When people think about the Cleveland Cavaliers, they think about LeBron James. But ever since Isaiah Thomas returned in January, he just didn’t fit the Cavalier system, resulting in their season heading toward the drain. At this point, Cleveland was falling in the rankings and barely hanging on to third place in the East. A few things that were happening with Cleveland consisted of their team chemistry being off, LeBron was being rumored about cursing out two Cleveland executives about stupid decisions they had made in the past, including, Kyrie Irving getting traded to the Boston Celtics and David Griffin getting fired. Other problems consisted of the Cavs being the oldest team in the NBA, and their team issues with Kevin Love. Cleveland had to do something fast, in order to continue to fight in the East because they were losing hope in some of their players.

Leading up to the NBA trade deadline, the Cavaliers had not traded any players, but when the trade deadline officially arrived, they traded away Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and a first-round pick, while acquiring Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. Isaiah Thomas tweeted out prior to getting traded to the Lakers, stating that he was tired of being traded and wanted to stay put in Cleveland. I guess the Cleveland executives didn’t care for what he had to say. The Cavaliers got involved in a big three-way trade with the Sacramento Kings and the Utah Jazz, trading away Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose to the Jazz, Rose, who was later waived by the Jazz and went unclaimed in waivers, acquiring George Hill from the Kings and Rodney Hood from the Jazz. The Cavs also acquired Arturas Gudaitis from the Kings, in exchange for Iman Shumpert, a 2020 second-round pick, and Dimitrios Agravanis to the Kings. The Jazz traded away Joe Johnson to the Kings, who later agreed to a buyout agreement and was claimed by the Houston Rockets. The Cavs last trade consisted of trading Dwyane Wade back to Miami, which was best for the city of Miami as they saw their merchandise numbers go up by more than “8,000%”, according to Darren Rovell from ESPN, and they will get to see the Miami legend back in a Heat uniform again, reuniting him in the place where he has destined to shine throughout his entire career. Overall, in my opinion, I think the Cavaliers are now a better team and are heading in the right direction with their new and improved line-up.

The reason why the Cavaliers are better now than before is that Cleveland has removed some of their older players out of their line-up and put younger players that are going to be able to help the team for the rest of the season.This will help as they continue to fight to try to regain first place again in the East. Now let’s break down the players that were acquired in the trades. First up, Jordan Clarkson, I think he will be a good scorer in Cleveland, but he’s going to have to be able to limit his turnovers. I don’t think he will play much of the point guard role as they have George Hill and LeBron James, who will take over at the point from time to time. Next up, George Hill, I have been watching Hill ever since his Indiana Pacer days and was always impressed with his style of play, Hill is a versatile player who can make you pay for sleeping on defense. Of course, he’s no Kyrie Irving, who was able to take charge and lead the offense while LeBron is on the bench, or like Isaiah Thomas, who is a quick player and one of the best offensive players in the league from last season, who just didn’t fit well at all in the Cavs system. I don’t think Hill will be with Cleveland for a long period of time, but he could possibly end up giving them the boost that they have desired to propel them into the playoffs. Another player, Larry Nance Jr., has the ability to fit into the power forward position for the Cavs while Kevin Love is out. Nance, a good rebounder, a statistical area that Cleveland needs to get better in, and has the ability to have some posterizing dunks that can be deadly for the team’s that he’s playing against. Nance’s dad, Larry Nance Sr., holds the all-time rebounds record in a single game in Cleveland Cavaliers history and has his jersey #22 retired and hanging up on the rafters for his son to look up to every time he plays at Quicken Loans Arena. The last player the Cavs received was Rodney Hood, a playmaker and good scorer for the Jazz, who has the ability to take the starting job from J.R. Smith. Hood is a player that could be with the Cavaliers for a long period of time due to being a young talented player with good size and frame for his position, which is what Cleveland needs to get more of if they want to compete at the highest level in the Eastern Conference. Due to these players that the Cavaliers received, I think they are better off for the future with their new line-up heading towards the end of the season and into the playoffs, trying to get to Lebron’s eighth straight NBA Finals appearance.

– Daniel Kingery (Guest Writer)

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