Cavs Draft Speculation: Trading up, Trading Down, and Harrison Barnes

It’s my opinion the Cleveland Cavaliers Draft goals begin with trading up to pick number two and selecting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. No sources on that specifically, just an overall educated guess. Admittedly, I want MKG on the Cavs roster next year too, so I’ll be clear on that first before going any further. That said, I really and truly believe the Cavaliers also want MKG on their roster. I think they want him more than any player that’s been identified as a candidate for the top-10 outside of Anthony Davis. He makes sense for a ridiculously long list of reasons, some of which I’ve previously included both here and here. 

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 01:  Michael Jordan appears at the 11th Annual Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational hosted by the Aria Resort & Casino at Shadow Creek on April 1, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In order to make a trade you need leverage. You can’t exactly put it out there that your main goal is to broker a deal. Teams like the Charlotte Bobcats need to think that you’re comfortable picking at four. In this Draft particularly, there are plenty of reasons to feel comfortable picking at four. Harrison Barnes is one of those reasons. Bradley Beal is another, and even the fact that MKG could possibly fall to four is a third. There’s four, five, and six more reasons to be okay with picking fourth in this Draft as well if you had to, and if you’re reading this post you already know what/who they could be.

There aren’t too many Draft scenarios for the Cavaliers that I’d be specifically upset with. This Draft is unique in that there are a lot of talented players with high upsides that all possess different skill-sets. Andre Drummond’s game is not similar at all to Bradley Beal’s. Harrison Barnes is not similar to Perry Jones III. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist doesn’t play like Thomas Robinson. I could keep going, but you get the point. There are any number of reasons a GM could fall in love with any number of players.

That’s going to happen at the Chicago Pre Draft Camp this week. Sam Amico referenced this on Wednesday, and he’s right. The Draft positioning has begun throughout the League, and as fans we need to interpret the reports surfacing from this as examples of that positioning. None of these reporters are lying. Everybody who is being told that this team or that team is high on this guy or that guy are actually being told that by somebody who has knowledge of what that team is thinking. Teams are putting specific information out onto these here interwebs as we speak. Some of it may be what they’re thinking, and the rest is probably what they want people to think.

North Carolina Tar Heels forward Harrison Barnes (40) slaps hands with teammate Stilman White (L) in the first half against the Kansas Jayhawks in their men's NCAA Midwest Regional basketball game in St. Louis, Missouri, March 25, 2012.
Which brings me to the reports surfacing today linking the Cavaliers with Harrison Barnes at pick number four. Do the Cavs like him more than MKG? I do not think they do. I am relatively confident, however, they’d be comfortable bringing him in next season with pick number four if they can’t move out of that spot. He’s got the size that you like as an NBA wing, the shot is solid enough, potential to be great still exists, there’s any number of reasons. That’s why he’s a top-10 or 15 pick at worst. He does have some issues as well, but there are flaws in every player’s game if you look hard enough. Anthony Davis is pretty skinny for a near seven footer, you know? 

I think the Cavaliers want the Bobcats to believe they’re comfortable taking Barnes at four. I think the Cavaliers also want to trade picks 4 and 24 to Charlotte for pick number 2. I’ve heard this is being explored by the Cavs front office, but have no idea if it’s been discussed between the two teams. The messages I left for Michael Jordan have not yet been returned. That’s a trade that I’d make if I’m Cleveland though, and I see no reason why Charlotte wouldn’t make it either. They’re roster is so awful Jeff Van Gundy used their “Big Three” of Gerald Henderson, Bismack Biyomobo and DJ Augustin as a punchline last night during the Celtics/Heat game. Charlotte could pick two players at 4 and 24 that are arguably better than all three of those guys on June 28th.

If the Cavaliers can’t trade up to two, the next thing I think they try to do is trade down to 6 and 11 with Portland if that’s possible. Now I’d exchange 4 and 24 for 6 and 11 if I was Cleveland, but I really see no benefit to Portland in making that move. It’d be crazy for them to do that, actually, but it’s something that’s been launched out there into the news cycle in recent days. If neither trade is possible, I do think they Draft Harrison Barnes as I sit here today. He shares an agent with Kyrie Irving, he’s not a bad pick, maybe he’s not the best pick, but he’s who I think the Cavaliers do go with there. Even though they’d love to trade up and get MKG first and foremost if they can.

That’s what I think today at least, while reserving my right to change my mind tomorrow. 


Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine,,, and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.