Clark Chronicle

Cleveland makes money moves before the NBA trade deadline

Theodore Supangan, Photographer

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After receiving much deserved criticism during their recent slump — with five wins and eight losses in their last 13 games — the Cleveland Cavaliers attempted to re-establish themselves as a contender to win the NBA Finals by trading six players for four.

Dealing Jae Crowder, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert and their own first-round 2018 draft pick, the Cavaliers received Rodney Hood, George Hill, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson in return from Utah, Sacramento and Los Angeles. This six-player move by the Cavaliers ties for the most players dealt on the day of the trade deadline; the last time a team did so was also the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008, who, again, tried to acquire pieces to build around their perennial superstar, LeBron James.

The biggest takeaway from this trade is the reassurance that the NBA is, first and foremost, a business. By barely giving Isaiah Thomas a chance to mesh with the team he joined just this summer — Thomas only played 15 games with the team after a long recovery from a hip injury — the Cavaliers proved that their first priority was and always will be Lebron James, and they don’t care who is in the way of said priority.

Overall, it is hard to see how the Cavaliers improved with such a big move at the deadline. Though they ridded themselves of an obvious defensive liability in Isaiah Thomas, the trade doesn’t seem to involve any players to match the offensive firepower that previous all-stars, like Thomas and Kyrie Irving, brought to the table for the Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers didn’t allow enough time for Thomas to develop back into the full-fledged superstar he’s known to be — Thomas was third in the league in scoring last year with 28.9 points per game — and it cost them. Mid-tier players are good for a team with one or two superstars, but without multiple superstars to lead the Cavaliers, it is hard to imagine them putting up a fight against contenders like the Rockets, Celtics, Warriors and Raptors with a starting lineup of George Hill, Rodney Hood, LeBron James, Larry Nance Jr. and Tristan Thompson.

The most fulfilling part of this trade is seeing Dwyane Wade going back to a team with which he became a potential Hall of Famer. Rumors of Wade losing playing time on the Cavaliers, along with rumors of him returning to Miami to retire, made this specific part of the trade good for both sides.

The Cavaliers didn’t make enough moves at the deadline to keep LeBron James from leaving the team in 2018’s offseason. As proven by the past, LeBron James thrives on being surrounded by other superstars driven by winning, and the blockbuster trade did not do enough to uphold the King’s standards.

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Cleveland makes money moves before the NBA trade deadline