Five Ways Cavs Could Address Backup PG Spot

Seven months after defeating the Warriors in the NBA Finals, the Cavaliers remain the class of the East, but Monday’s blowout loss to Golden State served as a reminder that Cleveland can’t afford to simply stand pat and hope to repeat as champions this spring.

Upgrading the roster in certain areas remains a priority for the team, and while LeBron James and GM David Griffin have a difference in opinion on the need for another big man, they agree that the Cavs could use a veteran point guard to take some pressure off of LeBron and Kyrie Irving.

Earlier in the season, the Cavs were getting by with their in-house options at the point behind Irving. Guys like Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith aren’t point guards, but they’re capable of handling the ball and making some plays for short stretches during games. James will also take over point guard duties for several possessions over the course of a game. And while rookie Kay Felder probably isn’t ready to take on a significant role quite yet, he has shown flashes of promise when he has gotten a chance to play.

Still, with Smith sidelined and Felder still not quite ready, the Cavs will be monitoring the trade and free agent markets in the coming weeks for point guard solutions. After making a two-for-one trade with the Hawks, Cleveland has an open roster spot, giving the club some flexibility to address the backup PG spot in a number of ways.

Here are a few possible directions the team will likely consider, along with the pros and cons of each approach:

1. Signing a veteran free agent

Possible targets: Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Jarrett Jack, Andre Miller
Pros: Trades can be tricky to negotiate, so it would be much simpler for the Cavaliers to convince an out-of-work player to join the defending champs, giving him the opportunity for a meaningful role. Such an offer would appeal to virtually any current free agent, so the Cavs would have their pick of the litter, so to speak. There’s no shortage of veteran point guards with extensive NBA experience on the market, and some of them – such as Chalmers and Cole – have played with James in the past.
Cons: Of course, there’s a reason most of these players are available. Many of them are recovering from injuries, or simply don’t have enough left in the tank to draw much interest from NBA teams. Perhaps some of them would be willing to audition on 10-day contracts, but the Cavs – deep in luxury-tax territory – would have to be careful about which player they sign, since every dollar in salary they spend going forward will be doubled or tripled when that end-of-year tax bill arrives.

2. Calling up a player from the D-League

Possible targets: Briante Weber, Ray McCallum, Julyan Stone, Xavier Munford
Pros
: If the Cavs prefer to go younger, there are several D-League standouts who could interest the club. Weber, McCallum, Stone, and Munford are having excellent years in the NBADL, and have each spent time with NBA teams before. If the Cavs want to get a closer look at some D-League prospects, they’ll have a great chance to do so this week at the league’s showcase in Mississauga, Ontario.
Cons: Cleveland already has a young point guard in Felder, one in whom they’ve invested a draft pick (and cash to acquire that pick). While it’s possible that one of those D-League players is a little more NBA-ready at this point than Felder, the difference wouldn’t be significant. If the Cavs add a point guard, it will likely be a veteran, making a D-League call-up a long shot.

3. Using a trade exception to acquire a player

Possible targets: J.J. Barea, Leandro Barbosa, Devin Harris, Jameer Nelson
Pros: When the Cavaliers acquired Kyle Korver, they used a portion of their $9.6MM+ trade exception to take on his salary, leaving about $4.4MM left over. As David Griffin later explained, the odds of the team acquiring another player who earns $8-9MM+ before that TPE expires on February 18 were extremely slim. But the club could use that leftover $4.4MM – or the $4.8MM TPE created in that Korver deal – to target a point guard. There are several point guards around the NBA who earn less than that amount and could be solid contributors. Targeting a veteran on a non-contender, such as Barea (Mavs) or Barbosa (Suns), might make sense.
Cons: A non-contending team won’t simply give up a productive veteran for free, so if the Cavs want to land a decent player, it will take more than just dumping Chris Andersen‘s salary along with a future second-round pick. Adding a player earning $3-4MM would also eliminate the tax savings the club created in the Korver deal. Finally, the team would need to consider whether a potential trade target has guaranteed money on his deal beyond this season, weighing whether or not that player would fit into the team’s future plans.

