NBA Trade Rumors: Luol Deng and Dion Waiters for Harrison Barnes and David Lee?


The trade deadline is fast approaching and although the Cavs’ fired their GM, speculation surrounding possible deadline deals continues to fly.

The latest comes from Tim Kawakami, Warriors’ beat writer for the Mercury News. In his evaluation of where the Warriors stand at this point in the season, Kawakami suggests multiple scenarios in which Golden State makes a move at the deadline to go after the services of Cleveland’s Luol Deng.

Lee and Barnes TO CLEVELAND FOR Deng and Waiters. (Because Deng was already traded once this season, he can’t be traded with another player, so these would have to be split into two separate trades.)

-Why Cleveland might consider this: Deng is a pending free agent and I highly doubt he’d want to return to the Cleveland craziness and lousiness; also, Waiters is in the middle of a second bad season after the Cavaliers drafted him 4th overall in 2012 and he reportedly is at odds with star point guard Kyrie Irving.

Also Lee and Barnes might fit that roster better than Deng and Waiters–certainly personality-wise they’d be better than having Waiters brawl with Irving.

I know that Cleveland is probably trying to do what it can to lure LeBron James back as a free agent and that adding Lee’s money won’t help that… but you won’t draw LBJ if there’s nobody any good on the team, and Cleveland probably has to get what it can for Deng right now because if he hits free agency he’s out the door and they get nothing back.

Lee is something. Barnes is something.

Despite the reported chemistry issues that surround Dion Waiters, the Cavs may not want to give up on the 22-year old just yet. If that’s the case, Kawakami outlines a Waiters-less trade, inserting former Warrior, Jarrett Jack, into the deal in Dion’s place.

An alternative deal would be Lee, Barnes, Ezeli and Nedovic TO CLEVELAND FOR Deng and Jack. The Warriors would need to add more money into this one because Jack makes more than Waiters.

Why the Warriors should try to do this: While Deng isn’t a natural PF, is a little duplicative of Iguodala, and isn’t the kind of low-post scorer the Warriors badly need, he’s an excellent all-around player who can score in multiple ways and maybe take some of the load off of Curry and the three-point bombing.

Deng, 28, can’t match-up with the great Western PFs… but Lee (who is 30) doesn’t really, either… and in the toughest situations it’s always Bogut guarding the rough PFs, anyway.

And while Waiters doesn’t have the greatest locker-room reputation, he’s a tough-guy scorer and that’s something the Warriors could use coming off the bench–somebody who is ferocious about getting buckets and not afraid to bark while he’s doing it.

By the way, the Warriors were very high on Waiters in that 2012 draft; West loved Waiters’ toughness–if Waiters got to their 7th spot, I believe the GSWs would’ve taken him over Barnes, though it was a close call. Things have not worked out for Waiters in Cleveland, but I would imagine the Warriors still like him a little bit.

If the Cavs were to make the Waiters/Deng swap for Lee and Barnes it would be a swap of draft picks from two years ago as well as the Cavs landing an All-Star power forward in Lee for, in essence, the King’s protected future first round pick and the two Portland second-rounders that the Cavs’ sent to Chicago in exchange for Deng.

If the Cavs are not going to re-sign Deng they have to trade him before the deadline. As Gilbert has spoken about before, if a high caliber player is not going to re-sign, you can’t let him walk out the door without getting something in return. The second deal outlined by Kawakami would be much more optimal for Cleveland. They could hold on to Waiters and unload Jarrett Jack, giving them a “re-do” on last summer’s signing on top of a “re-do” for the Deng trade.

Lee, while among the worst big men from a defensive standpoint, would give the Cavs a long needed scoring option in the paint. The 29-year-old is having one of his typical seasons, averaging 18.9 points and 9.7 rebounds on 51% shooting.

Exchanging Deng for Barnes in the Cavs’ starting lineup would make the Cavs younger, finally give them some more outside shooting, and make their salary cap flexibility even greater with Barnes under his rookie contract for two more seasons. Barnes is averaging 10 points per game on 39% shooting from behind the arc in his 29 minutes a night for the Warriors. He is also, reportedly, good friends with Kyrie Irving, something that we may not be able to say about others on the Cavaliers’ roster.

The NBA trade deadline rumors are just getting started, be sure to check back at WFNY for all your up to date Cavs’ chatter. 

[Related: New Cavs’ GM will have tools in place to rebuild properly]

  • mgbode

    I think we have way more hope now. I mean, it’s a mess, but we’re not latching onto Ricky “wrong-way triple-double” Davis becoming a model citizen either.

    and, we haven’t had the bottoming-out exercise of winning 8 games in a season.

    let’s throw some names out there:

    *Darius Miles
    *Dejuan Wagner
    Chris Mihm / Desagna Diop combo-C

    *indicates starter for a good portion of the 8win season

  • humboldt

    No Smush Parker?! For shame, mgbode 😉

    Yes, that was a basketball wasteland devoid of even minimally competent NBA talent. It was worse than the current stretch of futility (at least we’ve had some decent trading chips and a couple nominal All-Stars), but perhaps only by degree.

    My dad still makes fun of me for how devoutly I followed those early 2000 Cavs teams. Of course, when I come home now he also quizzes me on Browns drafts since 1999 and my accuracy is around 90% (like Melila-Purcell-in-the-7th-round accurate…it’s actually quite pathological, haha).

