Recently, a very enticing trade rumor surrounding the Cleveland Cavaliers has emerged. According to Evan Dammarell of Right Down Euclid, the Cavs are interested in acquiring Dillon Brooks or Kyle Anderson from the Memphis Grizzlies. This would address Cleveland’s dire need for wing help, this could put them in a position to fight for a playoff birth.
Dammarell goes on to explain why this could be a real trade scenario:
“For example, take the Memphis Grizzlies who currently have nineteen players on their payroll. Sure, Memphis could waive, or trade, some of their cheaper deals to get down to the NBA-maximum fifteen players on their roster. But, it doesn’t help that the Grizzlies have young players like Desmond Bane, Ziaire Williams and Brandon Clarke pushing for minutes in the rotation as well.”
Essentially, Dammarell is saying Memphis has a surplus at their wing and forward positions and they might need to move on from someone. He also says according to sources the Cavaliers could potentially offer Larry Nance Jr. and their 2022 first-rounder with light protections for either Brooks or Anderson.
Cleveland should target Brooks
Offering the proposed package for Anderson would be too much. He is a good forward in the NBA who averaged 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, shot 46.8% and 36% from three last season. However, Anderson is not worth a key role player like Nance and a first-round draft pick.
On the other hand, this package would make a lot of sense for Brooks. He is only 25-years-old and is coming off a career-high year averaging 17.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, shot 41.9% and 34.3% from three. Brooks would also bring versatility to Cleveland, he can easily play either shooting guard or small forward. The Cavs are statistically one of the worst scoring teams in the NBA right now, they could use Brooks’ ability to put the ball in the basket.
In addition, Brooks has two years left on his current contract. In the remaining years, he is paid around $11.5-12.2 million annually, Cleveland could afford this even with potential upcoming extensions for both Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. Nance’s current salary is around $10 million per year, the Cavaliers could surely afford taking on Brooks’ contract if Nance is included in the trade.
Cleveland would not have a new hole in their frontcourt with the loss of Nance. They would still have Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, Kevin Love and Mfiondu Kabengele in their frontcourt. Dammarrell also said the Cavs could potentially offer their 2022 second-rounder from Houston in the Memphis deal to also acquire Steven Adams. Adams has taken the young big man Mobley under his wing this offseason, so this would be extremely ideal.
Is there any truth to the rumor?
There are some contrasting reports when it comes to this rumor. Dammarrell was the first to report this potential trade package. Afterwards, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press reported he’s heard nothing about this potential trade.
Regarding rumors on the Cavaliers and Grizzlies: I'm hearing the Cavaliers and Grizzlies are not and have not engaged in any trade talks, including nothing involving Dillon Brooks or Kyle Anderson
— Omari Sankofa II (@omarisankofa) August 25, 2021
With contrasting reports, this entire rumor’s legitimacy is shaky. The Cavs possibly acquiring Brooks, or even Anderson, should be taken with a grain of salt. As of now, this rumor is too early on to take it as a fact. Especially when larger reporters like Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania have said nothing about the potential trade. This potential trade package needs to be taken exactly as it is right now, a rumor.
The Grizzlies guard Ja Morant even responded to the rumor.
stop it 😂😂🐻 https://t.co/vsuCNlEVEG
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) August 25, 2021
Morant knows how valuable these guys are, Memphis will want to keep these wings if they can.
Do not bank on this happening
First off, the rumor itself could be entirely false. Alongside being a rumor, this trade could hurt Cleveland’s rebuild. Even for Brooks, a first-rounder and Nance is a pretty steep asking price. Next year’s draft will have a lot of athletic, versatile wings, losing their first-rounder would be a big loss. Sure, Brooks has potential to keep improving but he’s likely to leave Cleveland when his contract expires. The Cavs cannot afford to keep Brooks in two seasons from now when players like Garland and maybe Okoro are getting future extensions.
Cleveland would be better off to find a cheap option in free agency to address their wing need. Then in next year’s draft, the Cavs could address the need in the first-round or the second-round. It makes sense the Cavaliers want to go all in with their core. They want to win now, they don’t want to wait another year for a draft. However, this Brooks trade could really hurt Cleveland’s rebuild if the Cavs still cannot win after the trade.
The Cavs have done really well drafting over the past few years. This could be a similar setback to trading Kevin Porter Jr. for a second-rounder. Cleveland needs to remain patient with their rebuild. If the Cavs really like what their core is doing but the wing need is glaring, then make a mid-season trade. There is no reason Cleveland cannot wait until the season to actually make a trade like this. Similar to the whole situation with Sexton, Cleveland needs to keep patient with adding another wing to avoid making any rash decisions.
Featured image courtesy of Nelson Chenault/USA TODAY Sports
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