The Cavaliers entered win-now mode the moment LeBron James decided to return to Cleveland in free agency this past summer, and that only intensified once the trade to add Kevin Love to the fold was finalized.
While the offense has been as good as expected, the defense — ranked just 25th in the league in efficiency — has left plenty to be desired, and the Cavs are off to just a 5-4 start because of it.
It’s extremely early in the season, obviously, and with so many new players and a new head coach, it’s going to take some time to figure things out. But should it take too long, to the point where the front office feels that the team’s ability to contend for a title is in jeopardy, changes may be made — and if GM David Griffin is to be believed, not even the team’s superstars would be exempt from being included in trade talks.
Cavaliers general manager David Griffin is as aggressive as they come. It would be easy for him to sit back and wait for this LeBron James-led team to figure things out. He’ll remain patient through this process, but says he’s constantly strategizing ways to advance the team’s acceleration.
And in doing so, Griffin will spare no effort even if it means including a player in a deal no one even suspected was available.
“No one is untouchable, and you’re never done building a team, so we’re always paying attention to what opportunities are out there,” Griffin told Northeast Ohio Media Group. “My tendency is always trying to do what we can do to improve the roster. But I’m not looking to create one so much as paying attention to what I’m hearing.”
That’s just patently false.
LeBron James is untouchable, and Kevin Love is too. It does get a bit murkier, however, once you get past those two players.
Kyrie Irving should be on that list, and he probably is. But if Cleveland truly needs to win now, might they be willing to part with its All-Star point guard in exchange for another who’s better at setting up teammates, and wouldn’t require nearly as many shots?
Rajon Rondo comes to mind here as a name that might make some sense, but bringing this up is purely speculative to show a scenario in which one could picture the team being willing to part with Irving if it felt his replacement would be better-suited to helping the cause this season.
What the Cavaliers could definitely use is a wing defender, the three-and-D type that’s become popular around the league in recent seasons. That’s why Courtney Lee’s name has come up in trade rumors, but any deal for him (or anyone else) that may materialize won’t include discussions of certain Cleveland players — despite the general manager’s latest assertion.