Blockbuster! Knicks Shed Cap, While Cleveland Confuses Many

We had a really big trade completed last night in the NBA.  One that confused some and one that got people excited, well, some what.

The Knicks were the main piece of it.  Cleveland was the big receiver, while Oklahoma City gets another guard to help move the ball around.  Let’s lay it out, then break it down:

Thunder get: Dion Waiters

Cavaliers get: Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, 1st round pick (protected) from Oklahoma City

Knicks get: Alex Kirk, Lou Amundson, and Lance Thomas, 2nd round pick from Cleveland

So, that’s a blockbuster.  Most of those names you’ve heard before, except for the guys the Knicks received.  Those I’m not to sure about.

It doesn’t matter though.  The Knicks have waived those three players, plus Samuel Dalembert, who they acquired from Dallas when they shipped Tyson Chandler there this past Summer.

The move is a total money dump.  Shedding J.R. Smith’s salary applies to next year, where he is owed $6.4 million.  Smith has also been in nothing but off the court issues and controversies.  It’s what many have called a change in culture.  One that could maybe change the way the locker room flows, especially on this losing team.

Trading Shumpert was no surprise.  As a Knicks supporter, I love Shumpert.  I love his game (and his hair).  I think it’s unique in this league.

Though, to add on what I said above, his name was floated last year in trade talks.  Truthfully, this was no surprise to me.  The possibility of trading him now was as high as it could have been.

Shumpert is also an expiring contract, which makes him more valuable on the market.  The Cavaliers won’t be forced to pay him anything next year.  As Howard Beck noted on Twitter, it’s likely that the Knicks didn’t have any interest in re-signing him after this season.

It’s unfortunate.  But then again, as a Knicks supporter, I understand that trading these guys will help us this coming Summer.  We will have cap space, more than we would of if we kept those two guys.  It may help us add a nice free agent.

The fact that I don’t know who the three guys the Knicks acquired says a lot, and I’m glad we waived them.  It takes up space and roster spots.

This is already a lost season for New York.  They’ve won five games, and have battled turmoil and injuries all season.  Getting rid of these guys now was the right thing to do.

When I first heard that Cleveland was involved in a trade, I immediately thought it would be for a big man.  Brandon Bass was the first person who crossed my mind in Boston.  When I realized they were part of this three team trade, I was confused.  Why would Cleveland, trade for forwards and guards when the need a true center, or even a plain big man who can do dirty work?

It made no sense.  I don’t like this move for Cleveland.  Shipping Dion Waiters out made sense, though, with the acquirement of Shumpert and Smith, but why?  Why did they want J.R. Smith.  I mean, on the sarcastic side, Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith are literally the same dudes!  They don’t get along with anyone and just cause trouble!

Anyways, the Shumpert move I like more than anything.  He will open the floor a little more for Cleveland.  He will take quality shots, and can drain three’s.  His defense is great, which any help to the Cavaliers on the defensive side of the ball will boost them.

J.R. Smith going along is where this gets odd.  Smith isn’t a good shooter, if you factor in his decision making when it comes to high percentage shots, he’s not great.  He’s like the baseball player who bats .265 the whole year, then goes on a crazy streak like .350, 10 HR’s and a 20 game hit streak in a month.  The after the streak, goes back to his old ways.  Smith will have big nights.  It’s hot&cold.  One or the other you will get with Smith.  One night he shoots 30%, the other he has eight threes.  It really just depends, and for a contender, that’s not exactly what you want.

Then we get to the Thunder, who landed Dion Waiters from the Cavaliers.

This move is really interesting.  It started more exaggerated than it is.  First reports had Reggie Jackson going to the Knicks, but that was later shot down, as he will stay put.

The move for the Thunder is strictly for depth.  Oklahoma City can rotate Waiters in&out of the game, in the first and second lineups.  He won’t start, unless there is an injury, but will get quality minutes.  Waiters will add a little “umpf” to the Thunder lineup.  Waiters, like Smith has issues with shot selection, but will make the high percentage shots.  He is a guy who will boost this Thunder lineup.  I’m not totally sure how much it will help them.  It definitely won’t harm them, but overall, this team might be fine without Waiters.