Savoring their championship feat, the Cleveland Cavaliers aims to solidify their roster for their title defense and rumors are swirling that they are offering to trade Kevin Love together with JR Smith and the team’s first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft for Russell Westbrook.
The Cavaliers have earned their spot in the history books as they managed to come back from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Golden State Warriors in the recent NBA Finals with a 4-3 count. Aside from that, the Cavaliers also erased a 52-year franchise drought after winning their first ever NBA title. With all things on the line, it’s natural that the Cavaliers would strengthen their roster as they ready themselves for a title defense next season.
Many analysts have seen Kevin Love and JR Smith becomes liabilities to the Cavaliers as their consistencies were questioned. Love’s struggled in the Finals series against the Warriors. After recording 17 points and 13 rebounds in their Game 1 loss, Love suffered a concussion in Game 2 that forced him to miss out Game 3.
His return to Game Four was also questioned, but the Cavaliers gambled on letting him play with a role of coming off the bench, but it certainly paid off as Love scored 11 points, but the game placed them against the wall as the Cavaliers fell behind 3–1 in the series losing the game via 108–97.
In Game Five, the Cavaliers let Love return to his starting position, but only managed two points in their 112-97 win. He would go on to struggle in Game Six despite the Cavaliers forcing a winner-take-all Game Seven. In the final game of the season, Love managed to contribute nine points and 14 rebounds to help the Cavaliers breeze through the Warriors with a 93–89 victory.
On the other hand, JR Smith’s contribution to the Cavaliers was felt in Game Three of the Finals series as he hauled 20 points in their 120-90 win over the Warriors. But after that Smith’s presence was never felt anew. Thus, the Cavaliers are in a dilemma of whether to strengthen their roster if they want to defend their title.
Here is the catch, say if the Cavaliers cruises through and make their way to the NBA Finals next season and face the Warriors anew, they will have to figure out how will they beat the Warriors again with Kevin Durant in the picture. The current lineup of the Cavaliers gives no answers as of the moment and as seen during the finals series wherein LeBron James and Kyrie Irving did much of the damage to keep the Warriors at bay.
Being able to get Westbrook to their lineup will somehow give teams, especially the Warriors, a reason to think again of how to overcome such predicament Westbrook brings in, to add firepower on the floor as he averages 23.5 points with 10.4 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game. His outcome could strongly back up James and Irving every night and on the road.
The only loophole that the Cavaliers will have to face is how have both Irving and Westbrook share the same position and their playing time. But if they can convert Westbrook into a shooting guard playing with Irving and James would prove lethal as all three can score heavy numbers.
As for the cap space, the Cavaliers will have to make room if the trade would push through. It would be enticing for the Thunder to ponder on with as the Cavaliers could offer their first round pick in next year’s draft.
It could be enticing for the Thunder in the sense that they could rebuild their team after the departure of Kevin Durant. But the Thunder will have to think twice if letting Westbrook go will also be a good for the future of the franchise as well. For the Cavaliers, they will be just waiting if the Thunder would come, sit down and talk through the possible trade.
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