The defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers recently lost shooting guard J.R. Smith to a thumb injury that is expected to keep him out for about three months, and they didn’t take long to find his replacement. In fact, they may have even gotten an upgrade.
The Vertical reports that the Cavs and Atlanta Hawks are finalizing a deal that will send veteran shooting guard Kyle Korver to Cleveland:
Vertical Sources with @ShamsCharania: Atlanta is finalizing a deal to send guard Kyle Korver to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) January 6, 2017
Basketball Insiders’ Eric Pincus is hearing that Mo Williams will go to the Hawks in the deal, along with a “heavily protected” first-round pick from Cleveland:
Not sure if this is out there yet – I hear Mo Williams is Atlanta bound along w/a heavily protected 1st from Cavs for Korver @BBallInsiders
— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) January 6, 2017
Korver, 35, is one of the best three-point shooters in NBA history, sporting a 42.9% from behind the arc in his career (over 4,554 attempts). In 2016-17, Korver has a 40.9 three-point %, while also averaging 9.5 points, 2.3 assists, and 2.8 rebounds per game. He’s spent the last four seasons with the Hawks, and led the NBA in three-point percentage twice over that span.
Korver will allow the Cavs to space the floor more and only make LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love more dangerous. LeBron is one of the best passers in the league, and if a team attempts to double-team him, he can just kick it out to Korver for an open three.
Projected shot chart for Kyle Korver playing with LeBron: pic.twitter.com/3wYUdmTy9u
— Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher) January 6, 2017
Eh. It's not like CLE has the best drive and kick passer of all time and Korver shoots 43% from 3 or something. https://t.co/iFMGQWgCpq
— Larry Beyince (@DragonflyJonez) January 6, 2017
Kyle Korver getting the kind of looks from 3 LeBron provides is scary. https://t.co/BVl0rDZesi
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) January 6, 2017
— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) January 6, 2017
Korver shoots 39.1% from 3 when contested to 47.9% when he's open (since 2013 / @nbastats). Now he's about to be more open than ever before.
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) January 6, 2017
Just in case the Cavs needed another weapon, right?
Cleveland is three games up on the Raptors for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, and barring serious injuries, will be heavy favorites over the Raptors and anyone else in the East for a playoff series. And while they won’t tell you they’re thinking about the Warriors, they’re surely thinking about the Warriors with this move too. The Korver addition would give them more firepower and spacing to play with the Warriors in a Finals series rematch.