The Cleveland Cavaliers are struggling to find their footing early in the season. With the departure of star point guard Kyrie Irving, the Cavs have become a lot more vulnerable than ever and their steady decline is giving their Eastern Conference rivals the idea that they have a chance to go all the way to the finals this year.

In the latest episode of the Woj Pod, Adrian Wojnarowski tackled the effect of the Cavs’ steady decline in the Eastern Conference. The veteran NBA insider really thinks there are going to be numerous transactions, where talent in the West is going to the Eastern Conference teams via trade or post-buyout FA signing because of the “wide-open” nature of the East.

“With so many teams in the East thinking that we have a chance, I get a sense that there’s going to be a lot of activity this year. You may see a lot more West-to-East deals, where teams in the West just don’t think they can compete and East teams trying to load up,” Woj said in his podcast session.

Major trades ahead for the Cavaliers

Cleveland is currently one game below .500 at 6-7, five games adrift of league’s pace-setters the Boston Celtics (11-2). Worse, the Cavaliers are dealing with injuries to their key players. Isaiah Thomas (hip injury) isn’t expected to play until December, while backup point guard Derrick Rose is underplaying time restrictions for the remainder of the season.

However, the biggest blow to the Cavs is the injury to Tristan Thompson.

The Cavs backup center is expected to miss at least four weeks with a strained left calf and his absence has exposed his team’s rebounding problem even more (23rd in the league at 43 rpg). While Cleveland would want to dangle the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-rounder as a trade bait to acquire a dynamic wing player, the front-line problem could compel the front-office to use their precious trade asset for a game-changing center.

Incoming free agents such as DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan (player option for the 2018-19 season) are the usual trade targets to bolster their frontline, but the Cavaliers may come up with a combination of trade assets to acquire multiple high-impact players. Cleveland also has interest in Greg Monroe, though it’s unlikely they will use the Nets’ pick for him.

Sources close to situation expected Cleveland to ramp up trade efforts starting mid-December all the way to the mid-season trade deadline in February when teams usually begin to trade key players for future assets.

Celtics looking for Bigs

After dropping their first two games of the 2017-18 NBA season, the Boston Celtics have now racked up 11 straight victories to secure the No.1 spot in the Eastern Conference. But despite boasting the league’s stingiest defense (94 points allowed per game) and the best clutch performer in Kyrie Irving, the Celtics are far from being perfect.

Boston ranked 23rd in points per game (102.8 ppg) and 22nd in blocks per game (4.1 bpg). While the Celtics have done an excellent job “gang rebounding” the ball, their best individual rebounder (Al Horford) is just racking up 9.8.

According to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, the Celtics are looking to add more depth at the center position. The Celtics are linked to a potential trade for Philadelphia 76ers Jahlil Okafor or post-buyout transaction with Phoenix Suns’ Greg Monroe. There’s the possibility of coming up with a huge deal involving New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis, although a deal of that magnitude usually happens in the offseason.