Bob Finnan of the Morning Journal suggested last week that the Cleveland Cavaliers could swap first round picks the Portland Trailblazers. He said specficially: “One rumor flying around has the Cavs offering their Nos. 4 and 24 picks to Charlotte for the Bobcats’ No. 2. Another one is 4 and 24 for Portland’s 6 and 11.” Yesterday, Alex Kennedy from Hoopsworld reported that Cleveland and Portland have talked about the second of those rumors when he tweeted the following: “Cleveland and Portland have talked about swapping draft picks, according to source. Cavs would get #6 and #11, Blazers would get #4 and #24.” This morning I compiled my thoughts on this proposed deal, and listed the reasons why I would or wouldn’t do it for each team below.
The Portland Trailblazers trading their 6th and 11th pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Nos. 4 and 24…
Pros (for Portland): They would have to seriously think the player they need is going to be off the board at pick number 6. Not the guy they want or the guy they’re targeting, but they guy they believe they need on an organizational level. Moving back 13 spots to move up 2 is a relatively steep price. Especially when you consider the guy I think Portland is targeting is a player that Cleveland isn’t interested in. That being Andre Drummond at number 4. I’m picking for Portland in the SLAMonline Mock Draft and I just took Drummond at 6, but maybe he isn’t there in real life. He could be a good fit alongside LaMarcus Aldridge; maybe that’s the consensus in Rip City. Maybe that’s also why you saw reports surfacing over the last two days that have Cleveland gathering information on Drummond. It’s not checkers they’re playing out there, son…it’s chess.
Cons (for Portland): There’s a big part of me that doesn’t see why Portland would make this trade. At all. They have a new GM, will have a new permanent head coach once Kaleb Canales’ future is determined one way or another, and need to start new with their roster. Brandon Roy is gone, Oden is done, Ray Felton is gone, and Jamal Crawford is probably gone soon too. They have LaMarcus Aldridge as an All Star, Wes Matthews is a player, and they’ll most likely re-sign Nicolas Batum. Not to mention the fact that Drummond could fall to them at 6. Portland could add two more players – a big and a guard – who could very well start next year at 6 and 11. Even if Drummond’s gone. Take the best guard on the board at 6 if he is and come back around and take Henson, or Zeller, or PJIII at 11. You won’t be getting anybody like that at 24.
The Cleveland Cavaliers trading their 4th and 24th pick to the Portland Trailblazers for Nos. 6 and 11…
Pros (For Cleveland): Harrison Barnes could be there at pick number 6. If Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bradley Beal are off the board in the top-3, the Cavaliers will most likely then select Barnes at 4. Moving up 13 spots (24 to 11) and taking the same guy you would have anyways is a no-brainer. It does seem like too much of a no-brainer to be real though, at least to me it does. There are an unlimited amount of options the Cavaliers could then explore at pick number 11. You could go Barnes at 6 then Jeremy Lamb at 11. There is your two and three of the future, alongside Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson. You can take a big there too, maybe Henson or Zeller if you think they can play Center, or even maybe Perry Jones III if you want roll him out on the wings with Harrison Barnes opposite. You just wouldn’t be able to Draft MKG or Beal.
Cons (For Cleveland): I’ve been saying for about a week now that my Cavaliers big board reads: MKG, Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes – in that order. If you stay at four, chances are good that one of MKG or Beal will fall to you there in addition to Barnes. That’s obviously why Barnes will be there at pick number 6. You’re making the decision to pass on MKG or Beal by trading down to 6. If you think Harrison Barnes is a good enough reason to do that, then go ahead. Just don’t come back and tell me you’d make that trade because 6 + 11 is worth more than the value of 4 + 24 when each pair of picks are combined. That reminds me too much of that Derrick Williams + Brandon Knight > Kyrie Irving argument I couldn’t stand leading up to last year’s Draft. You need to take the best player available before anything else in the NBA Draft. Maybe that’s why Portland’s willing to move up, and maybe that’s why Cleveland shouldn’t.
In Summary: My guy _@Believeland tweeted this at me yesterday and he is correct. If MKG is gone (then maybe Beal too), go ahead and make this trade should it actually present itself. If MKG is on the board, you take him at four and you pass on the swapping pick scenario with Portland – assuming you have the actual option to “pass”. Same with Beal if Kidd-Gilchrist is gone, and then you take your chances at pick number 24. If not, you keep putting out all these reports indicating your plan to Draft Andre Drummond 4th overall and see if you can pump fake Portland into making a trade like this in order to take the guy at 6 (Harrison Barnes) you would’ve taken at 4. Like I said, it’s a game of chess.