Stephen A. thinks Korver could be difference-maker in Finals (1:58)
Stephen A. Smith thinks Kyle Korver could be the difference-maker in another Finals rematch between the Cavaliers and the Warriors. (1:58)
The Cleveland Cavaliers filled a need at guard by acquiring Kyle Korver from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Mike Dunleavy, Mo Williams and a protected future first-round draft pick, the teams announced Saturday.
“We are extremely pleased to be able to add a player and person the caliber of Kyle Korver to our Cavs family,” Cavs general manager David Griffin said in a statement. “Among the most prolific and dynamic 3-point shooters in NBA history, a selfless and team-first competitor, Kyle brings all of the elements of Cavs DNA that we covet on and off the floor.”
The move comes one day after the Cavaliers shipped their first-round pick in June’s draft to the Portland Trail Blazers for a protected 2018 first-round pick, which Cleveland originally sent to Portland along with Anderson Varejao in exchange for a future second-round pick at the February trade deadline last year. The Cavs have kept this 2018 pick, and they sent their 2019 first-round pick (top-10 protected) to the Hawks in the Korver trade.
The protections on the first-round pick are as follows: top-10 protected in 2019 and 2020. If the pick ends up being protected (and therefore unused by Atlanta) in those two years, it will become second-round picks for the Hawks in both 2021 and 2022.
Korver, a 14-year veteran, is one of the league’s best 3-point shooters. He has made 43 percent of his 3-pointers in his career. The Cavs have been looking for depth on the perimeter after the loss of J.R. Smith in December for three months because of a broken thumb. They also lost Chris Andersen for the remainder of the season because of a torn ACL.
“Kyle is somebody who was a big part of us building our culture and our success over the past five years,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters Saturday. “I have a ton of respect for him and an appreciation for him as a player, more so as a human being.”
The 35-year-old Korver, who is earning $5.2 million this season in the final year of his current contract, is averaging 9.5 points per game and shooting 40.9 percent on 3-pointers. He was an All-Star in 2015.
“It adds another dynamic piece to our team,” LeBron James said. “Helluva sharpshooter and just a great guy. Great professional, as you’ve seen over his career, a guy that’s played at a high level for a long time, has championship aspirations. And he has another rocket launcher.”
On Thursday, James said that even with Korver in the mix, the Cavaliers are in need of another point guard. The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 23.
Korver has 72 hours to report to the Cavs and still needs to undergo a physical. It’s possible that he could join the team on Sunday in Phoenix for the first of five games out West for the Cavs, whose trip will conclude with a Jan. 16 matchup at Golden State.
“Obviously, it’s a great opportunity for me to go to Cleveland,” Korver said Thursday amid reports that the deal to Cleveland would happen. “So I’m very excited about that part of it. But there’s a lot of relationships that I care about here that I’m going to miss. From a basketball perspective, [Cleveland is] a great, great fit for me. And I know that.”
The Hawks, meanwhile, continue to mull the direction their franchise is headed.
“My answer to that is I don’t think there should be any assumptions made about anything,” said Budenholzer, who is also the Hawks’ president. “Organizationally, we have to make hard decisions. I think it’s important that each one of them puts us in the best situation, the best place, to be a great organization.
“In this case, we made a trade that wasn’t easy. It was a hard decision. This is a good team that we have. This is a team that has shown an ability to compete at a high level. Keeping it together is something … I just wouldn’t make any assumptions going forward.”
The Hawks’ official Twitter account posted a video farewell to Korver.
Tonight we officially put the Korver Kounter into retirement: pic.twitter.com/L1ZTx2a2o3
— HaWWWWWks (@ATLHawks) January 8, 2017
Dunleavy appeared in 23 games for the Cavs this season and averaged 4.6 points and 2.0 rebounds. The 14-year veteran has averaged 11.4 points and 4.3 rebounds with five teams over his career.
“We will bring him in,” Budenholzer told reporters. “I think he’s got the type of game and a skill set that I think he could be very good playing for us. We’ll just have to see how he is, integrate him, continue to build. He’s a player who we’ve liked, and personally I’ve liked, for a long time. We’ll see how he fits into our mix.”
Williams, a 13-year veteran, is averaging 8.2 points and 2.4 assists this season. The Hawks will be his 10th stop, including two stints with the Jazz since he entered the league in 2003. He has averages of 13.2 points and 4.9 assists per game over his career.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Marc Stein and The Associated Press contributed to this report.