does seem pretty obvious that Koby Altman and the front office did a very admirable job of using what they had and what was available to retool their roster and infuse it with more youth and athleticism, even without getting DeAndre Jordan.
It would have been interesting to see him in the middle helping the Cavaliers try to contend for another title this season though.