The Cleveland Cavaliers know they need to improve if they’re to beat whatever team emerges from the daunting Western Conference in the NBA Finals. To do that, they’re looking around the league for quality pieces who will fit with their three-headed monster of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
One of the names rising to the top, according to Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com, is current Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore, the third-year player out of Kansas. Drafted seventh overall, the athletic swingman played in every game during his first two seasons in the league and has seen action in 49 of 53 games so far this season. Haynes says “a handful” of other Eastern Conference teams also have interest in the 23-year-old.
Averaging just 7.7 points game on the year, he wouldn’t come in and turn many heads, but would add another shooter to a team that likes to space the floor for James and Irving. He’s shooting 37 percent from deep this season, a career-high as of the All-Star break. McLemore has seen his minutes dwindle, averaging only 21 minutes a game this season, down from 32 last year when he scored 12 points a game.
The Cavs’ interest in the former Jayhawk is about more than just this season. Haynes notes that he could be a “security blanket” in case guard J.R. Smith leaves for free agency. Plus he’s relatively cheap, making $3.1 million this season and $4 million next season, although he’s available for an extension in the summer.
The Kings and Cavs are on the opposite ends of the spectrum as we enter the 2016 All-Star break. Sacramento is 21-32 and 4.5 games out of the West’s eighth playoff spot. Cleveland, however, sits atop the East at 38-14 and three games in front of the Toronto Raptor.
In addition to the interest in McLemore, the Cavaliers would reportedly be very interested in grabbing Joe Johnson at the minimum if he’s bought out by the Brooklyn Nets.