Cavs Willing To Trade Lottery Pick For Vets

The Cavaliers are seeking proven veterans from teams looking to move up in the draft despite not knowing LeBron Jamesplans for the future, Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Cleveland has the No. 8 overall pick on Thursday, courtesy of the Kyrie Irving blockbuster deal with the Celtics last summer. The front office has sent signals that it intends to upgrade the team, even if James opts out of his contract or requests a trade, Vardon continues.

Cleveland has sent out feelers to the Spurs about their willingness to deal disgruntled forward Kawhi Leonard. Hornets point guard Kemba Walker is another potential target, according to Vardon. Adding another impact player would be a way of trying to entice James to stay put but, of course, there’s no guarantee that will convince him to do so.

The front office and James’ camp have been in contact over the phone and in person lately, though the team’s brass hasn’t met with James,, sources told Vardon. There have not been any serious discussions regarding his future because James remains uncertain what he’s going to do, Vardon adds.

Despite their willingness to deal, the Cavaliers could still hold onto the pick.

Adding another veteran or two, especially if Cleveland uses the $5.8MM trade exception it possesses, would present even more salary-cap issues. The Cavs will pay about $50MM in luxury-tax penalties on last season’s payroll, Vardon notes, and they’ll still be over the cap even if James bolts without them trading for more help. Yet the Cavs’ front office is still willing to take on more salary with the hope of improving their chances to retain James, Vardon adds.

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78 thoughts on “Cavs Willing To Trade Lottery Pick For Vets

  1. camdenyards46

    If they trade this pick, they need confirmation that LeBron is staying. Without him, they miss the playoffs.

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    • Chris

      I think a Kemba/Kevin Love squad could actually make the playoffs if they had a real coach

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      • Michael Chaney

        Is getting swept in the first round as a 7 or 8 seed really worth it though? I personally don’t think so…as a Cavs fan I’d rather blow it up and rebuild if he leaves then try to piece together a low-level playoff team

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        • hiflew

          Then don’t get swept. That’s like saying it would have been better for Portland to tank and win 15 games because they got swept in the first round. If the goal is to win a championship, then to accomplish that goal you have to get into the playoffs. You have to beat teams like the Celtics, Sixers, Warriors regardless of whether you are the 7 seed or the 1 seed. You cannot win the championship if you don’t make the playoffs.

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          • Michael Chaney

            Well obviously no one tries to get swept, so saying not to isn’t gonna change that it would happen. And yes, I know that you can’t win a title without making the playoffs, but this is the NBA; unless you have a superstar (and more like 2 or 3 superstars), you aren’t sniffing a title.

            I’d rather bottom out and give myself a better chance at landing a superstar than be stuck in purgatory for years.

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    • Chris

      Hornets need more for that trade. They have some nice assets to other contenders as well

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      • collajf

        Dwight= bad but expiring contract, Kemba one year deal left.. With draft pick that sounds about right

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        • Why on earth would Charlotte trade their only two major expiting contracts for mediocre at best vets on long term deals, they’d be in a worse situation talent wise and cap-wise (sidenote: Dwight was in contention for injury replacement All Star this season, overpaid but still talented)

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          • pihc

            And of course the reverse could and can be made for Cleveland. Who in God’s name wants a midget for a point guard and a cancer in a center. And for what? a #8 pick in of itself might bring a HOF player let alone dumping one of the better defending point guards to go along with a defensive shooting guard. That’s a really, really stupid trade for the Cavs.

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          • knickscavsfan

            You can argue the talent exchange but I think the 8th pick would mitigate that. That being said, the majority of the money for Smith and Hill is non-guaranteed in 2019-20 thus making them expiring contracts as well. Smith @ 1/$13 mil +4 mil and Hill @ 1/$20 + $1 mil.

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    • Ralow

      Walker/Howard for Tristan Thompson, Jordan Clarkson and #8 works (Cleveland would have to include a minimum level salary). Do the Hornets do that deal?

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      • acarneglia

        They’d want JR and his expiring contract instead of TT

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        • knickscavsfan

          DONE. I’d drive him there too. Shoot, it would be a convoy of fans willing to help get him there. We can stop off and tailgate along the way. I can probably get a sponsorship from Hennesy.

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          • knickscavsfan

            Pardon me. I wouldn’t give up the #8 for Howard or Walker. I do think Charlotte would trade those two if the Cavs took back Batum for salary relief.

            Gilbert has to look at the configuration of the team and how to re-purpose bad future payroll.

            Hill (1/$21), Smith (1/$17) and Clarkson (2/$25) and Cedi Osman (2/$6) for Howard (1/$24), Walker (1/$12) and Batum (3/$76).

            Cavs keep the #8 and extend Hood.

            PG-Walker
            SG-Hood
            SF-LBJ
            PF-Love
            C-Howard
            Bench-Batum, Nance, Thompson and Korver.

            Now you immediately improve the interior defense with a rim protector in Howard who should also get much easier buckets with LBJ serving him. He gets a legit PG who can score much easier than Hill ever could. You hope that Hood feels more confident in his shot and thrives like he did in Utah. He should be an upgrade over JR Smith. You move Love to a much more comfortable role than playing C.

            Now imagine if they get lucky with the #8th pick and can attract a couple of veterans looking for a chip. Gimme some nasty dogs like Zach Randolph for some toughness off the bench. He’s Kendrick Perkins but he can still actually play. Gimme a Jamal Crawford who is instant buckets. Or a Rudy Gay who you can just give the rock to and say “give me some buckets for the next 5 minutes”. That’s what the 2018 team lacked. Characters that will step up off the bench. #theotherguys

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            • brewpackbuckbadg

              I don’t understand why the Hornets would do this? To help out the Cavs?

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              • Yeah no way Charlotte does this. The 8th pick is not that valuable. People need to reel in their expectations.

                For the 8th pick, you’d be lucky to get a rotation player in a trade. When you throw in your bad salaries, you aren’t even getting that. The entire principal of this trade is asinine because it helps Cleveland tremendously and hurts Charlotte even more.

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                • brewpackbuckbadg

                  It is even worse than that. Khicksfan isn’t even including the 8th pick from what I can tell. It is just:

                  Hill (1/$21), Smith (1/$17) and Clarkson (2/$25) and Cedi Osman (2/$6) for Howard (1/$24), Walker (1/$12) and Batum (3/$76).

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                • knickscavsfan

                  Can we agree that the 8th picks usefulness is relative to the draft. Many are saying that this is a very deep draft. According to the most recent ESPN mock draft guys like Young and Sexton are widely regarded. You don’t think those are impact players?

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                  • No, both of those guys have a high likelihood of not even being rotation players in the NBA. There are seven guys in this draft who have a floor that’s probably higher than their ceiling. The pick isn’t worthless, but it also isn’t worth much more than an overpriced rotation guy.

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  2. If it’s not Lillard or Wall then it’s not enough. LeBron is still leaving.

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    • Michael Chaney

      As much as I’d love to be proven wrong, the #8 pick probably doesn’t even start a conversation for Lillard or Wall…maybe not even CJ McCollum

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      • pihc

        I wouldn’t give up the 8 for walker. It’s the IT gamble. Can’t play D, can’t get his team in the playoffs on his own and certainly wouldn’t be able to ignite a Cavs fan base. Just blow it up and keep the assets, i.e. high draft picks in a deep draft at the top.

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  3. They won’t know if LBJ is coming back before the draft. Best to plan as though he is. If he’s not, the least of their issues will be not maximizing the 8th pick in the draft. Although it may turn out they did better with the trade in any event.

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    • x%sure

      Exactly. So often fans think the worst should be planned for. Unfortunately for many of those same fans, planning for “stays woth Cavs” means trading the asset that fans seem to dream of most– the unnamed lottery pick guy.

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  4. knickscavsfan

    It’s absurd to think that James WOULDN’T stay if the #8 pick was able to bring back an impact rookie. It’s sort of like playing Texas Hold Em. One guy might fold they “only” have a 3 and 4. Another might go all-in before the flop because they have an Ace and King. The flop comes and it’s a 2, 5 and 6. Who’s the winner and who’s hitting the buffet table a little bit sooner than expected?

    I say it makes sense to work all of guys who might go 4-12 while simultaneously speaking to perspective teams on trades for current players. This way on draft day you’re capable at seeing what occurs. There are always draft day surprises where a couple of guys expected to go 3 or 4 slip to 8 or 9 or guys who were expected to 8 or 9 is drafted at the #5 spot.

    If it ends up being a Michael Porter Jr talent available at #8 I might rather have him vs a guy like Kemba Walker. I think that’s what LBJ wants to see. If they DON’T trade the pick but LBJ sees the rookie drafted as someone he likes and fits a great style of play then maybe he stays, knowing that 2018-19 he may have to go thru seeing the rookie struggle for a little bit but ultimately seeing the promise of something greater.

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    • TJECK109

      You sound like a hopeful cavs fan unwilling to face reality. How is the #8 pick going to make them good enough to beat the rockets, Celtics, or Warriors next season?

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      • knickscavsfan

        I’m a fan that looks at the totality of this past season and not just the end result. The Kyrie trade forced them to try and build this team on the fly.

