Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
After fourteen games, the Cleveland Cavaliers are already a disappointment. Fine, maybe not as big of a disaster as their friends in the Eastern Conference such as the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, but a disappointment nonetheless.
They are 4-10 and are tied for the fourth worst record in the league. According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the Cavs are ready to move on from Dion Waiters, the second-year player out of Syracuse University. They have discussed potential trades with the Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers and Knicks.
Waiters and forward Tristan Thompson were close to a physical alterication during a players-only meeting following a 29-point loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on November 13. The two were separated by teammates, but not before Waiters accused the team of having a double-standard when it comes to star point guard Kyrie Irving, who, according to Waiters gets away with sub-par defense, turnovers and a poor shot-selection at times.
Waiters, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2012 draft has struggled after an encouraging rookie campaign. He is averaging 13 points on 38.9 percent shooting, compared to his 14.7 points on 41.2 percent shooting just one season ago. His turnovers have increased, while his assists and free throw percentage have gone down as well.
Since it also known that Waiters is open to a trade, the most crucial question now is on which team does Waiters fit the best?
After Derrick Rose went down with a season-ending meniscus tear last week, it is now in the realm of possibility that Chicago might be open to tanking this season and trading veteran forward Luol Deng. Cavs GM Chris Grant may be on the hot seat, and it would be logical that he would want to add an experienced player to compliment Cleveland’s young roster.
Of course, however, a Waiters – Deng trade straight up would not make sense due to the salary cap rules. Waiters is making $3.89 million while Deng is earning upwards of $14 million. Cleveland would have to add another piece to the deal, possibly Tyler Zeller, Earl Clark, C.J. Miles or Alonzo Gee.
Broussard also reported that the Cavs have interest in Sixers forward Evan Turner, a player that Philly is believed to be widely open to trading. James Anderson has had a quality start to the season, but he is not thought of as the long-term solution at the two-guard for the Sixers. Waiters would have the ability to fill that slot.
Again, however, Cleveland would have to add another piece to make the deal work financially.
The struggling Knicks have been rumored of attempting to trade Iman Shumpert, and this could possibly be the deal where the guard leaves New York. The Knicks have been searching for another viable scoring threat not-named Carmelo Anthony, and Waiters would certainly provide them with offense. They would, however, lose some defense with a Waiters – Shumpert swap.
While no deal is imminent, it seems as though Waiters is bound to exit Cleveland before the season’s end. The once promising guard is only adding more distractions to a team that had playoff aspirations entering the season. Whether it is the Bulls, Sixers, Knicks or another squad, expect Waiters to be donning a new uniform – shortly.