CLEVELAND (AP) — Kyle Korver could soon be hoisting shots for the NBA champions.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are trying to finalize a deal to acquire Korver, one of the league’s elite 3-point shooters, in a trade from the Atlanta Hawks, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Thursday night.
The sides are closing in on a deal, but the particulars “‘are not clear,” said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been completed.
The Vertical first reported the potential swap.
Cleveland is in need of another outside shooting threat with J.R. Smith expected to be sidelined until the end of the regular season after undergoing surgery to repair a broken thumb. The 35-year-old Korver is a more than adequate replacement as he’s shot 43 percent from long range during his career and his 1,952 made 3s are the eighth most in league history.
Korver did not play in Thursday night’s game in New Orleans, and afterward said he had mixed emotions about a trade that may only need league approval before becoming official.
“There are a lot of heart ties to Atlanta for a lot of reasons,” said Korver, who spent five seasons with Atlanta after two in Chicago. “A lot of friendships, relationships. That’s where I had my best basketball. … That’s where I had all my kids. So it’s hard to leave that behind.
“Obviously, it’s a great opportunity for me to go to Cleveland so I’m very excited about that part. But there are a lot of relationships that I care a lot about here and I’m going to miss.”
Cleveland has been looking to add to its roster after losing Smith and center Chris Andersen to a season-ending knee injury. The Cavs also have interest in acquiring a backup point guard, but bringing in another outside threat for LeBron James appears to be the priority.
Korver, who has been pursued by Cleveland as a free agent in the past, is making $5.2 million in the final year of a four-year, $24 million deal he signed with Atlanta in 2013.
Cavs general manager David Griffin has not been afraid to shake up his team in past Januarys.
Two years ago, he dealt guard Dion Waiters and acquired Smith, guard Iman Shumpert and center Timofey Mozgov in trades. And last year, he fired coach David Blatt despite a 30-11 start.
Korver isn’t the player he once was, but he may be an upgrade over forward Mike Dunleavy, who was signed in the offseason but hasn’t produced and could be on the trading block. Dunleavy dressed but was the only healthy player who didn’t get any time Wednesday night in a loss to Chicago even though the Cavs were missing stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
For the Hawks, moving Korver represents the latest in a series of roster decisions that has broken up the core of a squad that won 60 games and finished atop the Eastern Conference just two seasons ago.
Key players gone from that team include power forward Al Horford, who left for Boston as a free agent; small forward DeMarre Carroll, who signed with Toronto as a free agent; and guard Jeff Teague, who was traded to Indiana.
“Kyle was a big part of that, Al was a big part of that, Jeff was a big part of that, DeMarre was a big part of that, and all of them are gone,” Hawks forward Paul Millsap said. “I’m still here, but a big part of our team that was here that’s gone right now. You can’t look back in the past.”
Millsap declined to say whether seeing all of those moves makes him wonder about his own future with the club.
“The Hawks are trying to do what’s best for them,” Korver said. “The whole organization is completely different from when I came 4 1/2 years ago.
“If there wasn’t the emotional connection that I have to Atlanta and the Hawks’ organization it would be a different story. From a basketball perspective, (Cleveland) is a great, great fit for me and I know that.”