Dion Waiters Sent to Thunder in Three Team Trade
The Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t where they want to be yet. On Monday afternoon, they took another hopeful step toward getting it right.
Per reports, the Cavs finalized a three-team trade that will send shooting guard Dion Waiters to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The New York Knicks were the third team involved and will send J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavs, who will also receive a protected future first round draft pick from the Thunder.
It was a shocking move in one sense, as Waiters was listed as a starter for the Cavs on Monday night, but was yanked at the last second due to the trade.
Waiters had been finding it difficult to find his exact role with the Cavs, who had been struggling to find continuity on either side of the ball. Sending Waiters to Oklahoma City both gives him a chance to rediscover his place in the league, while also gives the Thunder an extra scorer and shooter off the bench.
Hypothetically, this is a move that gives both Cleveland and OKC a nice boost as they try to find their place in this year’s playoff chase. While Waiters gives the Thunder an extra offensive piece to help them push into the playoffs, Smith and Shumpert give Cleveland two more scorers to help off-set the loss of Waiters and also help space the floor around LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
Perhaps more importantly, however, the addition of Shumpert potentially dramatically improves Cleveland’s defense. Lackluster to this point, adding an elite perimeter defender could give their defense a boost and could help solidify them as more than just a one-trick pony as they try to earn a better playoff seed. The acquired draft pick could also come into play again this year, as the Cavs could position it in future trades for a big man.
The Knicks, meanwhile, know they won’t be in the playoff hunt this year, so they’ve found a way to free up cap space. They’re getting nothing in return, but they’ll now have over $28 million in free salary cap space next summer and will be able to make a push for some big name free agents to pair with Carmelo Anthony.
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