The Cleveland Cavaliers have made a move early on deadline day.
As first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Cavs have dealt veteran center JaVale McGee to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for 22-year-old center Isaiah Hartenstein and two future second-round picks. The picks, per a league source, are a top-46 protected 2023 pick and a 2027 unprotected pick.
The Cavs originally acquired McGee over the summer in exchange for a future second-round pick from the Lakers in what was a salary dumb for Los Angeles. In all, the Cavs have nabbed three future second-round picks for a half season or so of McGee.
McGee was loved in the Cavs’ locker room and they’ll miss him that sense. But this is how business works in the league and he’ll also probably have a bigger impact on a good team making a playoff run.
The picks are impossible to value exactly, but it’s worth noting Cleveland has used a cache of second-round picks before to move into a pick it wanted. That pick: the Kevin Porter Jr. pick. That didn’t work out, but this kind of trade sets them up to perhaps do something similar down the line or just have multiple cracks a picks in that range that they like.
In Hartenstein, the Cavs are getting a seven-footer who they originally were interested in before he signed with the Nuggets. He was a $1.9 million player option for next year and should be capable of filling the center minutes now available with McGee gone. He’s appeared in 30 games for Denver this season and previously was with the Rockets and their G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.