Ben Simmons is widely expected to be the No. 1 selection in the 2016 NBA Draft, a pick that belongs to the Philadelphia 76ers. Fifty-nine other selections will be made over the course of the evening, but at present time, none of them will be made by the reigning NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavs have seen a truck load of picks come and go over the years, a slew of which were slated to be made in this very draft. So how did they go from owning several picks to owning none? Let's take a look.
- Pick No. 24 was one of the many selections obtained in the deal that sent LeBron to Miami back in 2010. Two summers ago, however, this one was swapped to Philadelphia in the deal for Kevin Love. Many forget that this was a three-team trade, but this is one of the handful of picks that will belong to the Sixers—one that could eventually be moved given roster restrictions.
- Pick No. 26 was obtained in the deal that sent Dion Waiters to Oklahoma City and also brought J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland. Like the trade above, many forget that the Cavs also received a pick in this deal which is insane in hindsight. The Cavs sent that pick to Denver moments later in the deal for Timofey Mozgov, somewhat negating that whole "two first-round picks" narrative that was bantered about. Denver then sent the to Philly (another pick for the Sixers) in a bizarre deal that included taking on Javale McGee's salary.
- Pick No. 28, where Cleveland would have been picking, was moved in the cap-clearing deal that sent Tyler Zeller to Boston, and Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev to Brooklyn. This was the trade that made the entire NBA world finally believe things were happening, the one that netted the Cavs the guy in the picture above.
- Pick No. 48 was owned by Cleveland following the 2013 NBA Draft, but was moved in the deal that landed the Cavs Luol Deng following the Andrew Bynum experiment. I'd imagine the Cavs would like to have this one back if they could.
- Pick No. 58, where Cleveland would have been picking, was moved in the deal that allowed the Cavs to acquire (and subsequently release) Keith Bogans. Remember that deal? Seems like forever ago.
As Brian Windhorst recently said on Zach Lowe's podcast, winning a title makes every trade above grade out as an A+. The Cavs, having traded away every pick in this year's draft, are looking to obtain a pick—somehow. Dan Gilbert has the money; David Griffin has the assets. The Celtics and SIxers own almost half the draft, but any trade will be predicated upon cost and players available.
Don't count out any chatter that involves the Cavs taking on some salary with any of the outstanding Traded Player Exceptions. For a quick recap of these vehicles, the Cavs own:
- $2.3 million remaining from the Brendan Haywood deal (net what was used on Channing Frye)
- $845K from the Joe Harris trade to Orlando
- $9.6 million from the Anderson Varejao trade to Portland
- $947K from trading Jared Cunningham
- $2.8 million from trading Mike Miller
The Cavs have wanted to acquire picks in drafts before (famously the Eric Bledsoe draft back in 2010), but were unable to find a dance partner. Given that the Cavs will have several holes to fill this offseason, look for them to be in the mix at any point where a team has a draft selection, but values cap space in a year where countless others will have plenty cash on hand in a rising cap environment. Much has been made over the years about the Cavs' (and Heat's) inability to add draft-based talent to a LeBron James team. When Daniel Gibson is one of the best drafted players to have played alongside James, there's a pattern or history here. The Cavs would love to change this, much like they did over the last few weeks.