The Cleveland Cavaliers were one of the biggest winners of the draft lottery, acquiring the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
This has embattled general manager Koby Altman in a great position to add to a talented young core in Cleveland. One of the consensus top-four players in the draft will ultimately be available to the Cavaliers should they opt to keep that selection.
Right now, this is not a foregone conclusion. According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, Cleveland has received “significant trade interest” in the third pick. The NBA insider goes on to note that both the Toronto Raptors (No. 4) and Orlando Magic (No. 5, No. 8) have already made trade offers to the Cavaliers for said selection. Below, we look at three trade possibilities for Cleveland should it look to move down.
Cleveland Cavaliers trade third pick to the Toronto Raptors
- Cavaliers get: Fourth pick, 46th pick, future protected first-round pick
- Raptors get: Third pick
This would simply be a swap of draft picks without any player being moved unless Cleveland shows interest in young Raptors guard Malachi Flynn. In fact, the 2020 first-round pick would make sense for the Cavaliers if they are dead set on trading star guard Collin Sexton.
From a logistical perspective, it’s all about how the first two selections play out. If the Pistons go with Cade Cunningham and Houston adds Jalen Green, there might be a battle to move up to the third selection for USC’s Evan Mobley. In turn, Cleveland could use this to up the ante in trade talks. That would include receiving a top-10 protected pick from Toronto in 2022.
Cleveland Cavaliers trade third pick to the Orlando Magic
- Cavaliers get: Fifth and eighth picks
- Magic get: Third pick
This is where it gets pretty darn complicated. As noted above, there’s a consensus top-four players in the draft. That comes in the form of Cunningham, Mobley, Green and Jalen Suggs. Would Cleveland risk trading out from a slot that guarantees one of those four players? If so, any team moving up would have to pay a huge bounty.
It’s in this that Orlando might be in the best position to offer up a ton to the Cavaliers for the third selection. The starting-off point would have to be both top-eight picks in the 2021 NBA Draft. Perhaps, the Cavaliers also demand a youngster like Wendell Carter Jr. or R.J. Hampton. Either way, this would enable Cleveland to add two top-10 picks to a core that includes Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro and Jarrett Allen.
Cleveland Cavaliers trade third pick to the New Orleans Pelicans
- Cavaliers get: 10th pick, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Steven Adams, future first-round pick
- Pelicans get: Third pick, Kevin Love
Pay attention. There’s a lot of moving parts here. We already know that New Orleans is going to do everything possible to appease Zion Williamson and find him another star. That includes taking offers for the 10th pick. Front office head David Griffin could easily use his assets to move into the top three and temporarily nab one of the top talents in the draft. In turn, he’d then flip said selection with other pieces for a star player. The cost here would include taking on Kevin Love’s bloated contract. It’s the price of doing business when it comes to the injury-plagued veteran.
From Cleveland’s perspective, it adds a young traditional two-guard in Alexander-Walker who boasts starter potential and could be a great fit with Darius Garland should the Cleveland Cavaliers move on from Collin Sexton. They also receive a top-10 pick this year and a lightly protected future first-round pick from a New Orleans squad that boasts eight first-round selections over the next four drafts. It’s a win-win for both teams.