The roster didn't work in Cleveland, so the remix gives Cavs their last chance

From ESPN - February 8, 2018

CLEVELAND -- After a nightmarish stretch of basketball since Christmas Day -- a 20-game slump in which the Cleveland Cavaliers went just 7-13 while repeatedly getting blown out in embarrassing fashion on national television -- the Cleveland front office realized how broken its team was and went for broke at the trade deadline.

A dizzying set of trades that started at just past noon on Thursday completely revamped Cleveland's roster, turning the oldest collection of talent in the league into a younger, more versatile group. It is, though, a group with only 29 games remaining in the regular season to coalesce before the playoffs begin.

All told, the shipping and receiving receipts look like this:

For simplicity's sake, let's group the guys the Cavs said goodbye to in pairs.

Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder came in during the Kyrie Irving trade in August, and the fit was never right. Crowder bounced between the starting lineup and the bench and struggled to find a comfort factor, as the Cavs are a rare team whose starters run a different offense than their second unit does. Thomas was out with a hip injury until early January and played only 15 games before Cleveland had to move on. He struggled to mesh on the court and off of it in a locker room full of strong personalities.

Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose -- a former Finals MVP and former regular-season MVP, respectively -- came in on minimum deals, both sacrificing more lucrative opportunities to try to recapture the magic they once wielded. But they could not make it work. Wade showed flashes of his previous life as "The Flash" -- particularly when Cleveland reeled off 18 wins in 19 games November through December -- but his style of play did not mesh with the accelerated pace the Cleveland coaching staff wanted to see. Rose was still haunted by injuries, and after nearly walking away from the game completely in November, he never found his footing in Cleveland again.

Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert both played significant roles in Cleveland's splendid run to the championship in 2016, but had mostly fallen out of the rotation this season. They both were viewed as assets with something left to give, and they helped attract players the Cavaliers hope will help them immediately in the swaps that sent them out.

As for what's coming in:

George Hill is a long guard with plenty of playoff experience who can hit the 3-ball and will step into the void left by Thomas in the starting lineup.


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