Instead of obeying an established rule, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the rest of the NBA teams should trade without restrictions.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired swingman Kyle Korver from the Atlanta Hawks. However to do so, they had to work their way around the Stepien Rule. To acquire Korver, the Cavs first had to trade their first rounder this year to the Portland Trail Blazers for a 2018 first round pick.
The Stepien Rule is a rule that should not be allowed anymore. It forces NBA teams to be limited in what they can offer in trades. The rule, which is named after former Cavs owner and general manager Ted Sepien, prohibits teams from trading back to back first round draft picks.
On one hand, it is understandable why the rule was made. It did not benefit Cleveland during the Stepien era. However, no other professional league has a rule that enforces the same thing.
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Each year teams have draft picks at their disposal. It is up to each individual franchise as to what to they want to do with them.
Sometimes the plan works out, but that is not always the case. Basically, this is the same approach for teams when they draft a player. They can do all the scouting and background work they want. Just because a player is projected to do well does not mean that result will happen.
Regardless of how teams go about adding to their roster, each decision is a risk. Yes, trading a draft pick for a veteran is less risky because the individual had already shown what he can do or is a very established player.
Had the Cavaliers not been forced to make an additional trade, the Korver trade very likely would have been announced officially days ago. Spinning it in another different direction, many NFL teams’ foundations over the years would not have been established had it not been due to their ability to trade multiple draft picks (including some that were back to back first round picks).
The Stepien Rule was meant to protect teams, but there is a better way to make an impact with its conditions. I would be in favor of keeping the rule, but it needs to be amended.
Outside of completely removing the rule, there is not much flexibility to adjust the rule. Still, at the very least, adjusting the length would be great. Instead of restricting it to being back to back first rounders, how about limiting it to not trading three consecutive first rounders?
Sometimes to make the necessary moves, the draft and free agency are not the right routes in a given year. Instead, trading those draft picks for both short and long-term help are more enticing. However you cut it, the rule is not going away any time soon.
Not many current teams are in the same situation that the Cavs were in during the Stepien era. In addition, It would be wise for the NBA to make the appropriate changes and remove the rule ASAP to benefit their league going forward but I’m not counting on it.