While the Cavaliers could still land an impact player with the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick (No. 8 overall), the on-court results from the Kyrie Irving trade have been extremely underwhelming to date. Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder were ineffective in Cleveland and were flipped at the deadline for players like Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood, and Larry Nance, who haven’t made an impact in the postseason.
As Jason Lloyd of The Athletic writes, at least one Cavaliers player was ready to call the Irving blockbuster a net negative for Cleveland several months ago. After one bad loss during the winter, the unnamed player turned to Lloyd and said, “Danny Ainge is a f***ing thief.” Given the results of the Eastern Conference Finals so far, with the Irving-less Celtics up 2-0 on the Cavs, that player probably isn’t alone in his view.
Here’s more from around the Central:
- While Bulls executive John Paxson acknowledged that versatile wings are more important than ever in today’s NBA, that doesn’t mean the club is zeroed in on acquiring such a player with the No. 7 pick. As Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago writes, Paxson said the Bulls intend to take the best available player. Paxson added that the club won’t rule out the possibility of trading up, though he admitted that’s “hard to do.”
- In a separate article for NBC Sports Chicago, Strotman lays out a case for why the Bulls should use the No. 7 pick to select Missouri prospect Michael Porter Jr., who is recovering from back surgery.
- The Pistons no longer have their 2018 first-round pick, but they’ll be on the lookout for second-round options at this week’s combine. Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press identifies five names to watch, while Keith Langlois of Pistons.com details why the club could draft a player at any position.
- Speaking of the Pistons, they don’t yet have a new head of basketball operations in place, so GM Jeff Bower continues to run the front office — despite the fact that his contract is set to expire on June 30. Writing for The Detroit Free Press, Ellis has the story on Bower’s unusual situation.
- Count Pacers forward Bojan Bogdanovic among the players who intends to represent his country during this summer’s 2019 World Cup qualifiers. As he tells FIBA.basketball, Bogdanovic will look to turn things around for Croatia after the squad went 1-3 in the first two sets of qualifiers.