3-Team Trade: All Winners Here
On a Monday night of hoops that consisted of a whopping 11 games, events that transpired off the court seemed to outshine the play that took place on it. A 6-player deal had emerged between the Thunder, Cavs, and our beloved New York Knicks. At first glance, the trade on paper leaves you questioning its intent from all angles. Who did the Knicks get? The Cavaliers didn’t pick up a big man? Doesn’t OKC have like a bazillion 2-guards? WHO DID THE FREAKIN’ KNICKS GET?! All respectable uncertainties you would come across. Here’s why:
With the team currently sitting at a record of 19-16, it’s safe to say that this is not what the King had in mind once the Cavs inked a deal with former Timberwolf (Timber wolf? Timberwolve? eh, whatever) Kevin Love. Now that their starting center Anderson Varajao is expected to be out for the rest of the season with a torn Achilles, it’d make sense that Cleveland would be in the hunt for a big man with a presence down low (especially on the defensive side). And although rumor has it they’re in talks with Denver and Memphis to pick up either Mosgov or Kosta Koufos, on Monday they opted for a different route in picking up Knicks shooting guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert.
In the process they got rid of Dion Waiters, who it can be argued is a young J.R. who also takes his fair share of ill-advised shots. But we’re all aware of his continuous complaining and shenanigans in the locker room with his fellow teammates. With J.R. “Swish” comes more playoff experience, someone who has played alongside some of the greater players this game has seen (‘Melo & A.I. back in Denver) and most importantly, he won’t be blessed with the same amount of minutes D-Waiters had to shoot 25.6% from long range. The huge gain here was bringing Iman and his hightop to Lebron-Land. Shump brings somewhat of a lockdown perimeter defender the Cavs didn’t have before, and with Kevin Love down low protecting the rim this will only serve as beneficial for the King and all his men.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Rumor at first was that the Thunder were sending Reggie Jackson and his expiring contract to the Big Apple. Not the case. Instead, they decided to keep the 2-guard on board and pile on another to the roster. OKC who already has an array of players at this position has to have high hopes for Waiters considering how much they pushed to get the Syracuse alum. Anthony Roberson who plays the same position literally cannot shoot outside of 15 feet. They also have Anthony Morrow who is a lights-out 3-point shooter who can’t do much else, and Jeremy Lamb who gives you flashes of promising potential until you don’t hear about him for the next 2 weeks. I guess the Thunders’ hope is that they’ve acquired a poor-man’s (and I don’t use that term loosely) James Harden in hopes to restore the prolific scoring the now 2-time all star once provided that got them as far as the finals back in 2012.
New York Knicks
If it wasn’t obvious before Monday night, it certainly is now that the Knicks are in complete tank mode. Giving up key pieces to the rotation like J.R. and Shump without receiving anything close to the level of talent in players may have Knick fans scratching their heads, but don’t go clawing just yet. By getting rid of the now former Knickerbockers, the team is saving close to 20 million dollars in salary and tax payments. In a season where Carmelo is expecting to sit out, and the team has the worst record in the NBA, the Knicks’ role in the 3-team trade seems rational.
The season is still relatively young, and with the all-star game approaching and new faces joining new teams, it’s exciting to see what’s in store. The Cavs bring in some defense, OKC gets a reliable 3rd scorer to take the load off Westbrook and KD, and the Knicks…well, the Knicks continue to stay patient for next year.