The Cleveland Cavaliers are the definition of a dysfunctional organization right now. The players hate each other, they have a rookie general manager and a star player who hates the owner and can leave at the end of season. The Cavs need to make a trade to fix their defensive woes and chemistry. Among their assets are their own first-round pick this year and the Brooklyn Nets first round pick acquired in the Kyrie Irving trade.
Here are some options to fix the Cavs:
Cleveland does not know if James is going to stay, but they do know he wants help. Why not use the Brooklyn pick to get some young talent that can help now and lead the rebuild if LeBron leaves. Aaron Gordon is available in Orlando and a package to get Gordon and defensive wing Jonathan Simmons may be an option.
Trade the Nets pick for DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams and pray that James stays. This is by far the riskiest option and could leave Cleveland in shambles, as all can walk away in July if the move does not lead to a Finals victory.
The Cavs could use their own first-round pick to go after a player like Avery Bradley or George Hill to add a defensive player without mortgaging the team’s future. The Cavs could also ship away Thomas who has allegedly divided the locker room by questioning the legitimacy of Kevin Love’s illness.
If the Cavs truly believe that they cannot fix their issues and will lose anyway, why not get some value for LeBron James. James has stated he will not waive his no trade clause, but what if the Cavs begin to tank midseason. Ship Kevin Love for a first round pick, cut Dwyane Wade and see if anyone will trade a second-round pick for Isaiah Thomas. Will that make James want to leave at the end of the season? Absolutely. If James cares that much about his Finals streak he will demand a trade to a contender where the Cavs can get some compensation to begin the rebuild. This probably is not the best option for the Cavs but is something they have to consider.
Verdict: Either “Hedge” or “Go Nuclear”. The Cavs need to make meaningful change at the deadline, for better or for worse, and need to prepare for a future without James.