Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Analyzing the Cleveland Cavaliers at the deadline

It’s Thursday night after the NBA Trade Deadline and, like many NBA fanatics, I am going through trade rumor withdrawal. While there were several trades involving many players and second round picks, only two players who were regular starters with their former teams, Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes (both previously of the Philadelphia 76ers) were moved. As you probably know by now, the Cavaliers added one of those players, as they acquired Hawes Thursday morning for Earl Clark, Henry Sims, and two 2014 second round picks. Now that the trade deadline has come and gone, Right Down Euclid takes a look at the move the Cavaliers made at the deadline as well as the ones they didn’t.

Trading for Spencer Hawes

The Cavaliers had two needs that Interim General Manager David Griffin wanted to address by the deadline: Outside shooting and another big man who could play center. In Hawes, Griffin acquired a big man who fits both needs. Hawes has become a very effective shooter from beyond the arc the last two years and is currently shooting just short of 40 percent from three this season. This should help a Cavaliers offense that is in desperate need of some spacing. Hawes should also fit well alongside any of the other big men in the Cavaliers’ rotation. He is also an exceptional passer, solid rebounder, and underrated shot blocker, although he does struggle on the defensive end. The price for Hawes was also minimal. Clark and Sims were not part of the rotation or the team’s future, and the Cavaliers still own the Orlando Magic’s second round pick in this summer’s draft. Even after giving up several picks for Hawes and Luol Deng over the past two months, the Cavaliers still have at least one pick in each round of any future drafts. While some experts and media members didn’t see why the Cavaliers would add a player like Hawes as it is still unlikely they make the playoffs despite their recent six-game winning streak, there are still several advantages in dealing for the big man whether or not it helps the Cavaliers earn a trip to the post season. First, while Hawes is an unrestricted free agent, the Cavaliers should be able to resign him to a reasonable contract and at twenty-five years old could be a long term piece of this team. Big men who can shoot can play forever in this league – just ask Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Second, even if the Cavaliers are unable to secure a playoff berth (their March schedule is brutal), making a run could still help young players such as Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, and Anthony Bennett see the growth and potential of their team and give them a more tangible feel and enthusiasm for a goal of returning to the playoffs next season.

What Didn’t Happen

Nearly every player on the Cavaliers’ roster has been mentioned in trade rumors over the past few months, but leading up to the trade deadline three names seemed to be the focus of rumors; Luol Deng, Jarrett Jack, and Tyler Zeller. The Cavaliers considered moving Deng as he remains unwilling to negotiate a contract extension before becoming a free agent this offseason. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Deng isn’t dead set against resigning with the Cavaliers, but wants to explore all of his options after spending the first 9.5 seasons of his career with the Chicago Bulls. The Cavaliers looked for either a first round pick or proven veteran wing such a Trevor Ariza in exchange for Deng, but ultimately didn’t find a deal they liked. The Cavaliers had shopped Jarrett Jack for several weeks trying to get out of his contract, which runs for at least two more seasons. After being signed amid much fanfare over the summer, Jack has struggled to find his comfort zone on the court and is having arguably the worst season of his career. While the Cavaliers had multiple opportunities to move Jack in trades with the Brooklyn Nets for Jason Terry or the Sacramento Kings for Marcus Thornton or Jason Thompson, these players are having even worse seasons than Jack and would save the Cavaliers very little money. Terry in particular seems to be done as an effective NBA player. Because of these options, the Cavaliers decided to hold onto their new starting shooting guard. Surprisingly, the Cavaliers had apparently called around the league gauging Zeller’s value as well. While there was some talk of a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers built around Zeller and Clippers rookie swingman Reggie Bullock, nothing really came of this. Because they kept Zeller and traded for Hawes, the Cavaliers now have an extremely crowded big man rotation with Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, Hawes, and Zeller all deserving minutes.

Because of the Cavaliers’ record, there was going to be a multitude of opinions on any sort of trade they made today. What cannot be debated is that they have become a more talented and offensively versatile team than they were a day ago. They’ve added a 25 year old big man who can stretch the floor and rebound without giving up any major assets. With any luck, this move will help the Cavaliers make a memorable run towards the postseason over the next two months.

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Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers Jarrett Jack Luol Deng Spencer Hawes Tyler Zeller

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