4. Trading for a player without using a TPE

Possible targets: Deron Williams, Sergio Rodriguez, Rajon Rondo
Pros: Expanding their search to players earning more than their $4.4MM would increase the number of trade candidates available to the Cavs.
Cons: I don’t view this as a likely scenario for a few reasons. For one, Griffin has already said that he didn’t expect to land a player earning more than a modest salary. For a deal to work, the Cavs would have to send out substantial salary of their own – perhaps Shumpert’s – which could mean sacrificing one rotation piece for another. If the Cavs make a move, I expect it to be something smaller, rather than one that would shake up their lineup significantly.

5. Waiting for a buyout candidate to emerge

Possible targets: Rondo, Derrick Rose, Jose Calderon
Pros: The Cavs aren’t in much danger of slipping down the Eastern Conference standings if they don’t address their point guard situation right away, so the team can afford to wait until after the trade deadline to see if potential buyout candidates emerge. Players like Rondo or Rose probably wouldn’t be appealing to Cleveland on their current salaries, but if they’re cut and are willing to sign with a new team for the minimum, that changes the equation significantly.
Cons: If the Cavs shift into wait-and-see mode and wait until late February or March, plenty of alternative options will come off the board in the meantime, and the team could ultimately be left empty-handed. Additionally, if a talented player is waived by his current team, the Cavs would have to take a hard look at why it happened, and determine whether or not that player would be a fit in the Cleveland locker room. For instance, at this point, it seems very unlikely that the Knicks would buy out Rose unless there’s another incident like last week’s, when he unexpectedly missed a game without contacting the team. In that scenario, would the Cavs even be willing to roll the dice on him?

What do you think? Which route makes the most sense for the Cavaliers to address their backup point guard situation, and which specific players do you think they should be going after? Jump into the comments section below to weigh in with your thoughts.

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22 thoughts on “Five Ways Cavs Could Address Backup PG Spot

  1. Connorsoxfan

    I can’t see the Cavs not willing to roll the dice on Derrick Rose. When a former MVP is on the market at a cheap rate, and he’s under the age of 35, and healthy, I don’t see why not. I understand he’s not MVP caliber now, and he’s a walking injury hazard, but the upside is still enough that you take the chance.

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    • DarkGhost

      Rose is a cancer wherever he goes and he doesn’t fit in their system at all. If Cleveland is smart they will not even consider him. It would make much more sense to look at Jarrett jack or Andre Miller.

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    • As a Warriors fan, I would love it if the Cavs obtained Rose lol.

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      • jkbuckets

        Ya. As a bulls fan I still liked d rose and what he did for us for 4 years but right now he’s a ball stopping pg who needs to feel like the star on a team. He would not take kindly to being a backup pg

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  2. jkbuckets

    If anything cavs should trade shump (they have korever jr and liggins) and a second rounder for barea ish smith or rondo (only if rondo would understand his role)

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    • What do you think about taking Rubio from Minnesota??
      I think that could be a good trade for Shumpert for example

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  3. OCTraveler

    Simply ask King James what he wants because you know that’s what will happen

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  4. Trade Frye for Deron Williams, Brandon Knight, Rajon Rondo, JJ Barea, or Wilson Chandler…THEN trade for Joffrey Lauvergne + possibly add Eric Moreland also….Consider trading Shumpert for Wilson Chandler, and Frye for Deron Williams.

    OR If Shumpert is traded for Wilson Chandler, and Frye is traded for Deron Williams, THEN there still may be assets to trade for Joffrey Lauvergne, if not, then just add Eric Moreland.

    Deron Williams + Wilson Chandler + Joffrey Lauvergne + Eric Moreland.

