The Cleveland Cavaliers are a mess right now and that has sent large portions of the NBA world scrambling to the trade machine in search of a fix. Of course, nothing appears easy for LeBron James and company in their quest to, once again, emerge from the East in pursuit of another match-up with the Warriors and that makes things even more complicated between now and February’s trade deadline.
For the most part, chatter has seemingly centered on Cleveland’s two first round picks (one via Brooklyn) and array of veteran players as salary-matching fodder. However, Brian Windhorst of ESPN dropped a very interesting nugget on Monday afternoon, as he appeared on The Jump and indicated that the Cavs may, in fact, be willing to part with Isaiah Thomas in pursuit of a deal to acquire the likes of Kemba Walker.
“The question is… would they consider making Isaiah Thomas available? I can tell you this. It’s going very poorly with Isaiah and the Cavs right now. There is a lot of frustration with the team because he’s a guy who shoots the ball a lot. He holds the ball a lot. And when he’s averaging 30 points and shooting 45 percent from the field as he did last year for the Celtics… things went well. Right now, there’s a lot of frustration with the way Isaiah’s playing on the team. And I wonder, even though it’s so early in terms of his return from injury… I wonder if the Cavs would consider moving Isaiah and would they put in a call to the Hornets to see if they could figure out if they could get Kemba Walker.”
As always, the full clip is useful for context purposes but the notion that members of the organization are not pleased with Thomas is interesting on a number of levels. The All-Star guard is still making his way back from a severe hip injury and, as a result, Thomas has been on the floor for only seven games of relatively limited duty. There is no coherent argument to indicate that Thomas would help Cleveland’s defensive issues, though, and if he is not the devastating offensive force we saw in Boston, there are real limitations to hitching any sort of playoff wagon to his performance on a nightly basis.
Thomas himself has indicated his belief that the Cavaliers don’t “trust each other” right now and murmurs like this would seem to back up that point of view. Still, it is another thing to entirely to consider flipping Thomas with the backdrop of only a (very) limited sample size and this would be an instance of desperate times calling for desperate measures in Cleveland.
It should be noted that a move to secure Kemba Walker would make sense and, in short, he appears to be a much safer bet than Thomas on the floor right now. That won’t stifle any notion of discord within the walls of Quicken Loans Arena, however, and pairing the words “Isaiah Thomas” with the potential for trade speculation will set off a few alarm bells around the league.