Yesterday rumors circled around the NBA world that the Cleveland Cavaliers (12-7) are considering trading away one of their more valuable players, Tristan Thompson, for DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers (6-11). However, if you ask me, why settle when you can go for 3x All-Star and arguably the best big man in the game, DeMarcus Cousins?
Yes, I know that would officially redefine “unfair” to many but in today’s NBA where it’s super team vs. super team, is it really that much of a stretch? I think not.
Despite being so deep, the Cavs didn’t even look like a playoff team in the first 12 games of the season, going 5-7. The defense has been atrocious, the lineup has changed multiple times and LeBron has been posting Arthur close-fisted memes to Instagram to take out his frustrations with the team. It’s safe to say it hasn’t been smooth sailing.
With that being said, it can’t hurt to add some help to a team already expected to go head-to-head with the Golden State Warriors for a fourth straight year in the NBA Finals.
DeMarcus Cousins has been a name that has been mentioned in trade talks with the Cavs ever since LeBron returned to the wine and gold. After going 1-2 in the Finals in three years, it actually makes the most since to go after the 3x All-Star right now.
Cousins is in his second year with the New Orleans Pelicans averaging 26.4 PPG, 13.1 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.5 BPG, as an underdog MVP candidate early in the season. While putting up some impressive numbers, he and his fellow All-Star teammate, Anthony Davis, aren’t going to make it to the second round of the playoffs with just them two. Let’s call a thing a thing.
That’s where the Cavaliers come in. Since they seem to be willingly shopping Tristan Thompson (as well as a few other players) and not so willingly shopping their first-round pick from the Nets (but still open to it) the two franchises can help each other out.
Thompson is on his way back from a left calf strain injury that had him sidelined since the beginning of November. In eight games this season he has been averaging 4.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG while shooting 60% FG.
If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, you’re right. Those numbers aren’t that sexy but provided his health holds up he can still play a vital role on a team like the Pelicans. Going not only to the playoffs, but also going to the Finals three years in a row, he brings experience to the table. Thompson also brings rebounding, which is a category the Pelicans are very average in right now, being ranked 15th in the league in RPG. (43.7). Lastly, he brings championship experience. Besides his PPG being lower (due to the little time he’s played this season) his numbers are just about the same as they were last year and two years ago when he helped the Cavs win a championship. More importantly, that year he averaged 9.0 RPG, 3.3 of which were offensive rebounds.
Therefore if you’re the Cavs and you throw the Nets’ first rounder in there (although you’ve been hesitant to do so) in addition to Thompson, yes you’re giving up a player that plays hard and does a lot of the dirty work for your team, but in return you’re getting another proven player that does those same things, and has even done so on a higher level, playing for Team USA. If you’re another team in the league (particularly a non-contender like the Pelicans) and you have as versatile of a player as DeMarcus Cousins, it makes sense for you to give up that player if in return you’re getting another solid player at that position and a pick that can potentially help take you to the next level of contention. If you are one of those other teams and you’re the general manager it comes down to being honest with yourself and asking “yes we have a great player, but are we even close to contending for a championship?” If the answer is “no” then it’s simple to me. Make the move.