For the second straight season, the Cleveland Cavaliers are adding one of the league's best shooters to their roster in the middle of the year. As first reported by The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania, the defending champions are in the process of completing a deal for Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver. Last February, the Cavaliers acquired Channing Frye from the Orlando Magic at the trade deadline.
Korver confirmed the news after the Hawks' 99-94 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, telling reporters that it was hard for him to leave Atlanta but going to Cleveland would be a great opportunity.
"From a basketball perspective, it's a great, great fit for me," Korver said, via ESPN's Marc Stein. "And I know that."
The Hawks will get Mo Williams' contract and a heavily protected first-round pick from the Cavs, according to Basketball Insiders' Eric Pincus. This will be a 2019 pick, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, who a also reported that Cleveland is making a separate deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, sending this year's pick away and getting its own 2018 pick back. The Cavs will also send Mike Dunleavy to the Hawks, but both teams are going to try to find a third team to take him before the trade call on Friday, per The Vertical.
With Korver, an All-Star just two years ago, the Cavaliers could play a five-man lineup with shooting that just about matches what the Golden State Warriors do: Kyrie Irving, Korver, LeBron James, Kevin Love and Frye. He especially helps because guard J.R. Smith is recovering from thumb surgery.
Things to know:
- It's somewhat surprising that the Hawks are sending Korver to their biggest rival without getting more in return. This signals that the front office is tearing their team apart, and it will only make the noise surrounding Paul Millsap get louder.
- Korver, 35, has slipped a bit since 2014-15, his career year and one of the best shooting seasons in NBA history. Still, he's making 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers this season, and that number should rise in the Cavaliers' system. James, Irving and Love will create wide-open opportunities for him, and his presence will make their jobs easier.
- If there's a concern, it's on the defensive end. Korver will always be a high-IQ player, but ankle and knee issues have slowed him in the last couple of years. Cleveland probably isn't too worried about this because he's such a good team defender, but you wouldn't necessarily want him chasing Klay Thompson around screens for heavy minutes.
- A free agent in July, Korver might be nothing more than a rental for the Cavs. He gives them a better chance to win a title, though, so it is worth it regardless of what happens in the summer.