    A SAFER MOVE = Trade Frye, NOT Shumpert = Trade Frye for either Deron Williams, or Wilson Chandler + trade for Joffrey Lauvergne, or just add Eric Moreland or Eric Moreland + Lauvergne. (I like Brandon Knight as a fit for Cleveland also, but his salary is higher than Wilson and Deron)

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    • Doesn’t seem likely that many of those may moves are possible or probable. I think the Cavs are looking for one piece, not adding 5 new guys half way through their likely finals run. I think they should sign Briante Webber, he was really good in the minutes he got last year and that’s very crap option for the Cavs. Norris Cole is also a great fit along with Chalmers or Jack. Those are the best options. Financially it doesn’t make senses to pay 10 mil for a backup point guard (I.e. Derron Williams)

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  5. CK Jackson

    Bron need to pick up the phone and call WHITE CHOCOLATE! Dood has still been str8 ballin in the Orlando rec league.

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  6. Matthew Sullivan

    After watching last game against warriors. Gotta say cavs are in trouble. Mix match up out power and got no Defense.
    Trade Kevin love and shupert For Demarcus Cousin and Rudy Gay
    Match up
    Kryie Vs curry
    Jr smith. Vs Thompson
    Rudy Gay Vs Green
    LBJ. Vs Durant
    Cousin. Vs pach

    Cousin and kryie can take pressure off LBJ. Can reduce his minutes. Built the team young bench can see protentional w young core keep him healthy for next few years. I love this trade. If cavs have any idea of repeating championship.after championship This is the way to go

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    • You are reading way too much into one game. Tail end of a 6 game west coast swing, missing a starter, another starter had a sore back, already beat the Warriors on Christmas … classic ‘who cares” game. Every NBA team has a few of those a year.

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  7. Wow Matthew Sullivan–Your knowledge is horrific. Let’s add 2 known cancers and revamp the whole team bc we lost a game on MLK day…LMAO. No thank you–add a backup PG along the lines of Nelson-Barea and we are fine.

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    • Matthew Sullivan

      Cancer you say look at LBJ minutes. Cavs can’t win games without LBJ Kevin love and kryie can’t win without the big guy, Let me ask you this randy LBJ get injure. What happens? it over. Right. Another year wasted. Did you learn anything when LBJ was in Miami wade on bench and bosh injured I like Kevin love but two years he hasn’t really live up, I take Demarcus cousin. See how he played w kryie over the summer nice pick and roll and look good. Think they can take pressure off lbj

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  8. slipmixin

    don’t need a backup pg , need a starting pg move irving to the 2. should trade JR Smith at this point to get one.
    Like JR but he is useless to Cavs this season.
    Smith to Kings for Collison and Koufos or Smith to Suns for Knight straight up . salaries are almost identical

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  9. Reasonable BB

    I like the Smith for knight trade, but we have to get Chandler as well, throw in Fielder with smith for those two.

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    • slipmixin

      Never get both without giving up too much.
      + Suns supposedly not interested in moving Tyson at all.
      With Lebron’s growing frustrations about lack of ball handlers and play makers being thrown at the press He is making Griffin’s job to get a solid return more difficult without giving up Smith and even that might not be enough.
      The Cavs are not contenders against GSW as constructed without JR healthy.

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  10. Reasonable BB

    It would be really nice if the Cavs could get Chandler Knight and Tucker. For Smith, McRae and Fielder and a 1st rounder

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  11. XCavaliersX

    I think the cavs should look for an experienced back up pg because it would help a lot for kyrie to get some resting minutes on the bench and regain some energy.I think they should target nate robinson,deron williams,jameer nelson,mario chalmers,norris cole,and jarret jack.I threw nate robinson in there because he’s been looking forward to going to the cavs and would love to be picked up for his comeback into the NBA and he’s made a big improvement to his game more than ever.He feels that the backup pg for the cavs should be him to play behind kyrie irving.

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  12. Knicks aren’t just releasing Rose. Not now. Not at the deadline. His Bird rights alone have value (now, at the deadline and over the summer).

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