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5 February 2018

Week 17 Power Rankings: Cleveland Cavaliers desperate for a shake-up at trade deadline

By John Schuhmann

The trade deadline -- Thursday at 3 p.m. ET -- is almost here.

Many teams are primed for a trade. Some need a shake-up, some need an upgrade, some need to unload salary, and almost every team would love to get their hands on more draft picks.

But finding deals that work for both teams is easier said than done. And if you want a first round pick for a player you don't need, you may have to also take on some salary you don't want, like the Chicago Bulls did when they acquired Omer Asik in the deal that sent Nikola Mirotic to New Orleans.

There are a lot of contracts out there that teams would love to unload and few teams with the flexibility to absorb those contracts. There are even fewer teams that can realistically have their eyes on winning a championship four months from now.

The Golden State Warriors are too good. Some teams may want to add a piece to increase their chances of making the playoffs and becoming somewhat relevant (success in this league doesn't have to be defined by championships). Others may see an opportunity to supplant the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference. But there is probably only one team that can approach the deadline with this season being its No. 1 priority and with realistic thoughts about beating the Warriors in a playoff series.

And that team has bumped the champs out of the No. 1 spot in this week's Power Rankings.