When the Cleveland Cavaliers traded Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics in the 2017 offseason, they received one of the NBA’s most-coveted possessions in return. Along with Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Ante Zizic, Boston also sent Cleveland the rights to the Brooklyn Nets’ first round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, which, at that time, was projected to be a top-five choice.
Several teams around the NBA have called the Cavs’ front office with inquiries about the pick, but it’s sounding more and more like they’d like to keep it in their back pocket — just in case.
“They would be open to a deal by all indications,” one anonymous general manager told Sean Deveney of Sporting News. “But they’re not talking about that pick. That’s the Plan B for the LeBron stuff and from what I know, they don’t want to budge on it.”
What is this “LeBron stuff” the GM mentioned in his comments, you ask? As most hoops fans know, LeBron James can become a free agent at the end of this season. To be frank, no one knows his intentions. Some say he’s staying. Some say he’s going. Either way, it sounds like the Cavs would like to keep an insurance policy.
“The only way they trade that (pick) would be (for) a transformational player, someone who can help them win a championship,” the executive said. “I don’t think there is necessarily a player like that out there, at least not what’s been talked about so far. But you’re not going to deal away your chance at a top player in this draft for the right to lose to the Warriors again.”
David Yapkowitz ·
How well the Nets (11-16 overall record) perform this season will determine where the Cavs’ draft selection lands (if they indeed keep it). As of today, it would be a No. 10 pick, which would certainly help in the rebuilding process in the event of a James departure 2.0. The selection could rise to the top-five.
A lot has been said of James leaving the Cavs as of late, but he has shown no indications of displeasure with the organization. In fact, at 32 years of age, he’s having the best season of his career.