James rubbishes trade talk
LeBron James says he won't be traded, though every other move should be on the table for the Cleveland Cavaliers. It's just unclear if anything can make a difference.
The Cavaliers are a team that's deeply in a rut and badly in need of a change to jump-start a season that shows signs of slipping away. But they're down to their final hours to find help via trade, with the deadline set for this afternoon.
Impact players are traded, but this season the biggest ones may have already been moved. Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony all were dealt over the summer, as was Kyrie Irving in a move that may have backfired for the Cavs. Their former point guard has led Boston to the top of the Eastern Conference, while Isaiah Thomas has struggled in the brief time he's been available since returning from his hip injury.
Cleveland also acquired the Brooklyn Nets' number-one pick in that deal, a likely high lottery selection. But the type of names most heavily mentioned in the days before this year's deadline such as the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams, and Memphis' Tyreke Evans aren't worth such a coveted asset. They can certainly help teams but maybe not ones who seem as far off track as the Cavs, who have dropped 14 of 21 and are barely hanging on to a spot in the top four of the Eastern Conference.
The deadline was moved up this season, with the NBA feeling it would give players who are dealt a chance to use the All-Star break to get acclimated to their new situations. The deadline previously was at the end of the break, and it sure looks like the Cavs wouldn't want to wait that long this season.
Cleveland have been able to score late-season help in recent years by signing veteran players who had taken buyouts and gone to the waiver wire, but even that kind of move may not be available this time. With so much uncertainty about James' future, Cleveland may not be an attractive destination to veterans who have other options.
But James' immediate future is clear. He said Tuesday after a 116-98 loss in Orlando that he would not waive his no-trade clause and would finish the season in Cleveland.