INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — The Cavaliers made a major trade, just not on deadline day. Instead, they did it when nobody was looking, long before Thursday’s trading deadline came and went.
That would be the deal that delivered Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a first-round draft pick back in January. The price was Jon Leuer, and rumor is, he’s still in the NBA.
But with the clock ticking Thursday, general manager Chris Grant and the Cavs did nothing. As boring as it sounds, that’s life in the NBA.
GMs don’t make trades for the sake of trades, and even if they wanted to, they need a little help. Namely, help from another team.
“You never know how close you come, because it takes two to make a deal,” Grant said from the Cavs’ practice facility. “Sometimes, you feel like this is a deal you really want to do, and hopefully, the other team will call back and say yes.”
For the Cavs, those calls never came.
“You don’t know what’s happening on the other end of the line,” Grant said. “They may be deciding between your deal and another deal, and it may go down to the wire, and you never know.”
There actually was some speculation surrounding the Cavs, although most of it was little more than that. Sources told FOX Sports Ohio the LA Lakers made an offer for guard Daniel Gibson and his expiring contract, but talks quickly died.
While Grant wouldn’t admit the team received calls for Speights, you could more or less read between the lines.
“If you’re a good player in the league, people are going to call and see if you’re available,” Grant said. “But we’re happy with him (Speights) and will see what happens at the end of the season.”
Grant referenced the end of the season because Speights can opt out of his contract, and likely will, entering free agency in search of a bigger payday. But the Cavs aren’t in the business of just tossing guys in the air and seeing where they land through trade machines and fantasy leagues.
“We didn’t want to make a bad deal,” Grant said. “It’s better to do nothing than something that doesn’t fit or takes away some of our flexibility or assets.”
Again, none of this means the Cavs didn’t at least try. Again, however, Grant can’t force it.
“There’s always an emotion about the trade deadline, about the draft, about free agency,” Grant said. “You’re excited to potentially do something. There’s only three times a year where you can drastically change your team.”
And Grant and his cohorts do indeed get excited at those times. But it’s a controlled excitement.
“We always joke, if you go to buy a car and the price is 40, don’t pay 45,” he said. “Sometimes that can happen on draft day and the trade deadline. We try to stay away from emotional decisions.”
As far as that goes, Grant and the Cavs succeeded.
“There was some action,” Grant said, “but nothing we felt good about.”
Grant confirmed the Cavs brought Greg Oden to Cleveland recently, but have yet to make any decisions on the Ohio State product and former No. 1 overall draft pick.
Oden is a 7-footer who’s undergone three microfracture knee surgeries. He hasn’t played in the NBA since December 2009, but his height and promise make him an attractive free-agent candidate.
Oden’s agent, Mike Conley Sr., has indicated his client may wait until after the season to sign.
“We’ll see,” Grant said. “We’ll still talk to them and see what their position is and see what his goals are. Just like any other free agent, if something happens that makes sense, we’ll do it.
“If not, that’s OK. Who knows? From our standpoint, we have no idea.”
Sometimes the best deals come after the deadline, with valuable role players hitting the waiver wire and costing teams nothing more than a little money.
When looking at the Cavs, think Shaun Livingston, who’s become a nice reserve after being claimed off waivers from Washington on Christmas Day. Remember Lester Hudson, who the Cavs called up from the D-League last season and provided several weeks of fun.
“We’ll constantly look at those guys and take a look at D-League guys that make sense,” Grant said. “Our roster stands at 15, so we’d have to make a decision if a player came up. That’s fine. Ownership allows us to do that.”