Bill Simmons of gossip, entertainment, horticulture, gardening, gambling, interior design, vacuum artistry, beekeeping, bird-watching, culture, pop culture and sports website Grantland.com -- also known as "The Sports Guy" -- hosted basketball writers Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst on a pair of B.S. Report podcasts this week.
One topic of discussion: Windhorst's report that the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in trading the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and the possibility that the Portland Trail Blazers could emerge as a trade partner by moving All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, who scored the top pick at Tuesday night's draft lottery, will be willing to listen to trade offers for it.
"You want to look at all your options and make the best decision for your team," Cavs general manager Chris Grant said. "This is a valuable asset that we can add to the group, whether it's in trade or keep it and add a player."
The Cavs are in a favorable position to make a deal. The team has more than $20 million in salary cap space, the No. 1 pick plus the No. 19, No. 31 and No. 33 picks, and a roster with young prospects that could be used in a deal.
The following is a condensed transcript of the discussion involving the Blazers. The Minnesota Timberwolves and All-Star forward Kevin Love were also mentioned as a possible trade partner for the Cavaliers. Download the audio of the podcasts here and here.
Bill Simmons: "Cleveland has a war chest of assets now. They have the first, the No. 19, 31st, 33rd picks. They have Tristan Thompson who did come on in the second half of the season. I saw him in person, I wasn't a huge fan of him. I need to see him again. You see a guy once in person you get tainted by that opinion. He did come on in the second half of the year. They have Dion Waiters, they have a couple more No. 1s that aren't this year. They have tons of cap space. I think they are like 20 or 25 million under the cap. They could easily trade for LaMarcus Aldridge or Kevin Love if Portland or Minnesota cooperated. You hear Cleveland say, 'We want to win right now.'
"Let's take Portland: Would you trade Tristan Thompson, No. 1 and No. 19 for Aldridge? I think I would do that if I'm Portland."
Zach Lowe: "I would not. The caveat of that is I know very little about college basketball because all I do is watch the NBA all the time, so I know a little about [Nerlens] Noel and how good he is. LaMarcus Aldridge is in his prime, he's on a very fair contract that only has two more seasons on it, he's part of an interesting core. Tristan Thompson did improve but he still ended up with a league-average PER. He still looks very much like third or fourth banana on a good team. I don't think he's ever going to have enough offensive game, even though he's still young, to be like a really important foundational piece. That's not a trade I would make. I would think about it.
"The other thing is that Portland doesn't have a lot of bad contracts that they can slough off in the process of making a big deal like that. I don't know if they are under a lot of pressure to make a big move like that. It depends, if their front office thinks really highly of one of those top two guys, maybe. I wouldn't do it. No."
Bill Simmons: "I think Portland is more realistic [than Minnesota]. I don't think they'll trade Aldridge but that's another guy, do we know he will be there in two years? He's got two years left on his deal."
Brian Windhorst: "[The Cavaliers are] hoping they can make a James Harden like trade. I don't see that trade right now. You could talk about maybe the Blazers would put LaMarcus Aldridge on the market. ... [The Cavaliers are] hoping to put themselves in a position to get another star to pair with Kyrie Irving and dangle those assets, including the No. 1 pick in there, and of course the back-end of that is, if you can get two stars, with one of them on their rookie contract like Kyrie, you potentially have the max slot next year to offer to LeBron [James]. They're not going to publish this plan as what they want to do, but that's their dream scenario. Dream scenarios have come true in the NBA."
Bill Simmons: "The combination of Cleveland's history over the past 50 years of things that have happened in Cleveland, and now you're taking [Noel], a 206 pound dude coming off of knee surgery who is pretty raw as your No. 1 pick? That just scares me. I don't like that combination. ... He's too skinny, I can't even come up with a comparable. Who is he supposed to be?
"Two teams always worry me when there's a flawed No. 1 pick. In Cleveland, just because of the history of Cleveland, and then Portland, obviously. Portland would be the other worst-case scenario for should they take Nerlens Noel, with the history they've had.
"On paper [trading Aldridge for the No. 1 pick] makes sense. The more I'm thinking about it, if I'm Portland, really? You're going to take another No. 1 pick with an established knee problem?"
Brian Windhorst: "The reason the Blazers want a center, and they signed Roy Hibbert to that offer sheet last year, is to put next to Aldridge. It's not an either/or situation. That would be a dream trade for the Cavs or anybody who could trade for an All-Star in his prime. ...
"I'm sure it's on the Blazers' to-do/worry list about [Aldridge's] future. I think people will call them [about trades for Aldridge]. That said, they're trying to build something there, they're trying to add to that core, not off-load him."
Bill Simmons: "This is where I'm contractually obligated to mention that Aldridge has been in the league seven years and has never been in round two and was the best player on a team that won  games last year. I'd be careful about putting all of my eggs in the Aldridge basket."
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter