- With the NBA trade deadline approaching, the Cleveland Cavaliers must decide whether to include the 2018 Brooklyn Nets draft pick in any trade packages.
- The decision is a tough one, as the pick could net them a superstar, but could also help them rebuild in the event LeBron James leaves after the season ends.
- The Cavs are reportedly unlikely to move the pick, but if star players become available before the trade deadline they would make the possibility more interesting.
The Cleveland Cavaliers face one of the toughest decisions with the NBA trade deadline approaching on February 8.
The Cavaliers are just 3-5 in January and 27-17 on the season, on pace for just a 50-32 record when the season concludes.
As they showed against their biggest rivals, the Golden State Warriors, this week, the Cavs are well short of being a true championship threat and don’t appear truly capable of challenging the Warriors unless they make a move.
For the Cavs, any trades in the next three weeks would revolve around whether they include the 2018 Brooklyn Nets first-round draft pick. That pick has been one of the greatest assets in the NBA in recent years and was the centrepiece of the Kyrie Irving-Celtics deal in the offseason.
With ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting on Friday that the Charlotte Hornets are shopping point guard Kemba Walker, calls for the Cavs to make a deal including the Nets pick have grown louder.
The Hornets present an interesting trade partner for the Cavs. The Hornets are reportedly looking to dump salary in any Walker trade, and between Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams, Cody Zeller, and Dwight Howard, the Hornets could attach decent role players on hefty salaries to any trade. For a team with championship ambitions like the Cavs, that may be appealing.
Though it’s unclear if the Cavs are interested in trading for Walker, they could potentially put together an interesting trade – if they part with the Nets pick, which is currently projected to be the seventh pick in the draft. The Cavs could send the pick and other spare parts for Walker and either a wing or big man from Charlotte. Adding more playmaking and scoring in Walker, plus shooting and defence in, say, Williams, would move the needle at least slightly for Cleveland.
But it’s unclear if even that would be enough for the Cavs.Wojnarowski said on “Golic and Wingo” that he believes it’s unlikely that the Cavs would trade the Nets pick unless it’s for a sure-fire superstar that could change their title odds.
That position makes sense for Cleveland. With LeBron James’ future uncertain, holding onto the Nets pick would allow the Cavs to immediately begin a rebuild if James leaves in free agency. As Wojnarowski mentioned, the Cavs don’t want to spend a lottery pick on a rental, only to have James leave months later.
Yet perhaps using that pick to acquire a star player would help the Cavs show their commitment to James. In recent days, reports have trickled out that the Cavs are increasingly unhappy with the way their season has unfolded. James recently said this season has been more challenging than past years. That could be a way of James not-so-subtly saying the team needs to make a change.
The Cavs have about three weeks to decide the best course to take. In almost any case, their decision could have big implications.
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