  • architrance

    Very interesting. Lets hope they are actively looking to flip him. A quick look at some close to matching salaries around the league:


    Or maybe an expiring like Okafor from Phoenix?. The Suns throw in first round draft picks (they have 4 this year) for a big upgrade for their playoff push??

  • architrance

    C’mon we have a legit All Star starter!

  • humboldt

    Yes, but is he too legit to quit? That is the question

  • woofersus

    Well, one thing Grant gifted his successor is a great trade asset in Deng. I’d love to have David Lee, but he’s 30 and has three more expensive years on his contract. (and people on this site have been yelling to ditch Varejao for 2 years now) Also, it’s curious that such a deal would happen without us sending a PF out of town, since we have like 8 of them. Could the Cavs be considering dealing Tristan Thompson? I like a lot about him, but Lee would be a step up, at least offensively. As far as Waiters-for-Barnes, I’m torn. We like to hate on Waiters’ development around these parts, but he’s scoring more than Barnes, has a higher PER and eFG%, and is similar in a bunch of other stats. Waiters does have a much higher usage rate, but his assist rate is also about triple Barnes’. Of course it’s a big advantage that Barnes plays SF, which we’d desperately need if Deng leaves.

  • klwaerb

    I love it. Imagine Waiters and Deng for Barnes and Lee. Then flip Thompson/Gee and a high draft pick for Larry Sanders.

    PG Irving, Jack
    SG Miles, Delly
    SF Barnes, Clark
    PF Lee, Bennett
    C Sanders, Varejao, Zeller

    Not bad.

  • woofersus

    In fairness he’s only in year 2 and he is scoring 18 per game. His percentages are up this year, and while he has games where he just looks lost, he also is one of only about two guys on the roster capable of going off and really taking over a game offensively. Barnes’ stats aren’t generally better than Dion’s. If we do that swap it will be for defense and locker room reasons only.

    And while there is certainly a lot of rumor and innuendo about Dion being a difficult malcontent, I’m not completely sure that’s the whole story. Maybe he’s the only one pissed off about losing? Maybe he’s a fierce competitor that takes scrimmages too seriously? I don’t know. Maybe it’s all true, but all we seem to get is hearsay. If he was singlehandedly destroying the locker room, I have to think he’d have been suspended or something by now.

  • EyesAbove

    That about sums it up regarding Waiters. I think he has some upside, but I see him (at best) as a JR Smith type of player who can help a contender in the right situation, like you said a team that can mask his faults.

    Anyways hes proven that get doesnt play well with Kyrie, if Kyrie is still the centerpiece of the team then it makes sense to get Waiters out of town. The sooner the better.

  • cmm13

    “for Larry Sanders.”
    HEY NOW.

  • humboldt

    I grant you that it is all hearsay, and the reportage of this team from local beat reporters is certainly lacking depth, insight, or nuance (Jason Lloyd’s work notwithstanding). My concern is that Dion has had these issues in high school, at Syracuse, and now with the Cavs – at this point it’s a predictable pattern. I’m unfortunately now in my 30s and have less faith about people changing drastically in these sorts of ways.

  • mgbode

    he spells Giannis Antetokounmpo strangely
    (and a high 2nd round draft pick, right?)

  • mgbode

    he spells Giannis Antetokounmpo strangely
    (and a high 2nd round draft pick, right?)

  • tom

    that is hilarious..why is brown still here?? this season is all on gilbert..i like waiters, he is the only dude on this team besides andy who is not a finesse player.

  • wildrover4

    Waiters is playing considerably better than Barnes. People need to look at a stat sheet and actually watch Barnes play.

  • Marty Susman

    I can’t believe Golden State would send those tow players for what the Cav’s are offering, it’s funny…..G.S. has a great starting five with a horrible bench….OK, so who around NBA land has a really great back up point who is tough as nails, who in nab land has a shoot the lights out small forward/shooting guard & who in NBA land has a 7 foot power forward ????The Lakers in Blake, Young & Gasol…..The Lakers need starters so they get Harrison & Lee in return.

  • Shawn K Frazier

    Yep too many writers using a media sugguestion and spinning it like its insider information. It’s just a rumor.

    Why the heck has this stupid Kawakami post blown up like it’s news or somethimg?

    The news is the free agent class of this summer is loaded. Because of this maybe the Warriors want to clear cap space to get in the mix. That is news as reported by Sam Amick of SI, who wrote NBA GMs have said anonomously they expect the Warriors to be open to trading anyone other than Curry or Bogut.

    Coming from that news anyone could come up with an idea that maybe the Warriors would want to trade blank for blank or whatever. Next thing I see, that’s turned into the latest rumor, plastered everywhere. How about coming up with a new idea?

    Any team out there with expiring contracts are normally in the mix for the trade deadline. Lee is a piece a team without paint scoring might want to acquire using an expiring contract. The player coming back in the trade might not even be on the Warriors roster next year, as Lee’s contract is 15mil a year in 14-15 and 15-16. This means for the Warriors they would potentially be in the mix for Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Bosh, Paul Milsap and many other power forwards who could be available. Or, they could decide to make Draymon Green their starting power foward next year. They would have an extra 15 mil to fill out the roster better than they did last summer. Also, the Warriors are likely considering future extensions to Klay Thompson Green, and Harrison Barnes.

    Now, wasn’t that better than regurgitated crap that this guy wrote?