Something drastic seems in order for the Cleveland Cavaliers as they continue their downward spiral into defense-less losses and closed-door animosity. And with the Feb. 8 trade deadline just around the corner, what better time to stage a shakeup of mild-to-epic proportions?
Indeed, a roster re-organization of sorts remains in play for the Cavaliers. But whatever they end up doing, however significant it is, they still aren’t expected to cough up the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round draft pick.
From NBA.com’s David Aldridge:
The current consensus among many executives around the league is that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and Altman will, ultimately, hold onto the Brooklyn pick. The likelihood of Cleveland ever getting a potential top-10 pick again in the James era is Who in Whoville size.
“I don’t think there is a player on the market that justifies it unless LeBron targets someone and makes it a condition of his return,” one executive texted Sunday.
This aligns with the most common sense-laden takes. The Nets pick was a big part of the reason why the Cavaliers agreed to trade Kyrie Irving to an Eastern Conference rival, in the Boston Celtics. They view as their safety net—a building block they’ll have stashed away in the event LeBron James spurs them once again in free agency.
At the same time, the Nets have torpedoed the value of this draft pick. They would currently be slotted eighth if the lottery took place today, and they’re within striking distance of avoiding a bottom-12 record depending on what teams like the Utah Jazz, New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets do at the trade deadline. Is it possible the Cavaliers are only making this selection theoretically untouchable to drum up its value in advance of the deadline? Maybe.
Regardless of their intent, though, there’s no denying this pick lacks the appeal it once did—which, in the end, makes it more likely the Cavs move it at all.