Behind The Scoreboard

NBA trade speculations

It was unlikely the Cleveland Cavaliers could pull it off twice.

They were fortunate enough to come back in last season’s Finals (2016), down 3-1 in the series.

However, the Cavs faced a different Golden State team this time around with the addition of Kevin Durant.

After joining Golden State last July, Durant was determined to bring home that coveted NBA championship title. Durant scored 39 points to help clinch a 129-120 victory over LeBron James and the Cavaliers in Game 5 Monday of last week.

Golden State won its second NBA title in three years after losing a 3-1 lead a year ago that has stung the Warriors ever since. So this was Golden State’s time to come out on top with Durant as the prized addition. The Warriors and Cavaliers matchup marked the first time in league history that two franchises have played in three consecutive Finals.

Cleveland’s loss brought about several trade speculations in regards to what’s next for the Cavaliers as they head into the 2017 NBA Draft on Thursday of this week and the 2017-18 season.

The trio of James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving has reached the NBA Finals in three straight seasons, even winning a championship against a team that had set a record with 73 regular-season wins. Adding Durant has made the Warriors just about unstoppable and arguably the greatest collection of NBA players ever assembled. The Warriors could dominate the league for the next few years. They don’t show any signs of slowing down.

Some fans think Indiana Pacers’ star Paul George should be considered the one the Cavs could acquire that would give them a shot against the Warriors. George might give the Cavaliers their best chance at winning the 2018 NBA Finals. The all-star player makes nearly 40 percent of his three-pointers, can play elite defense, and could guard Durant in a potential fourth straight title matchup between Cleveland and Golden State.  

As of last Sunday, it was reported George has  told the Indiana Pacers that he plans to opt out of his current contract in 2018 to become an unrestricted free agent. Paul said he would prefer to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. The rumors also indicated the Pacers organization had reached out to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavs are willing to enter into trade talks for George without any assurances he will commit to a long-term deal in Cleveland. Cleveland is confident that its championship culture and overall atmosphere could sway George to want to stay after playing out the 2017-18 season. What would the Cavs give up to acquire a possible rental superstar? There are two assets the Cavs possess that would likely grab the Pacers’ attention in a potential swap – that is Love and Irving.

But to part with either Irving or Love, and without any verbal commitment from George that he plans to stay in Cleveland beyond 2018, would definitely be difficult to agree to.

Holly Springs South Reporter

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