The New York Knicks are mired in one their worst seasons ever. No one in Cleveland is making plans for a Cavaliers championship parade, and the Oklahoma City Thunder just got back to the .500 mark.
On Monday, the three teams were involved in a trade they hope will solve some of their problems.
The Cavaliers announced they have acquired guards Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith from the Knicks and a protected 2015 first-round pick from the Thunder.
In return, the Cavs will send guard Dion Waiters to the Thunder, and Lou Amundson, Alex Kirk and Cleveland’s 2019 second-round pick to the Knicks. New York will also receive forward Lance Thomas from Oklahoma City.
The trade remade the Knicks roster, adds necessary parts to the Cavaliers’ roster, and augments the Thunder’s roster in their bid to advance deep into the playoffs.
All the players the Knicks got have nonguaranteed contracts, and the Knicks are expected to waive Kirk, Amundson and Thomas.
In addition, New York is expected to waive center Samuel Dalembert in another cost-cutting move that would create a $2 million savings.
Waiters, the fourth pick in the 2012 draft, was ready to start for Cleveland against his hometown 76ers on Monday, but he was pulled from the lineup before the game started. Kirk and Amundson were not on the bench either for Cleveland.
“We wish Dion the best as he continues his career with the Thunder and thank him for his effort and work here with the Cavaliers. Dion is a talented player with potential ahead of him. Trades like this are always difficult to make because there are relationships and bonds built and that was the case with Dion,” said Cavaliers general manager David Griffin in a statement. “At the same time, we’re very excited to welcome Iman and J.R. to Cleveland. With their size and versatility, we think both Iman and J.R. can help our team on both ends of the court and we look forward to them joining us.”
Smith and Dalembert were pulled from the lineup about an hour before the Knicks-Grizzlies game.
With the moves, New York will free about $30 million in salary-cap space.
Oklahoma City weathered early injuries to forward Kevin Durant and guard Russell Westbrook and are starting to look like a formidable power in the Western Conference. Early reports said that guard Reggie Jackson was involved in the trade and headed to New York, but those reports were inaccurate.
The addition of Waiters gives the Thunder another solid scoring threat off the bench, although he often sulked about not starting in Cleveland.
Waiters is averaging 10.5 points, 1.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals for the Cavs this season.
Smith should give the Cavs some added pop off the bench. Smith, in his 11th year, is averaging 10.9 points on just 40.2 percent shooting though.
When he is healthy, Shumpert, 24, shows flashes of being a solid defender. He is averaging 9.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists this season.
He has been on the sidelines since Dec. 12 after dislocating his shoulder.
Injuries are nothing new for the Cavaliers this season.
Forward LeBron James has been out for a week and is expected to be out a least another week with back and knee issues. Guard Kyrie Irving banged his knee a few weeks ago and sat a few games. He missed Monday’s loss to the 76ers with back spasms. Kevin Love is dealing with back spasms, too.
Center Anderson Varejao is out for the year after tearing his Achilles.
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