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Cleveland Cavaliers Trade Deadline Moves: How Did They Work Out?

With the Cavaliers making no moves on deadline day, I figured it would be interesting to look back and see how the past three trade deadlines have worked out for them.

Stephen Dunn

So, the Cavaliers pretty much wasted everyone's time on deadline day. All the energy and vigor with which we refreshed our Twitter pages went for naught, as the team decided to stand pat on deadline day.

However, that hasn't always been the case. The Cavs have actually spoiled fans with deadline fun the past three years. I wanted to take a look and see how each of these trades ended up for the Cavaliers. Is Chris Grant really doing Jedi mind tricks to convince teams to make deals? Was Danny Ferry really as bad as the general public remembers him to be? Let's delve in and find out.


Lakers receive: Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga

Cavaliers receive: Luke Walton, Jason Kapono, the Lakers' 2012 lottery protected first round pick, and the right to swap first round picks in the 2013 draft.

(There are actually a lot more restrictions on that 2013 pick (as I tried to explain here) than I gave, but if you're curious about it just click that link.)

Sessions, considered the biggest piece in the deal, wasn't particularly successful in the purple and gold, and was not retained in the offseason. Eyenga still hasn't carved a niche for himself in the NBA. He signed in China in January, then immediately left and now plays for the Texas Legends in the D-League. One underestimated aspect of this trade is that it freed up the cap space for the Lakers to sign both Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. However, with how disastrous their season has been, this trade really can't be considered anything other than a loss for the Lakers.

Despite the fact that the Cavaliers had to take and pay Walton for a year and a half, this trade has to be considered an unmitigated success. Kapono was immediately bought out (he now plays in Greece). The real haul here though was the 2012 first round pick. That pick ended up being 24th overall, which was then packaged along with picks 33 and 34 to move up and draft Tyler Zeller. Whether Zeller ends up as a starting center or not is still up for debate, but I do think it's pretty clear that he'll be a useful player in this league who will be under a rookie contract for three more years after this one.

That's not even the best part of the deal. Because of the train wreck that has been the Lakers' season, the Cavaliers have a legitimate chance to get a pick in the 15-18 range instead of the 28-30 range if the Lakers make the playoffs. They're two and a half games out right now, so Cavalier fans should be rooting for the Lakers to win games.

GRADE: B+ now, possibly A- depending on if the Lakers make the playoffs


Cavaliers receive: Semih Erden, Luke Harangody

Celtics receive: Timberwolves' 2013 second round pick

This is definitely not the most memorable trade of 2011, but it did give Cavalier fans a taste of Turkey and Harangody. Cavalier fans around the country will cherish that all-too short time they had with Luke, as he was released this season. Erden never really proved himself to be an NBA-caliber player, and he went back to Turkey last offseason. We still don't know the outcome of the pick (it's Minnesota's second round pick), however that pick is now owned by Portland.

Grade: A whole lot of worthless, but ultimately a B- because Cavs' fans got to watch Luke Harangody

Cavaliers receive: Baron Davis and Clippers' unprotected 2011 first round pick

Clippers receive: Mo Williams and Jamario Moon

When the history books are written on the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise, this trade is going to be considered the best in franchise history. First though, let's look at it from the Clippers' perspective. Williams was a somewhat effective player for the Clippers during his time there. He played 74 games for them, averaging about 14 points and 4 assists. He wasn't a disaster, but he wasn't the player they were hoping to get either. He ended up being dealt last offseason to the Jazz in the four-team Lamar Odom deal. Moon finished out the 2011 season for the Clippers and then was not retained. Dumping the Baron Davis contract was seen at the time as a big win for the Clippers.

That unprotected selection was the real coup; on May 17, 2011 the Clippers' pick won the lottery, giving the Cavaliers Kyrie Irving and jumpstarting their rebuild. It's all history from there. Baron Davis only played 15 games before being amnestied after the lockout ended, meaning the Cavaliers are still paying him. However, that's a small price to pay for Irving.



Cavaliers receive: Antawn Jamison and Sebastian Telfair

Wizards receive: Zydrunas Ilgauskas, rights to Emir Preldzic, Cavaliers' 2010 first round pick, and Al Thornton

Clippers receive: Drew Gooden

Oh, the days where the Cavaliers were actual contenders. This trade was made with the sole purpose of winning the NBA championship, so in that regard it was a failure. Once LeBron James left, the Cavaliers were stuck with Jamison's awful contract and terrible defensive effort. Telfair played four games for the Cavs.

However, the Cavaliers really didn't give up that much either. Preldzic has about a 99% chance of never playing a game in the NBA. Ilgauskas never played a game for the Wizards. And that first round pick? It ended up being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves who used it to draft Lazar Hayward. And to top it off, the best player drafted in the 2010 second round is probably Landry Fields, which says a lot about the late portion of that draft.

Overall, not a great trade, but not a disastrous one either.

Grade: C


What can we take from these last three years? Overall, the Cavaliers have done really well in deadline trades, especially during the Chris Grant era. Yeah, the Jamison deal didn't really work out the way that Cavaliers' fans wanted it to and now Jamison is a gift that keeps on giving -- or a knife that keeps on stabbing -- due to his presence on the Lakers. But Cavalier trades over the past two seasons are responsible for a lot of good. Hopefully that can continue into the future.