J.R. Smith is out with a thumb injury, Mike Dunleavy is out completely and Kyle Korver is in.
Korver became the latest addition in the world of revolving Cavaliers 3-point specialists, having been acquired from the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.
The deal had not been officially announced at press time, but the Cavs were to send the struggling Dunleavy and a protected 2019 first-round pick to the Hawks for Korver, an All-Star two seasons ago.
First-round picks can’t be traded in consecutive years, so Cleveland will reportedly send its 2017 pick to Portland to get back its 2018 No. 1, which was sent to the Trail Blazers last season as part of the Anderson Varejao deal. That would then enable the Cavs to send their 2019 choice to the Hawks.
Korver, 35, was averaging 9.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists while playing 28 minutes a game for Atlanta in his 14th NBA season. The 6-foot-7, 212-pounder had recently lost his starting spot to Thabo Sefolosha, but was still shooting .441 from the field, including .409 from 3-point range.
An All-Star in 2014-15 — he got hurt in the playoffs on an aggressive play by then-Cavs guard Matthew Dellavedova — Korver is earning $5.3 million in the final year of his contract. He owns career averages of 10.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists and is a .429 lifetime shooter on 3-pointers.
Dunleavy, who the rebuilding Hawks were reportedly going to ship to another team, was a huge disappointment after being acquired by Cleveland in the offseason. The 36-year-old never became a regular part of the rotation and averaged just 4.6 points in 23 games. He shot .400 from the field, including .351 on 3-pointers.
With Smith out until at least mid-March with a fractured right thumb, the Cavs have been starting defensive specialist DeAndre Liggins at shooting guard, but his offensive game is virtually non-existent.
Korver has slowed a bit the last season and a half and has been a fairly constant subject of trade rumors, but he should benefit from playing with superstars LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in Cleveland.
“The NBA is a great job,” Korver recently told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s a great job. I wouldn’t have any other job. But living stability is not one of the strengths of this job. You don’t know where you are going to be tomorrow. We don’t get to plan things out. That’s just part of this great job that we get to do.
“Last year there was all this talk and nothing happened. Who knows? We don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors. The Hawks are going to do what is best for them.”
Cavs general manager David Griffin did that for his luxury tax-strapped team, which is saddled by the $2.1 million contract of not-playing guard Mo Williams and the $1.55 million deal of injured big man Chris Andersen.
A veteran backup point guard and another big man for insurance are still likely on Griffin’s wish list, but the GM loves shooters. Dunleavy didn’t work out in Cleveland — and neither did Mike Miller and Shawn Marion before him — but Smith and Channing Frye have been big hits when it comes to 3-point specialists.
Korver, a Creighton product taken by the New Jersey Nets with the 51st pick in the historic 2003 NBA Draft headlined by James, has also played with Philadelphia, Utah and Chicago. He shot .536 on 3-pointers in 2009-10, .472 in 2013-14 and .492 in 2014-15, but slumped to .398 last season.
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Like him on Facebook and follow him @RickNoland on Twitter.