The Cleveland Cavaliers didn't have a pick in Thursday night's NBA Draft and while all indications are they made several attempts to move into the first-round to grab a selection, they weren't successful in their goal.
Most teams either upgraded positions on their roster, cleared cap space for the summer, or made a trade to acquire new faces or future draft picks.
Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, they're in the same position they were six hours ago: a team with a rookie GM, no coach, no center, no draft picks, a backcourt that's on the trading block, and an uncommitted superstar.
That's not to say no moves will be made either before the start of the season or before LeBron James hits free agency. But any team that doesn't use the draft to make some sort of improvement ultimately missed out on a golden opportunity.
That said, here are five moves that were made on Thursday night that could have a substantial effect on the Cavs this offseason:
5. No picks acquired for Cleveland
This was touched on in the introduction.
The Cavs were working the phones trying to get a selection anywhere from picks 16-26. When New Orleans traded down, it looked like they might have a potential trade partner, since the Hornets would love to get themselves below the luxury tax line.
Unfortunately, the Cavs couldn't work out a deal.
On the same line, they had talks with Minnesota about acquiring one of their picks, either at No. 16 or No. 23. The T'Wolves wound up drafting Luke Babbitt with their second first-round selection and shipped him and Ryan Gomes to Portland in exchange for Martell Webster.
They then used their final pick on Trevor Booker and included him in a trade to Washington for the No. 30 and No. 35 picks.
The Cavs' biggest asset in acquiring a selection was cash...but there weren't many teams interested in just selling their pick. In fact, only one pick in the first-round was bought: Memphis at No. 25, where they drafted Dominique Jones and sold the pick to Dallas.
Cleveland had strong interest in Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe—he would have been the prize for new GM Chris Grant. Instead, Oklahoma City got him at No. 18 and traded him to the Clippers for a future first-round pick.
That offer was better than anything the Cavs could give the Thunder. Once it got to the end of the first round, they were far less aggressive in their approach.
This might not seem like a big deal, but Cleveland obviously had some areas they wanted to quickly address. However, much like the Tom Izzo situation, the Cavs came away empty-handed and still searching for answers.
4. New Jersey Hanging On to the No. 3 Pick
The Nets have become a hot topic of conversation in free agency over the last few days.
First, it was rumored they were moving the third pick. Then, once word broke out about Chris Paul potentially being on the trading block , several pundits linked them as one of the few teams who could successfully bring in CP3 with the right amount of talent and assets to deliver in return.
Finally, before the draft, they were rumored to be in talks with Indiana on a deal that would have sent Devin Harris and the No. 3 pick in exchange for the No. 10 and Danny Granger.
In the end, they wound up hanging on to their spot and taking Derrick Favors. Not a bad move by any stretch of the imagination, but in terms of their LeBron chances, it definitely hurts.
Unless they wind up making a mega-deal over the next week or so, I can't imagine LeBron willingly sacrificing his prime to play with Devin Harris and Derrick Favors. They might be free agent players, but not in the biggest game of all.
3. Orlando and Boston Didn't Significantly Improve
Not that they really could, given their respective positions (Boston at Nos. 19 and 52, Orlando at Nos. 29 and 59).
The landscape of the Eastern Conference (and the NBA) will change after free agency unfolds and we know who plays where.
It may primitive thinking, but right now, Boston and Orlando are Cleveland's main competition in the East. Chicago, Miami, and New York are in great position to improve, and don't forget about teams like Milwaukee as well.
But if James winds up staying, it's likely that Cleveland, Boston, Orlando, and either Chicago/Miami will be the top-four in the East. That's the bar you have to measure yourself against.
And while the Cavs stood pat, the Celts and Magic pretty much added one rotation player combined (Avery Bradley). So if the King returns, it's fathomable to see Cleveland in good position to be the elite of the East once again.
2. Miami Trading Out of the First Round
Yesterday, the Heat traded Daequan Cook and the No. 18 pick to Oklahoma City for the No. 32 pick. They effectively took themselves out of the first round and saved just a little bit more cap space for the summer.
Now that Joel Anthony announced his pending free agency today and they're attempting to reach a buyout with James Jones, Miami has two players under roster next year: Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers.
Even with the re-signing of Dwyane Wade, they're basically building a brand new team from scratch.
They have enough cap space to offer three max contracts this offseason. Because of that, ESPN had a field day during the draft night, basically having wet dreams about a LeBron James-Dwayne Wade-Chris Bosh trio in Miami.
That's not going to happen. But a Wade-Bosh duo isn't far-fetched at all. Neither is adding a few more quality pieces—like maybe a Ray Allen, Raja Bell, Brendan Haywood, John Salmons, or Al Harrington.
Because of that, they could be a serious contender in the East next year. Just another team to worry about in Cleveland's ultimate quest.
1. Chicago's Trade of the No. 17 Pick
The biggest news of the day from a free agency standpoint, and one that definitely made Clevelanders a little more nervous.
By shipping off Kirk Hinrich, the Bulls are up to nearly $30 million in cap space this summer. It's extremely close as to whether or not they have enough to offer two max contracts, but they could conceivably convince one free agent to play for just a little less cash.
So maybe they bring in Chris Bosh to further tantalize LeBron.
Or they promise him Ray Allen as a sharpshooter.
Or they go with a lot of small pieces, like Kyle Korver/Mike Miller and Brendan Haywood.
They suddenly have a lot of cash available to entice any available free agent, whether it's LeBron James or whoever. Oh, and they also have the two best pieces (Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah) that any team with cap space has to offer.
This is the state of the NBA today. As Windhorst put it, a team gives away one of its key role players, a first-round pick, and $3 million for nothing as of now, and they're revered for it. But there's a reason for it: as of now, Chicago is in the free agency driver's seat.
And for this Cavs fan, that's not a good sign.
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