“Despite no trade today, Cavs will end season w/better roster and MOAR PICKS than when year started. Not too shabby.” –@WFNYBen
A month ago the Cavaliers traded Jon Leuer to the Memphis Grizzlies for Marreese Speights, guards Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby, and a future first-round draft pick. That was this year’s big move. The Cavs provided Memphis a place to shed a little salary, and in return the Cavs got a couple pieces and a first round draft pick.
Heading into Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, the Cavs were already ahead of the game for the year.
Of course, the trade deadline which passed by could have been much, much more interesting had the Cavaliers not lost Anderson Varejao for the season. Because of that injury the Cavs really didn’t have much to dangle in front of teams aside from salary relief. There weren’t many teams that thought they were a Daniel Gibson or Omri Casspi away from contending. Probably most phone calls that were taken by Grant the past week had to do with Marreese Speights, but the Cavs certainly did not have to move him.
“We didn’t want to make a bad deal. It’s better to do nothing than to do something that doesn’t fit or takes away some of our flexibility or assets for under value.”
Indeed. And so the Cavaliers stood pat at the deadline this year, for the first time in what feels like forever.
Some will might be disappointed. As Grant himself said, “There’s only three times a year where you can drastically change your team.” Some Cavs fans would rather have seen the team move Speights for whatever the market would bring, because he can walk away from his player option at the end of the season.
He could always decide to re-sign with the Cavaliers this summer. I do wonder if being traded away wouldn’t have left a bad taste in his mouth for the city and the organization that brought him here and is giving him the chance to show his worth, something he wasn’t getting to do in Memphis.
The truth is that we have no idea what the Cavaliers were being offered for Speights, and he is also showing signs that he could be a piece that fits this team, especially coming off the bench. Not to mention, we only gave up Jon Leuer to get him. And Ellington. And Selby. And a first round pick.
Perhaps the most interesting and “outside the box” move the Cavaliers could have made would have involved the Sacramento Kings. The Beacon Journal’s Jason Lloyd tweeted that the Cavs had discussions with the soon-to-be-Seattle-bound franchise which would have removed the restrictions from the first round pick that Cleveland has yet to receive in the J.J. Hickson for Omri Casspi deal. Unfortunately for the Cavs, the trade made with the Houston Rockets seemed to have killed any chance that the Cavaliers had of getting those restrictions eliminated.
Let me be the first to admit, I never saw that kind of move coming. Had he pulled it off, it would have been another throwing star in Chris Grant’s trade ninja outfit. Two picks in the top 10 again this year? Dang.
And it’s a shame that the Cavs weren’t able to get that kind of move done. There’s a decent chance the Cavaliers might never see that pick. If the calendar turns to 2017 and the Cavs still haven’t gotten a first round pick from the Kings/Sonics because it has been protected, the pick turns into a pumpkin. A second round, top 55 protected pumpkin.
There was another “outside of the box” move that the Cavaliers could have pulled off. This one is a little, shall we say questionable? Let’s say the Lakers called inquiring about Daniel Gibson. The Lakers are currently sitting outside of that 8th playoff spot in the West by 3.5 games. Of course the team they are chasing (Houston) made some moves and improved themselves at the deadline. Cleveland benefits from the Lakers making the playoffs. If the Lakers get that 8th spot (or better), the Cavs have the right to swap their pick coming from the Miami Heat (sure to be in the 27+ range) with the Lakers’ selection, which would be the 16th pick or somewhere right around there. If the Lakers miss the playoffs, that pick goes to the Suns, and the Cavs are stuck with Miami’s slotted pick.
So what if the Cavaliers would have made a move to help the Lakers a bit? Think Speights and Gibson would help you take that spot? Fine, give us whatever garbage salary you need to make the deal work and throw in a future second rounder or something.
See what I mean? That might have been a bit shady.
In the end the Cavaliers are right where they were a couple days ago. They still have a nucleus of young players that are developing right in front of us. They still have a draft pick this summer that will likely be a top 8 selection. They will have an additional first round pick somewhere to use, and they will be hoping that Sacramento gets their act together in the next two years, at least a little bit.
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)