The Cleveland Cavaliers are the big losers of NBA free agency as they watch LeBron James waltz to Hollywood. While Cleveland may never get the chance to replace James for the next several decades, they were reportedly offered the opportunity to move up for perhaps the most decorated European player ever.
According to Joe Vardon of cleveland.com, the Cavaliers were offered a trade from the Atlanta Hawks that would have sent the third overall pick – likely Luka Doncic – to Cleveland. Vardon adds that as part of the deal, the Cavaliers would have had to take on Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore and the roughly $37 million remaining on his contract. Instead, Cleveland remained at the eighth spot and selected Collin Sexton.
Atlanta ended up trading with the Dallas Mavericks, swapping the third and fifth picks in the process. Dallas ended up with Doncic while Atlanta selected Trae Young.
Given Cleveland’s bloated payroll and litany of bad contracts, taking on Bazemore’s contract would have been hard to swallow. Considering that the Cavaliers are not a contender and still paying a luxury tax, taking on more money to be bad was not seen as worth it. Though, the Cavs will likely not have another chance at a player of Doncic’s pedigree for quite some time.