The Future's So Bright ...

June 20, 2013
by Joe Gabriele Managing Editor

With the 2013 Draft almost upon us, barring some unforeseen circumstances, the Cavaliers should come out of the evening with at least two first round selections for the third time in three years. And the Wine and Gold has plenty of assets stockpiled into the future.

In assembling all these pieces, GM Chris Grant and the Cavs braintrust have been bold, shrewd and even a little lucky. Cleveland will cash in some of these assets on June 27. Some, the Cavaliers may not see for years – (but they’ll be glad they had them when this time of year rolls around).

So if you’re wondering – to paraphrase David Byrne – how did we get here? Here’s a quick compendium on how the Wine and Gold accumulated this year’s picks and a look into what we can expect in future late Junes. It’s not exactly light reading, but it’s got a really happy ending …

On Thursday night, the Cavaliers will have the rights to the top pick in the Draft – once again secured in an upset at the NBA Lottery. On May 21, Nick Gilbert took the stage with the Cavaliers having just a 15.6 percent chance of winning the Lottery. And he defied the odds for the second time in three trips. (In 2011, it was a 2.8 percent chance and it was actually the Clippers’ pick from the Baron Davis-for-Mo Williams deal Grant cut just a couple months earlier.)

Cleveland acquired the No. 19 pick from the Lakers in the Luke Walton-for-Ramon Sessions deal last spring.

In that trade, the Cavs were given the choice to swap the Lakers’ first-rounder with the Miami Heat’s. If the Lakers didn’t reach the playoffs, the Phoenix Suns would have assumed L.A.’s pick. But the LakeShow rallied on the final night of the season, reaching the postseason – falling in four games to the San Antonio Spurs and handing their first-rounder to the Wine and Gold. (Phoenix was granted the Heat’s 2013 pick, No. 30 overall.)

On Thursday, the Cavs also have two of the top three picks in the second round – their own and the Magic’s. Cleveland acquired a pair of second round selections from Orlando (one in 2013 and one in 2014) on Draft night 2011, in exchange for the No. 32 pick – Richmond’s Justin Harper, who spent most of his pro career with the Idaho Stampede.

After his oldest son won the Lottery this past May, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said, “We think this will be the last Lottery for a while.” But that doesn’t mean Cleveland doesn’t have plenty of Draft night ammo moving forward.

In 2014, the Cavs have their own first-rounder and can also receive the Kings’ first-round choice should Sacramento (with new head coach, Mike Malone) be drafting outside the top 12.

Chris Grant acquired the Kings’ choice in the J.J. Hickson-for-Omri Casspi deal just days before the NBA Lockout in 2011.

In next year’s Draft, Cleveland has three second-round picks. Along with their own second-rounder, the Cavaliers will receive the Grizzlies’ choice – acquired in the D.J. Kennedy-for-Jeremy Pargo deal last summer – as well as the second second-rounder from Orlando.

Things get a little complicated in 2015.

The Wine and Gold have their own first-round choice. But, potentially, they can also attain Sacramento's pick (top 10 protected) if it hasn’t already been used as well as Miami’s first-round pick (top 10 protected). [The Cavaliers can’t utilize Miami’s top pick in back-to-back seasons per the “Stepien Rule” that prohibits teams from trading first-rounders in consecutive seasons.]

This is also the first Draft in which the Cavaliers can possibly cash in on Memphis’ first round choice (protected 1-5 and 15-30) – acquired in the outstanding Marreese Speights-Josh Selby-Wayne Ellington-for-Jon Leuer deal Grant completed this past January.

The Cavs also have their own second-round pick in 2015.

In 2016, the Cavaliers have their own first-round choice, plus Sacramento's pick (top 10 protected) if not already used. They may also have Miami's pick (top 10 protected) if it hasn’t already been used. If they don’t utilize it in 2015, the Cavs also have Memphis’s first round pick (protected 1-5 and 15-30). Once again, the Cavs also have their own second-round selection in 2016.

In 2017, the Cavs have their own first- and second-round selections. If not already conveyed, the Cavs also would have Memphis’s first round pick (top 5 protected). The Cavs would also have the Sacramento first round pick (top 10 protected), if not already received. If the Cavs do not receive the Sacramento first round pick in 2017, they will then receive Sacramento’s second pick in 2017 (protected 56-60). The Cavs will also receive the Miami first round pick, if not already received (un-protected).

In 2018, the Wine and Gold has their own first round pick and their own second round pick. And once again, the Grizzlies’ first-rounder (top 5 protected) would be in play if not already used.

In 2019, when we’re all old and grey, the Cavaliers have their own first- and second-round pick. If not conveyed in earlier seasons, Cavs also have Memphis’s first round pick. But in this Draft, that pick would be completely unprotected – No. 1 through No. 30.

Cavalier fans can look forward to some bountiful Junes in summers to come. By then, it’d be nice if it took place after a prolonged postseason run for Cleveland – and some fortuitous finishes for the squads Chris Grant swapped with.

Either way, it all unfolds on Thursday night when NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver puts Cleveland on the clock.