The Cavaliers could use an upgrade at shooting guard.
Shawn Marion is starting, but his natural position is forward.
Joe Harris fits much better stylistically, but David Blatt hasn’t shown he believes the rookie is ready for such a big role.
So, Cleveland is looking elsewhere – like at Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews.
Cleveland has adored Matthews for quite some time and its quest of him has been repeatedly vetoed, league sources told Northeast Ohio Media Group.
Barring an unexpected plummet, the Trail Blazers are dismissing all overtures for Matthews. He is a free agent at the end of the season and they have every intention of re-signing him next summer, a league source said.
Matthews, one of the NBA’s most underrated players, is better than every Cavalier not named LeBron James, Kevin Love or Kyrie Irving. Cleveland obviously isn’t trading any of its big three for Matthews.
A one-for-one trade of Tristan Thompson for Matthews, both of whom have expiring contracts, would work cap-wise, but Matthews is more valuable.
That said, with Robin Lopez injured, Portland should at least think about adding Thompson, who – unlike Matthews – will be a restricted free agent next summer.
The Cavaliers would still have to bridge the value gap, but they have the assets to make it happen. Cleveland has the lesser of its own and Chicago’s 2015 first-round pick, a future first-round pick from Memphis and owes only one future first rounder (to the Celtics). The only questions are how many picks the Cavaliers are willing to give and how many the Trail Blazers would require.
When contending for a title, it makes sense to sacrifice the future (draft picks) for the present (Matthews, whose outside shooting and defense would make him a perfect fit in Cleveland). The Cavaliers are contending but so is Portland, which would likely hesitate at breaking up its core now.
And don’t start with traded centered on Waiters. Though his style makes him more expendable in Cleveland, his production isn’t impressive. The Trail Blazers surely wouldn’t downgrade that much at shooting guard just to get a little younger.