Isaiah Thomas is giving off the vibe that he is less than happy in Cleveland. What is a way to solve that? Trade for Kemba Walker of course.
It seems like just yesterday the Cleveland Cavaliers had a dynamic point guard playing alongside LeBron James. Nowadays the Cavaliers are fighting to stay afloat as Isaiah Thomas struggles to find his rhythm coming off of hip surgery.
Now, it may be dramatic to suggest the Cavaliers should trade Thomas already, but that is exactly what they need to do. The trade makes the most sense is dealing Isaiah Thomas, along with others to Charlotte for Walker.
This trade would likely have to involve the Brooklyn Nets first-round pick, which the Cavaliers are now willing to give up according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The front office won’t move it for a short-term rental upgrade such as Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan. Cleveland is willing to deal the Nets’ pick for a “younger player who is under team control for a few years” or would consider trading its own first-rounder for an asset like Jordan, per Pluto.
That young player could very well be Walker, who is just 27 years old and will not be a free agent until the end of next season. This move may convince LeBron to possibly stay beyond this year and it would give the Cavaliers another shot at paring James with a talented point guard. Acquiring Walker would also mean being able to sign him for more money than any other team at the end of next season.
Now here is what a potential trade between the Cavaliers and Charlotte Hornets would look like.
Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, Malik Monk
Isaiah Thomas, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Jae Crowder and the Nets first-round pick
Giving up the Nets picks is a tough call, considering the young talent Cleveland could obtain with that high draft pick. But the focus at this very moment should be on winning now, and that will not happen with the team currently on the floor for the Cavaliers.
Walker gives the Cavaliers a scoring point guard who would take pressure off of LeBron to do it all. This season for Charlotte, Walker is scoring 22.8 points and dishing out 5.9 assists per game. Walker is capable of scoring outbursts that rival what Kyrie Irving did when he was in Cleveland.
Walker is multi-talented when it comes to the offensive end and can finish both around the rim and from beyond the arc. Walker is also a great ball handler, an underrated defender and is great at getting steals. Walker would re-position the Cavaliers as the favorites in the Eastern Conference. Unlike Thomas, Walker would not have to ‘find his rhythm’ and shoot 20-25 times a game to be effective.
The Cavaliers would love to have another player besides LeBron who is capable of scoring outbursts like what Walker did against the Indiana Pacers last night.
Now acquiring Batum gives the Cavaliers the perimeter defender they thought they were getting in Jae Crowder. Defense is what Cleveland needs and that is exactly what they would be getting in Batum. In addition to his defense, Batum can score the ball. He can put the ball on the floor and score near the basket, or spot up beyond the arc and sink three pointers.
After Batum returned from a torn ligament in elbow, he struggled out of the gate, but now he is finally starting to return to form and is coming off three strong performances in-a-row.
So far in 37 games this season Batum is scoring 11.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.5 rebounds per game on 42 percent shooting. Batum also averages one steal per game.
As for the young talent Cleveland wants, that could very well be Monk. After a stellar year at Kentucky, Monk was taken 11th overall by the Hornets in the 2017 draft. Monk has been largely inconsistent this year (not uncommon for a rookie) and is averaging just 5.1 points on 33.7 percent shooting.
Even now as a rookie, Monk is capable of offensive explosions. Granted they are few and far between, but the more experience Monk gains, the better he will get. Being in Cleveland, Monk will get to learn from veterans such as LeBron, Kyle Korver, Dwyane Wade. This will only help the 19-year-old guard get better moving forward and could be a solid player for the Cavaliers.
As for the players leaving Cleveland, it would not be easy to see J.R. Smith or Iman Shumpert leave the Cavaliers. They both played an integral part in the team’s championship run back in 2016. Smith revived his career in Cleveland and Shumpert made his name as a tough-nosed defender. Both players were beloved by the fans.
While it would be tough to see these two move on, it is all for the best as the franchise looks to continue its reign over the Eastern Conference.
As for Isaiah Thomas, that experiment clearly has not worked out for Cleveland. Trading Thomas to Charlotte not only gets Cleveland a better point guard, but it would also give Thomas what he wants. A fresh start in a new city where he can be the face of the franchise owned by Michael Jordan.
Acquiring Walker probably is not enough to get the Cavaliers past the Warriors this year, Walker coming to Cleveland would surely turn around a team that is struggling to survive in the Eastern Conference playoff race.