With the trade deadline near and the Cleveland Cavaliers still in the market for more players, Iman Shumpert has been mentioned as a potential trading target for other teams. What current team has shown interest?
Some fans might not think the Timberwolves have anything to offer, but this is a trade where both teams could benefit from each other.
Minnesota has lost Zach LaVine for the rest of the season with a torn ACL and they lost Lance Stephenson to an ankle injury last Tuesday against the Cavs.
That leaves them with no depth at the shooting guard position. They have Kris Dunn, but he’s a natural point guard still learning the NBA game and still has a ways to develop.
The scoring is there, he just doesn’t have the consistency down on both ends of the floor yet.
Shabazz Muhammad is another option they have, but he’s more of a scorer rather than a defender. I always thought coming out of UCLA he would turn into a star, but he’s underachieved so far and is comfortable in his current bench role.
He has the length to be devastating defensively, but he’s giving it the James Harden treatment.
That leaves only their starter, Brandon Rush, whose been a journeyman throughout his NBA career. They are in need of depth in the worst way. They aren’t a contending team this season, so whatever acquisition they make would be for next year.
The Cavaliers on the other hand are in need of two positions and Minnesota has those pieces. Ricky Rubio has been mentioned all season long as a possible trading piece for another team. He wants and is in need of a fresh start.
I also mentioned him as my top pick as a replacement for Mo Williams. He would be the player to trade for, but it would take more than Shumpert to acquire him.
Gorgui Dieng would be another option for Cleveland. When Dieng was drafted out of Louisville, I saw him as a developmental defensive center. I saw his ceiling at Joel Anthony or Dewayne Dedmon. Boy, was I wrong.
He’s worked on his scoring and his defensive skills and is one of the more underrated centers in the NBA.
I thought the Cavaliers might have traded for him a few seasons ago, but Tristan Thompson finally showed that he belonged. The biggest issue with Dieng would be his contract. Before the season, the Timberwolves extended him and he signed a four-year, $64 million deal.
The Cavs already have enough salary to worry about. It would make it skyrocket to $189 million. That’s pure insanity and I didn’t even mention the luxury tax!
They also have Cole Aldrich, but he wouldn’t fit in coach Tyronn Lue‘s system. Lue wants to keep ball movement fluid and it would stop with Aldrich. His style of play is more of the old-school center rather than the athletic type.
Minnesota could also be hesitant in trading away Dieng due to the uncertainty of Nikola Pekovic. He’s out for the season with a broken right foot and they aren’t sure if he’ll be the same player when he returns next year.
If the Cavs were to trade for Rubio and his $13.5 million contract, Shumpert, DeAndre Liggins and Jordan McRae would be possible pieces to go the other way. It’s quite a bit to give up for Rubio, but it’s the only way with those pieces to get him.
They would get a 3D or BB (Bruce Bowen)-type as I like to call them in Shumpert, a defensively versatile guard in Liggins and a developing scorer in McRae.
Liggins has coach Tom Thibodeau written all over his game with his ability to defend and McRae would see more playing time with the current situation of the Wolves.
The Cavs would be getting the playmaking point guard they wanted in Rubio. He’s averaging 8.9 points and 8.4 assists per game.
Those numbers would definitely increase with the talent in Cleveland.
I can easily see him averaging close to 11 assists a game, especially with Kyle Korver and J.R.Smith being in there together knocking down open three-point attempts.
His passing in transition would also be key.
If fans thought the ball got to the other end of the floor fast with LeBron James and Kevin Love, just wait until Rubio showed what he could do on the Cavs.
The biggest downfall with Rubio is his three-point shooting and ability to execute the pick-and-roll. He’s regressing from there as he’s only shooting 28.1 percent from long-range. He shot 32 percent last season.
It’s expected that Rubio would run the pick-and-roll to perfection with a player like Karl-Anthony Towns, but not so much.
According to NBA.com/stats, Rubio’s scoring percentage off the pick-and roll is at 41.7, which is right in the middle of the league, but he turns the ball over at a 26.5 percent rate–which is expected with some of his flashy passes.
When he’s passing the ball from it, he’s one of the top players as he can see the play developing from his position. Either way, he’ll become an overall better player on a championship team–even though the asking price is steep.
His defense is also something that has gotten better, but it’s still not where it should be at this point in his career. He still gets beat one-on-one and he gets confused on screens and pick-and-rolls.
The Cavaliers already have enough issues defensively and that would add to it.
If the Cavs trade for Dieng, they would only need Shump and either Liggins or McRae instead of both. However, his salary would continue to put the Cavaliers over the top as far as cap space.