The Cleveland Cavaliers stayed active on the trade market as they pulled off a three-team deal last night with the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings.
Cleveland shipped guard Alec Burks to the Kings, as they add a veteran scorer in hopes of reaching the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
In 34 games for the Wine & Gold, Burks performed quite well, averaging 11.6 points on 37.8 shooting from beyond the arc while playing nearly 29 minutes a night. Burks was playing well in Cleveland, but all indications said he was never going to be in the long-term plans of the Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers also sent recently acquired guards Nic Stauskas and Wade Baldwin to the Rockets. Both players were traded to Cleveland on Sunday afternoon as part of the Rodney Hood trade.
As for the Cavaliers, they acquire Marquese Chriss, Brandon Knight and a lottery-protected first-round draft pick from the Rockets.
Cleveland will send Alec Burks to the Kings, and Rockets send Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss and a protected first to Cavaliers, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 7, 2019
On the surface, this trade does not look all that appealing but taking a deeper look at this trade, the Cavaliers actually appear to have made quite the move. The Cavaliers took two players they received in exchange for Hood and flipped them for a first-round pick. All they had to do was take on the awful contract of Knight.
Knight, the former lottery pick back in 2011, is now going to playing for his fifth team in eight seasons. Knight’s best season was back in 2015-16 with the Phoenix Suns (19.6 points on 34 percent shooting from beyond the arc) but appeared in just 52 games.
The past two seasons have been rough for Knight as he missed all of last season with a knee injury and only appeared in 12 games so far this season (3 points per game). According to spotrac.com Knight is slated to make $14,631,250 this season and $15,643,750 next season.
Koby netting a first rounder for Burks is a pretty solid get. Brandon Knight will be an expiring contract next season. Cavs can try and further develop Marquese Chriss. I like this a lot for the Cavs
— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) February 7, 2019
So while paying Knight the next two seasons is less than ideal, it netted the Cavaliers a first-round pick, which was the goal of the trade.
Also coming to the Cavaliers is another former lottery pick in Chriss. After averaging 9.2 points, 4.2 rebounds on 45 percent shooting in his rookie season, the production did not increase in year two. After a down sophomore season, Chriss was dealt to the Rockets, where he could not find his way into the rotation, appearing in just 16 games this season.
There have also reports in the past of Chriss having a bad attitude and often times not giving his all. He rubbed fans the wrong way with his demeanor on the floor and came across as immature as well.
So Chriss is not coming to town with the best track record, but he is just 21-years-old and there is time for him to mature. This trade to Cleveland could be just what Chriss needs to turn his career around.
With little pressure to win games this season, Chriss can focus on polishing his game and rebuilding his reputation.
For the Cavaliers, this is a low-risk move. If Chriss ends up working out, they acquired him for next to nothing. If Chriss is unable to change his ways, they can let him walk at season’s end and lose nothing.
But the real asset that was acquired was indeed the first-round pick. Just this season alone the Cavaliers have added two future first-round picks and six future second-round picks. For a team like the Cavaliers who are nowhere near competing for a playoff berth, this is the way to go about business. Stockpiling draft picks in order to add young talent that can help your team get back to relevance.
Now Cleveland may not be done, as the trade deadline is today at 3 p.m. and more players from the Wine & Gold have been rumored to be on their way out.
Unlike in seasons past, the Cavaliers will not be looking to acquire veteran talent in order to win a title, instead, it is all about the future. Things may look ugly now, but management seems to have the right plan in place to slowly build this organization back up, but only time will tell.