One of the biggest questions that has been surrounding the Cleveland Cavaliers in terms of the trade market has been if they will trade the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick that the wine and gold acquired in the deal that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston. With LeBron James’ future in Cleveland in question, it also puts the Nets’ pick in question as well.
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and James have been known to not be the best of friends, and it seems as though Gilbert isn’t going to risk the future just to make No. 23 happy this season. According to cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto, the Cavs will only trade the Brooklyn pick for a young star who is a long-term fix; they will trade their own first-round pick for a short-term fix.
1. I keep hearing the Cavs absolutely won’t trade the Brooklyn draft pick. That’s not true. I’ve heard from top league sources the Cavs will do it — but not for a short-term answer such as DeAndre Jordan. That’s because Jordan can become a free agent at the end of the season.
2. The Cavs would trade the pick for a younger player who is under team control for a few years. But they are willing to deal their own first-round pick in 2018 for the right short-term fix.
Currently 30-21 and coming off an embarrassing loss at home against the Houston Rockets on national television, it’s clear that something needs to change on this Cavs roster. It almost seems as though Cleveland doesn’t need to make one move, but at least two. Not only to have a chance at yet another Finals run, but to keep James happy as well, happy enough to keep him in Cleveland this summer (and beyond).
With that said, Gilbert seems to not want to risk a potential post-LeBron era and not only not have his best player, but not have the Brooklyn pick either. The Nets pick is essentially insurance in case James departs. But let’s be honest, if James goes elsewhere this summer, the Cavs won’t be good next season, whether they have the player taken with the Brooklyn pick or not.
So why not go all out, not only to keep James in town, but to give the wine and gold the best chance to win this season and going forward. If a deal that would demand the Brooklyn pick to be traded isn’t on the table before Thursday’s trade deadline, maybe wait until the Draft night, and trade it away for a proven star. Don’t just trade it away just to trade it, but also don’t keep it just to hold a grudge or potentially have a top-10 draft pick.
Then again, are there any players on the trading block that are even good enough to trade the Brooklyn pick for? DeAndre Jordan? Nope. Lou Williams? Nope. George Hill? Nope. Tyreke Evans? Nope. Kemba Walker? Probably not. The Cavs pick could probably be traded for some of those players, but the biggest questions seem to be surrounding the future of the Brooklyn pick.
Acquiring either Oklahoma City’s Paul George or Portland’s CJ McCollum for the Brooklyn pick (among other parts) would be worth it, but neither of those players seem to be on the block. If anything, the only time they have been brought up in trade rumors has been when Cavs fans are dreaming, or Twitter GMs decide to go on ESPN’s Trade Machine.
While Gilbert seems to not want to trade the Brooklyn pick, he’s essentially backing up those thoughts by attending college games, ones that have some of the top 2018 draft prospects playing in them. He is rumored to be in love with Oklahoma Sooners true freshman phenom Trae Young, and even went to watch the point guard play in-person recently as well. The Brooklyn pick is essentially insurance in case James leaves, but if No. 23 isn’t in Cleveland, aren’t the Cavs going to be bad either way?
General manager Koby Altman and the Cavs have until Thursday at 3 p.m. ET to make a trade and improve the team to make a run at a fourth-straight Finals appearance. With the trade deadline looming, it seems as though the wine and gold have to make at least one move in order to improve the current state of the team, both on and off the court. The Brooklyn pick is arguably the most significant trading chip currently on the block in the NBA, now it’s up to Altman and company to make the most of it.