Cavaliers Pursue DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams Ahead of N.B.A. Trade Deadline

Cavaliers Pursue DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams Ahead of N.B.A. Trade Deadline


In need of an elite rim protector and rebounder, the Cavaliers might try to acquire DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers.

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Cleveland Cavaliers are pursuing a dramatic reshaping of their roster before the N.B.A.’s Feb. 8 trade deadline in hopes of rising out of a worrisome midseason funk, according to two people familiar with the team’s plans.

It remains to be seen if the Cavaliers have the requisite trade assets to complete the deals they are exploring, but Cleveland is targeting the Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams as well as Sacramento Kings guard George Hill, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss Cleveland’s plans publicly.

Fearing that the gap between the Cavs and the Golden State Warriors is widening by the day — and trying to be aggressive knowing that LeBron James will become a free agent July 1 — Cleveland officials have made a number of their veteran players available in attempts to acquire an elite rim protector and rebounder (Jordan) and drastically alter their backcourt rotation (by pursuing Williams and Hill).

The Cavaliers, who are enduring a 4-9 slide after a recent 18-1 surge, are willing to trade Tristan Thompson, J. R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, in addition to draft compensation, to facilitate trades for their top targets, according to the people familiar with the team’s plans. All three played prominent roles on the Cleveland teams that reached the last three N.B.A. finals and beat the 73-win Warriors for the championship in 2016.


Lou Williams is averaging 23.2 points a game for the Clippers.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

Yet Cleveland’s hopes of acquiring Jordan, or even Williams, from the Clippers, according to the people, could well hinge on the Cavaliers’ willingness to surrender the highly coveted 2018 first-round pick via the Brooklyn Nets that they acquired from Boston in the Kyrie Irving trade in August.

Yahoo Sports first reported the Cavaliers’ interest in Sacramento’s Hill earlier Friday.

This week, three news outlets (ESPN, and The Athletic) that regularly cover the Cavaliers reported that multiple prominent Cleveland players — speaking on the condition of anonymity — acknowledged growing concern within the team’s locker room that the team’s season-long defensive problems and increasing signs of creakiness would improve over time as seen as recently as last season.

The Cavaliers were 23-23 after Jan. 8 in the 2016-17 season but still cruised through the Eastern Conference playoffs with a record of 12-1 before losing to the Warriors in five games in the championship series. This season, though, Cleveland has slumped to 29th in a 30-team league in defensive efficiency and appears to face a long wait before newly acquired Isaiah Thomas returns to his All-Star form from last season. He recently joined the lineup after missing the first 36 games of the season with a hip injury.

The Clippers, meanwhile, are known to be fielding trade offers for Jordan, who is widely expected to pass on his $24.2 million contract option for next season to become a top free agent alongside James on July 1.

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