The Cleveland Cavaliers were finally able to get clarity in the Kyrie Irving situation by moving him to the Boston Celtics earlier this week.
Beyond the acquisition of All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas, veteran forward Jae Crowder, and young big man Ante Zizic, the Cavaliers also netted the Brooklyn Nets 2018 first-round pick. According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, this now allows for Cleveland to move their own 2018 first-round selection.
This is due in large part to the Stepien Rule that does not allow teams to wind up with back-to-back years without a single draft pick. This includes both guaranteed and non-guaranteed draft picks for any organization.
In the Cavaliers’ case, their 2018 first-round pick had been their only selection from next year’s draft and their 2019 first-round pick, which is top-10 protected. That pick was sent to the Atlanta Hawks in the Kyle Korver trade last season.
That being said, Cleveland wouldn’t be able to unload both picks if desired until the night of the 2018 NBA Draft.
If anything, this now gives the Cavaliers another trade asset to help improve their roster prior or during this upcoming season. There could plenty of teams interested in acquiring Cleveland’s own first-round pick that may lead to another significant deal being made in the coming weeks.