The Cleveland Cavaliers’ status as a rebuilding team means that multiple veterans on the team are considered candidates to be traded. That prospect could be aided by the apparent willingness of the Cavaliers to take on what are considered bad contracts of other team’s players.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst explored the options open to the Cavs, who have won just four of their first 19 contests, which includes this strategy:
“In conversations the Cavs have had around the league, they’ve begun to express that they’ll be willing to take on long-term salary as the trade deadline approaches, league sources said. The Cavs have a couple of veterans they are going to be willing to trade.”
Two veterans that are likely to garner interest from other teams are Kyle Korver and George Hill. Despite the fact that Korver will turn 38 years of age in March, he’s still deadly from long-range, currently connecting at a rate of 46 percent on his 3-pointers. That’s an asset that teams contending for a title might value, much like the Cavs did in January 2017, when they acquired Korver from Atlanta.
Hill was acquired by the Cavaliers just last February and is still considered a solid veteran point guard. Any team trading for him will take on his contract that is paying him $19 million this season. However, of the $18 million he’s contracted for next season, only $1 million of that is guaranteed.
Windhorst pointed out the uncertainty of whether or not the Cavs can make any deals that can benefit them down the road. However, the team’s flexibility with regard to veteran contracts will be something to watch, according to Windhorst:
“It’s not clear what the market will be to move money, especially if it includes a desire for picks in the 2019 draft. That said, the Cavs are willing to look out a few years, and a willingness to be a dumping ground for a contract could become relevant both in February at the trade deadline and in June around the draft.”
The Cavaliers have won two of their last three games, but face two tough road contests in Oklahoma City and Boston to close out the month of November. Preseason playoff talk has largely disappeared and been replaced by trade talk, something that figures to continue for the next few months.