The DEFEND Cleveland Show

The Waiters Trade


It pretty much looked inevitable that Dion Waiters would be dealt and mostly because it had become obvious the Cavs needed to upgrade multiple areas and he was seen as one of the better valued bargaining chips available to them. As many know this show was exhausted with Dion’s apparent inability to “get it” with rather simple things like better shot selection and giving full effort on defense, so we’re not upset to see him gone. To see him go for a tweener guard with serious injury concerns (Shumpert) and a guy who’s a relative Waiters’ head case in his own right, except older and more reluctant to play defense than even Dion is (Smith), and this trade is interesting to say the least.

On paper GM David Griffin gives up 1 rotation player, 2 bench guys and a future 2nd round pick, for 2 rotation players and a protected 1st round pick. That’s a win. When considering the significant defensive upgrade of Shumpert on the wing and this deal begins to come into focus in a way that makes Iman look like the heart of the trade for the Cavs. Again, if healthy1, Shump represents a considerable improvement defensively for the Cavs and much more of a “need” (and better team fit) than the game Waiters brings which mostly boiled down to shooting, shooting, shooting, whether it was a good shot or not.

As for J.R. Smith, who has a player option left for 2016, this looks to be the price you had to pay for acquiring Iman and the thinking has to be that, ultimately, the Cavs will get more good out of J.R. than bad.

Contrary to the popular opinion that will have folks thinking, “But J.R. Smith puts up more bad shots than Dion?!”, this is simply not true. J.R. is older than Dion, sure (though he’s still in his prime at 29), but the big thing is that his usage rate (shots) is actually lower than Dion’s and his true shooting percentage (buckets) has been far better throughout his career. Over his 11 years Smith has averaged a 53.3% true shooting mark whereas Dion has only once broke 50% (last year when he posted 50.8%). Let’s also not forget the fact that just two seasons ago J.R. won 6th man of the year honors and all Dion has accomplished is to be relegated to that role of coming off the bench by every coach he’s had and then done nothing but mostly complain about it each and every time.

The thing that sucks about J.R. Swish most is that his contract was perceived as unmovable (which is why Knicks fans are now rejoicing in the streets) and going into next year if he opts-in his last year of the deal, it would definitely put a strain on what the Cavs can do to reload if this experiment goes afoul and they determine they no longer want him around. This is where the protected 1st round pick from OKC can come into play in this trade, however, as bundling that with J.R. and all of a sudden the $6.4 mill he’s due next season might be able to be moved. Keep reminding yourself if you have to, though, this deal is about getting Shumpert. Smith was simply the cost of doing business. One other aspect to consider is that the change of scenery for Smith might be the best thing for him and could end up as something he embraces. Granted NY is J.R.’s home and playing at the Garden in front of friends and family has to be nice, but the problem is the Knicks aren’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future outside of possibly the record books for acts of futility and failure. In Cleveland he’s on a championship contender and will undoubtedly only be asked to do what he has always done best, score in volume off the bench. It’s not the surest of odds he excels as a Cavalier, but the scenario here at the moment is a much better one than playing in the city he calls home.

Probably the best of all is that the Cavs aren’t done making deals, so don’t freak out…yet…that this deal didn’t include a big. Adding what they have, though still a gamble (but what isn’t?), the Cavaliers have improved with this trade and they did so without having to use their much discussed trade exception. So sit back and feel pretty good about this move Griffin made happen if you’re a Cleveland fan, and rest easy in knowing that when it comes to improving this roster and making a push for a ring, they’re not done yet.
– Mike James

Listen every Friday to “Defend Cleveland Friday with Mike and Joe”  by clicking here, a weekly hour long Cleveland sports podcast companion to the DC Show that’s the best way to end you week, and the only way to begin your weekend.

Listen to last Monday’s “The Defend Cleveland Show” in its entirety by clicking here.

The DC Show with host Mike James airs live every Monday morning from 9am-11:30am on WRUW-FM 91.1 Cleveland, and streams world wide here.

  1. Iman has struggled to stay healthy his entire career, with knee issues that cut his rookie year short and ultimately ended up with a torn ACL and menuscus his sophomore year on a non-contact play, he’s only played one season relatively unscathed over his 4 year career. The good in this is that his healthy year was last season and the hopes are his injuries are a thing of the past. That said, he comes to the Cavs while on the physically unable to perform list with a shoulder injury. []

Short URL:

Posted by on Jan 6 2015. Filed under Featured, Show Reports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes