If you didn’t think that the Cleveland Cavaliers were at the forefront of the buzz around the NBA at the moment, now it would be hard to argue against that point. With two days to go until the 2013 NBA Draft, the Cavaliers have been in the headlines of the Association today concerning three NBA big men – all whom belong to Western Conference teams – being linked to possible Draft-day trades and free agency acquisitions that would flip them to the Wine and Gold. LaMarcus Aldridge (a name that has been mentioned multiple times this offseason in possible trades with the Cavs) of the Portland Trail Blazers, Thomas Robinson of the Houston Rockets and Earl Clark of the Los Angeles Lakers are the three possible suspects that could be donning Cleveland colors when things get interesting on Thursday (and throughout the offseason). Here is a look at what we now about the three bigs and the rumors surrounding them:
LaMarcus Aldridge – It has been apparent for a while that the Trail Blazers have been interested in shopping their All-Star center, so a team like Cleveland that has been busily fielding phone calls in order to make this team better in the now naturally reached out to Portland in trying to put another premier player next to Kyrie Irving in the starting lineup. Chard Ford of ESPN reported that the Wine and Gold front office reached out to the Trail Blazers, offering them their Nos. 1 and 19 picks in this year’s NBA Draft. Portland quickly denied the offer and sent Cleveland on their way in trying to find another big that is more fulfilling than any other prospect in this year’s draft. Aldridge made a tremendous jump in his output from his freshman to sophomore campaign and has been a dominant centerpiece for Portland ever since. In his seven-year career, he has averaged 18.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks. In his second straight All-Star season, Aldridge averaged 21.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks – all numbers that sit around where he has been the past three seasons. Unfortunately, Cleveland could not entice Portland into dealing him. Seeing Cleveland go after an established big like Aldridge with both of their first-rounders proves that this team wants to win as soon as next season, and maybe this is a sign that Nerlens Noel’s injury – which could keep him off the court past the earliest return month of December – is becoming too big of a concern for the Wine and Gold.
Thomas Robinson – Last year Robinson was selected fifth overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. After being cast behind a slew of bigs in Sacramento (why?!?!?!?), Robinson was dealt to the Houston Rockets in February because the Sacramento depth chart is just too ridiculous to hold another big. Robinson, in 70 games total last season, averaged 4.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 15.1 minutes in his rookie campaign. Houston is trying to free up as much room as possible, so hearing about them trying to deal a player that I think could develop into a great off-the-bench rebounder for the Cavaliers is not shocking at all. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported that a deal that would ship Robinson to another team is “imminent” according to a source close to the team. Feigen also reported that along with the Cavaliers, their Central Divison counterparts – the Chicago Bulls – have shown interest in landing Robinson as well. We know that the Cavaliers own the 19th pick, so they have some leverage over the Bulls, who own this year’s 20th overall selection. The Rockets don’t have a draft selection until the second round (34th overall), so a package of the 31st and 33rd would be out of the picture in my opinion. Out of the three players mentioned above, I think this deal has the best chance of actually happening.
Earl Clark – Our good friend Sam Amico over at Fox Sports Ohio reported that Cleveland is “quite interested” in landing the power forward who started at times for the Los Angeles Lakers last season. This makes sense for the Cavaliers to look toward free agency for an affordable, and useful, big option as a glue for the jumbled Cleveland bench. Signing a player like Clark would make more sense than trying to bring back Marreese Speights, whose contract would be a little steeper than Clark even though I think they bring a lot of similar attributes to the table. Because of the Pau Gasol mess last season with Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni, Clark started 36 games for the Purple and Gold and averaged a respectable 7.3 points and 5.5 rebounds. In his 39 games with the Cavs, Speights averaged 10.2 points and 5.1 rebounds. We won’t know anything about Clark this week, but we will see him get signed to a team sooner rather than later.
Keep your ears to Twitter over the next 48 hours, because things are going to heat up really quick regarding the Cavaliers’ draft camp. We will most likely find out who Cleveland will do with the No. 1 pick before the draft actually happens (boo), but remember to not believe everything that is posted in a 140-character limitation. Enjoy the hectic next couple days, and make sure to come back to Right Down Euclid to find out the latest surrounding the 2013 NBA Draft and the rumors that go along with it.