Report: Cavs, Wolves, Pistons talky-talk; Cavs would get No. 1 and No. 2

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ESPN.com reports that the Cavaliers, Pistons, and Timberwolves are discussing a trade that is kind of complicated. Here are the pieces:

  • The Pistons send Rip Hamilton and the No. 8 to Cleveland for part of their massive trade exception from you-know-who, which gets the guy who caused a mutiny in the locker room off the squad.
  • Cleveland then turns around and swaps their No.4 pick and the No.8 pick from Detroit to Minnesota for the No.2 pick, which the Wolves don’t want because they don’t want to mess up that wonderful Michael Beasley-Anthony Randolph rotation they have going on.
  • The Timberwolves don’t have to draft Derrick Williams and get to draft Enes Kanter at No.4 and then their pick of any number of solid players at the No.8 spot.
The Detroit News reports that the deal is unlikely since Hamilton’s “almost an expiring.” Which is kind of true. But kind of not. Let me explain.
Hamilton’s on the books for $12.5 million in 2011-2012, and has $9 million of $12 million guaranteed in 2012-2013. (Thank you, Sham Sports.) The idea is that with the impending lockout, Hamilton’s contract becomes at once easier to pay off and easier to move. Let’s take a near-worst-case scenario approach as a hypothetical. The absolute worst case is the loss of a whole season, which makes Hamilton’s deal an expiring once the lockout ends. Easy. They either trade him as an expiring or cut a deal for a buyout over the remaining $9 million. But the more likely near-worst-case scenario is we lose half  a season, pick it up around the 42 game mark. That puts Hamilton in for $6 million next year and $9 million the year after for a grand total of $15 million. Even if the Pistons manage to talk him down for a buyout into the $10 million range, you’re still dealing with a locker room cancer until that’s resolved. Conversely, you move him, now, Cleveland treats him as dead weight payment for Derrick Williams, Hamilton agrees to a buyout with no other options, and everyone walks away happy, especially the Bulls when they get Hamilton for $2 million next season.
The other sticking point here is that the Pistons, in their first move under new ownership (pending approval) would lose a player and a pick for nothing. That’s a bad start. So the idea is they need to get something, anything back. But with both the Wolves and Cavs pretty much desperate to reshape their rosters, they can probably salvage this deal and get something back from one of those two teams to save face.
The big winner here is the Cavs should it go down, who get to start over with Kyrie Irving throwing lobs to Derrick Williams. That’s nice. Real nice. But maybe the better aspect of this is the COA angle. The Cavaliers can’t afford to lose out on a top draft pick and though Irving very much looks a lock, the draft is honestly a crap shoot half the time. This guarantees (almost) that one of their guys will wind up as a valuable player even if they do swing and miss on one or the other.