The Brooklyn Nets—who continue to be Howard’s preferred destination—are in need of a third team to come in and take the sign-and-trade contract of Kris Humphries to make a deal with Orlando work. The Magic would theoretically end up with Brook Lopez, potentially another player and a handful of first-round draft picks.
Ken Berger phrased the situation with the following:
Cleveland has emerged as a possible destination for Humphries in such a scenario, in which the Nets would attempt to accumulate at least three first-round picks to send to the Magic in their package for Howard.
The Cavs have as many as six first-round picks in the next three drafts — three of them from previous trades, with various levels of protection. However, with cap space to sign Humphries as a free agent, getting Humphries alone wouldn’t provide any incentive for Cleveland to surrender one of those picks.
As nice of an addition as the 6’9’’, 235-pound 27-year-old Kris Humphries would be for the Cavaliers, why are they willing to help create another “Big Three” in the Eastern Conference?
Humphries is a nice NBA power forward who averaged 13.8 points and 11 rebounds in 34.9 minutes of play last season.
But Humphries is a role player and not the game changer the Cavaliers desperately need. The contract Humphries is soon to receive will pay him like an NBA game changer.
Last season alone, Humphries made $8 million for the final year of his expiring contract. Tying down a good part of their cap space and flexibility in a player like Humphries hinders the Cavs’ future plans.
At this expected cost, acquiring Kris Humphries is just not enough from the Cavaliers’ perspective. The Cavs are not one player away from winning the NBA championship. So acquiring a player of Humphries’ age and talent level makes no sense.
One has to assume that Cavs general manager Chris Grant has bigger plans for reportedly getting involved in this scenario.
One possibility could be MarShon Brooks coming to Cleveland with Humphries. Brooks has already been rumored to be available as part of the package that could go to the Magic for Dwight Howard (via ESPN's Chris Broussard).
The 23-year-old Brooks had a fine rookie season for his hometown Nets. The 6’5’’, 200-pound shooting guard averaged 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 29.4 minutes for New Jersey.
Brooks could come to Cleveland and create a nice backcourt with reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.
The acquisition of Brooks would allow the Cavaliers to ease fourth overall pick Dion Waiters into the NBA in his rookie season.
Is this truly the smartest tactic for Grant and company to continue to rebuild this organization? Spending the fourth overall selection on Waiters, do the Cavs really want to relegate him to a bench role?
If Brooks is not the extra piece the Cavs want, then what else might Grant be looking for?
More first-round picks.
The Cavs have plenty of ammunition when it comes to the upcoming NBA drafts. In addition to all of their own first-round choices, the Cavs have acquired first-round picks from the Lakers, the Heat and the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings and Heat's draft choices are well protected and are not likely to yield anything special. The Lakers’ 2013 draft choice can be swapped with any of the Cavs’ first-round choices in 2013 if the Cavaliers choose to do so.
Grant and the Cavaliers could use the acquisition of Humphries to acquire another first-round draft choice or swap for a less-protected pick.
Grant could ship out one of Miami’s more undesirable first-round choices to satisfy Orlando yearning to acquire multiple first-round selections as part of this deal. In return, Cavs fans could see Humphries and a more touted first-round draft choice return to Cleveland.
In addition to its own first-round choices, Brooklyn also owns the rights to a first-pick from Houston. In accordance with the trade, this pick is top-14 protected in 2013, top-14 protected in 2014, top-14 protected in 2015 and top-14 protected in 2016. If Brooklyn does not receive a first-round pick from Houston by the 2016 draft, Houston will transfer its 2017 second-round pick and cash.
Without Dwight Howard, Orlando is undertaking a massive rebuilding process. Even if they acquire Brook Lopez and MarShon Brooks as part of this deal, the Magic are still years away from being a serious contender.
Is Orlando willing to allow one of its future first-rounds picks slip away to the Cavaliers to consummate this deal? Orlando’s pick would certainly be lottery protected for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 drafts.
But the Cavs can look at the situation as a future investment. Paying Humphries and possibly giving up one of Miami’s lower first-round choices for a 2016 or beyond Orlando first-round draft choice could pay huge dividends in the long term for the Cavs.
A last scenario could be that Chris Grant is looking much shorter term than the fanbase is even expecting. The acquisition of Humphries could be the first step for the Cavaliers to acquire a much larger piece in the mold of a player like Andrew Bynum or Kevin Love.
Kevin Love has recently hinted at wanting a trade (Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears) from Minnesota if the Timberwolves do not make the playoffs in 2013. Love stated:
If we don't make the playoffs, I don't know it's going to be me or something, but our management needs to step up and make some moves… I don't know if we will blow up the team again, or if I'll be moved… I don’t know. But something has to happen in Minnesota.
The 24-year-old Bynum came out and said he would not sign a long-term extension with the Orlando Magic if traded (Wojnarowski). Bynum went on to state he would test free agency in the offseason of 2013 and likely sign with either the Minnesota Timberwolves or the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Grant’s master plan of becoming involved with the Brooklyn Nets and the Orlando Magic could ultimately land him a 7’0’’, 285-pound center in Bynum or a 6’10’’, 260-pound power forward in Love.
The Cavs could try to pry either of these players away from their respective teams early and revolve a deal around Humphries, Anderson Varejao and Alonzo Gee.
Both players have risk factors. First, would either player be willing to sign a long-term contract with the Cavaliers? Secondly, Bynum has had knee issues throughout his professional career.
But this type of aggressive statement is what the fans in Cleveland have grown to expect from Grant and owner Dan Gilbert.
Bynum and Love are both talented big men that rank among the best in the NBA.
An acquisition of this nature by the Cavs would definitely speed up the rebuilding process in Cleveland.
No matter which moves occur this offseason with the Cavs, one thing is for certain: A trade for a player like Kris Humphries does not make a ton of sense for the Cavaliers as a singular transaction.
Cavs fans need to wait and see Chris Grant unveil his master plan. The Cavs' regime needs to be worried as much about the future of the organization as with winning right away.