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Cleveland Cavaliers may have had a chance to draft Luka Doncic

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Did the Cavs make a mistake on draft night?

2018 NBA Draft Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Many believed the Cleveland Cavaliers would be an active team on draft night. The pressure of trying to keep LeBron James had reporters believing that the team would be looking to either move up in the draft or trade out of the draft in exchange for an All Star.

According to Joe Vardon with Cleveland.com, the Cavs reportedly were approached with an offer to move up in the draft. The Atlanta Hawks approached the Cavs with a chance to trade up for Luka Doncic:

A source said the Cavs were offered on draft night the chance to trade up to No. 3 with the Hawks in a deal that would’ve sent Kent Bazemore to Cleveland. Instead, Atlanta swapped spots with No. 5 Dallas, and the Mavericks ended up with Luka Doncic while the Hawks landed Trae Young.

Cleveland wanted Sexton and held firm at No. 8. Again, it’s very, very, very early, but the Cavs have every reason to be pleased with their pick. No one drafted ahead of Sexton is averaging more points per game in Vegas than him.

The fact that this news was simply thrown into the bottom of an article on Collin Sexton’s summer league performance was a little stunning to me, but let’s unpack this.

So first things first, the Cavs do not have the cap space to simply absorb Kent Bazemore and the two years remaining on his deal. Bazemore is owed $18,089,887 next season and has a player option for $19,269,662 that he would be crazy not to take.

In order to make the money work, the Cavs could have included George Hill and his non-guaranteed contract. In addition to that, the Cavs likely would need to remove or greatly reduce the protections on the 2019 pick they owe to Atlanta, and include the 8th overall pick in this draft.

It was rumored that the Hawks had been searching to find a home for Bazemore throughout draft night and the initial reports of the pick swap with the Dallas Mavericks had Bazemore in it.

Depending on how you feel about Luka Doncic, maybe trading in the Sexton pick and next years pick is worth it. But with Atlanta wanting Trae Young it’s also possible that the Cavs were never going to be able to beat the offer the Hawks eventually got from Dallas.

Trading for Doncic and Bazemore probably isn’t enough to make the Cavs a playoff team next season, and waiting until 2020 to add another lottery talent is a tough pill to swallow. If you feel he’s a franchise changing superstar, maybe he is worth it. Maybe you believe that acquiring Doncic would convince LeBron to stay, but that feels like a fairy tale.

At this point we simply don’t have enough information and it’s reckless to go too far into speculation off of a throwaway line. More information is likely going to come out, but for now let the overreacting begin!