Dion Waiters Finally Traded in Three Team Deal
If you follow the NBA closely, then you’ve known for a while that Dion Waiters was one of the hottest names on the trading block. Well, it finally happened folks. On Monday night, Waiters was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a three-team deal. The Cleveland Cavaliers landed J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert from the New York Knicks as well as a protected first round pick from the Thunder. The Knicks, in exchange, freed up $6.4 million in cap space and got guard Lance Thomas from the Thunder as well as Lou Amundson, Alex Kirk, and a second round pick from the Cavs. Okay, before I go into details, let me just list one more time what each team is getting.
Oklahoma City Thunder- Dion Waiters
New York Knicks- Lance Thomas, Alex Kirk, Lou Amundson, 2019 second round pick
Cleveland Cavaliers- Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, protected first round pick
I know this deal may seem a bit lopsided, but let me explain why I assume each team made the move. The Cavaliers made this trade because Waiters was a hot commodity that was causing some lockerroom problems. They knew they could get something good for him, so they went ahead and pulled the trigger. This first round pick may actually help them get something they need. In addition, they got someone who can come off the bench and score for them, without complaining about not being in the starting lineup like Waiters did. They also get Shumpert who can come in, start, and play lockdown defense along with LeBron James. Defense was what the Cavaliers were lacking most, so this trade helps them more than it would appear to at first glance.
The Thunder get the final piece of their puzzle. They had Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. Okay maybe, their second to last piece of the puzzle, I wouldn’t really count Perkins. The point is, they were missing a consistent starting shooting guard and Waiters will now be given the opportunity to come in and do that. If it doesn’t work out as a starter, they can always try to make him a bench scorer because they are lacking that as well. However, we all know Waiters wouldn’t like that too much. The problem with this, is the fact that Waiters and Westbrook both like to throw up shots with no regard to their shooting percentage. They also both demand the ball a lot, so this back court matchup has the potential to end in a disastrous fashion. But hey, at least they tried.
I think the Knicks finally realized that they’re not that good. They’re pretty bad actually. This most likely led to the realization that they don’t need an overpaid, shoot-only sixth man who fits perfectly on a team lacking shooting. They also probably expect Shumpert to walk free during free agency to pursue a team that utilizes his talents properly. So all-in-all, they basically got a second round pick to free up $6.4 million in cap space, which isn’t all that bad if you assume that Shumpert would be gone. With regards to Lou Amundson and Alex Kirk, they were likely traded because the Knicks want to cut big man Samuel Dalembert who is guaranteed his full contract if he’s on the roster by Wednesday.
This certainly isn’t a block buster trade, but it is a pretty big trade that could shake up the playoff picture in both the East in the West. Depending on how Smith, Shumpert and Waiters affect their respective teams will dictate a lot when it comes time to play in April.