        What happened in that finals? The Warriors are an incredible team but the Rockets had them up against the wall 1 game away from beating them.

        You look at the Cavs team and what were they? A team with the best player in the game. A team with a 20/10 threat every night. A team with a bunch of role players and specialist. The superstar was historic. The all-star gave you at least 20 pts and 10 rebounds the first 3 games of the 4 game set. The role players (Smith, Hill and Thompson) didn’t step up and give you what they gave you during the season. The specialists (3 pt shooters) simply didn’t do their job and it wasn’t because they faced a superior defense as lots of those shots were uncontested looks.

        Reg/Finals

        Korver 44%/10%
        Clarkson 41%/0% on 0 for 3 shooting and 23 FG%
        Smith 37%- shot 36% overall but only 5 for 20 in games 1 and 2 (20%)
        Hood 35%/20% and only took 5 shots.

        So imagine if Smith doesn’t blow it in game 1 and the team shot their usual 37% from 3pt line instead of a collective 29%. Things would’ve been much more competitive.

        But speaking of the outlook of 2018-19. If James and a healthy Love come back they’re at least a 50 win team. Then it’s a matter of who they draft at #8? It’s unusual for a playoff contender to be drafting this high the same year they went to the finals but there are plenty of players that were drafted well after the #8 spot that had immediate impact on their team. Cavs also have some useful contracts that with small 2nd year guarantees effectively make them 1 year expiring contracts. Smith is effectively a 1/$17 mil contract. Hill at 1/$21 and Korver at 1/$10 are others. There are plenty of impact players making too much money for really bad teams that might be willing to move them. Gilbert has shown himself to be an owner willing to put winning ahead of luxury tax concerns.

        Maybe Detroit wants some relief from Drummonds 3/$90 mil, or OKC if Melo opts-in on his $28 mil if they can get an asset in return or Lowry and his 2/$64 mil. Shoot, I might even take a Chandler Parson contract back if I could get their #4 pick. The contract back wouldn’t be Love but even something like Thompson, Clarkson, the #8 for Parson, Wayne Seldon and their #4 might be attractive to have in place depending on who’s taken 1-3 on draft night.

        Now, if the front office is smart enough or bold enough to make these moves remains to be seen. Obviously, LBJ would be doing himself a favor by letting the Cavs know something. Now while HE hasn’t met with the Cavs I know his “people” have and it ain’t because of Thompson and Smith (other clients repped by LBJ’s agent Rich Paul).

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        • joemoes

          You can’t look to far ahead when Lebron only has 2-3 prime years left honestly

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    • If Porter is available at 8 you say by to Lebron and kickstart the rebuild.

      But unless his back breaks in two, Porter will be off the board before then. It’s so unlikely it’s not worth mentioning.

      Cleveland is drafting 8th in a 7 prospect draft. Unless someone royally screws the pooch, you aren’t getting an impact rookie. Lots of guys who could be role players, sure, but Cleveland needs a lot more than that to keep Lebron.

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  5. Dodgethis

    I find it hard to believe that LeBron hasn’t already gone through every scenario. Every potential draft pick, every potential trade. His decision is likely already made, or it is a decision that will have nothing to do with basketball.

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    • I mean season just ended it’s deff possible he hasn’t made up his mine, prob needs time to relax and weigh all options

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    • knickscavsfan

      I think he knows his preference but there are way too many variables that can happen to decide now. Can you imagine if Melo opt-in, OKC decides to move him and were willing to re-purpose the $27 mil due and a trade like Smith, Korver, Osman and a 2nd rnd pick were made? Korver and Osman may have more value for the kind of team that OKC has than Melo. Have Melo be that super 6th man off the bench? Yeesh.

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  6. padam

    If I’m the Cavs, I’m working as if LBJ is not on the team. Trade the pick for vets? Not sure I’d do that. In fact, I’d be shopping Love and see what the market is. And anything/one that is willing to take JR or TT.

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    • That should be the trade. How bad do you want the 8th pick? You’re taking Thompson and Smith with it.

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      • Michael Chaney

        I’d love to get rid of either of them but no one is gonna take one of the two of them just to get a pick in the middle of the lottery

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        • knickscavsfan

          Of course teams would. The Nets took Mozgov’s contract just to get D’Angelo Russell. Even though he was 2 years into his NBA career it’s effectively a similar situation.

          I could see teams like Detroit (Drummond), Toronto (Lowry), OKC and New Orleans are all teams without a 1st round selection that might look to get into the 8th spot if there’s a particular player drops down in the draft or one that may not last until they pick at #17

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          • Michael Chaney

            Yeah but Russell was a former #2 overall pick who still had potential to be a star. There’s a little bit of a difference between taking on salary to get him, and taking on salary to get Mikal Bridges.

