Keep it or trade it?
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a big decision come June 21 regarding the eighth overall pick in the NBA Draft. Coming off being swept in the NBA Finals, the future of Cleveland could drastically change in the coming months.
The Cavs have been on top of the league since LeBron James returned home in 2014, so they haven’t selected a lottery pick since Andrew Wiggins that same year. The Cavs ended up trading Wiggins to the Minnesota Timberwolves for power forward, Kevin Love in order to immediately contend for a championship.
They’ve made the Finals every year since LeBron has returned, but with back-to-back losses to the Warriors and LeBron’s contract coming to an end, there will be drama in Cleveland.
LeBron James and the Cavs’ front office are at a standstill. LeBron hasn’t said if he was staying or leaving, which tremendously influences the moves to be made by Cleveland in free agency this summer.
It’s not likely that whoever is selected at number eight at the draft will be ready to help LeBron contend for a title next season. However, that player could provide a solid foundation for the Cavaliers’ future without LeBron.
In other words, if LeBron stays, the number eight pick should be traded. If he leaves, it should stay with Cleveland.
LeBron has always dictated the narrative of the Cleveland Cavaliers while he wore the wine and gold uniform, and it’s no different now, as he can potentially walk out the door and try to win a title with another team.
Some names that have been associated with the number eight pick include Miles Bridges of Michigan State, Wendell Carter of Duke, Michael Porter Jr. of Missouri, and Trae Young of Oklahoma.
Porter Jr. had the potential to go number one overall and was considered a future franchise player until back surgery and a less-than-impressive run in three games at Missouri dropped his draft stock.
Trae Young’s long-range shooting ability has been compared to Stephen Curry’s, and while Young even has a similar body type to Curry, it’s not likely that he’ll win back-to-back MVPs in his NBA career.
These players have a fine chance of developing and making the Cleveland Cavaliers relevant in the future, but they won’t make an impact big enough to put the Cavs over the Warriors next year.
If Cleveland’s front office can offer this pick to a team that’s intrigued by the young talent and can provide a star in return, it might be enough for LeBron to stay.
Cleveland doesn’t want to risk trading away its future but must do so to please LeBron. The Cavs and LeBron have to be on the same page, although it doesn’t seem like either side is willing to show their hand at the moment.
There’s a stalemate in Cleveland, and everyone’s waiting on LeBron to make his next move so they could make theirs.