While all the talk has been about Isaiah Thomas and his hip, and Jae Crowder being a good fit with the Cavs (I think Bill Simmons undersells him in his latest podcast, like a true Celtics fan), the real selling point in this trade was Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick in the 2018 NBA draft.
Also, it can be a huge trade chip if the Cavaliers want to go all in on pushing the Warriors for a ring this year in an effort to keep LeBron. Other teams are calling about the pick, reports Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
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. Cleveland also has its own first-round pick in 2018, which it can trade.
Exactly where that Brooklyn pick lands is an interesting question. Brooklyn is going to be bad, but the Vegas under/over odds has them tied for 3-5th worst in the league. Plenty of people around the league think they will be slightly better than that (5-7th I keep hearing), especially if Jeremy Lin stays healthy and if D'Angelo Russell starts really playing for his next contract. Brooklyn doesn’t have its pick this year, so unlike Chicago/Indiana/Phoenix and others it has no reason to start tanking.
Still, that’s a high lottery pick in a draft thought to be deep with good big men, that could bring real help to Cleveland via a trade.
Smart money, however, is on the Cavs keeping it. They may not want to surrender something that can help jump-start a rebuild.