The Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks agreed to a three-way deal on Monday. Iman Shumpert, Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith are all on the move.
It’s great to see teams making deals before the deadline.
The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and a protected first-round pick from the Thunder. Dion Waiters never fit with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. He always needed the ball and he was not knocking down shots at a high rate.
Waiters has potential and he might eventually put it together but he has not delivered this season coming off the bench. He’s averaging 10 ppg while shooting 25% from beyond the arc and only 40% from the field.
On the flip side J.R. Smith has battled injuries all season for the Knicks and he is having a disappointing season. He’s also averaging just 10 ppg but he is shooting 35% from beyond the arc and also 40% from the field.
However J.R. Smith is a proven scorer off the bench. He won the Sixth Man of the Year award two years ago for the Knicks. He is a threat from beyond the arc and teams will respect that. The Cavs can use a scorer off the bench with some range. He will get open looks when he’s on the floor with James, Love and Irving.
Iman Shumpert is a perfect fit for this Cavaliers team. He’s a 3-and-D guy that they really needed all season. Most importantly he’s young. He loves to defend; he will force turnovers and finish in transition. Shumpert will return soon from his dislocated shoulder that has kept him out since December 12.
Shumpert is good enough when healthy to be in the starting lineup. He has learned some bad habits while with the Knicks but he gives the Cavaliers a much more capable starting lineup than Shawn Marion. Shumpert could thrive next to LeBron James.
The Cavaliers also got a protected pick from the Thunder. It is top 18 protected this year, top 15 protected in ’16 and ’17 then becomes 2 second round picks.
The Oklahoma City Thunder acquired Dion Waiters without giving up anything important. They gave up a protected pick and Lance Thomas to add another scorer. This is not the extra help I was talking about in a previous blog.
Dion Waiters is a dynamic scorer that needs the ball. He leaves a situation where LeBron James and Kyrie Irving held the ball the majority of the time to join Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
The Thunder needed a 3-and-D guy to come off the bench and compliment Reggie Jackson. They needed a veteran player who did not need the ball in his hands. Jackson and Waiters do similar things on the court and Jackson is already the go-to-guy off the bench.
Again Dion Waiters has a lot of potential and he might put it all together someday. They did not give up much to acquire him so James Herbert of CBS Sports is correct when he writes, “Low-risk, high-reward.”
This trade was a salary dump for the New York Knicks. Lance Thomas, Lou Amundson and Alex Kirk all have non-guaranteed contracts. The Knicks will most likely waive all three. They got rid of $6.4 million they owed J.R. Smith. The Knicks also got a 2019 second-round pick from the Cavaliers and two trade exceptions; one for $5.9 million and the other for $2.6 million. The only real hit to the Knicks is the fact that Shumpert has potential to be a very good role player in the future.
It has been said that Phil Jackson wanted to change the culture in the locker room and wanted to get rid of J.R. Smith.
The Knicks are bad and will most likely tank the rest of the season. With their lost on Monday night they tied a franchise record with 12 straight losses and they are now the worst team in the league at 5-32.