It was reported earlier in the week that the Cleveland Cavaliers have interest in trading for Charlotte Hornets All-Star point guard Kemba Walker.
Given that LeBron James is a pending free agent and could very well leave Cleveland, said interest was seemingly based more on the Cavaliers eyeing a future without The King.
Such is the nature of the beast in an NBA landscape where the draft itself takes place before free agency. In reality, the Cavaliers are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Selecting eighth overall in Thursday’s draft, Cleveland’s strategy could tell us whether it’s confident in retaining James. It’s a major storyline heading into the annual event.
According to ESPN’s Ian Begley, at least one person close to the situation believes Cleveland’s interest in Walker is a way for the team to lure James back to the team.
“I just think you have to trade for a point guard who can make things easier for everybody on the court, including LeBron,” Begley said on the Bull and Fox Show on 92.3 The Fan. “Kemba Walker was dangled by Charlotte before the trade deadline. If you could somehow land a player like him in a trade prior to the draft … shortly after the draft, I certainly think that would impact LeBron’s thinking.”
It’s certainly not a secret that Cleveland is in the market for an upgrade at point guard. The 32-year-old George Hill is the only player at that position currently under contract for next season. He was an absolute disaster in Cleveland’s four-game series sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Cleveland has been linked to multiple points guards with the eighth pick in Thursday’s draft. That includes Oklahoma’s Trae Young, Alabama’s Collin Sexton and Kentucky’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
If the Cavs were to select a point guard rather than trading for a proven All-Star like Walker, it would signify that they’re not too confident in retaining James heading into free agency.