With the Cleveland Cavaliers looking to add an additional first-round pick in the 2012 NBA draft and the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers seeking point guard help for an extra playoff push, here's one deal that could potentially help all three teams.
The Blazers reportedly would like to swap Felton for Blake, but the chance to get a player like Ramon Sessions from the Cavs would offer a much greater upside.
Sessions likely won't pick up his player option for 2012-2013 to be a backup with Cleveland, so the Cavs would be wise to trade him.
Here's how a potential deal could go down:
Cavaliers Receive: 2012 first-round pick from Lakers (via Mavericks or Lakers), Nolan Smith, Luke Walton
Blazers Receive: Ramon Sessions, Jason Kapono
Lakers Receive: Raymond Felton
Why it Works:
—Cleveland lands what will likely be a mid-to-late first-round pick to help with rebuilding efforts in what looks to be a deep draft.
Adding Nolan Smith reunites him with former Duke teammate Kyrie Irving, and provides the Cavs with a nice young backup point guard who only costs the team around $6.6 million over the next four years combined.
Luke Walton is a throw-in for salary matchup reasons, and gives the Cavs a $6.1 million expiring contract to play with next season, if they haven't bought him out by then.
Sessions would likely walk in the offseason, so this way the Cavs get a nice return on him instead of losing him for nothing.
—Portland upgrades at point guard for a playoff run in a tough Western Conference. The Raymond Felton experiment is seemingly over, as he has recently been relegated to the bench.
Putting Sessions in the starting lineup allows for a more natural lineup, and allows the Blazers to move Jamal Crawford back to a sixth-man role.
Losing Nolan Smith shouldn't hurt too bad, as he only averages 6.8 minutes in the 20 games he's made an appearance in.
Jason Kapono is thrown in for money reasons, as his deal expires at the end of this season.
—Los Angeles gets a player they've been targeting and don't even have to give up Steve Blake to get him. They currently hold two first-round draft picks thanks to the Lamar Odom deal, so giving up one to acquire a starting point guard of Felton's pedigree would definitely be worth it.
As a bonus, LA gets rid of Luke Walton's terrible contract and also gets $7 million of cap space cleared through Felton's expiring deal, should they choose not to re-sign him.
Kapono has played a grand total of four minutes in the Lakers' last five games, so losing him shouldn't devastate the franchise.
So to recap, this appears to be a low-risk, high-reward type of deal for all three teams involved. The Lakers and Blazers immediately improve, while the Cavaliers continue to build for the future.
All three teams should benefit from this trade, with Sessions, Felton and a 2012 first-round pick highlighting the deal.
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