The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics recently shocked the NBA world when they swapped All-Star point guards Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas in a trade that also sent Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets 2018 first round pick and a 2020 second round pick to Cleveland.
Despite them being Eastern Conference rivals after facing off in the Conference Finals last season, the trade made sense for both sides as Irving wanted out of Cleveland and the Cavaliers were able to get a solid replacement in Thomas, if he can recover from his hip injury, a nice role player in Crowder as well as the future assets.
The assets perhaps were the most important part of the deal for the Cavaliers front office as their future is currently uncertain with LeBron James set to hit free agency next summer.
Rumors of James potentially joining the Los Angeles Lakers have been constant for months. As such, having a first round pick that could be in the top five would allow Cleveland to begin rebuilding immediately should James choose to leave.
Or another option is trading the pick for another established star to put alongside James in hopes that it would make him stay. It appears the Cavaliers are exploring that option as they have been fielding calls on the pick, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
As owners of Brooklyn’s No. 1 pick, which could be a top-five pick in next year’s draft, Cleveland has fielded numerous calls already about a potential trade. It could be a part of a major trade package for the Cavs later this year, or, conceivably, the Cavs could make that pick next June.
While it is currently unclear what teams the Cavaliers are talking to, if they are able to acquire another All-Star caliber player and compete for a championship this season it would greatly affect James potentially leaving for Los Angeles.
But unless Cleveland is sure that James is staying it might be in their best interest to keep the pick to add a young impact player through the draft. Even adding another player may not bring them closer to surpassing the Golden State Warriors.