The Ground Hog Day routine of losing this past season left Cavs fans who prefer to speak in optimistic tones increasingly silent as the season wore on. There's only so many ways you can spin loss number twenty-two in a row, for example, while projecting a hopeful disposition. But as the great Frederick Douglas once said, without struggle there can be no progress. Or in the Cavaliers' case, without losing 63 games there could be no 2.8% chance for the first pick overall next Thursday.
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Okay, I used the percentage chance for the 1st overall pick that was acquired by way of the Mo Williams trade for effect there. Technically, the progress that resulted from the Cavaliers' struggle this season is represented by pick number four. It is the combination of those two picks, however, that does have the basketball universe talking about Cleveland again, and you can't help but avoid the underlying theme of hope within that conversation. It's a much more enjoyable dialogue to take part in than projecting the careers of Manny Harris, Samardo Samuels, Alonzo Gee, and Ryan Hollins was, and everyone has an opinion.
As far as the conversation goes at number one overall, I'm torn on my interpretation of this debate; specifically amongst Cavs fans. I'm not so certain those making the counterpoint for Derrick Williams 1st overall don't just simply enjoy speculating about the NBA Draft so much that they'll argue anything provoking of a response that's grounded in some logic without totally believing it. If that's true, I don't blame anybody for doing so either. It was a long, long, boring season with not that many interesting topics to discuss, and Williams is absolutely an intriguing prospect. I don't find fault with anybody wanting him on this team, I'm just not taking him 1st overall. This has much more to do with why I want to pick Kyrie Irving, than it does with why I don't want Derrick Williams, and to that point I'll simply cosign everything Rock referenced over at WFNY on Thursday. I've wanted Irving from day one, firmly believe he will go there, think he looks good in that road uni pictured above, and would like to shift the discussion now to the Cavaliers next pick.
I strongly believe that pick number four is where the Cavaliers will make a move, or at least try really hard to do so. I think the Cavs dream scenario right now is that Derrick Williams gets arrested between now and Thursday, and ends up falling into their lap at four. Assuming he continues his life on the straight and narrow, however, it appears to me they will do everything in their power to trade up and get him. Depending on what they give up to do so, I'm okay with that, but I'm not trading Hickson for him. More on that later. If they can't trade up though, I think the next move is to try and trade out. I know everybody is reporting who's on Cleveland's draft board, but I'd guess that board reads Irving, Williams, and bunch of other guys they only kinda like a little bit. I'd also guess that nobody who's reporting what's on this board has actually seen it either.
Derrick Williams worked out for the Cavs already, and the reports were on Thursday that he's coming back to sit down with Dan Gilbert for a one-on--one. No truth to the rumors that Nick Gilbert will be involved in the interview process, but if he were I'd be fine with that. Kid obviously knows what he's doing. Anyways, I think Gilbert's enamored with Derrick Williams, and not without good reason. I haven't heard that Brandon Knight is sitting down with Dan Gilbert, maybe this is more standard operating procedure than I realize, but it does sound a bit serious to sit down with the owner. Not serious enough to indicate taking him first, but serious in the sense that Gilbert feels he has a shot at him also. Along with Irving.
If they can't broker a deal that would land Williams in Cleveland though, the next thing I think they'll explore is looking to deal out of the pick if possible. Maybe someone like Rudy Gay can be had in a package including the fourth pick, maybe somebody else. But I don't think the Cavs are looking to settle and take somebody there. If they do end up sitting there, I think it's probably Kanter they take, but he'd represent Plan C in my estimation in regards to capitalizing on their second pick in the top-5. Which is still a very solid option to be sure.
In order to make any type of trade though, you gotta give up somebody from this roster. Maybe more importantly, you need to find somebody willing to make a deal for that somebody you want to give up. If the Cavs were to trade up for Williams, it wouldn't be as simple as dealing directly with Minnesota or Utah either I'd expect. If a deal gets done, it will involve at least three teams, and I can't pretend to know the particulars. Nor am I even considering another team's needs, as far as the T-Wolves, Jazz, or maybe Grizzlies might be concerned here either. I'm just talking about the names on the "block" right now according to reports, as well as one name that apparently isn't.
That list appears to includeRamon Sessions, Baron Davis, JJ Hickson, and not Anderson Varejao - at least not as far as trading up in the draft is concerned.
Over the weekend I discussed the possibility of dealing Ramon Sessions in response to a Jason Lloyd report on Saturday, and my feelings on Sessions remain unchanged from the points I laid out over at WFNY on the topic. Sessions does have value, contract's not too bad for a team to take on, and I think he's Cleveland's most tradeable commodity at this point for all the same reasons I laid out in the piece.
The Baron Davis news, as reported by Chad Ford, got me thinking a little bit though. I am surprised to say I have mixed emotions about the prospects of dealing Davis away. When I heard he was coming back for Mo, I thought 'Baron Davis, eh? Would've been a sic trade five years ago. Price to pay for the first overall pick though I guess.' That's what I thought then, however it turns out that B-Dizzle is nothing but awesome, and I'd miss the guy around here. I saw the impact he made on the young players during his brief run last season, and I think the swagger he brings could be critical in a rebuilding campaign. But then again he does play Kyrie's position, makes more money than General Motors these days, and is getting pretty old. I'll revisit this Monday I think, but for now just wanted to reference the report that threw his name in the mix.
The last two guys mentioned were JJ Hickson and Anderson Varejao. If you've read anything I've written over the last couple years you might predict my stance on Hickson. I gotta give the guy one more year. Sure he was frustrating at times, but JJ is only the same age as Kyle Singler. Kyle Singler from Duke, that is, who is in the NBA Draft right now. I'll have more thoughts on the possibility of trading Hickson next week as well, but for now I'll only add that I'd much rather deal Varajao than JJ. Hickson could develop into something more than we've seen so far. Maybe he won't, but we do know what the ceiling is for Andy. Varejao is undoubtedly a tremendous asset to have on a contending team, but a rebuilding one at least a couple years at best away from contending? Unless maybe viewing Varejao untouchable,as Brian Windhorst reported Thursday the Cavs do (as it pertains to moving up in the draft, i.e. Derrick Williams), means they think they will contend sooner than I do.
More on that next week too as we ramp up for the draft. Have a great weekend peoples!