The Cleveland Cavaliers may have received three players in the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics, but the biggest asset that they received could be the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected first-round pick.
With the Nets projected to be one of the worst teams in the NBA in the 2017-18 season, the pick has a good shot at being a Top 5 or even a Top 3 selection. With the 2018 draft class projected by many to be very loaded, having such a good pick in the draft could be franchise-changing.
With the chance that the Brooklyn pick will be a very good one, many teams have already called the Cavs to inquire about the possibility of them trading that 2018 Nets’ unprotected first-round pick, per cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon.
With LeBron James set to become an unrestricted free agent following the upcoming season, he could bolt to another team if he wants to or stick with the Cavaliers next summer.
The Cavs basically have three options in terms of Brooklyn’s pick:
- Trade it either prior to October 17 or at some point during the season for a legitimate veteran star who will contribute greatly to the Cavs this season. Names that have been floated around are Pelicans big man Boogie Cousins or power forward Anthony Davis and Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, among others.
- Trade it next offseason after the Cavs know whether James is staying or leaving. If he stays, they can trade it for another star player to put alongside No. 23; if he leaves, they can trade it for a star that will contribute right away in place of James.
- Keep it and make the pick. Even if James remains a Cav, if the pick is a Top 5 selection, Cleveland can draft a player who can contribute and help the Cavs from the moment he puts on the wine and gold uniform. If the King decides to leave, they can draft someone that will help the rebuilding process and a player that can be the next big star in Cleveland.
Cleveland can either end up making that pick or trading it away by next June. While that remains a question, the Cavs having rights to that pick will only mean good things going forward, both during the season and next offseason.
It may have gone overlooked by some due to it essentially not helping the Cavs immediately from Day 1, but Cleveland acquiring Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick could go down as the biggest asset they received for Irving.