The Cleveland Cavaliers have a history of finding their way into multi-team trades.
Back in January, the Cavs pulled off a deal with the Knicks and Lakers to bring in Rajon Rondo to beef up a depleted guard rotation.
Then there was the Kevin Love three-teamer back in ’14 between the Sixers and Timberwolves.
Noticing a pattern?
Yes, the Cavs have a thing working with New York basketball clubs.
But they also find ways to quietly (or, in some cases, not so quietly) improve via these multi-team trades.
Let’s be clear: the Cavs won’t land Durant.
Nor should they, with what Brooklyn is asking for in return.
And if that’s what it takes, the Cavs should quickly decline the call.
Mobley and Garland make up a promising young duo that represents Cleveland’s future as a contender.
And Durant is great — scratch that, he’s All-Time — but he’s an expensive get and an even pricier keep.
And what’s a team with Durant, Jarrett Allen, and a few role players winning, anyway?
But while a KD deal might be off the table, the Cavs should look at this situation as an opportunity nonetheless.
Let’s go back for a moment to that Harden-Nets-Rockets-Pacers-Cavs blockbuster.
It wasn’t clear who won the trade, but si.com still graded the deal an “A” for the Cavs.
The craziest part?
In Jarrett Allen, Cleveland didn’t land the best player in that deal, or even arguably the second-best (at the time).
Why can’t Cleveland pull an Allen out of a hat once again?
REPORT: The Brooklyn Nets asked the Minnesota Timberwolves for Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and 4 draft-picks in exchange for Kevin Durant.
The Timberwolves declined.
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) July 7, 2022
Brooklyn, like Houston, will likely demand the two (or three) best players and picks from the deal.
And Cleveland should be fine with that.
Let’s say the Nets eventually find a trade partner in the Phoenix Suns.
It’s probably safe to assume the Nets demand DeAndre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and some combination of half-a-dozen picks and swaps.
But is that enough for Brooklyn?
Ayton and Bridges are good, but they aren’t Towns and Edwards good.
None of those players are the world beaters Brooklyn is looking for, but if the Nets want to stay competitive, Rondo is a decent rotation guard, while Osman and Okoro both still have potential that might not be realized on this team.
If the Nets want to get spicier (and by spicier, I mean plunge themselves further into cap chaos), then Cleveland could dangle Caris LeVert out there, as well.
What’s in it for the Cavs?
But in reality, Cleveland’s best hope might be to land a first-round pick next year.
Cleveland’s only 2023 first-rounder is a Pacers lottery-protected pick.
Finally saying it…
The Cleveland Cavaliers play basketball today 🙌🏻
(some of them at least) pic.twitter.com/ySrAqDzECZ
— ً (@AC_Cavs) July 8, 2022
And spoiler alert, the Pacers (barring an unforeseen miracle), will be a lottery team next year.
And remember the rumors of Cleveland looking to move back this year to net a future first?
That desire probably hasn’t gone away at all, so why not use a Kevin Durant trade to quench that thirst?
The point is to make this deal sweet enough for Brooklyn to accept, with the goal of not necessarily landing the deal’s best player, but something that makes sense for Cleveland.