NBA Trade Talk: Cleveland Cavaliers Have Assets to Pull Off a Major Deal
Mostly buried at the bottom of the Eastern Conference the past two seasons, the Cleveland Cavaliers have quietly been building quite an impressive array of young talent and draft picks.
With four top 17 draft picks the past two years, the Cavs have surrounded standout defensive center Anderson Varejao with young studs like Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller, Dion Waiters and others.
The draft picks don't end there, however.
Looking ahead to 2013, the Cavs could own as many as six total picks in the first two rounds. In the first round they hold their own, Miami's (via LeBron James sign-and-trade) and Sacramento's should the Kings make the playoffs or be the first team left out in the Western Conference.
The Cavs own a total of seven draft picks in the 2014 and 2015 drafts, with another first rounder coming from Miami and a couple of second rounders coming from Orlando (Justin Harper trade) and Memphis (via D.J. Kennedy trade).
For those counting at home, that's a remarkable 13 draft picks in the next three years. For teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat who continually sacrifice their own draft picks to win now, those selections could prove to be very valuable indeed.
Cleveland also has Alonzo Gee, Omri Casspi, Jeremy Pargo, Luke Harangody, Jon Leuer and Kelenna Azubuike signed for $3.5 million or less annually, which could attract potential buyers or those looking to shed salary.
If it's cap space teams are after, Cleveland can also offer the expiring contracts of Luke Walton ($6 million) or Daniel Gibson ($4.7 million, $2.3 million guaranteed).
The Cavs are also roughly $12 million under the salary cap and could afford to take back a higher-priced contract without worrying about matching up salaries.
Anderson Varejao may be the most valuable trade piece of all, as the power forward/center was fourth in rebounding last season and carries a very friendly contract.
All of these assets should be incredibly attractive to potential dealers.
The question is, will Cleveland make a deal or wait patiently for their players to develop and save cap space for free agency?
Cleveland eventually backed out, but it's nice to see they've been very involved in discussions on making major improvements to the team.
Standing pat for now wouldn't be the worst thing, either. If nothing else, a year of experience for their young players should only increase their trade value and bring back more overall talent in a potential trade.
Whatever move Chris Grant has up his sleeve, he's got a full deck of cards to play with.
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