By Brian Sampson
The Cleveland Cavaliers completed a three-team trade with the Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz that involves a plethora of wings and guards.
Cleveland is acquiring George Hill and Rodney Hood, the Kings get Joe Johnson, Iman Shumpert and a 2020 second round pick, while the Jazz acquire Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose for their troubles.
Sacramento is the ultimate loser in this trade as they continue to make mind-boggling roster moves led by Vice President of Basketball and Franchise Operations Vlade Divac. Seemingly in rebuilding mode last summer, they signed Hill to a three-year, $57 million deal, immediately raising questions about their strategy. That signing was followed by other highly confusing moves with the acquisitions of Vince Carter and Zach Randolph. It was almost as if Divac thought his team could contend for a playoff spot in the tough and rough Western Conference.
Unfortunately for Kings’ fans, the confusion was brought into the new year, where they acquired the currently injured 27-year-old Shumpert. Shumpert has an $11 million player option for next season which he’ll almost certainly accept considering the anticipated free agent market.
As for Johnson, he wasn’t happy in Utah as it was and will certainly be a buyout candidate in hopes of catching on with a legit playoff contender.
Utah will reportedly release Rose and allow him to sign with another team so there goes half of their compensation for Hood. The other half, Jay Crowder should bolster replace part of what they lost in Hood and could even play the 4 in a small-ball lineup. Crowder struggled in Cleveland this season, but proved with the Boston Celtics he can be a good 3-and-D player.
Head Coach Quin Snyder will have a lot of positional flexibility on the wing with Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Alec Burks and now Crowder. Specifically, a lineup with Mitchell, Ingles and Crowder could do some damage by spreading the floor and forcing opponents to cover every inch up to the three-point line.
The Cavaliers are perhaps the most interesting team in this trade. They continued their trade deadline overhaul and upgraded their athleticism, outside shooting and defense with the acquisitions of Hood and Hill.
Hill is an absolute gorgeous fit next at point guard next to LeBron James. He is very comfortable playing off-ball, can spot up and knock down threes at an extremely high rate and can guard two positions on the other end of the floor. This is a great recipe for the Cavaliers and one that should bring back positive results.
As for Hood, he was having a breakout season with the Jazz by averaging 16.8 points per game- a career-high. He can also spread the floor and give the Cavs another dangerous outside shooter next to Hill and James. At 6’8″, he can also guard multiple positions on the wing and will be able to hold his own come playoff time. The biggest question surrounding Hood is if he’s able to stay healthy, and that’s a big if.
I fully expect the Cavaliers to be the big winner in this trade, which they’ll use to fuel yet another deep, deep playoff run.