The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Kevin Love yesterday from the Minnesota Timberwolves. The addition of Love in and of itself is a huge acquisition for the team. While giving up Andrew Wiggins was difficult, the Cavs saw the fit between LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Love and rolled the dice. The trade means the Cavs should have 2 players about to enter their prime, Love and Irving, and the best player on the planet in the midst of his prime, James.
Yet there are other benefits for the Cavs. Normally in trades of this nature the acquiring team must take on a number of bad contracts and give up a variety of future first round picks. The Cavs brought back no other players and only gave up 1 first round pick in this deal.
That means that the Cavs were able to hold on to the more valuable Memphis Grizzlies pick. That pick could be a huge piece towards the future of the team. The protections on the Grizzlies pick means the Cavs will only get the pick in 2015 and 2016 if the pick is between 6 and 14. With the Grizzlies in the ultra tough Western Conference, it is possible for them to fall off the next two years. Marc Gasol can be a free agent after this season which could accelerate the Grizz into the lottery. A championship level selecting in that area is unheard of and would give the Cavs cheap talent around their three stars.
The Cavs could also use that pick in a trade to bring in more talent. Another benefit in the Love trade is that the Cavs held on to the non-guaranteed contracts that they acquired from the Utah Jazz. The Cavs can trade Erik Murphy and John Lucas III for around $3 million contracts to improve the roster. For a team looking to save some money the Cavs could benefit and add a player to backup at point guard or center. Malcolm Thomas can only be traded by himself but the Cavs might want to keep the athletic young player.
The Grizzlies pick can also be used next year along with Brendan Haywood‘s guaranteed contract, about $10 million, to bring in a high priced player to accent the team. If they wait till after the draft the Cavs can trade the Grizzlies pick, whoever they select with their pick and Haywood for what could be a 4th star.
So while adding Love on his own is a huge acquisition, the Cavs benefited by what they did not trade as they look forward to more roster improvements.