The Cavs have acknowledged that they will listen to offers for the top overall pick, and rival executives say they are looking for an established scoring forward in return.
In the short term, the Cavaliers have two guards (Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters) and two bigs (Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson) who are either starting quality or have the potential to get there. That leaves a hole at small forward, which is why Cleveland is reportedly considering reaching for Georgetown’s Otto Porter.
The Cavaliers can’t do anything about no premier scoring small forward being available in this draft, but they can trade the pick. Nine small forwards averaged at least 15 points per game last season:
- Carmelo Anthony
- Kevin Durant
- LeBron James
- Paul Pierce
- Rudy Gay
- Paul George
- Luol Deng
- Danilo Gallinari
- Chandler Parsons
You can cross Anthony, Durant and James off the list of trade targets right now. Cross off George, too, though he’s not quite as untouchable as the other three.
I doubt one of Pierce, Gay, Deng, Gallinari or Parsons alone could fetch the No. 1 pick, but each could be attractive as part of a larger offer.
In the end, I suspect the Cavaliers will keep the pick. They’ll want to be compensated like they’re trading the No. 1 pick in a typical draft, and other teams will see a draft lacking a clear-cut top choice and offer accordingly.
Really, that could work out for Cleveland. If they draft Nerlens Noel and he misses enough of the season that they remain bad, the Cavaliers could be in good shape to get a top small forward soon enough.