Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
Well, it’s a bit of a misleading headline, seeing as the Hornets won the NBA draft by default, but there’s nothing wrong with 2nd place, which is what everyone else will have to settle for.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been stockpiling draft picks, and they’ve got four in the upcoming NBA draft including the 4th and 24th picks in the first round. However, if they stay where they are, they could find themselves in a less than desirable position.
The Hornets will obviously be taking Anthony Davis, but from there it gets a bit murky. The Bobcats are effectively on the clock at two, and they are operating as the fulcrum that will decide how the rest of the draft functions.
According to Chad Ford’s big board, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Kentucky is the second best prospect of the draft, with Florida’s Bradley Beal checking in at three. If the Bobcats select either of the two, the Cavs will find themselves in trouble. The Wizards picking at three reportedly would love to have either Kidd-Gilchrist or Beal. If one is off the board, they’d be more than happy with the other to give John Wall his first wing player that isn’t washed up or a low-efficiency gunner that doesn’t give a rip about defense (here’s to you, Nick Young.)
Hit the jump for the rest of Carter’s piece…
That would leave Kansas’ Thomas Robinson as the best player left on the board. However, the Cavs took PF Tristan Thompson with the fourth overall pick last year, and both players are true fours – neither have the size to play center. That puts Cleveland in the unenviable position of either making a redundant pick (Robinson) or taking a chance on a wing like Harrison Barnes, who, while possessing a good skill set, didn’t live up to expectations in his two years in Chapel Hill.
Cavs GM Chris Grant could be looking at a tough situation, but with the Cavaliers sitting on a boatload of cap space and draft picks, they can improve their draft standing immensely with these two trades:
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: #2 Overall Pick
Charlotte Bobcats Receive: #4 Overall Pick, #24 Overall Pick
Why this trade works for both teams:
The Bobcats are coming off one of the most horrific seasons of all time, and they can use help anywhere and everywhere. Kidd-Gilchrist might be the second best prospect, but he’s likely not the best fit for this team – He still struggles to create his own shot, and is a below average shooter. Thomas Robinson is a great fit for these Bobcats, and while he doesn’t fit as a Cavalier, his ability to be the focal point of an offense as well as control the boards (He led the NCAA in defensive rebound rate) can help the Bobcats right away. The Bobcats will still be able to grab Robinson at #4, and they’ll get the 24th pick for their trouble. In a deep draft like this, they’ll be able to snag a player who can contribute.
For the Cavs, it’s pretty obvious – they get their guy in MKG who can lead the team defensively, is by all accounts a great worker and a great kid, and who also played high school basketball with Kyrie Irving.
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, and the #10 Overall Pick
New Orleans Hornets Receive: Alonzo Gee (Sign and Trade), #33 Overall Pick
Why this trade works for both teams:
The Hornets have been shopping the tenth pick in exchange for someone taking Ariza or Okafor (and their hefty salary cap numbers) off their hands. With Antawn Jamison coming off the books, the Cavs are sitting on a boatload of cap space. They can afford to take on both players, as well as giving the Hornets Alonzo Gee, who proved himself a capable wing last season who can defend as well as being a solid athlete. Not many teams can afford to take on that kind of salary, and the Hornets will be granted some serious cap flexibility from dropping the $20 million per year they had committed to Okafor and Ariza for the next two seasons.
For Cleveland, they add what would be the fourth top-ten pick in the past two seasons, in addition to Emeka Okafor who, despite being a bit overpaid, is no slouch at the center position. Ariza is who is he is at this point, that being an above-average athlete that shoots a few too many three-pointers. While the salary Cleveland would be adding is hefty, they don’t need that cap space yet – Thanks to Comic Sans-gate from Dan Gilbert, the team likely isn’t luring any big name free-agents any time soon (not to say they would anyway…being Cleveland and all,) and by the time they’d need to extend their young players, those two contracts would be off the books. With the tenth pick, they can draft a scorer at shooting guard like Jeremy Lamb from UConn or Austin Rivers out of Duke, or a center of the future like Meyers Leonard or Tyler Zeller.
Chris Grant has been following the Sam Presti’s model for the Thunder, and has been collecting his assets. Now it’s time to turn the assets into young, cheap, high-end talent. If Grant can push the right buttons, the Cavs can dominate the draft and give their young star point guard a few running mates, not unlike the Thunder were able to do with Durant. How’s that working out for the Thunder again?