Losing Cleveland Cavaliers find a way to win, at the NBA trade deadline

Cleveland Cavaliers Brandon Knight (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers Brandon Knight (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t disappoint at the NBA trade deadline, dealing players away for assets that will help the team build through the draft.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were active before the NBA trade deadline, and while that won’t translate into wins this season, but sets the franchise up for this summer’s draft and beyond.

The key for the Cavs’ in the three-way trade with the Kings and Rockets was the acquisition of Houston’s 2019 first-round pick.

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If you’er keeping count, Cleveland general manager Koby Altman added two first-round picks and six second-round selections since the regular season tipped off last October.

Their latest draft selection is lottery protected, but that shouldn’t matter, as the Rockets will likely make the postseason. If the season ended today, that pick would be 21st overall.

Here’s how the Cavs’ recent trade breaks down: The Kings traded old friend Iman Shumpert to the Rockets while Alec Burks and one of the Cavs’ many second-round picks was dealt to the Kings.

Not sure if Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin finished their cup of Cleveland coffee–they never broke a sweat because they never played–but they’ll be going to Houston as part of the deal. Both were acquired over the weekend in the deal that sent Rodney Hood to the Blazers.

In addition to the first rounder, the Cavs also got point guard Brandon Knight. They’re taking on his $15.6 million contract, but that was basically the cost of doing business to buy a first-round pick.

Cleveland also landed Marquese Chriss when the smoke died down on the trade. He’s a power forward who actually played well as a rookie for the Suns.

He was the eighth overall selection in the 2016 draft and he averaged 9.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest. He was dealt to the Rockets the next season in the trade involving Bogdan Bogdanovic.

He’s played just north of a 100 minutes this season, and is still un unproven commodity.

The likelihood of Chriss all of a sudden becoming a superstar is slim, but the Cavs’ need front court help and at $3.2 million, he’s worth a look. Remember, the Cavaliers are auditioning players at this point of the season, and Chriss is latest player to get a casting call.

After years of the Cavs’ being buyers at the NBA trade deadline, this has been a sobering time for the diehard Cleveland fan base.

But at least the Cavs have put themselves into position for success without LeBron James through Altman’s asset collection.

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That’s actually the easy part. Now the second-year general manager has to turn those picks into talented players. Easier said than done, a lot to time, but at least Cleveland will get the chance.