Windhorst: Blazers Acquire 2017 First-Round Pick From The Cavs In Exchange For 2018 First-Round Pick... From The Cavs
UPDATE: It's official. From the team's press release...
The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired an unprotected first round draft pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for a 2018 first round pick, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.
The 2018 pick sent to Cleveland was originally acquired from the Cavaliers along with Anderson Varejao in exchange for a future second round selection on Feb. 18, 2016.
Portland now holds two first round selections in the 2017 NBA Draft.
You may recall the Trail Blazers acquiring center Anderson Varejao from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for a 2018 first-round pick at the 2016 trade deadline. The Cavaliers wanted to shed the salary of the 6-10 Brazilian and the Trail Blazers had ample cap space to absorb his contract, so a deal was struck, with Portland getting Cleveland's 2018 first-round pick for their trouble. The Trail Blazers waived Varejao soon after the trade was finalized, giving him the opportunity to sign with the Golden State Warriors. In the end, everybody got what they wanted.
But the Trail Blazers, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, might not ever get to use that 2018 pick acquired in exchange for Varejao, as they are talks to send that pick back to Cleveland in exchange for... Cleveland's 2017 first-round pick.
Cavs are making a separate deal with Blazers. They will trade their 2017 1st to get their 2018 first back, sources said.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) January 6, 2017
That "separate deal" part is a reference to the report that the Cavaliers have acquired Hawks forward Kyle Korver in exchange for a 2019 first-round pick and Mike Dunleavy Jr. Teams can't trade their first-round picks in consecutive years due to what is known as the Stepian Rule, so for the Cavaliers to send their 2019 first-rounder to Atlanta, they would have to to reacquire their 2018 pick, which this reported trade with Portland accomplishes.
From the Trail Blazers perspective, it gives them the pick a year early, which they can either use to select a player in the 2017 NBA Draft, which many expect to produce one of the best classes in recent memory, or use in a trade. Portland also has their own 2017 pick, so they'll likely have a pick somewhere in the middle of the first round (their own) and one near the end (Cleveland's).