The Cleveland Cavaliers struck out on trading for Jimmy Butler. And so far, their trade attempts for the Indiana Pacers Paul George have yet to yield anything. But they could still end up improving on their mission to beat the Golden State Warriors by adding Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade.
ESPN’s Marc Stein floated the idea this week, and we’re sure that the Cavaliers front office has their eyes on this situation too.
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 23, 2017
Wade recently opted into his $23.8 million option with the Chicago Bulls. Just days later, Chicago decided to trade star guard Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for rebuilding pieces.
It’s obvious that Chicago isn’t trying to be competitive right now. This begs the question of whether or not they’ll truly consider keeping a 35-year-old shooting guard who doesn’t fit into their rebuilding plans. Furthermore, Wade will be taking minutes from new arrival Zach LaVine and second-year shooting guard Denzel Valentine.
As for Anthony, he clashed with New York Knicks president Phil Jackson. The Zen Master and New York decided to part ways this week, but this doesn’t change the fact that Anthony – who has a no-trade clause – isn’t leading the team to victory right now. This makes us wonder if Melo would accept a buyout if offered.
How the Cavs would Benefit from these Buyuts
- They’re capped out.
- Cleveland has no draft assets for the foreseeable future.
- They can’t seem to find a trade suitor for Kevin Love.
This is where Anthony and Wade come into play.
Anthony is signed through 2019 and set to make $26.3 million this year, and $27.9 million in the 2018-19 campaign. Because of his contract and age (33), few teams are willing to give up anything for Anthony. On the other end of the spectrum, Melo doesn’t want to waive his no-trade clause unless he’s sent to a serious contender.
But if he and New York could agree to a buyout, Anthony can still get paid around $20 million over the next two seasons and chase a ring in Cleveland.
Likewise with Wade, who’d probably receive $15-$20 million in a buyout. And with both players already getting their money, they’d be more likely to accept a veteran’s minimum contract to compete for a title.
The Cavs would benefit immensely from adding two skilled veterans to their roster and upgrading their overall talent. Cleveland’s bench played terribly against Golden State, and it’s obvious that they need more firepower when LeBron James and Kyrie Irving go the bench.
Anthony is still a good isolation player, averaging 22.4 PPG on 43.3% shooting. He’d probably shoot better if he wasn’t a focal point like he is in New York. Wade also has something left in the tank, as he averaged 18.3 PPG on 43.3% shooting.
Seeing as how Cleveland isn’t getting much closer to a Paul George deal, and they have limited other options, Wade and Anthony represent their best shot to catch Golden State.
LeBron’s Friendship with Melo and Wade will Help
If the aforementioned scenario does play out, then it won’t be like Wade and Anthony are just randomly signing with Cleveland to go after a ring. Instead, these two are good friends with LeBron and go vacationing with him.
Often described as the Banana Boat crew (along w/ Chris Paul), this is a close-knit group that would enjoy playing with each other and going after a championship.
If the buyouts happen, look for both to heavily consider the Cavaliers.
Why this Scenario won’t Help Beat Golden State
After Cleveland was thoroughly handled by Golden State in the NBA Finals, it’s clear that they’re not currently constructed to beat the Warriors. But are Anthony and Wade the answers?
Yes, offensively both players will help Cleveland. As mentioned earlier, the Cavs need more overall depth because their bench lacked firepower during the Finals.
Anthony is a subpar defender who could be exposed on the pick and rolls that Golden State runs. Plus, he’s another player who scores best in iso sets – much like Irving and (sometimes) James.
Wade has never developed a great three-point shot (28.7% career), which doesn’t fit the current Cavaliers team that set three-point records. Moreover, Wade struggled against the Boston Celtics’ tough defense in the playoffs last year.
Chances of Wade and Anthony Joining Cleveland
Anthony’s odds of taking a buyout may have gone done with Jackson now fired. After all, Jackson was the biggest source of contention for Melo. But this isn’t to say that owner James Dolan won’t still look for a buyout just so the franchise can start new with Kristaps Porzingis as their centerpiece.
Wade is much closer to a buyout scenario after the Jimmy Butler trade. It might not happen until a few months into the season, when Chicago is faltering. But we strongly believe that he’ll be bought out at some point. If either scenario happens, it’ll definitely strengthen Cleveland’s chances of reclaiming the throne.