Sharpshooter Korver likely to boost Cavs attack

Kyle Korver is one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA, and should make the Cavs' offence more potent.
Kyle Korver is one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA, and should make the Cavs' offence more potent.

WASHINGTON • It was big enough news on Thursday night that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks were finalising a trade that would send Kyle Korver to play alongside LeBron James in Cleveland.

Korver, widely-regarded as one of the best three-point shooters in the National Basketball Association (NBA), will make an already-deadly Cavaliers offence even more lethal.

Yet, he is only the first domino to fall for both the Hawks and the rest of the NBA, as his move begins what should be a frenetic few weeks leading up to the Feb 23 trade deadline.

The most immediate fallout from Korver's arrival in Cleveland, which was first reported by The Vertical, is where he will replace Mike Dunleavy - who is likely going to Atlanta along with a future first-round pick - in Cavs coach Tyronn Lue's rotation.

The Cavs were already a superb offensive team, with the ability to spread the floor with elite shooters at every position and James, one of the best passers in the history of the sport, to hit them all with pinpoint feeds.

Korver makes the task of trying to stop the Cavaliers far harder. This trade will make Cleveland another player deeper in their formidable rotation.

Besides trading Dunleavy, the Cavs are also expected to move veteran guard Mo Williams before the trade deadline. By doing so, Cavaliers general manager David Griffin managed to add a fine rotation player while clearing a roster spot to potentially add another, and saved owner Dan Gilbert some luxury tax money.

Assuming the deal comes to fruition as expected, it is the latest masterstroke in asset management by Griffin, and further closes the talent gap between the Cavaliers and arch-rivals Golden State Warriors.

While the Warriors are watching every move the Cavaliers make, the bigger news for the NBA is that there is a 'for sale' sign on everyone in the Hawks, most specifically Paul Millsap, the team's All-Star power forward who is set to be a free agent this summer.

Millsap has been destined to leave the Hawks from the moment the franchise flirted with trading him as part of their pursuit of centre Dwight Howard this past summer.

A three-time All-Star with the Hawks, Millsap is one of the most versatile big men in the league, and despite turning 32 next month, he should get a maximum contract as one of the best players on the market.

The question remains: Where will he go? The Toronto Raptors and the Denver Nuggets have been rumoured as possible destinations.

Meanwhile, Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha, a useful wing defender on an expiring deal, is also expected to leave.

All this means that the Hawks, tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference, will likely wind up falling out of the play-off picture.

This represents good news for teams like the Washington Wizards, the New York Knicks and the Detroit Pistons, all of whom are trying to make the post-season.

But for the NBA's two superpowers, Korver going to Cleveland is the latest bold move in the near three-year-old chess match between the two franchises.

Do not count on it being the last one, either, between now and when the Cavaliers and Warriors inevitably face off in the NBA Finals come June.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2017, with the headline 'Sharpshooter Korver likely to boost Cavs attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe