The Cleveland Cavaliers could be on their way to signing LeBron James in the next few days. A huge development for a team and city that has been down on their luck. Signing James would give the Cavs 3 of the 4 best #1 picks in the past 11 years, Anthony Davis oh what could of been. Yet even with Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins, did you think we meant Anthony Bennett?, the Cavs still seem to have irons in the fire to add another star to the team. We have covered Kevin Love and Chris Bosh as realistic options, click their names below for those articles opening in new windows, based on their fits and availability.
Today we look at another big man who may fit perfectly with that core group but who may not be available. Al Horford is a great big man coming off a lost season with the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks on the other hand were able to make the playoffs without their star big man. Could that give them reason to shop him to the highest bidder or do they think they can make bigger noise adding him back into the fold. We will start looking from the Hawks perspective, then to the Cavs fit and finally possible trade that makes sense for both teams.
For the Hawks
Horford has 2 years left at $12 million dollars a year left on his deal. He has had some injury issues and the team was successful, somewhat in the weak East, without him last year. Do the Hawks think they can compete with Horford as their center piece in the next 2 years? Are they willing to give him a max type deal in 2 years? Or do they want to continue their youth movement and trade him for a ton of assets now before he gets hurt again.
Those are the only possible reasons for the Hawks to look to move Horford, and they are valid reasons. Are they enough reasons? Can the Cavs entice former employee Danny Ferry to make that move? The Hawks have a young point guard in Jeff Teague, a sharp shooter in Kyle Korver and a do everything guy in Paul Milsap. They lack any big size and the youth on the roster doesn’t scream “Key Piece of a Contender.” Horford is the only key piece on the team. The other players play their roles well. The Hawks will have to try to re-sign Milsap after this season which could create financial concerns as well. The Hawks currently still have about $11 million in cap space.
For the Cavs
Horford is a solid range shooter who can play both the 4 and the 5. He would benefit from more time as a power forward instead of banging down low. The versatility of playing next to Tristan Thompson or Anderson Varejao would help with that. In Blatt’s offense Horford would provide enough spacing, passing and solid screen setting to be a deadly weapon and perfect fit with Irving, Wiggins and James.
Horford doesn’t have the range that Love has but is far more physical. His rebounding numbers aren’t as good but his overall athleticism is higher. His injury concerns and contract status could cause for some pause in Cleveland but with the other players on the team Horford is a better gamble for the Cavs. The Cavs know that the Hawks may be trying to win now around Horford and would have to blow them away with their offer. Yet we know Danny Ferry likes to make trades, not as much as Chris Grant, and the Cavs have resources that could interest him.
Cavs Recieve: Al Horford
The Hawks get a star in the making in Waiters and two unknown youngsters who could contribute in the next few years along with 4 first rounders. For the Cavs these resources are seen as extras. Technically they would be only giving away 2 of their own picks, which they assume will be late in the first. They keep Thompson and Tyler Zeller to have some youth on the front court still.
Highly unlikely but what do you think of the fit? Then what do you think of the trade?