The Cleveland Cavaliers have lost five of their last seven games and need to improve drastically in order to make a run at a fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance.
With the NBA trade deadline a month away, the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions reportedly will look to improve at the deadline by seeking a “big-time difference-maker,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday on SportsCenter.
While the Cavaliers reportedly are interested in Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, they have been unwilling to include the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round draft pick, which the Clippers reportedly would require in the deal. Wojnarowski, however, noted the Cavs would include that pick in trade talks for that “big-time difference-maker,” but the number of players on that list is short.
“The Cavaliers are going to be aggressive,” Wojnarowski said. “And they’re in a difficult spot because they don’t know whether LeBron James is staying. And they don’t know how much of their future they want to try to mortgage to try and win this year. One thing that is in play is Cleveland’s first-round pick this year, in talking to teams around the league and Cleveland officials. That Brooklyn pick, though, they own from the Kyrie Irving trade with Boston, they have not used that at all in conversations for DeAndre Jordan. That’ll be a hard deal to do without it.
“But if they can find a big-time difference-maker who they think puts them over the top, then that Brooklyn pick will be in play,” Wojnarowski continued. “But they have to get better defensively, they certainly have to get better around the rim. They’re among the worst in the league at protecting the basket.”
The Cavs’ frustration boiled over in a 127-99 blowout loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, as Isaiah Thomas was ejected for clotheslining Andrew Wiggins and LeBron James got testy with reporters after posting a career-worst plus-minus.
Cleveland currently sits in third place in the East, but the Cavs must make some changes if they plan to challenge the Boston Celtics come May.