On January 5th, 2015 the Cleveland Cavaliers sent Dion Waiters (read more about him here) to the Thunder, Lou Amundson and Alex Kirk to the Knicks, while receiving a first round pick from the Thunder, and received shooting guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert from the Knicks. Dion was a solid shooter but we needed help on defense, so the Cavs pulled the trigger on the trade. I’ll miss Dion, but it seemed like it was time to part ways with the talented shooter.
At first, I was skeptical about acquiring J.R. Smith. He’s a maverick-type player who gets in trouble on and off the court. A lot of fans on Twitter were saying “Oh great, we got a head case coming to the team”. And at first, I thought they were absolutely right. Smith seemed like someone the Knicks just tried to dump off on us because they didn't want him; however, as I thought about this more critically, I had a change of heart. I feel he could be a solid addition to the team.
The other piece to the Waiters trade is Iman Shumpert. While currently nursing a shoulder injury and not ready to play for us, he will be a considerable defensive presence when he is healthy. He’s got rabbit-like speed and is also a stout defender. I think he will be just what we needed, an excellent complement to J.R. Smith at shooting guard and vice versa. Shumpert has a pretty big frame for a guard, standing at 6’5’’. I’m excited to see him in action for us.
Now comes my favorite part… Timofey Mozgov. Three days after the Waiters trade, the Cavaliers sent their previously-acquired first round pick from the Thunder and a first round pick that we acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies in 2013. I’ll admit I seem over-enthusiastic about having him here but can you blame me? I’m Russian, he’s Russian, and he’s exactly what the Cavaliers need at center. I’m just overwhelmed with joy that we got this Ivan Drago-looking behemoth. Standing at an imposing 7’1’’, Mozgov is by far the most intimidating and physical presence on the roster now. We finally have our true center and a rim protector. Our defensive game just got a heck of a lot deadlier.