Now that Kevin Love is going to be out at least the next six weeks, it’s become a necessity for the Cleveland Cavaliers to upgrade their rester ahead of next week’s trade deadline.
Even prior to Love’s injury, the team was said to be active on the trade front. That’s likely be expedited a bit now.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Cavaliers are actually open to moving the first-round pick they acquired (via Brooklyn) in the Kyrie Irving trade with the Boston Celtics.
But there’s one large caveat here.
Windhorst: The #Cavs may be open to trading the Brooklyn pick but it has to be for a long-term solution. Its not a question of them trading it, its about what they would trade it for. I don't see a player on the market that is a slam dunk, so its hard to see a trade.
— ESPN Cleveland (@ESPNCleveland) February 1, 2018
Of the names bandied about on the trade block, only Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker would justify a return of this ilk. Even then, Cleveland has to value the Nets’ pick at an extremely high clip. Brooklyn currently boasts the eighth-worst record in the NBA and is just 3.5 games ahead of Atlanta for the worst mark in the Association.
Part of the reason Cleveland is looking for a long-term solution in moving that pick is the future of LeBron James in Ohio. We’ve seen the reports linking him to the Golden State Warriors in free agency next summer.
While that seems a bit absurd, it’s nowhere near a forgone conclusion that James returns to the Cavaliers next season. They surely have to plan for the future. And having a potential top-five pick in an absolutely stacked draft class would go a long way in rebuilding what a James’ departure would ultimately tear down.
In any event, look for Cleveland to be active ahead of next week’s trade deadline. Whether that includes a blockbuster trade remains to be seen.