In an attempt to regain their championship form, the Cleveland Cavaliers made a series of trades before Thursday’s deadline. The team has been struggling in recent weeks, and are trying to return to the NBA Finals for a fourth consecutive year.

Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson
Larry Nance, Jr. (left), and Jordan Clarkson have been traded from the LA Lakers to Cleveland, where they will try to help the Cavaliers mount another run at the NBA Championship. (Image: Getty)

The first deal that was reported was the Cavaliers in a three-way deal with the Utah Jazz and the Sacramento Kings. Cleveland gets Rodney Hood and George Hill while shipping Iman Shumpert and a 2020 second-round pick to Sacramento. The Kings also get Joe Johnson from Utah, while the Jazz pick up Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose from the Cavaliers.

The organization then sent guard Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. One media outlet said the team also gave its 2018 first-round pick as well but that was not confirmed.

The last move was to send veteran guard Dwyane Wade back to Miami, but it is unclear what Cleveland got in exchange.

Moves Help Team

The Cavaliers were the oldest team in the NBA and were showing their age this season. They had been in a free fall posting a 31-22 record and recently losing to inferior teams such as Orlando and Sacramento. The latest embarrassment was a 120-88 drubbing by the Houston Rockets.

That humbling defeat showed executives they had to make changes if the team was going to compete for the NBA Championship. The defending NBA Eastern Conference champions were expected to challenge Golden State for the title. Shortly after they lost to the Golden State Warriors in last year’s championship, they were installed as the 3/1 pick behind the Warriors to win the 2018 Larry O’Brien Trophy.

But the odds have been steadily dropping even before the season began. In September the team went to 5-1. With its performance recently the line was adjusted again. They are now the third choice at 10-1, behind Houston, who is at 13/2, and Golden State at 4/7.

The team has also not been kind to bettors. They have the worst record against the spread of any NBA squad. They are 15-37-1 ATS with the next closest being Oklahoma City at 22-32-1.

Changes Should Protect Coach

Getting younger and more athletic players should keep Coach Tyronn Lue’s job safe for a while. Lue has been at the team’s helm since 2014 and is the third year of a $35 million contract extension.

As the team struggled, though, rumors persisted that a change might be made. Officials quickly moved to quell the talk of his dismissal. One executive for the team told ESPN even with the team’s performance it’s not the coach’s fault.

“We are not firing our head coach,” he said.

They pointed to injuries and not Lue’s abilities. All Star guard Kyrie Irving went to Boston and his replacement, Thomas, missed the first part of the season with a hip injury. Power forward Kevin Love will miss the next six to eight weeks with a broken hand. Even superstar LeBron James has been hampered at times with nagging maladies.

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