With the NBA Draft just a few days away, there has been plenty of speculation regarding what the Cleveland Cavaliers, owners of the first overall pick, will do. There have been rumors that they might trade the pick to Utah or explore other possibilities.
Here, the Blazer's Edge panel explains what they would do with the first pick if they Cleveland, and why.
Timmay!: No, I would not trade the #1 pick in this draft. And for one simple reason: As a GM, I rely on my reputation, and I'm a chicken.
A trade changes expectations. If you keep the pick, and the player doesn't succeed, then it's tough luck. Doubly so if a player drafted later is a star. But nobody will ever truly know what you could have traded that pick for. Sure, there are rumors and innuendo, but nobody is really sure. Heck, we're still unsure what was really offered for Portland's No. 1 pick in 2007.
But if you DO trade the pick, now you're officially on the hook for any highly-drafted player that becomes a star. Did the fourth pick become a super-duper-star? "We could have had that player but traded it away!" Third pick? Fifth pick? In this draft, same thing. So if you're going to trade it, you'd better be danged sure that player you're receiving is a franchise-changer. Who's really going to trade a franchise-changer to start over? Minnesota? I'm not sure Kevin Love qualifies as franchise-changing, doubly so as a rental.
If you keep your pick, you run the risk of simply grabbing the wrong player. That's happened to every NBA GM. But if you trade the pick, you run the risk of being That Guy Who Traded Away A Superstar. Good luck with your career after that, bozo.
So, keep the pick and give it a run. Cluck cluck.
Sam Tongue: "If I own the first overall pick in this year's draft, there's probably a reason for it..."
The reality is, the above statement is true. Another reality is the fact that, if you own the top draft pick, you are likely bad enough to be a franchise that no superstar player wants to go to. Oh wait, Cleveland has the first pick? My point exactly.
If you can't get a free agent, I'm less inclined to move down with the top pick. You're so bad that you got the luxury of first choice -- use it! Especially in a draft where you can hand-choose your favorite player from a variety of stellar college players, I'm drafting the guy No. 1. It's probably Jabari Parker for me, but that's mostly because Cleveland needs the guy that can come in and realistically say he's the go-to scoring option. But the answer to the original answer is to make the pick.
Chris Lucia: I think any GM would be crazy not to at least field offers for the first overall pick, and I'd be quietly shopping it, too. Considering the question marks about seemingly every player at the top of what many are calling the deepest draft in over a decade, there's really no consensus No. 1.
Let's say the Wolves call offering up Kevin Love for the pick ... assuming he'd re-sign, I'd take the trade. That's a proven All-Star in his prime. If the offer is for a star player who's older or a young player who's got plenty of potential but hasn't quite proven himself yet, I'll take my chances with Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid and hang onto the pick.
GMs who are at the top of the draft need the best talent that fits their team's timeline, and a No. 1 overall pick is probably the best place to find that. Factor in the value of a rookie-scale contract, and going through the draft seems like a no-brainer unless you're getting some serious talent back in any potential trade.
Sagar Trika: Of course, most GMs would make this decision based on team needs and where they are in their rebuild (or championship run).
Cleveland has the first pick for a reason: they were bad last season. The question for them becomes whether or not the returning value is worth more than any young player in the draft, and based off any rumors, especially the one mentioned above, that isn't the case. Cleveland would seemingly be better off keeping the pick and drafting a player that will likely be good for years to come, barring injury.
The only scenario I can see Cleveland dealing the first pick in is one involving Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, and even then, I don't find it likely. Cleveland has remained adamant about not sending off the first overall pick in a potential trade to land Love. Whether that's the right decision or not is based on an individual's judgement.
Simply said, if I was Cleveland, I would keep my ears open but not pull the trigger on any deal unless I got an All-Star or a player of that caliber. The market for it doesn't seem to be good enough (of course, there may be some deal in the works that we don't know about).
Ben Golliver: I would take Andrew Wiggins and call it a day. Any trade for a star player is complicated by whether that player is willing to re-sign in Cleveland at the end of his contract, and that's a huge risk that doesn't exist for high-lottery picks who can be locked in for up to nine years with their rookie deals and max rookie extensions. Rarely do you get a crack at a player with Wiggins' physical gifts and upside who also lacks medical red flags and off-court issues. I expect him to develop into a two-way star, and I love the pairing with Kyrie Irving, as I think they should be able to coexist very well personality-wise. My biggest concern with Wiggins-to-Cleveland is that somehow the Cavaliers' culture messes up his development, but that's a different question entirely.
What about you? Vote in the poll and weigh in below.