The Cavaliers’ pending trade with the Hawks for Kyle Korver isn’t just the rich getting richer. It’s more like Bill Gates finding a winning Powerball ticket in his Porsche.
Giving LeBron James and the defending NBA champions one of the best 3-point shooters in history seems almost unfair. In an arms race of basketball superpowers, the Cavaliers — an East-leading 27-8 — added a perfect piece to help them against the Warriors.
“It’ll be good for our team. We’ve got to get him the ball. He adds another dynamic piece to our team, a hell of a sharpshooter, a great guy, a great professional as you’ve seen over his career,’’ James told reporters before leading Cleveland to a 116-108 win over the Nets on Friday. “Once he gets here, we’ll be happy to have him.”
They should be. And the rest of the league will be miserable that King James has yet another weapon, yet another deadeye shooter to pass to.
When asked to search for a weakness in his team, the best James could come up with was the need for another backup point guard.
By comparison, the Nets have done without starter Jeremy Lin for 23 of 35 games. Cleveland off-guard J.R. Smith eventually will come back from thumb surgery, but that didn’t stop Cavs general manager David Griffin from adding a shooting guard.
“We’re trying to win championships, and he’s the same way,’’ said James, who poured in a game-high 36 points. “He’s trying to put the ballclub in a position to do that, so you can respect that.”
It’s definitely a go-for-it move. As good a driver as the Hawks’ Dennis Schröder is, Korver’s never has enjoyed the kind of open looks James will get him.
“Obviously it’s a great opportunity for me to go to Cleveland. 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,’’ Korver told FOX Sports. “From a basketball perspective, [Cleveland is] a great, great fit for me; and I know that.”
Everybody knows that. The Cavaliers came into Friday second in the league in both 3-point frequency and accuracy. Korver — who holds the NBA’s single-season 3-point percentage record at 53.6 percent in 2010 — should help both.
Korver, a career 42.9 percent 3-point shooter, is hitting 40.9 percent this season. When James was asked if Korver can better that figure, he replied matter-of-factly, “He will.” And even at 35, Korver still is shooting 49 percent on open 3s.
“It’ll go higher than that,’’ James said confidently. “We’re going to get him the ball. He’s on the floor for a reason, and we’re going to get it to him.”
With the trade yet to be finalized — and Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said he had no clue when it would go through — Korver didn’t face Brooklyn. But his joining the Cavs was a fait accompli — and a coup according to Nets coach Kenny Atkinson.
“Great move,” said Atkinson, who spent four years with Korver in Atlanta as the Hawks’ top assistant. “I’m very familiar with Kyle. We all make a mistake if we just think Kyle is a shooter.
“That guy, he’s a better all-around player than people think. He’s a better defender than people think, a better passer, just really a great IQ and he’s going to help them in so many ways. I think it was an excellent move on their part, and he’s going to really help that team, especially when playoff time comes.”
And what will the Cavs tell Korver to do when that time comes?
“Same thing we told Channing [Frye]: When you catch the ball, shoot it,’’ Cleveland’s Kevin Love, who returned from food poisoning with 17 points and 13 boards, said with a chuckle.
“[He’s a] great piece for us, a guy that’s going to be great for us on the court, in the locker room and add a lot to this team. More shooting when J.R. [Smith] is out, he’ll be able to play a position we need filled right now and we need some depth at … It’s going to be helping us a lot.”