J.R. Smith's injured thumb, originally believed to be a four-to-six week injury, is going to keep the Cavs' mercurial 2-guard out for the next three months.
Will the Cavs go shopping for a replacement? Armed with a season-long need for a backup point guard, one tradeable first-round draft pick (2020), a nearly $10 million trade exception (Thanks, Anderson Varejao!), a couple of prospects, and Mike Dunleavy, here are some players the Cavs could target:
Deron Williams - Dallas
The Cavs need another point guard and a starting shooting guard.
Why not just acquire Williams and move Kyrie Irving to an off-ball position for chunks of the game? Kyrie is one of the best point guards in the game, and one of the best 2-guards too.
The Cavs might want to wait this out — Williams is a buyout possibility later this season — but the injury to Smith could force their hand.
Is Dallas ready to admit their season is over?
Will Barton - Denver
Barton isn't on the block, but that hasn't stopped teams from looking at the Nuggets roster and calling to see if he's available.
The Cavs should make the call — though it's unlikely to go far.
It makes sense that teams would be calling, the Nugs have a surplus of wings with Gary Harris and recently drafted Jamal Murray.
But Barton is good — really good — so it's highly unlikely that the Cavs, even with an additional trade partner or two, could pull a deal like this off.
Any deal would have to include the team's 2020 first-round pick.
Then again, the Cavs front office has made crazier things have happened.
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Monta Ellis - Indiana
Ellis leaving Indiana would make sense. He's no longer a fit with the Pacers' lineup.
Ellis isn't the incendiary scorer he once was, and he's never played much defense, but there are a few J.R. comparisons here.
Ellis can also fill in at point guard.
Brandon Knight - Phoenix
This one is going to require some incredible creativity from the Cavs — Knight is likely out of the team's price range.
But if Cleveland can find a third party (or fourth) that could help facilitate such a move via a series of salary dumps, veteran shooters, first-round picks, and young, high-upside prospects, this would be a coup for the Cavs.
Knight is a surplus in Phoenix and would be a perfect fit for the Cavs, who need both a wing scorer (though Knight isn't much for the 3-point shot) and a backup point guard.
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The Cavs won't have to give up a thing to bring in the free agent point guard, who tore his Achilles tendon last March and was released by the Grizzlies.
Chalmers might have PTSD from his time with LeBron in Miami, where he was seemingly the whipping boy The King, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.
But Chalmers is reportedly nearing a full medical clearance and he wants to sign with a contender.
Tony Allen - Memphis
He can't shoot, but the man can play some defense.
J.R. Smith has turned into a strong two-way player in his time in Cleveland, but his spirit as a shoot first, ask questions later, and hey, why are you guys on the other side of the court? player persist.
What if the Cavs acquired the opposite of that to replace him over the next few months?
You can never have too many ace defenders and at age 35 with unrestricted free agency looming, Allen is certainly in the Cavs' price range.
Nick Young - Lakers
If you're going to replace J.R. Smith — stay in key.
What happens after J.R. comes back is anyone's guess, but I do believe we'll need 24/7 access.
Jimmer Fredette - Shanghai Sharks
The dude is lighting it up in China.
Might it be time for a return to the States?
He's averaging 39 points, 9.3 boards, 5 assists, and 2 steals a game; while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 41 percent from 3.
These numbers probably wouldn't translate in the least bit to the NBA, it's worth a go, right?
The Cavs might want to upgrade at point guard and they might want to replace J.R.'s impact on the team, but do they need to do anything?
For the next few months, the Cavs could roll with DeAndre Liggins, Mike Dunleavy, and James Jones at the 2.
It doesn't matter if Cleveland has the No. 1 seed, but the team might be better in the long run for having given the aforementioned three, Kay Felder, and Jordan McRae plenty of run over the next three months.