Kyle Korver to Cavaliers: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured Columnist

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 25: Kyle Korver #26 of the Atlanta Hawks drives to the basket against the Utah Jazz on November 25, 2016 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Cleveland Cavaliers have been in need of reinforcements at shooting guard ever since J.R. Smith had thumb surgery, which is expected to sideline him for another few months. They made a major move Thursday when they acquired Kyle Korver from the Atlanta Hawks, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania.

Korver confirmed the move after the report, per Justin Verrier of ESPN.com.

On Saturday, the Cavaliers announced the trade was official, as the Hawks sent Korver to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for a future first-round pick, Mike Dunleavy and Mo Williams.

However, on Sunday, ESPN's Marc Stein and The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears reported Dunleavy had yet to report to the Hawks and that he was "seeking a buyout from the Hawks, but Atlanta wants to keep him."

Wojnarowski, citing sources, reported Monday morning that Dunleavy was not planning to report Monday or Tuesday. However, Wojnarowski later reported Monday that after talking to Hawks president and head coach Mike Budenholzer, Dunleavy has "made peace" with joining the Hawks and will report Tuesday.

Prior to Dunleavy coming to an agreement with the Hawks, Chris Haynes of ESPN.com reported the Golden State Warriors would "consider" Dunleavy if he received a buyout. Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com later added the Houston Rockets also have interest in Dunleavy and tried to trade for him "a few weeks ago."

Budenholzer told reporters Saturday he does not expect Williams to be a part of the Hawks' future, and they traded for him to help make the deal work.

On Jan. 6, Wojnarowski noted that moving Williams as part of the deal saves Cleveland $5.4 million in salary and tax. Wojnarowski reported Jan. 5 the Cavaliers and Hawks initially sought a third team for Dunleavy.

Wojnarowski noted the Hawks discussed the parameters of a Korver trade with multiple teams, but only the Cavs were willing to part with a first-round pick for the sharpshooter.

That move freed up the Cavs to deal a protected 2019 first-round pick for Korver without violating the Stepien Rule—which prohibits trading first-round picks in consecutive years—per ESPN's Brian Windhorst.

Wojnarowski also noted the deal would add an additional $1.3 million to the Cavs' luxury-tax bill for the season.

ESPN.com's Zach Lowe and Yahoo Sports' Dan Devine both noted that the trade is a boon for a Cavs team that already ranks second in three-point field-goal percentage (39.1) thanks to the way LeBron James draws defensive attention and generates open looks for teammates:

Zach Lowe @ZachLowe_NBA

Kyle Korver getting the kind of looks from 3 LeBron provides is scary. https://t.co/BVl0rDZesi

Dan Devine @YourManDevine

“Shooter on LeBron’s Team” is basically the coolest job in sports, so shouts to Kyle Korver, who just got a pretty sick promotion.

Although he hasn't been the same player since undergoing surgery in May 2015 to repair torn ligaments in his right ankle, Korver has regained solid perimeter form following a rusty start to the 2015-16 season that saw him shoot 42.8 percent from the field before the All-Star break.

Despite that brief downturn, it's important to remember that Korver—a 42.9 percent three-point shooter for his career—put together a historically efficient 2014-15 season. According to Basketball-Reference.com, he became the first player in league history to drill at least 49 percent of his threes while hoisting at least five long-range attempts per game.

This season, Korver is averaging 9.5 points on 44.1 percent shooting from the field and 40.9 percent from three as Atlanta's starting 2-guard.

Kyle Korver's 2016-17 Shot Chart
Kyle Korver's 2016-17 Shot ChartCredit: NBA.com/Stats

Those numbers are respectable, but what's terrifying is the way Korver has thrived when defenders haven't been in his face. According to NBA.com, Korver is shooting 42.1 percent on open threes and 49.0 percent on wide-open treys.

And according to Synergy Sports Tech, Korver has recorded a league-leading 84 effective field-goal percentage on spot-up attempts in the half court this season.

The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor broke down Korver's long-range efficiency:

Kevin O'Connor @KevinOConnorNBA

Korver shoots 39.1% from 3 when contested to 47.9% when he's open (since 2013 / @nbastats). Now he's about to be more open than ever before.

"The mere risk of Korver getting off a clean shot terrifies opponents, and the defensive respect that terror commands opens the floor up for his teammates," Kirk Goldsberry wrote for Grantland in December 2014.

But even if Korver does underwhelm after changing zip codes, he's one of the least risky acquisitions because of his style of play.

Korver isn't a ball-dominant scorer or volume-dependent shooter, and he fits the mold of a glue player who could help in a big way as the Cavaliers seek to bolster their roster with additional sharpshooters who can thrive off the clean looks James and Kyrie Irving generate.

Plus, Korver is on an expiring contract that's paying out a modest $5.2 million this season.

And considering Korver remains one of the NBA's few role players capable of swinging a game based on the work he does strictly off the ball, he should be a natural fit for a Cavaliers team that will need all the firepower it can get if it meets the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals for the third year in a row.


Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless noted otherwise. Contract information retrieved from Spotrac.