Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com reported Thursday that the Cleveland Cavaliers are attempting to trade for a backup point guard ahead of Tuesday’s regular season-opener.
The Cavaliers are in advanced discussions with at least one club, according to the aforementioned report from Vardon, and could make one or multiple trades to fill the one, glaring need on a team otherwise built to defend its 2016 championship.
Cleveland has a real need at the position due to the expected retirement of Mo Williams and the departure of Matthew Dellavedova during the offseason. They drafted Kay Felder out of Oakland in the second-round, but he is not expected to be ready to handle regular rotation minutes as a rookie. Because he hasn’t formally filed retirement paperwork with the league, Williams’ $2.2 million contract is still on the books, meaning he will occupy a roster spot until he is traded or waived.
Vardon notes that swingman Jordan McRae has emerged as a real asset thanks to a strong showing throughout the preseason. He led the Cavaliers in scoring by averaging 14 points per game, but rotation minutes during the regular season will be hard to come by for him thanks to a crowded roster of wings.
The Cavaliers have also reportedly been hunting for a backup for Kyrie Irving on the free agent market. They have been linked with former Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies’ point guard Mario Chalmers, but he is not expected to be ready to hit the court until January thanks to a torn Achilles he suffered at the end of last season. Chalmers, of course, won a pair of titles alongside LeBron James while the two were in Miami.
Cleveland also made a few roster moves on Thursday when they released forwards Cory Jefferson and Jonathan Holmes as well as guard Markel Brown. The Cavaliers will begin their title defense on Tuesday when they host the New York Knicks.