City Sports Report

The Knicks, Cavaliers And Thunder Play Let’s Make A Deal


At the beginning of the season, many wondered how guard Dion Waiters may fit in Cleveland with LeBron James coming back home. The mercurial shooting guard out of Syracuse has been known to be a shooting machine his entire career and it was thought that he was going to have to sacrifice shots. Well, as the season has gone on, it became obvious that he was not a fit with LeBron, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. In fact, a few times it looked as if the team ignored him when he was wide open on the wing for a jumper. It was clear things were not getting better.

Maybe it gets better for the Cavaliers and Waiters with the most recent trade that just happened in the NBA. In a three-team deal involving the Oklahoma City Thunder, the New York Knicks and Cleveland, Waiters is headed to OKC while Knicks guards JR Smith and Iman Shumpert are headed to Cleveland to play with LeBron James and crew.  In an effort to clear cap space, the Knicks get no one that is recognizable and a potential 2019 second round pick. Cleveland also receives a future protected first round pick from Oklahoma City. For all three teams, it seems like they received something they wanted or needed. But what does this trade really mean for all teams?

The Oklahoma City Thunder have two volume scorers in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The thing that they needed most was another shooter to add to the mix. Jeremy Lamb has not been given the opportunity to fill that role (and he could easily do that for them), so the Thunder have decided that Waiters can be the answer for them off the bench. There is no doubt that Waiters can get hot and carry you offensively, but how we he handle another assignment off the bench again? Only time will tell, but look for he and Reggie Jackson to be the backup guards for the Thunder. They have a chance to be more explosive off their bench, but Waiters is a volume scorer that is not a consistent shooter. This trade could cause more problems for the Thunder than what ills it may cure. The onus is on Waiters to fit into the Thunder’s plans for what they want him to do. Another thing to watch in regards to Waiters in Oklahoma City will be his defense, or lack thereof. Waiters may score some points, but it will be interesting to see how many points he gives up as well.

The Knicks received absolutely no one in this deal that is of any significance to them (Alex Kirk, Lance Thomas and Lou Amundson) All three are expected to be waived along with center Samuel Dalembert, whose contract would be guaranteed for the season if he stayed through Wednesday. The Knicks are now officially looking toward the future with approximately $28 million in cap space next season.  A good thing that came from this trade is they found someone to take JR Smith off their hands. It was no secret that the Knicks wanted to rid themselves of Smith, but they finally found someone that wanted to take on the risk/reward option that is Smith. Along with Smith leaving town, the Knicks were also able to trade Iman Shumpert. Both Smith and Shumpert had high expectations at one point and time with the Knicks and both failed to live up to them. Maybe a fresh start will help them going forward. As far as the Knicks, they may want to take some of that money they are saving in cap space and put that into a scouting team. Don’t be surprised if you see Knicks scouts at Kentucky or Duke games observing Karl Towns Jr or Jahlil Okafor. So get ready Knicks fans. What was already an ugly season is about to get uglier. There might be a light at the end of the tunnel. But as Charles Barkley has said, “ That light could be a train.”

As far as the Cleveland Cavaliers, the season has not gone to plan. They are floundering to mesh as a team and they are also looking like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. A shakeup had to be made and it had to happen soon. We know LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were not getting traded, so Waiters was the easy target to move. He was not giving them what they needed the way they wanted it anyway, so it was almost an inevitable conclusion he was going to leave Cleveland soon. As far as what they received, the Cavs took a couple of chances and could have possibly helped themselves. Iman Shumpert needed a fresh start, and when healthy, he can be the young defensive wing player the Cavs need. And Cleveland can use all the defensive help they can take at this point because they are just that bad defensively. Along with being a young defensive stopper, Shumpert also fits more naturally at the shooting guard position more than the Cavs current starting shooting guard, veteran Shawn Marion. The Cavs also had issues with scoring off the bench this season. You cannot name one player off their bench that can give them consistent scoring or create their own shot. With the addition of JR Smith, the Cavs have a guy that can create his own shot, create shots for others, score and can actually shoot the basketball. He could be a better fit for the Cavs than Waiters was. But along with the good he can add, Smith can be a little aloof in some of his on-court behavior and can shoot you right out of a game as well. It could work and it could also be a bad move for the Cavs. But for the Cavs, they had to do something. The roster they had before the trade was not going to take them far. They needed a shakeup. And now they potentially added bench scoring and more defense that was sorely needed.

Only time will tell how this deal will play out for all teams, but what we can definitely say is that two teams in Cleveland and Oklahoma City are taking a chance while the Knicks are headed toward tanking season officially. Look for Carmelo Anthony to eventually shut it down as this season is a lost one for the Knicks, and for the Cavs and Thunder, the science experiment has started. Let’s see who aces chemistry in these experiments.

For more sports talk, feel free to follow me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .


  1. Jason

    January 6, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    I really don’t know what OKC was thinking

    • Mike Patton

      January 6, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      We are all trying to figure that out too Jason. OKC also gave up a future protected first round pick to Cleveland and that amazed me.

  2. Lee Love

    January 6, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    It was a matter of when not if the Knicks would start the tear down well looks like Phil has started off doing just that…”Let the rebuild begin”

    • Mike Patton

      January 6, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      The Knicks are in a race with Philly to see who can get the worst record now Lee.

  3. ASR

    January 6, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Dion Waiter’s time is running short, he’s been a malcontent since he’s been drafted. I’m not a fan of JR Smith but he’d be a better fit in OKC than Waiters. Growing up a NYK fan this team has been a complete joke, Dolan like many owners only cared about the bottomline opposed to the product on the court. OKC never should have trade Jeff Green for Perkins and should have kept Harden. All three franchises have shown have one thing in varying degrees, arrogance. In the gaming world you can plug in anyone and play, in the real world its chemistry between players, management and coaches.

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