As late as 24 hours before the trade deadline, the Clippers and Cavaliers were reaching out to third teams to find a way to make a DeAndre Jordan to Cleveland trade happen (the Clippers didn’t want to take on long-term salary in the move). Sources with other teams thought the deal was likely to go through.
Then, within hours of the trade deadline, Cleveland went a wildly different direction, making a couple of trades that completely revamped their roster. DeAndre Jordan stayed with the Clippers.
Friday night, Jordan scored 2o points, grabbed 23 rebounds, dominated the paint and the Clippers easily beat the Cavaliers. After the game, LeBron was asked to reflect on what Jordan would have brought to Cleveland, as reported by Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“I don’t play fantasy basketball,” James said. “I knew the conversations were going on from the outside. I seen it. If it would have happened it would have gave us a boost but it didn’t happen so you move on.”
Jordan is a better player than any single player the Cavaliers acquired in all their deadline moves, and he would have brought a presence in the paint on both ends Cleveland lacks. However, the Cavaliers were in need of more than just a single-player boost to the system after a horrendous January, and that’s what GM Koby Altman engineered — a mid-season upgrade to Cavaliers 2.0. That cumulative impact likely is better than bringing in Jordan, although we will never really know. What we do know is that Jordan is a free agent this summer and if the Cavaliers made that trade then they would have had to sign some big checks to keep him come July 1 (they couldn’t have gone down that road without a plan to keep him).
It’s a fun “what if” bar stool game, one that could get played a lot in Cleveland if the Cavaliers get bounced in the second round of the playoffs by Boston or Toronto.