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  7. They aren’t getting a star for the 8 pick, but it does make sense that they’re going to operate to appease Lebron because this pick wouldn’t move the needle much on a rebuild. Who’s going to be available at 8? Trae Young? Not the kind of guy you start a rebuild with.

    It would make more sense for them to get a good role player/starter that’s better than existing roster and a young player with upside for the pick. The Bulls might match up with Robin Lopez (who would be the best big on that roster) and a young player who can start (maybe Kris Dunn). They’re going year to year with Lebron, so Lopez’s expiring deal makes so much sense. They’d even be able to convince the Bulls to take some long term salary back to make it work with the cap (think Tristan Thompson, Jordan Clarkson, et al).

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  8. Z-A

    #8 3.3M #11 2.78M (projected) = 6.08M

    Hornets current cap 119.5M – Dwight 23.8M – Kemba 12M = 83.7M… + Hill 19M + JR 15.6M = 118.3M… + Picks =124.38M

    Luxury Tax = 123M

    So for a team wanting to get under the luxury tax, this trade does NOT do anything for them.

    Dwight Howard & Kemba Walker are both expiring contracts anyway, so instead of costing 0 next year, they pay 4.4M to Hill & JR?

    Explain why this is a good trade for Charlotte?

    Dwight + Williams + Lamb for Hill + JR + #8 makes a lot more sense for them. They save face with the fan base, have extra $ to resign Kemba + ~20M for a FA in 2019.

    And it puts them at 113.94M for 2018-19.

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  9. Z-A

    If you’re trying to figure out a way to get Kawhi Leonard. It’s really, what can I get for Kevin Love?

    Can you send Love back to Minnesota for Wiggins, Wiggins to SAS?

    I don’t see SAS wanting Love, since he’s not 25 yr old Kevin Love.

    Slimmer chance without some kind of super crafty move.

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  10. Scott

    A Cavs-Hornets deal makes sense. Kemba, Batum, and #11 for Hill, JR Smith, and #8.

    Smith and Hill are essentially on one year deals and moving from #11 to #8 should guarantee the Hornets get Kemba’s replacement in SGA or Sexton. This also gets the Hornets out of Batum’s terrible contract.

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    • knickscavsfan

      I’m not giving up the #8 for two marginal stars that can walk in 1 year AND take on Batum for $80 mil. Who is doing who a favor here? I would say the Cavs are helping them out immensely by giving Charlotte $50 mil in salary relief ($25 mil in 19/20 and 20/21).

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    • knickscavsfan

      I wish but no way. You have to give Spurs some talent at least 75% of what Leonard is. Best case was if they were able to trade Love for something the Spurs would want. That’s possible but then you have a hole to replace with Love’s 20/10 ability.

      I wonder if Pop is planning to retire next year? That may ultimately play a role in the Spurs decision making.

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  11. Reflect

    The Cavs got burned the last 20 times they did this. Makes sense they’ll do it again.

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  12. formerlyz

    They should just draft Mikal Bridges and hope Lebron at least gets them a decent sign and trade return, and aim to either be a backend playoff team, or flip pieces for assets and try to go for RJ Barrett or Zion Williamson, and reload for when Lebron comes back in 3 years to play the last few years of his career there

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  13. knickscavsfan

    Not thinking of Love for Leonard at all but is it me, or do ppl really undervalue Kevin Love? I mean he was 48%-41%-88% this year with 18 and 9. I mean if he was a FA this year you mean to tell me he couldn’t get 2/$45 from a contender looking for a 2nd or 3rd option? I mean Milsap signed for 3/$90 last year. It seems as if ppl view Love’s contract as a negative value.

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    • padam

      He’s injury prone. Weak on defense. Athletically challenged and often overmatched.

      He’s the guy I pick in a pickup game on West 4th in NYC.

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  14. sameichel

    Trade for CJ Because then you keep love and have a Star SG who is on a team friendly contract

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  15. x%sure

    In order to trade for Kawhi, CLE will probably have to get assets from trading Love since SAS has Aldredge. I have suggested Lyles, Plumlee and Faried from Denver. But Kawhi is a big risk!

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  16. all in ad

    Michael Porter is the next Anthony Bennett….go for it mr Dilbert. Why should anyone help Cleveland by giving them 2 players for one pick? Let them wallow in their salary cap puke. Someone said they should extend Hood…..why….because Screwy Lue will keep him on the bench! Hood was the best player to guard KD, but not with Screwy Lue.

