The Cleveland Cavaliers are heading into the half-way point of the season, searching for answers in terms of how to get back to an elite level. Monday’s 118-108 defeat at the hands of the Golden State Warriors marked the Cleveland Cavaliers’ fourth straight loss and 9th in their last 12 games.

Since LeBron James returned to Cleveland in 2014, the Cavs experienced some ups and downs in the regular season, but their recent struggle are causing heightened concerns among NBA pundits about their ability to compete with the Warriors in another potential NBA Finals re-match.

Some believe the Cavs’ current form would not even push them past the second round of the playoffs, with the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors and the Milwaukee Bucks showing tremendous improvement this season.

Then again, it’s still January and Cleveland has plenty of time to right the ship. Many NBA insiders are expecting the Cavaliers to be active players in the trading market. They have been kicking tires on Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan for the past three month to address their rebounding and rim protection woes. The Cavs are also searching the market for another high-impact 3-and-D player, especially at the off-guard position.

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported on Tuesday, per reliable league sources, that the Cavs will definitely make a deal on or before February 8.

Still, the insider said he can’t think of a trade in the current market that would help the Cavs narrow the gap between them and the Warriors. Paul George would have been the difference-maker for the Cavs, but it’s very unlikely a deal involving the All-Star forward will materialize, especially with the Thunder finding some success as of late.

Nerlens Noel to Cavs?

One interesting trade target the Cavs and other teams would likely explore is Nerlens Noel. With the Clippers asking too much in exchange for Jordan, Noel emerges as an intriguing alternative for teams looking for frontcourt depth and versatility on defense.

While it has been a rough season for Noel because of limited playing time and a thumb injury that has sidelined him since December, the former Kentucky Wildcat still stirs up some interest in the trade market with his rare skills. His mobility at 6-foot-11 allows him to protect the rim and cover guards out on the perimeter.

Hoops Rumors NBA analyst Bryan Kalbrosky also pointed out Noel’s aptitude to drive in the lane and create openings for shooters.

His playing style best fits with teams that like to push the ball. As a matter of fact, Noel had one of the best field goal percentages in transition during the 2015-16 NBA season. Interestingly, the other top transition performer during that season was LeBron James.

Potential Mavs trade

It’s worth nothing that Noel and LeBron share the same agent in Rich Paul of Klutch Sports and there were rumors of a potential team-up this summer. Also, the Mavs have another player that might pique the interest of the Cavs’ front office. Wes Matthews, who can knock down threes and defend opposing wingmen at an elite level, is reportedly up for grabs as well.

Kalbrosky proposes a trade that would send a package consisting of a struggling J.R. Smith ($13.7M), the expiring contract of Channing Frye ($7.4M), youngster Cedi Osman ($2.6M) and a first-round pick to Dallas in exchange for the combo of Noel and Matthews. Noel ($4.1M) will hit the market after this season as an unrestricted free agent, while Matthews has a player option for the 2018-19 season worth $17M.