And it has to be immediately, because even though it seems it may not, Lebron James‘ prime will ultimately come to and end at some point, and Cleveland can’t waste it. The key to competing and defeating Golden State is acquiring a fourth All-Star level player, and here are a handful of options that the Cavaliers should attempt in the coming months:
Option No. 1: Sign Chris Paul and a SG – Unload J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert.
Although this is far fetched, it should still be an idea that Cleveland should consider. I know what you’re thinking – the Cavaliers already have an All-Star point guard in Kyrie Irving – but imagine him being able to slide to the off-guard slot and play with one of the best passers of all-time.
This may be hard to configure because of money, but if it’s feasible, it’d make sense for Cleveland who wants to surpass the Warriors, and for Chris Paul who wants to play in the Finals for the first time in his Hall of Fame career. Releasing or trading J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert would unload some of the team salary. Tony Allen and Vince Carter are cheaper shooting guard options who can add defensive depth and experience off of the bench.
Option No. 2: Trade Jimmy Butler For J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert.
Jimmy Butler has become a regular All-Star and is one of the best two-way players in the league, and yet he’s still on the trading block because the Bulls have been fending off a rebuild for years now. It’s about time they finally trade their best assets, build through the draft, and return to relevancy in five years or so. Butler would be the first to go if Chicago goes that route.
And Cleveland would be a dream landing spot for the former Marquette guard, pairing him up with Kyrie Irving in the backcourt, and playing alongside with Lebron James, Kevin Love, and others. His defensive prowess would also bring a different facet to the Cavaliers. The best thing about this trade would be that Cleveland likely wouldn’t have to part ways with Love. Since the Bulls would be going into a potential lottery situation, they wouldn’t want a player like Love. J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert would suffice.
Option No. 3: Trade Kevin Love For Paul George – Sign J.J. Redick.
Paul George has been trying to get out of Indiana for years now because they aren’t able to compete with Lebron James’ teams in the Eastern Conference, so why not pull a Kevin Durant and join the enemy? The Pacers will likely want to rid themselves of PG13 because he’ll be a free agent at year’s end, and might as well get a player or two in return.
Kevin Love would likely be shipped to Indiana, because as good as he is, George would be able to defend Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green, something Love doesn’t do as well of. Cleveland could also go for J.J. Redick, inarguably a top-5 pure shooter in the league, and add him to the starting lineup, instead of J.R. Smith, who has been extremely inconsistent.
Option No. 4: Trade Kevin Love For Carmelo Anthony – Sign Tim Hardaway Jr.
Well, this would pair Lebron James up with the only other Hall of Famer from the 2003 Draft Class. He’s already played with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, winning a couple of titles, and Carmelo Anthony is the lone man without a ring from the top-5 picks from that draft.
This would be his chance, but it’d mean he’d have to waive his no-trade clause. If he were to do that, Phil Jackson would love to get rid of him, so all they’d have to do is offer a little something in return which may be Kevin Love and Kyle Korver or Iman Shumpert. Next step would be to find a young replacement for Shumpert who would start coming off the bench, and Tim Hardaway Jr. just had his best season yet, and would add athleticism and another perimeter shooter.
Option No. 5: Sign Dwyane Wade – Unload Korver, Shumpert, and/or Smith.
Lebron James and Dwyane Wade already showed how effective they could be on the court together, from 2011-2014, winning two championships, and going to the Finals four times. This is my final idea because I think it’d have the lowest chance of succeeding, given Wade’s age and past injuries, but this squad could still give the Warriors some fits.
Wade has always been a big performer in the playoffs and he’s a free agent so Cleveland would not have to trade anyone for him, but in order to afford The Flash, they’d have to part ways with at least two of the following three: Kyle Korver, Iman Shumpert, and J.R. Smith.
Photo Credit: CBS Sports.