It’s been relatively quiet so far in the NBA for deals. However, the first official trade of the season involving the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers and playoff-hopeful Utah Jazz arrived on Monday.
The two teams made a swap that saw Jordan Clarkson traded to Utah in exchange for a player and picks.
Cavs getting multiple picks, Dante Exum
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the deal involves Jordan Clarkson heading to the Utah Jazz. The Cavaliers will get back Dante Exum as well as two second-round draft picks.
Exum was averaging a mere 2.2 points, 1.1 boards, and 0.6 assists in his 11 games played this season. The Jazz originally drafted him fifth overall back in the 2014 NBA Draft, but he’s failed to live up to the expectations.
Per Hoops Rumors’ Dec. 20 report, Exum was considered a “good salary, matching piece if the Jazz try to make a roster upgrade.”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 24, 2019
In a tweet reply from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, he noted that sources said Utah is also sending the Cavs a 2022 second-round pick via the Spurs and a 2023 second-round pick from Golden State.
That should give Cleveland some extra pieces as they continue to try to rebuild in the post-LeBron era for their franchise.
Utah sending Cavs a 2022 San Antonio second & 2023 Golden State second, per sources
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) December 24, 2019
Bobby Marks broke down the contracts, and salary cap hits that the two teams will be working with following Monday’s trade.
As mentioned, moving Exum was a way to help the Jazz make a roster upgrade, which based on stats, they’ve done with Jordan Clarkson.
Jordan Clarkson is on expiring contract with a $13.4M cap hit. Dante Exum has two years left at $9.6M per year. Cleveland will create a $3.83M trade exception and will also go from $1.3M to $5.1M below the luxury tax.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) December 24, 2019
For the current season, Jordan Clarkson is averaging 14.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. The Jazz will become his third team in seven seasons as he previously played his first three with the Lakers ahead of a trade to the Cavaliers.
The move comes as the Cleveland Cavaliers are 8-21, the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference as of this report. It’s no secret they’re rebuilding as they’ve been trying to establish a new group of young stars.
Other trade rumors have popped up surrounding veteran star Kevin Love over the past month or so, but nothing has materialized just yet on that front.
The Jordan Clarkson trade may be in anticipation of another move to come, or they see some future value with Exum. He’s dealt with injury issues during his career, including a knee injury this season, but could still provide some help off the Cavs’ bench.
Cleveland selling high on Clarkson. Good value. But: since 1/2 point of last season, Clarkson has improved his shot selection in ways that should translate to a good team — more catch/shoot 3s, better overall decision-making. UTA surely know more about Exum's health than anyone. https://t.co/Gl7KWQeLmx
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) December 24, 2019
Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz has been playing consistent this season and is No. 6 in the Western Conference at 18-11. They’re currently on a five-game winning streak, and most likely were looking to bolster their roster to contend with other West teams.
Jordan Clarkson gives them that additional backup depth at guard behind Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell.