There has been plenty of drama surrounding the Cleveland Cavaliers recently, especially with superstar LeBron James. His outburst has been focused around how the team needs another play-maker, someone who can take the load of himself and Kyrie Irving. James said the team was “top heavy,” implying that between James, Irving and forward Kevin Love the supporting cast isn’t carrying their weight.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) January 31, 2017
How’s it hard to argue either? The team’s defense has been atrocious of late, holding only two teams since under 100 points since Christmas. James has always had success with teams that play great team defense, share the ball and shoot at a high percentage from beyond the three-point line.
An initial reaction makes it seem that the Cavaliers severely miss guard Matthew Dellavadova, who signed a three-year $38 million deal in Milwaukee this past off-season. Known for his gritty on-ball defense, reliable shooting (40 percent for his career from three) and moving the ball around the perimeter very well, he was a key success to the Cavaliers back-to-back Final appearances. The Cavaliers did not find a replacement for him and people may not have blinked an eye at it initially, but now it seems the Cavaliers are looking for a veteran guard to help stabilize what Dellavadova brought to the table.
ESPN Sources: Cleveland to host mega free agent workout featuring Mario Chalmers, Lance Stephenson, Kirk Hinrich. https://t.co/Sgis8mqnsf
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 31, 2017
Cleveland plans on working out veteran guards Mario Chalmers, Lance Stephenson, and Kirk Hinrich. The workouts could take place Wednesday and Thursday and Cleveland should have an open roster spot as they can waive Chris Anderson, who is out for the season. All three players can add some needed help to a team that’s 7-8 since January started. There will be some other players attending the work out but the attention seems to be on the three afro-mentioned players most.
Chalmers was the starting point guard in Miami with James when they won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. He played well last season with Memphis before suffering an Achilles injury. He was averaging 10.8 points and 3.8 assists in 55 appearances for the team while operating mostly as a reserve. Chalmers history with James could be a key in him getting signed.
Stephenson was playing well with New Orleans this pre-season until he hurt his groin and the team was forced to cut him due to roster limitations. A rugged defender, Stephenson, could help the team defense and has always been a good passer, the problem is sometimes his street-ball style of play gets on coach’s bad sides. James has a history of getting players to adjust their playing style to help the team.
Hinrich is also an intriguing guy to sign as his skill-set is the kind James takes a liking to. We know he can shoot, as he is the Chicago Bulls all-time three point leader, and has a career average of 38 percent. He is also a complete pest on defense and understands the concept of good team defense. With his leadership and ball-handling, it gives Irving more chances to score off the ball.
It will be interesting to see if any of these players will interest the Cavaliers enough for a chance to sign them. Cleveland has had a history of listening to James when he wants to upgrade a team need.