The Cleveland Cavaliers may be the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but that doesn’t mean they’re totally satisfied with their roster. One piece, specifically, that could both augment their strengths and cover up some of their weaknesses is a versatile forward who can defend and stretch the floor. Such a player exists in Jared Dudley, whom the Cavaliers have been pursuing since the offseason.
However, as Brian Windhorst tells ESPN Cleveland, the Wizards, Dudley’s current team, have consistently rebuffed the Cavaliers’ advances.
“The Cavs would love to get their hands on Jared Dudley. They kicked around trading for Dudley last summer, the Bucks basically gave him away. He plays for the Wizards. He’s shooting over 40 percent from 3-point range, quality defensive player, quality locker room guy on the last year of his contract.”
“So that’s one of the things, if you’re looking for something to root for between now and the deadline, it’s for the Wizards to lose every game so that they get more interested in trading Dudley. But I just don’t think the Wizards are going to do it because he’s valuable to them and they feel like they’re going to make a second-half run.”
It also doesn’t help that the Cavs don’t exactly have any assets enticing enough for the Wizards to deal Dudley. A deal involving Iman Shumpert could work, but it’s hard to see the Cavs parting with such an integral piece of their team, especially since it would ruin their guard depth. Logistics aside, can you really picture the Wizards helping LeBron James and the Cavaliers win a title? Their enmity isn’t what it used to be, but gifting a conference rival such a valuable piece just isn’t done.
The Cavs will probably continue to pursue Dudley, though they’ll undoubtedly continue chasing players who could be had at a cheaper price tag, too. Even if the Wizards fall out of the playoff race altogether before the deadline, it’d be a shock to see them ship Dudley to the Cavaliers.