The defending NBA World Champions just got better. Let that sink in for a second.
Yes, the most interesting time of the season has just passed for the NBA, the trade deadline. Eastern Conference teams hoping to dethrone the Cavaliers made moves that will certainly give the Cavaliers a challenge. The Wizards picked up Bojan Bogdanovich, a scorer from Brooklyn, and picked up Brandon Jennings, a much needed backup PG upon his release from the Knicks. The Raptors made underrated moves in picking up Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker while really only losing athletic scoring guard, Terrence Ross and Jared Sullinger. Surprisingly, the Celtics, currently 3 games behind the Cavs for first, made no moves to improve their roster despite rumors of Paul George and Jimmy Butler potentially wearing the green and white of Boston.
Out in the West is where the big trade went down as the Pelicans traded away Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and Buddy Hield as well as picks for the biggest name going into the deadline, Demarcus Cousins (and Omri Casspi). New Orleans now has their twin towers in Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins but lack anything outside of that except for maybe Jrue Holiday. Either way, it sent shockwaves across the league and they will look to build on those two guys in the near future.
There were smaller moves to improve or tank other teams, but yet, one could argue that the Cavaliers STILL won the trade deadline by making absolutely no trades. In fact, Cleveland benefited from other teams making trades.
When the Sixers traded Nerlens Noel to the Mavericks in exchange for Justin Anderson and Andrew Bogut, it was assumed they would waive Bogut due to the fact they had too many bigs and he had little interest to stay in Philadelphia. Sure enough, they would. Speaking of Dallas, they are fortunate that Yogi Ferrell and Seth Curry have worked out because now they had no need for former all-star PG, Deron Williams. I guess I should say, the Cavs are fortunate because the Mavs would waive Deron and upon clearing waivers, he would immediately sign with the Cavs. Deron gives us the much needed backup point guard we needed and the ‘F’ing Playmaker” LeBron was talking about. Among active players, Deron ranks 3rd in career assists with LeBron at number 2. In just a few games, people have noticed the passing has gotten much better and Deron became the first Cavalier off the bench this season to get more than 4 assists as he had 7 against the Hawks in a 135-130 win. As a side note, the Cavs had 25 threes in this game which is a record for the most in a regular season game, and also ties the 25 they had against the Hawks in game 2 of last year’s playoffs.
Now for Bogut, he had options. He made it clear he wanted to join a contender and he set up meetings with the Cavaliers, Celtics, Spurs, and Rockets. In the end, Cleveland was the most guaranteed path to the Finals and gives him a chance to get revenge on the team that originally got rid of him, the Golden State Warriors. Bogut has made a career of being a great shot blocker, rebounder, and passer. He is everything the Cavs needed. He also finally gives us a real center and more importantly a real backup center. Bogut said, “I hear it’s really nice there this time of year” when asked about why he chose Cleveland. His sense of humor will help him mesh with the Cavaliers. In the end, the Cavs had to release Jordan McRae to make space for these two great additions and while he was a fan favorite to many, he understood the business and left with a classy Instagram post mentioning how great the organization and the team was to him.
The Cavaliers have fixed arguably their 2 biggest holes with these moves. They flipped Dunleavy, Birdman, McRae, and Mo Williams’ contract for Derrick Williams, Kyle Korver, Deron Williams, and Andrew Bogut this year. This immediately gives them some of the best depth in the league. When healthy, their bench will feature Deron Williams, Derrick Williams, Kyle Korver, Iman Shumpert/J.R. Smith, Channing Frye, Andrew Bogut, and Richard Jefferson. This is an insane thought when you compare the bench from earlier this season. Thank you David Griffin.
Tonight, Andrew Bogut makes his much anticipated debut as the Cavs host the Miami Heat. Tipoff is at 7:00 PM. The race to the end of the season is on, and then the real fun begins as the Cavs will look to repeat with their new and improved roster.