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  17. dust44

    I really don’t think LeBron leaves. I do think he forces Gilbert and Altmans hand to trade Thompson, Clarkson, Smith, and a few others. I think they will keep Nance Jr, Korver and Hill for sure and that’s 3/5th of your second unit.

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  18. x%sure

    Suggestions for using the #8 and a $5.8MM trade exception for
    Pat Beverly LAC, Terry Rozier BOS, Trey Lyles DEN, Jamal Murray DEN, Josh Hart LAL, Devin Booker PHX, Dario Saric PHL, Myles Turnr IND

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    • hiflew

      Booker? You’d have a better chance getting the #1 for the #8.

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      • x%sure

        Suns will have to max him to keep him probably, 5/$157, in July. I’m not sure how this sits with everyone there so I listed him. Yes PHX could do better in a trade, based on Booker’s talent; but based on Booker’s talent, he is not a $31MM player, just the fastest draw on a bad team.

        I think he will be a problem if he’s not maxxed, and he actually has a negative 104-114 ORtg-DRtg. I would move him & move on to prevent a Wiggins-type situation.

        But the Suns/McDonough may not have gotten that far yet in their thinking. And they could probably do better in trade if they were.

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        • pihc

          Fans of bad teams always, ALWAYS, over value the most talented player on the team. As you posted, “fastest draw on a bad team”.

          If LeBron leaves and takes with him his friends and Clarkson and Nance are left, then Clarkson suddenly becomes this extremely great star in which a #8 pick in a very top heavy draft suddenly looks bad.

          Don’t over value players just b/c they are the best player on the bad team.

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          • x%sure

            It’s like I have a devil in each ear. I’ll notify Altman that Booker is off my list. He will be happy to hear it, because he won’t have to be a max contract meanie. As in, “none for you”.

            I’m not finding that much enthusiasm for Lyles either in my researching. Seems like there should be.

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  19. Padam are you for real or just a troll? K-Love is a star in this league, which for example Milsap never was/is or will be, I know he hasn’t done it in Cleveland, but that is normal been 3rd option, but in Minny he put some MVP numbers, is a proper player.

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    • Love is no longer a star in this league, and from a salary cap perspective relative to his PER he has extreme negative value in trades. You’d need to give up the 8 pick just to get a team to take on his salary, without getting much in return.

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      • brewpackbuckbadg

        Agree with sportingdissent. Love is not a star and just because you put up “MVP” numbers on a bad team that doesn’t make you a star. Michael Redd put up all star numbers on a bad Milwaukee team after Ray Allen put up “not as great” all star numbers on better Milwaukee teams. When will fans and this league realize that numbers don’t mean anything if they don’t lead to winning and winning well.

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  20. By the way I don’t think LBJ should make his decision based in basketball matters. At his point he has done all he had to is the GOAT, so he should be looking for where he is gonna be happy, his family, where he can start to think in the after basketball & to enjoy life.

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  21. stretch123

    Cleveland first rounder and Tristian Thompson to Miami for Whiteside and Winslow.

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    • Miami would hang up if you only asked for one of them with that deal.

      The 8th pick is not that valuable. It’s a deep draft, but there isn’t going to be an elite prospect after the first 7 picks.

      Tristian Thompson is bad at basketball and is signed for big money long term. He is a negative asset. Stop putting him in deals when you’re receiving elite talent back. That isn’t going to happen.

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      • Tristan and Faried is about the only swap that works. Other pieces would be involved to clean it up, but they both are “change of scenery” players at this point.

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      • x%sure

        “Elite talent”– Whiteside and Winslow?? lol

        That trade is worse for Cleveland. Whiteside could not be given away and Winslow will never be able to shoot.

        Denver would take Thompson for Faried because TT is better, but NOT take Whiteside.
        And they would certainly take the #8 for him.

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  22. TrustTheProcess

    The cavs either trade UP or stay. You dont trade the number 8 pick for anything less of Kawhi, John Wall or Lillard. No more of these stupid parallel moves

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    • The Cavs don’t have anything to trade up with, short of future first rounders. But if they’re trading up, it’s because Lebron is gone and those futures are worth more.

      The 8th is not very valuable. If you can get a rotation player for it, you do it.

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  23. I don’t get it. Is it the media? Is it because everyone thinks the number eight pick has to be the next LeBron? How is every scout and reporter saying this draft is real deep yet only one through seven are going to be real good superstars and everyone else is just “role players”??? I feel like everyone is just blowing it up because it’s the Cavs and LeBron. Am I the only one feeling this way? Everyone saying they couldn’t get Howard or anyone else with the eighth just watched him get swapped for Mozgov. Mozgov better than the eighth pick? I don’t get it.

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