When you are thrown under the bus by your star player, sometimes the only option you have is to duck your head and hope that you can make it out the other side without too many bruises. That’s what this season for the Cleveland Cavaliers has felt like since losing LeBron James, being ran over by a bus, but thanks to some sound phone-work from Cavs GM Chris Grant in the past 24 hours, the organization is starting to see the bus pass by.
Yesterday marked the trade deadline in the NBA and unlike some teams in similar straits, the Cavaliers managed what accounts for a minor miracle by acquiring an unprotected first round lottery pick in this years draft. They were able to wrangle this pick from the Los Angeles Clippers who traded it, and aging All-Star point guard Baron Davis, for often injured guard Mo Williams and Jamario Moon, who is in the final year of his contract.
Davis brings along a hefty contract of his own, he is owed $29 million through the next two seasons, but let’s be honest, this deal was about the pick. With this pick, the Cavs have two lottery picks in the upcoming draft, and that is exactly the perfect situation for a team that knows it needs to rebuild through young talent.
"We’re excited to make this move,” Grant said in a press conference at the team’s practice facility. "We’re excited about Baron, a very talented player at a position that’s a difficult position in this league. We’ve also created an opportunity for ourselves as we continue to build this franchise and move forward with the draft pick. We feel good about it. We’re eager to keep going and keep moving. Our scouting department just got a little busier, which is a good thing.”
As great a move by the Cavaliers that this is, it has to be a stunner for Davis who now finds himself heading to Cleveland after being in the spotlight of Los Angeles.
“He was shocked by it, like everyone,” Bill Duffy of BDA Sports, Baron Davis’s agent, said. “He liked playing with Blake Griffin, they had a nice chemistry going. But the Clippers made a decision. Baron will go to Cleveland, and he will play and be a good soldier.”
Along with this move, the Cavaliers tried until the deadline to line up other good trades involving Antawn Jamison and Anthony Parker, both of which are still Cavs after the team was unwilling to part with them for unequal value in return. While these moves didn’t pan out, Cleveland did manage another move in what amounts to a mini-steal; they sent a second round draft pick to the Boston Celtics for two young bigmen, center Semih Erdin and forward Luke Harangody. Both players may not be all-stars but they have shown flashes of potential and for just a second round pick, this is a very solid move.
Overall, the Cavaliers didn’t light the NBA world on fire at the trade deadline but they did manage to excite their fanbase with a second lottery pick and add some young talent that could prove beneficial in the future. For a city that is striving to get out from under that bus they were thrown under, it’s a huge step in getting back on their feet.