As the Thomas swap was being digested around the league, the Cavs completed a three-team deal with Utah and Sacramento.
LeBron James has been doing his bit to try and get used to his new teammates as quickly as possible in order to get the team back on track this season as, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the Cavaliers star will have a few games with his new team on National Basketball Association 2k18 beforehand.
Dwyane Wade, Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert and Jae Crowder all left the team via trade, with Cleveland landing George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. "And that's the biggest thing we want to see out of our guys". Maybe they'll even end up pushing the Toronto Raptors and Celtics for one of the top two seeds in the Eastern Conference.
The most controversial moves involved Thomas and Wade. Allen is one of the best defenders in the history of the game and he's the right guy to fix Cleveland's struggles to contain opposing guards. James noted a key difference in Cleveland's performance. To begin, will Thomas start for the Lakers when Lonzo Ball returns?
"We have to see how it meshes, obviously", he said.
If you are a fan of the Pistons, you have certainly heard it before. He did an incredible amount to get himself back in playing condition; he did a wonderful job to get himself back from a major injury. Lastly, how will Thomas fit ideally for the Lakers?
LeBron and the Cavaliers look energized and confident going into the last week before the All-Star break.
Defensively, Cleveland can't get any worse.
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"I'm really not sure", he said. "Is this something that he signed up for?' And so we explored that with Miami", Altman said. On Thursday, we found out how much that helped the Cavaliers' season, as his time with the team was brought to an end after just 15 games. "I think everything else at that point is irrelevant". Instead of jumping the market for massive deals that could lead to an untenable roster (a la the Pistons) or breaking down the entire roster (a la the Cavs), there were teams like the Pacers who elected not to send out key pieces (in Indiana's case, Darren Collison) in an effort to make marginal improvements. "So I'm happy that we got him and I feel like it's going to pay off for our group". "This guy is so good, he dictates outcomes".
Altman said the four new players would join the team in Atlanta on Friday.
Just like that, the Cavs traded almost half their roster, got substantially younger and more athletic and wedged themselves back into contention to make a fourth straight Finals appearance against Golden State.
James lost a lot of veteran experience on Thursday.
"I'm tremendously thankful to Dan, and his support, and his willingness to invest at such a deep level for now and into the future", Altman said. And people speculate all the time about how hands-on he is and how much he's involved. "I don't think you would be either".
But the excitement in his voice made it sound as if he would gladly do the whole thing over again if given the opportunity. "We've got some work to still do".
"I know the guys that are here are very excited about this opportunity", James said. The foursome practiced with the Cavs for the first time on Saturday.