The Cleveland Cavaliers have already started to trade to build a championship team, but they need to trade again to win it. They traded away Dion Waiters to get J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. Smith and Waiters both have a reputation as a scorers who do not pass the ball. Many think that the team just swapped one shooter for another and did not improve the team. However, Shumpert could help the team with his defense, which the Cavaliers desperately needed.
Ranking 23 in defense, Cleveland needed help. According to Columnist Micah Peters of USA Today, the Iman trade will shore up the defense. He should solve the weak interior defense. Micah says that if Smith works on his defensive game and accepts his role, the team may improve on that side of the ball. By taking this focus, general manager David Griffin has demonstrated that he is willing to take risks and trade to improve the team.
On offense, J. R. could also provide the spacing that the Cavaliers need to allow its big three the opportunity to score more easily. Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are proven scorers. The 2014-2015 Hollinger Team Statistics rate Cleveland’s offense as 11th best in the NBA. James is averaging 25.2 points a game, but has missed a few games with a knee injury. If he stays healthy and is able to match his career average season of 27.2 per game, the offense should improve.
This trade shows that the Cleveland Cavaliers are willing to make moves again to win a championship now, but the expectations to win will be even greater now that they has acquired Smith and Shumpert. Because of the Waiter deal, the fans will be more demanding. They thought that the James trade would bring them a championship. They have been disappointed with the play of the team so far this season.
Even though this trade strengthened the Cavaliers, they still need to look for more interior defense. They need to find a big man. They have been looking at Timofey Mozgov of the Denver Nuggets, Kosta Doufos of the Memphis Grizzles, Ekpe Udoh of the Los Angeles Clippers, and Robert Sacre of the Los Angeles Lakers. Any of these big men would help if Griffin can work out a trade.
The potential is there. James has been hurt. He could return healthy. The young players should improve both defensively and offensively. They will learn the schemes on both sides of the ball. They will adjust to the professional game. Griffin may make more trades to strengthen the defense. The veterans will get familiar with each other and work better together.
The organization has made trades to bring a championship team to Cleveland. Although they have given away most of their draft choices, they still have options. They have $5.3 million from the Kevin Bogans deal with the Philadelphia 76ers. This gives them enough money to get the player the need.
The Cleveland Cavaliers may have a difficult time trading with the other NBA teams, but they can look for free agents or foreign players. They can use their first round draft pick and the $5.3 million to acquire the player that they need to win. The important thing is that their general manager is looking for ways to improve the team so that they become a championship team now.
Commentary By Tom Jones