Could LeBron James be back in Cleveland in a couple of years? (Credit)
Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, Nerlens Noel. Four players, four different positions, the likely future of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Notice the position Cleveland’s leaving open?
Hint: it’s the one "He Who Shall Not Be Named" left open three years ago.
That’s right, this just got real. Cleveland’s presumed flirtation with LeBron James in 2014 just went from a nice story to "holy crap this might actually happen."
The Cavs suddenly have two No. 1 picks in three years and four in the top three in that same period. They have boatloads of cap space, several valuable trade assets (I’d wager half of the teams in the lottery would swap their pick for Anderson Varejao if healthy in a heartbeat), and a legitimate argument to sway King James.
Kyrie Irving is better than Dwyane Wade right now. How big will that gap be five years from now, when LeBron’s next contract presumably ends? The Heat are tied into the roster they currently have because of the luxury tax, which would be fine if the combined age of Ray Allen, Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem wasn’t 103-years-old.
Waiters, Thompson and Noel? 62. Just sayin’.
If LeBron really cares about winning championships, and “not one, not two...” but several, Cleveland suddenly is a bit more attractive. Mark May 21, 2013 as the official countdown to the Summer of LeBron, Part II.
Other assorted lottery thoughts:
I love that the Wizards leapt all the way up from the eighth spot to No. 3. They easily could have tanked after missing John Wall for half of the season, but they played hard and cost themselves some lottery position and were rewarded with the option of potentially drafting hometown star Otto Porter. After the utter karmic catastrophe of the Warriors tanking their way to Harrison Barnes last year, this was a welcome change of pace.
I don’t know if the draft lottery is rigged for certain teams to win, but we’re building up a pretty convincing body of evidence that it’s set up for the Bobcats to fail. Not that anyone’s complaining; why send a star to rot away in the league’s worst run organization? Still, it amazes me that a team that has made the playoffs once in its entire existence has never won the draft lottery.
Would it be too much to ask for Phoenix to take Shabazz Muhammed at No. 5? The court might actually be sucked into a black hole if he and Michael Beasley ever stepped on the court together.
I’ve got Trey Burke (-130) over Anthony Bennett as the top-five pick whose team realizes earliest that he’s not an NBA starter.
Poor OKC. If they were dangling James Harden in a trade now they could have their pick of anyone in this draft (and, really, next year’s too). Instead, they’re forced to pick 12th in a zero player draft. Is it wrong that I’d like them to force whoever they pick to wear James Harden’s number? I’d just like everyone involved to be reminded of that trade as much as possible.
Ben McLemore is the best prospect in the draft, but Victor Oladipo is the best player. I just want to be on the record with this.
Who will the Sonics take in their first draft back in Seattle Who will the Kings take in their ongoing effort to prove that passing is optional? Can we somehow split Shabazz Muhammed in half and send him to both Phoenix and Sacramento? The Phoenix medical staff has to have that kind of technology by now, right?
If Minnesota doesn’t take Cody Zeller, I’m staging a full-scale riot at the Target Center. They’re so close to an all white rotation, they just need to jettison Derrick Williams. Is it wrong that I kind of hope Disney someday makes a movie about the scrappy, underdog Timberwolves and their all white roster attempting to win in a league stacked against them?
Could this situation have worked out any worse for New Orleans? They need a perimeter player who can score but doesn’t need to dominate the ball. There are exactly two of those guys in the draft: McLemore and Porter. Now they’re going to have to talk themselves into Burke or C.J. McCollum. Tough break.
The Knicks are going to pass on Shane Larkin and/or Tim Hardaway Jr. for a small forward from the Mountain West I’ve never heard of. It’s slowly becoming my least favorite draft day tradition.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is making a strong push to be included in the NBA Ultimate Name Rankings before ever playing a game. A very impressive feat.
The team I was rooting for (Detroit) didn’t win. Not particularly surprising, but McLemore would have been a perfect fit for them. If he starts to slip, look for them to trade up. They’re one of the few teams in the league with any real size, they just need better guards. They’re my early sleeper pick for next year.
By: Sam Quinn