The Clippers and the Cavs, reportedly, almost agreed on a blockbuster deal centered around DeAndre Jordan.
According to Wednesday's report, Cleveland general manager Koby Altman had approval from ownership to send a package in exchange for Jordan that included Jae Crowder, Channing Frye, Shumpert and the Cavs' 2018 first-round pick.
The reason the Clippers wanted a center from a third team was because they reportedly weren't going to take Shumpert, J.R. Smith or Tristan Thompson in any kind of deal for Jordan. So when the deal for Jordan didn't materialize, they would move on.
Shumpert was sent to the Sacramento Kings in a three-team trade with Cleveland and the Utah Jazz.
We know now which direction Altman went, and that choice leaves a fascinating what-if behind.
Altman stayed on the phone with Winger on Thursday morning, keeping the DeAndre Jordan deal within reach.
Despite striking out in their pursuit of Jordan, the Cavaliers shook up their roster, acquiring George Hill, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Rodney Hood in a series of trades.
DeAndre Jordan #6 of the LA Clippers reacts during the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on November 22, 2017 in Atlanta.
The fear is that a temporary boost devolves into the same defensive and chemistry problems that plagued them for four months, the Celtics and/or Toronto Raptors upend them earlier than expected, and James becomes convinced that a divorce with the Cavaliers in free agency is for the best, after all.
But, man, if the Cavaliers fail to get out of the East this season and paved the way for the Lakers to sign LeBron this summer with their deadline deals, even if L.A. could eventually clear the cap space for James anyway, the aborted Jordan trade will linger as an alternative timeline.
The Cavs had been at the center of most talks when it came to a possible Jordan trade, and everything nearly came full circle, but now that both teams have gone their separate ways things have seemed to work out alright. Nance is on his rookie contract for two more years, and Clarkson is owed close to $26 million over the next two seasons. National Basketball Association insiders don't expect a team to offer Jordan a max contract starting at S$35 million (AU$45 million) per season.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN detailed how Altman went from going hard at Jordan to a more radical plan.