By JUSTIN RIMPI
At the 2018 NBA Trade Deadline, the Cleveland Cavaliers made moves they hoped would put them over the top in the Eastern Conference and into the NBA Finals for the fourth year in a row.
Before the 2018 deadline, the Cavaliers were sputtering because the players on the team were not playing together. The Cavaliers were ranked 29th in defense out of 30 teams in the National Basketball Association.
On Feb. 8, the Cavaliers traded away Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Channing Frye, Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert and Derrick Rose.
They also gave up their first- round draft pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. In return, the Cleveland Cavaliers received George Hill, Larry Nance Jr., Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson.
The Cavaliers have only played two games together with this new cast of players, but they are already turning heads. They beat the Boston Celtics by 22, and then defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder by eight. The Thunder are currently the five seed in the west, and the Boston Celtics are currently number two in the east.
This trade deadline was also a very important domino in the saga that is the impending free agency of LeBron James. These moves should assist the Cavaliers in being able to win now, and the Cleveland Cavaliers hope they will persuade LeBron James to stay with his hometown team.
Since the Cavaliers got younger players Hood (25), Nance Jr. (25), and Clarkson (25), their defense should improve, and this may bode well for their playoff aspirations.
LeBron James has also played well in the two games since the team was turned over. He is averaging 30.5 points in those two games. Before the trade deadline, LeBron James had the worst plus-minus of his career. James was also only averaging 23.5 points in the month of January. James also struggled in the new year, and that can be one of the many reasons Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman decided to make such considerable moves at the deadline.