5 Trade Targets for Cleveland Cavaliers This Summer
The Cavs pulled off two notable deals earlier this year, acquiring forward Luol Deng and center Spencer Hawes. It was new general manager David Griffin who brought in Hawes, sacrificing Earl Clark, Henry Sims and a pair of second-round picks.
Now, Griffin has an entire offseason to pull off another deal and improve the team he officially took over on May 12.
When pursuing potential trade candidates, he has already revealed what he wants to add to the Cavaliers, via Bob Finnan of The News-Herald and The Morning Journal.
We need to be bigger, smarter from a basketball IQ standpoint. I’d like us to be recognized as a team that is tougher. I’d like us to be a better shooting team and we need to address our fit. Those things have certainly not changed. If anything, our commitment to those five things is strengthened.
Griffin has also talked in the past about adding players who could stretch the floor and provide drive-and-kick opportunities for Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.
Based on the needs mentioned and rumors floating around, here are five players the Cavaliers should pursue.
Marcus Thornton, SG, Brooklyn Nets
2013-14 Stats: 9.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 24.1 minutes
In the described deal, the Cavs would send back Jarrett Jack and the two guaranteed years on his contract. Thornton is entering the final year of his deal valued at $8.6 million.
This wouldn't just be a salary dump for Cleveland, as the team could use Thornton's three-point shooting to help space the floor.
Following a poor start to the season with the Sacramento Kings, he elevated his game upon being traded to Brooklyn. In 26 games with the Nets, he put up 12.3 points off the bench while shooting 38.0 percent from deep.
Jack struggled during his first year in Cleveland and could continue to be shopped this summer.
If the Cavs have the chance to pull off this deal, they should do it.
Cody Zeller, PF/C, Charlotte Hornets
2013-14 Stats: 6.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.5 blocks, 17.3 minutes
Although he was the fourth overall pick just a year ago, one would think the Hornets may be open to moving Zeller.
At the time of drafting the 7'0" power forward/center, the Hornets (then Bobcats) had yet to sign Al Jefferson. After the phenomenal year he had (21.8 points, 10.8 rebounds), Jefferson will once again start and carry the bulk of the minutes at center.
Josh McRoberts won the starting power forward job, providing a nice blend of scoring, rebounding and ball movement on offense.
Zeller was forced to come off the bench, even after being such a high selection. While he would have likely received a bump in minutes this season, his usage will be in question after the Hornets' recent selection of PF/C Noah Vonleh in the 2014 draft.
While coach Steve Clifford already told McRoberts and Zeller their status and playing time wouldn't be affected, per Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, it's hard to see how they wouldn't be. The Hornets also have Bismack Biyombo to give minutes to off the bench.
With Spencer Hawes potentially leaving via free agency and Anderson Varejao entering the final year of his contract, the Cavs could use another big.
Pairing Zeller with older brother Tyler would give the Cavaliers two young, athletic 7-footers who can run the floor and knock down jumpers.
Ryan Anderson, PF, New Orleans Pelicans
2013-14 Stats: 19.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 40.9 percent from three, 36.1 minutes
The ultimate floor-spacing big man, Anderson would feast on open kick-out three-pointers for the Cavs.
Although he played in just 22 games last season, he set career highs for his scoring, three-point shooting and three-pointers made (3.0) per game.
Anderson is coming off surgery to repair a herniated disk that caused him to miss 60 games in 2013-14. Despite this, Jon Reid of The Times-Picayune says that he'll be ready for the start of training camp.
Having such a lethal outside shooter like Anderson would help keep the paint open for Irving and Waiters to drive. Just 26 years old, Anderson is owed $17 million over the next two seasons.
Derrick Favors, PF/C, Utah Jazz
2013-14 Stats: 13.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 30.2 minutes
Favors was mentioned in trade talks with Cleveland regarding the No. 1 overall pick.
Spencer Checketts of 1280 The Zone in Salt Lake City reports that Utah had offered Favors and the No. 5 pick to try and move up to No. 1.
This was certainly an intriguing deal from Cleveland's standpoint that ultimately never materialized.
While Favors isn't the floor-spacer or outside shooter the Cavs ideally covet, he does bring a lot of other attributes to the table.
At 6'10" and 268 pounds, he can play either post position while using his athleticism to finish at and protect the rim. The Cavs need a long-term answer at center and a shot-blocking threat inside.
Since they missed out on trading up in the draft, Utah will probably prefer to hang onto Favors. He begins a four-year, $49 million contract extension this upcoming season.
Still, if the Jazz were willing to move him before, Cleveland should at least inquire about them doing it again.
Kevin Love, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves
2013-14 Stats: 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 36.3 minutes
I mean, they might as well keep trying, right?
It's no secret that the Cavaliers have been interested in Love for some time now.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that the "Cavaliers had been fiercely determined to secure Love in a trade package," but that talks "sputtered because of Love's warning he'd never sign an extension."
While it would have been foolish to dangle the No. 1 pick in the draft for a rental of Love, the Cavaliers still have lots of young talent and future picks to offer Minnesota.
Cleveland stands to collect three first-round picks in next summer's draft and may be willing to part with players like Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson or Anthony Bennett in a swap for Love.
A trio of Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins and Kevin Love would be exciting to watch and would likely help all three get their first taste of the playoffs.
Love will almost certainly be dealt this offseason.
Despite their previous shortcomings, the Cavs shouldn't give up yet on their pursuit of him.