The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto reports that what’s holding this deal up is whether the Clippers would get the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round draft pick.
Pluto explains that the Cavs aren’t currently interested in parting ways with the pick, which they received in an offseason deal with the Boston Celtics for Kyrie Irving.
Contracts Also a Problem for Cleveland
Another roadblock to a potential Jordan deal is that Cleveland would also have to trade away players to absorb his salary.
According to Spotrac, Jordan is earning $22 million this year. And if Jordan exercises his player option, he’d receive $24 million next season.
The most likely scenario is that Cleveland would have to trade away Tristan Thompson and Channing Frye before they can add Jordan. Thompson is making $16.4 million in the 2017-18 the campaign, while Frye is earning $7.4 million.
The Cavs wouldn’t have as much trouble getting rid of Frye, because he’s in the final year of his deal. However, Thompson is a different story since he has two more years left on his deal beyond this season.
Another issue here is production, given that Thompson is averaging career lows in points (5.1) and rebounds (5.4) in what’s been an injury plagued campaign.
How would DeAndre Jordan Impact the Cavaliers?
Jordan would certainly be an upgrade over what Cleveland currently has at center. The 29-year-old is averaging 11.5 points, a career-high 15.2 rebounds, and shooting 65.7% from the field. Given all this, he’s likely on his way to a second consecutive All-Star bid.
Jordan is also a strong rim protector, something that Cleveland hasn’t had for years. He’s a two-time All-Defensive First Team selection who’s averaging 1.7 blocks per game. The All-Star has also led the league in field goal percentage for five straight seasons.
Any team could use a player like this on their roster, even in the modern NBA, where traditional centers are less valued. Furthermore, putting Jordan on the roster would add another really good player to a lineup that already features LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Love, and Dwayne Wade.
The Cavs are currently sitting third in the Eastern Conference with a 25-13 record. And their biggest Achilles heel has been defense. They rank 21st in the league, allowing 107.2 points per game.
Do the Cavs Really Need Jordan?
Obviously adding DeAndre Jordan would help Cleveland both from a defensive and overall perspective. But do really want to give up the 2018 Brooklyn Nets pick for him? And would the team have enough time to build chemistry and between the roster and Jordan?
General manager Koby Altman must have his own questions about the risk vs. reward. Otherwise, he would’ve already traded the Nets’ pick and made whatever salary shedding moves were necessary.
This certainly isn’t to say that Jordan isn’t worth the pick, especially when the 15-26 Nets boast a better record than seven other NBA teams. That said, chances are that the pick would only be a mid-lottery selection.
Of course, the biggest question is if trading for Jordan would bring Cleveland another championship. Such a move would indicate that the Cavs are willing to mortgage their future for a better chance at winning now.
This definitely won’t be easy when considering that the Golden State Warriors have their same championship core intact from last year.
Another thing to consider is that LeBron James may not be in a Cleveland uniform next season. Rumors have been flying around regarding where he’ll be ever since the offseason. And sending the Nets’ pick away for one more chance at a title wouldn’t be the best long-term move if James does leave.
One more thing worth mentioning is that Isiah Thomas has recently returned from a hip injury. Therefore, they may want to wait and see how much he helps before trading the pick for yet another big name.