With Kyle Korver having been traded, it’s the first domino in which appear to be many for the Cleveland Cavaliers. General manager Koby Altman will be hard-pressed to get multiple deals done prior to the Feb. 7 trade deadline.
Korver was sent to the Utah Jazz for two second-round picks and Alec Burks. Korver, 37, is under contract through the 2020 season.
Since the departure of LeBron James, the Cavs had to adjust their plans for the season and the future of the organization. Altman signed All-Star forward Kevin Love to a four-year extension. He stood pat with the roster, keeping veterans J.R. Smith, George Hill, Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clarkson.
Cleveland, which is tied the fewest wins in the NBA with Phoenix (four) entering play Thursday night, is in full rebuild mode. Love hasn’t played a game since Oct. 24 and won’t return from his injury until at least January. The Cavs sent Smith home while they try to figure out what to do with the veteran guard. Other guys like Channing Frye have been relegated to a smaller roles to allow young guys more experience.
Rookie point guard Collin Sexton has taken over the starting role. While Clarkson continues to flourish in his role as sixth man, second-year forward Cedi Osman and guard Rodney Hood continue to log heavy minutes.
Clarkson is a name to keep in mind for who will be next to leave Cleveland. Currently averaging a career-high in points per game at 16, he has also been showing improvement in his shooting ability. In all but two games so far this month, Clarkson has scored in double digits. Clarkson is posting a career-best field-goal percentage at 45.8 and 86 percent from the free-throw line.
At age 26, Clarkson could be a viable option for multiple contending teams needing to add scoring off the bench. An early leader for Sixth Man of the Year, Clarkson could find his way to a team that could be in the Finals. Clarkson is owed just more than $13 million next season and will hit free agency in 2020.
A contending team that needs a young, energetic player who can score and isn’t just a rental will be eyeing how well Clarkson continues to play the rest of the year.
With Korver already gone and the rebuild in full force, Clarkson could, and should, be the next to go.