When this season started, I said that I did not believe it would end with Anderson Varejao playing for the Cavaliers. The reasons I thought so were because it is in the Cavaliers best interest to acquire first round draft picks, and that a number of teams would be willing to include such picks in a trade package for Andy. I also didn’t think, at the time, that any other veteran on this Cavs team could be traded for a first round pick this season either. But it is starting to seem like maybe Ramon Sessions can be. If he eventually is, I’m to the point with Anderson’s All Star performance this season, that I wouldn’t see any reason to move Varejao at all then if that first rounder can be acquired through a Sessions deal.
It’s obviously not a sure thing that a team will eventually trade a first round pick for Ramon, but there has been a lot of talk about that lately. This week began with Adrian Wojnarowski’s report about the Lakers interest in Sessions, and while Woj didn’t specifically say that the Lakers were willing to give up a first round pick in exchange, he did indicate that such compensation would be Cleveland’s asking price for their back-up PG. The Los Angeles Times since reiterated the Lakers interest in Sessions, as well as that first round pick the Cavs would be looking for, but stopped short of saying LA should trade a pick like that to Cleveland for him. Then today, the New York Post said that the Knicks are also interested in Sessions, and that the Cavaliers would be looking for either a draft pick, cash, or a young player at another position in return.
That Post report went on to note that the first round pick the Knicks could trade isn’t until 2016 though. While I’d be looking for a 2012 first rounder specifically if I were Chris Grant, and definitely not interested in cash or either of the two players NY was talking about, that 2016 pick – while four years later than what Cleveland needs right now – is still a first round pick. The Lakers, meanwhile, currently hold a top-20 protected pick in 2012 they received from Dallas, in exchange for Odom, as well as their own. They’re sitting with the 8th best record in the West right now, at 13-9, and if I had to guess they’ll finish this season with anywhere from the 21st to the 25th pick in the first round come June. I’d also bet, at this point at least, that Dallas will eventually finish out of the lower 20, and LA will end up with two 2012 draft picks at about the same spot; call it the 22nd and 24th pick overall this summer, or something like that.
There is the Dwight Howard issue, and maybe LA holds onto those picks for him, but their PG position is horrible right now. If Mike Brown doesn’t want to maybe get run out of town in year one, he might need to really push for the “get better immediately type move” that Sessions would afford him. As opposed to waiting to find out whether Dwight is cool with living out the rest of his NBA life as Shaquille O’Neal 2.0 or not. The Knicks could also get pretty desperate if Baron Davis doesn’t actually come back reincarnated as a young Oscar Robertson and save the franchise from the humiliation of their continued awfulness single handedly too. In that case, it’s possible they bring a third team in and somehow exchange that 2016 first rounder for the same type of pick next year in a three-way deal with the Cavs for Sessions. Theoretically, maybe, possibly.
Ramon Sessions really could get traded for a first round pick in 2012 though, is generally what I’m first saying here I guess in mentioning all that. The second thing I’m saying is that if the Cavaliers can head into June of 2012 with their own first round pick, and maybe a mid / late first rounder acquired through such a trade, I think that would be enough for year two of the rebuild. You then head into that second season with Kyrie Irving having developed a relationship playing one full season alongside an All Star Center possibly in Varejao, along with Tristan Thompson, whoever else, and a couple young rookies out of a particularly deep draft class. I think you’re right where you need to be in a situation like that.
So while I know there is a whole lot more to the trade Anderson Varejao debate, and I understandnd the Wall Street mentality of selling high, I just think that acquiring a first rounder by way of this possible Sessions trade could go a long way towards deadening the talk of trading Andy. Assuming the Cavs would even consider such a move right now. There’s plenty of reasons to keep Varejao around, and if quality, young assets can be acquired another way, than I say let the guy play out at least the rest of his contract right here in Cleveland.