On Thursday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers odds to win back-to-back titles just became better.
Earlier this week, it was reported that the Atlanta Hawks were shopping basically their entire team, whether it was forwards Paul Milsap and Kyle Korver, or guard Thabo Sefolosha, among others. No one, not even Cavs fans, expected the wine and gold to be in the mix for any of the aforementioned players, but general manager David Griffin has done it again.
First reported by The Vertical, the Cavs have acquired three-point specialist Kyle Korver, a player they have been coveting for years.
ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst’s got the scoop on who the Cavs will have to give up in order to acquire Korver, trading backup forward Mike Dunleavy, Jr. and a 2019 first round pick.
Additionally, it’s rumored that the Cavs will also move Mo Williams in the deal, clearing a roster space as well. Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly. The wine and gold (somehow) just acquired one of the best shooters in the NBA for a guy that underperformed so far this season and a protected first round pick and may have found a taker for Mo Williams’ contract.
So far this season, the 35-year-old is averaging 9.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 27.9 minutes per game while shooting 44.1 percent from the floor and 40.9 percent from beyond the arc in 32 games (21 starts). Currently in his 14th season, Korver has averaged 10 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 44.2 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from three-point land. The former All-Star has never shot below 37.5 percent from beyond the arc in a single season. Since 2013, Korver has shot 39.1 percent from long distance when he is tightly contested. When wide open (no one within six feet), he has shot 47.9 percent from beyond the arc. With the Cavs the way they are, Korver will get plenty of open looks.
Without J.R. Smith until March or April due to a thumb injury, the Cavs’ starting five was in search of a knockdown shooter from beyond the arc. Korver is the perfect fit to fill that spot. When Smith returns, Korver will possibly come off the bench, but what an asset he will be on this team, whether he is in the starting lineup or comes off the bench down the stretch. He knows his role and on a team full of stars, he is a perfect fit. Korver and forward Channing Frye are the two best spot-up shooters in the league. Add that to the fact that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving will be passing them the ball and it’s incredible to think about.
The 6-foot-7 swingman is expected to be inserted in the starting lineup at least until Smith returns. His shooting ability will allow James and Irving to have even more space when driving to the basket. Oh, and if the opposing team doubles one of them, Korver, along with Kevin Love, Frye and a variety of other shooters, will be spotted up outside.
For those curious about Korver’s salary (and taxes that will come out of owner Dan Gilbert’s pocket): In the final year of his contract, the Cavaliers will only have to pay him $2.98 million the rest of the season. So, after trading Dunleavy, the Cavs will actually save money and free a roster space. Not a bad deal.