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Cavaliers gain ability to trade their 2018 pick

The Cavs added flexibility by moving Irving.

2017 NBA Draft Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

We know that the Cleveland Cavaliers received a massive haul in exchange for Kyrie Irving. But there was an additional benefit for the team that goes beyond the four assets they received for the All-Star.

For those that don’t know, the Stepien Rule is a rule that ensures teams don’t end up with back to back years without a draft pick. Even if it is not a guarantee that a pick will be converted, the possibility handcuffs a team’s ability to move picks for the surrounding years.

In the Kyle Korver trade, the Cavaliers sent out their 2019 first round pick which is top 10-protected. If the pick doesn’t convert, it then becomes a 2020 first round pick that is also top 10 protected. Because of the possibility of the pick going to Atlanta, the Cavs were unable to trade this year’s first round draft pick.

But as Bobby Marks pointed out on Twitter, the acquisition of the Brooklyn Nets 2018 pick means that the Cavs would be free to trade their own pick this season if they want to improve their roster.

The catch is, of course, that if the Cavs move one of those picks they wouldn’t be able to trade the other until draft night. But the team now has an additional asset they can use to acquire a player, or help move Iman Shumpert who has been linked in trade talks all summer. With the Cavs suddenly crowded wing rotation, a roster that currently has 17 players, as well as the possible addition of Dwyane Wade looming, the team has a lot of options to create space and improve the team.