USA Today’s Alex Kennedy reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers have offered their first overall pick in the draft to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Greivis Vasquez, this year’s sixth overall pick, and a 2014 first-rounder.
It does not look like New Orleans will accept the offer, and that speaks volumes to how weakly this draft is perceived by NBA front offices.
Cleveland has made it clear since winning the lottery that the top pick is available at the right price. Unfortunately for the Cavs, no one wants the pick. In a draft considered to be one of the weakest in years, scouts and general managers do not see a single surefire All-Star in the crowd.
Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel is expected to be the top player, but he is coming off of a torn ACL. Five other players are considered to be potential first overall picks, but none of them are drawing enough attention to spark a trade for the first pick.
The most valued piece of the proposed trade is the 2014 first-rounder. As weak as this year’s draft is, next year’s is expected to be strong, headlined by Kansas super recruit Andrew Wiggins, who many consider to be the best high school player since LeBron James, and Duke recruit Jabari Parker, last year’s high school player of the year.
Vasquez emerged last season as a solid starting point guard, averaging 13 points and nine assists, but he is not the type of asset a general manager is unwilling to part with if it means the acquisition of a franchise changing player.
Cleveland’s proposed move to the sixth position is hardly considered a downgrade in this year’s draft, where uncertainty and lukewarm interest prevail.
Wanting to trade the first overall pick is an undesirable position. Forfeit the right to draft a player who blossoms into a star, and a general manager looks like a bum.
Typically the opportunity to move up five picks and draft the best college player in the nation in exchange for a decent starting point guard and a future first-rounder would be a no-brainer. But the fact that Cleveland has offered this and will likely be refused suggests that Cleveland has to be careful to not sell themselves short.
If Cleveland does not expect whoever they could pick at number one to have much of an impact, it is not a bad play to keep the pick, take whoever they like the most, continue to struggle, and enter next year’s draft with great chance at Wiggins or Parker.
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