Everyone knew the Cleveland Cavaliers were going to do something at the trade deadline, it was just a matter of how drastically they were going to try and shake up the roster. As it turned out, their plan was pretty drastic. They swapped out pretty much half of the roster, bringing in a number of younger role players, including Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, along with veteran point guard George Hill.
It ... sort of worked? The Cavaliers are in the Eastern Conference finals, though that's largely due to the brilliance of LeBron James, who probably could have dragged the original roster this far too. And now they're down 2-0 to the Boston Celtics. So with that, it's apparently time to start playing the "what if" game.
Such as, what if the Cavaliers traded for DeAndre Jordan instead? According to a report from The Athletic's Jason Lloyd, both LeBron and Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue wanted to trade for the Clippers big man. Via The Athletic:
Now, however, they can no longer say they're "All-In." They cannot say they did whatever they could to keep LeBron here this time. Doing whatever they could to keep him would've meant dealing for DeAndre Jordan at the trade deadline, the rim-protecting center Lue coveted and James equally wanted badly. Instead, the Cavs hedged, collecting a group of twenty-somethings that can grow together in the event James is off to Houston or Philadelphia or Los Angeles or some other contender next season.
It's no surprise that the Cavs were interested in the high-flying big man, as there were plenty of reports around the deadline of a possible deal involving Cleveland and Los Angeles. But would it have mattered? Well, there's two areas to consider:
The first, is on the court. Now, the Cavaliers are in the Eastern Conference finals, it's not like they lost in the first round. And with or without Jordan, they would likely lose a potential Finals matchup against either the Warriors or the Rockets. So it comes down to this: Would Jordan give the Cavs a better chance of beating the Celtics? Probably. It wouldn't guarantee it or anything, but he's certainly better than Tristan Thompson or Nance.
But perhaps more importantly, we have to consider the impact off the court. LeBron apparently wanted the Cavs to get Jordan, and in a rare turn of events, the front office went against his wishes. Will that impact his looming free agency decision? It certainly could. But, of course, we won't know the answer to that until July.