The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired guards Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith from the New York Knicks and a protected 2015 first round pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder. In exchange, the Cavs will send guard Dion Waiters to the Thunder, and Lou Amundson, Alex Kirk and its own 2019 second round pick to the Knicks. New York will also receive forward Lance Thomas from Oklahoma City.
In addition, Knicks center Samuel Dalembert has been waived.
“As our journey moves through this season, we will search for the type of players that fit the style we hope to exhibit for our fans. Our desire is to improve our ability to compete,” Knicks President Phil Jackson said. “In addition, these transactions improve our flexibility to the current roster and the salary cap for future seasons.”
“We wish Dion the best as he continues his career with the Thunder and thank him for his effort and work here with the Cavaliers. Dion is a talented player with potential ahead of him. Trades like this are always difficult to make because there are relationships and bonds built and that was the case with Dion,” said Cavaliers general manager David Griffin. “At the same time, we’re very excited to welcome Iman and J.R. to Cleveland. With their size and versatility, we think both Iman and J.R. can help our team on both ends of the court and we look forward to them joining us.”
Currently in his fourth NBA season, Shumpert has appeared in 202 games (162 starts) with the Knicks, averaging 7.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 26.2 minutes per game. The 6-5 guard has ranked among the NBA’s Top 20 in steals-to-turnover ratio in two of his three pro seasons (15th with 0.91 in 2011-12; fifth with 1.16 in 2013-14). He holds a .348 career three-point percentage and was an All-Rookie First Team selection in 2012. This season, Shumpert is averaging 9.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 26.0 minutes over 24 contests (all starts).
Smith, an 11-year veteran, has played in 716 career games (173 starts) with averages of 13.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 26.1 minutes for New Orleans, Denver and New York. The 6-6 guard is also a career .370 shooter from the three-point line and .736 from the charity stripe. He has made at least 100 three-pointers in seven of the last eight seasons and was named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year following the 2012-13 season. This season, Smith is averaging 10.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 25.8 minutes through 24 games (six starts) with New York.
The pick from Oklahoma City is protected 1-18 in 2015 and 1-15 in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Should the pick not convey during this period, the Thunder would send the Cavaliers its second round draft picks in 2018 and 2019.
“Dion Waiters is a player that we’ve tracked and liked since his time at Syracuse, in the NBA, and with USA Basketball. Dion provides another proven scorer that positively impacts our roster and adds depth and flexibility,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. “We have a lot of respect for his toughness and competitiveness, and believe that he is a physical playmaker who will enhance the versatility of our team. We are excited to welcome Dion to Oklahoma City and the Thunder organization.”
Waiters was originally drafted by the Cavaliers with the fourth overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft. In 164 games (75 starts) in three seasons with the Cavs, Waiters averaged 14.3 points on .420 shooting from the field, including .328 from beyond the arc, 2.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.0 steal in 28.1 minutes per game. He was named to the All-Rookie First Team in 2013. Through 33 games (three starts) this season, the 6-4 guard is averaging 10.5 points, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 23.8 minutes per game.
Kirk, an undrafted rookie out of New Mexico, originally signed as a free agent by the Cavaliers on August 11 and played in five contests for Cleveland in 2014-15. Amundson, who was part of the 2014 Cavs training camp and preseason roster, appeared in 12 games for the Cavs this season.