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Cavaliers’ active trade deadline benefits the franchise’s future

It’s safe to say that this Cleveland Cavaliers season has been anything but smooth. The season that started off with championship aspirations took a turn for the worse as the Cavs went from the top of the Eastern Conference to the middle of the pack.

There was a ton of drama, more than usual, with the team built around Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Love and the iconic LeBron James. Things weren’t looking good for the oldest team in the league. Everyone across the NBA knew things had to change.

As many know, things changed in a BIG way. Thomas, Channing Frye and the Cavs’ 2018 draft pick were shipped to Los Angeles for Larry Nance, Jr. and Jordan Clarkson. General manager Koby Altman also moved Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder and Iman Shumpert in a three-team deal including Sacramento and Utah to receive Rodney Hood and George Hill in return.

Lastly, the Cavs moved guard Dwayne Wade back to Miami, where he spent most of his NBA career, for a second round protected draft pick. This was one of the busiest trade deadlines in almost 30 years, especially for the Cavs. The question being asked by everyone inside and outside the organization is whether the flurry of moves will help the team better compete for a championship in June.

On the surface, it looks like a solid series of moves for the third-place Eastern Conference team. The Cavs were able to get significantly younger with Clarkson, Nance, Jr. and Hood barely 25 years old. The team also became more athletic as Nance, Jr. is known for his spectacular dunks and Clarkson has the reputation of a prolific scorer that can contribute on just about any night.

The four newcomers to the Cavs’ roster also compliment LeBron in a better way than the veterans before. Hill is known as a solid distributor that can master amazing pick-and-rolls with the King. LeBron loves playing with players who can shoot, and this trade definitely added players who can do just that. The Cavs, donning a four-game win streak, are on the upswing moving into the second half of the season.

Personally, the most valuable part of the trade for me was not what it did for the team on the court, but how it impacted the locker room. Before the trade deadline, the Cavs consisted of older players who did not commit to “The Process” of playing with LeBron.

These players were solid individually but did not fit together on the court. They also brought a negative atmosphere to not only the locker room but the entire organization.

Professors Angie Bos and Jennifer Bowen from the political science and mathematics departments, respectively, stress the importance of liking who you work with and creating a positive environment for all. This trade did wonders for the Cavs, bringing in fresh players who wanted to make a difference and be part of a contender.

In the end, I feel that the deadline trade by the Cleveland Cavaliers was a solid move that needed to happen. The team got younger and faster, complementing the talents of LeBron even more than the previous roster did. The most important part is that the team has gotten back to having fun, something that has been missing during the first half of the season.

It takes a talented team to win basketball games, but the teams that are mentally tough and that have positive chemistry are the teams that achieve greatness, something this Cavaliers team continues to strive for.

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