As of this writing, we’re close to three hours away from the 2018 NBA Draft and the rumors are flying all over the league.
One rumor came from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and it does involve the Cleveland Cavaliers, who currently hold the 8th overall pick.
Cleveland has been linked to several prospects inside the top ten over the last few days and weeks leading up to the draft but there hasn’t been any substantial talk about them moving up, it’s been more about potentially swapping picks with teams such as the Charlotte Hornets and the Los Angeles Clippers.
Two teams that have been rumored to want to move down are the Atlanta Hawks and the Memphis Grizzlies who have the 3rd and 4th overall picks respectively.
Obviously if Cleveland would want to move up, it could cost them but for Atlanta and Memphis, they’re looking to shed some salary off their payrolls and it could lessen the cost of Cleveland moving up by taking on some of those long-term contracts from those respective teams.
Using ESPN’s trade machine, I’ve thrown together some potential trade scenarios with each team
Cleveland receives: SG Kent Bazemore (2 years, $37.3 million remaining), PG Dennis Schroder (3 years, $46.5 million remaining, 3rd overall pick
Atlanta receives: PG George Hill (2 years, $37 million remaining-$20 million guaranteed), SG J.R. Smith (2 years, $30.4 million remaining-$18.59 million guaranteed), 8th overall pick
Cleveland receives: SF Chandler Parsons (2 years, $49.2 million remaining), 4th overall pick
Memphis receives: PG George Hill (2 years, $37 million remaining-$20 million guaranteed), 8th overall pick
Now many are probably wondering why both sides on each deal would do that. For Memphis or Atlanta, it helps shed off some of those contracts they’re committed to and frees up cap space for those respective teams to try and start to rebuild those respective franchises.
For Cleveland, it would be to try and obviously move up in the draft order to get one of those blue chip prospects that is right now unattainable with the 8th overall selection.
If they did the deal with Atlanta, they would add a starting point guard in Dennis Schroder who averaged 19 points and 6 assists per game and is a playmaker at the position which is something Cleveland is lacking. They’d also add Kent Bazemore who can score but is also a solid defender in the league.
If they did the deal with Memphis, Parsons is an excellent scoring wing that is being vastly overpaid when looking his production over his seven year career. He’s had two tough seasons in Memphis dealing with injuries but has proven he can score averaging 13 points per game and shooting 38% from three point distance over his career.
Now, getting back to who the Cavs could pick if they moved up to 3rd or 4th overall in the draft. There’s two prospects I think a lot of teams would like to have in this draft and they’re being talked about a lot during the pre-draft process: Luka Doncic and Mohamed Bamba.
Doncic is only 19 years old but has won practically everything there is to win in the EuroLeague and is ready to come give the NBA a shot. He does everything well on the court and scouting reports say he is a natural born leader. He won’t wow you with his athleticism or his skills but scouts seem to love him.
If Cleveland moved up to get Doncic, I don’t think they’d hold onto him and he could be a trade chip in a package for a superstar such as Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.
Bamba has been said to have the most upside out of any player in this draft class. He fits the mold of a big man in today’s style of NBA play.
A freak athlete at 7’0 height with a 7’9 wingspan and a standing reach of 9’6. He can get up and down the floor great with his light feet and has already been training with 76ers center Joel Embiid on his post game which needs work. Also a great rebounder who averaged 16.2 rebounds per 40 minutes during his one season in Texas.
Cleveland could easily use a guy like Bamba down inside and it would allow them to move Kevin Love back to his natural position of power forward.
The biggest thing out of this rumor would be the Cavaliers potentially taking on more salary with the future of Lebron James still up in the air. Owner Dan Gilbert could once again be taking on big contracts and bumping his luxury tax to over $300 million dollars over the past four seasons with these potential moves.
If these deals go down and James decides to leave as a free agent in a few weeks, Gilbert is going to have to spend a lot of money on a team that could go from the NBA Finals back to the bottom of the league despite a payroll that would still be over $100 million dollars.
Whether or not this rumor comes to fruition, there’s once again a lot of buzz surrounding the Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA Draft.