The Cavs trade exception may be the only way to significantly improve the Cleveland Cavaliers roster, and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has a “radical idea” of how to use it–trading for Lance Stephenson.
Now that the Cleveland Cavaliers have one championship, fans are setting their sights on another parade downtown next June.
No one wants the Cavs to stay complacent, but the franchise is limited in what it can do in free agency.
So, how can the team improve as the organization attempts to win back-to-back championships?
ESPN basketball insider Brian Windhorst suggested a radical idea that involves using the Cavs’ $9.7 million trade exception on Memphis Grizzlies guard Lance Stephenson.
Windhorst made a point to say that the teams are not talking about this trade. This is simply his own brainstorming.
Stephenson would be an intriguing addition. He offers the Cavs much needed wing help, and he can man both the point- and shooting-guard positions. He’s slated to make $9.2 million next season, so the Cavs would be able to absorb Lance with their trade exception.
Windy argues the the Cavs are handcuffed by their current salary cap status. That’s why Kevin Love‘s name keeps popping up in NBA trade rumors. Love is a valuable trade commodity. He isn’t a great fit in Cleveland…and trading him could add players that make the Cavs an all-around better team.
That leads us back to Stephenson. There’s a great chance the Pacers are going to cut him by Wednesday. He would make the Cavs stronger on the wing, especially considering the free-agent status of J.R. Smith and Matthew Dellavedova.
Yes, there is just one problem.
There’s that whole perception that LeBron James hates Lance because of the whole Stephenson blowing in LBJ’s ear when James was with the Heat.
Does LeBron really hate Lance? Who knows? He was probably more annoyed by him than anything.
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But James isn’t stupid. If he thinks Lance can help the Cavs win another championship, he’d probably sign off on the move.
“My point is that’s the type of trade you would have to examine, if you’re were not going to trade love and you were going to appreciably improve your team,” Windhorst said on his “Hey, Windy!” podcast, which is available on ESPNCleveland.com.
Stephenson looked like a player on the rise when he was with the Pacers and Indiana was challenging LeBron and the Heat just a few years back, but he’s had a tough time fitting in since moving on to Charlotte, and then Memphis.
Last season, Stephenson averaged just 8.3 points in 20 minutes per game.
I agree with Windy on this one. The Cavs are limited in what they can do to significantly improve.
They J.R. Smith trade should also be used to help sell the Cavs on this trade. Look at the kind of player Smith became playing with James. Smith was known as a malcontent who jakced up 3’s before his time in Cleveland.
Now, he’s a bonafide two-way player who is the perfect fit playing alongside James.
If James can put aside the past, he may be able to help resurrect the career of Stephenson, while bringing more titles to The Land.