There are more than a few things we can expect to occur every time the dead of winter approaches. Unbearable cold, nasty snow and Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin forcing us to heap praise his way for a trade he pulled off.
Such an event has happened the past two seasons, and took place again last night. Though the deal is technically not yet official, all signs point to Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver making his way to Cleveland. Challenged to find more offense for a team fighting through multiple injuries, Griffin casually acquired one of the best shooters in the NBA.
You can make all the jokes you want about LeBron James actually being Cleveland’s de facto GM, but you can no longer deny the work Griffin has done adding pieces to this team. Ever since James returned to the Cavs, Griffin has continuously pulled off one perfect trade after another. This Korver deal only adds to his already impressive resume.
Consider the issue facing the Cavs coming into last night. Starting guard J.R. Smith was shelved for 12-14 weeks after thumb surgery. An ACL tear ended Chris Andersen‘s season and further shrank Cleveland’s depth. Outside of Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson and Iman Shumpert, the bench contributions overall have left a lot to be desired.
Could Cleveland have outlasted these hurdles without making a trade? Perhaps. It would’ve been difficult, but having James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love always helps the cause. Still, a little outside help would’ve made things easier.
Said help now comes in the form of Korver, who’s spent the past three years shooting 47.9% when getting open three-point looks. Now taking the court with James and Irving, it’s safe to say he shouldn’t have too much trouble getting open.
Griffin got him for Mike Dunleavy. A rapidly declining Mike Dunleavy.
Sure, there was a 2019 first-round pick involved, too. Per reports, said pick is “heavily protected.” Still, the Cavs needed depth, especially at the wing. They were able to get it by parting with someone who had basically played his way out of the rotation.
It all goes back to Griffin’s uncanny ability to not only fill a need for Cleveland, but do so in the best way he can.
With players like James and Irving at their disposal, the Cavs are always in need of catch-and-shoot options. Some of Griffin’s previous attempts to fill this void worked like a charm (Frye, Smith). Other tries, like Dunleavy or Mike Miller, didn’t pan out.
It was the former’s consistent struggles, and the issues this added to a bench unit already having difficulty contributing offense on a nightly basis, that forced Griffin to seek outside help.
However, Cleveland’s GM didn’t simply find a cheap fix for this problem. He instead went after Korver, who’s only had a three-point shooting percentage below 40% once in the past eight seasons. Who could thoroughly punish opposing teams if they leave him open while attempting to double up James.
This trade may have shocked many, but I’d like to think those who’ve followed Cleveland for the past few years are a little less surprised. After all, moves like this are now a trademark for Griffin.
He turned Dion Waiters into Smith and Shumpert back in 2015. He flipped Anderson Varejao for Frye last season. He acquired Love in the summer of 2014, with Andrew Wiggins being the only real valuable asset he had to part with.
When you reconsider those moves, are you really surprised Griffin was able to pick up Korver for so little? Hasn’t he shown time and time again he has no trouble finding the best available help for his team without having to part with key assets?
It should be noted that, despite putting together a championship-winning roster last year, Griffin only finished seventh in NBA Executive of the Year voting. I’m not saying he got robbed. I’m just saying that, after acquiring a shooter like Korver for spare parts, maybe it’s time Griffin starts getting the proper accolades for the job he’s done in Cleveland.