Storyline: DeAndre Jordan to Cavs?

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Question: Hello, I was wondering what would Cleveland have to give to L.A in order for it to land DeAndre Jordan? David Aldridge: The Clips are holding out for that Brooklyn first. Now, L.A. now has a 2018 first coming from Detroit in the Blake Griffin deal, so its desire for another 2018 first may not be as great as it was before last week. But what else does Cleveland have that you’d really want (Tristan Thompson, who would almost certainly be part of a Jordan deal in any iteration, aside)? The pressure on owner Dan Gilbert in Cleveland to jettison that pick to make a season/franchise/please-LeBron-don’t-leave-saving move is going to be enormous in the next 72 hours.

Now in their fourth season since James returned, is mental fatigue taking a toll on the Cavs? Sam Amick: It’s a whole lot more complicated than the fatigue factor, and it has everything to do with the layers of dysfunction that the Cavs are battling. Cavs general manager Koby Altman is trying hard to shed the contracts of Tristan Thompson (two years, $36 million remaining) and J.R. Smith ($14.7 million next season, team option worth $15.6 million in 2019-20 with $3.8 million guaranteed), two players who were re-signed in large part because of LeBron’s omnipresent influence. They’re all represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who built the agency with a huge assist from James. As it pertains to the Cavs’ interest in the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, a person with knowledge of that situation said Cleveland continues to offer only its own first-round pick and this kind of unwanted money in those stalled negotiations. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Chris Paul, traded to Houston in a blockbuster deal last June. Blake Griffin, gone to Detroit in another mega-deal earlier this week. What does it mean for DeAndre Jordan? He likely will be moving on by this week’s trade deadline, marking the end of “Lob City.” Milwaukee, in win-now mode, and Cleveland, always looking to make moves at the deadline to keep LeBron James happy, remain the two favorites, sources say. Sources say Miami, Portland and Orlando recently made inquiries about Jordan as well.

The Cavs contacted Sacramento about a possible trade for guard George Hill, and the New York Times reported that Cleveland has also engaged the Los Angeles Clippers about DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams. The Times said the Cavs have floated J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, and Iman Shumpert in possible trades — all of them have been here for each of Cleveland’s last three Finals runs and have seen their roles diminish this season for one reason or another. The Cavs are 1-4 in their last five games and privately their marquee players have suggested the team needs a roster upgrade or two. “I like our group,”Tyronn Lue reiterated. “Until we figure out rotations and getting guys healthy and what we have … I like what we have.”

As teams pick up trade activity before the trade deadline, the Cavaliers are shaping up to be perhaps the most fascinating contending team. They have two first-round draft picks — including the heralded Brooklyn Nets’ selection via the Irving trade — but the superstar player whom the franchise could pursue with that pick has not been made available. Multiple NBA teams have cited Tristan Thompson as an asset Cleveland is willing to move in the right deal, such as one for the Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan.

Time for a guest D.J.? From Jason Maynard: “Do you think the Clippers will move DeAndre Jordan before year’s end?” That’s been a low-pilot buzz around the Association for a little while, Jason, and Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com put it out there Friday that the Cavs would be “willing” to move Tristan Thompson for Jordan. And, you hear that the Clippers have put feelers out to a handful of teams. It makes sense. DJ has this season at $22.6 million before his option year in 2018-19 at $24.1 million. If L.A. was to move Jordan, now would be the time. The Clippers clearly aren’t a contender any more, and losing Patrick Beverley for the season only accentuates it. So why not move Jordan? He would certainly bring back a good haul; he still is immensely disruptive on screen and rolls, and protects the rim so well, he more than pays for his contract even if he’s not a first option on offense (at least he’s shooting 60 percent from the line this season, way, way up from previous Hack-a-DJ campaigns). Any contender could use him.

Question: Would Cleveland entertain DeAndre Jordan for the Nets pick and Tristan Thompson? Joe Vardon: DeAndre Jordan’s numbers are down this season. He’s averaging 10.4 points and shooting .664 from the field (he only shoots twos). Even his blocks — 1.2 per game — are down from the 1.7 he averaged a year ago. Also, Jordan, 29, has a $24.1 million player’s option in his contract for next season. So, he could essentially be a rental. That said, you’re right, he’d thrive playing alongside LeBron James and Isaiah Thomas. Tristan Thompson was great against the Warriors in the Finals two seasons ago, and struggled mightily last year. A league source believes this move, Jordan for Thompson, is one the Cavs would consider. How the Brooklyn pick figured in remains to be seen (Cleveland also has its own No. 1 pick), but if the Cavs felt Jordan was the only piece missing for them to take down the Warriors they’d have to consider this.
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