• Nikola Cuvalo

Trade Deadline Marathon: Day 29


CLE receives: Z. Randolph, K. Koufos, N. Bjelica, B. McLemore, W. Cauley-Stein, S. Labissiere, 2020 DET Second-Round Pick (via SAC), 2021 MEM Second-Round Pick (via SAC)

SAC receives: K. Love, JR Smith, R. Hood, C. Frye

Currently situated in the 10th seed with a record of 25-25, and only 2.5 games behind the 8-seed, the Sacramento Kings have an outside shot of making the playoffs in the NBA’s crowded Western conference. Currently without a first-round pick in the 2019 draft, the Kings have no incentive to tank, and every reason to push for the postseason in hopes of imparting high-stakes basketball experience to their young, starry core.

This trade certainly helps the Kings load up for their playoff push, and utilizes their cap space effectively; Sacramento has never been a free-agent destination, so trading for a recently extended star such as Kevin Love might be the only out-of-house method by which they can truly upgrade the ceiling of their roster.

Not only does this deal work out financially for the Kings (who can re-sign Rodney Hood after this season if they so desire, depending on his level of play while wearing purple and silver), but they also trim the crowded forward rotation on their roster – transforming their boatload of minutes-starved front-court pieces into a single post-oriented star, a veteran 3-and-D wing in J.R. Smith, a high-potential scoring wing in Hood, and an experienced sharpshooting big on an expiring deal in Frye.

The Cavs get out from under Love’s massive extension (which looks particularly bad on the Cleveland's league-basement occupying roster) while simultaneously jettisoning the long-ostracized Smith and getting value for Hood (whom they are unlikely to pay this offseason, as he has largely disappointed during his time in Cleveland).

They acquire draft capital in the process - worth its weight in gold for a franchise in the early stages of its rebuild - as well as a ton of expiring contracts. Those deal sweeteners can be flipped again for more draft capital in deals with teams wanting to free up cap-space for this summer's free-agent bonanza.

Finally, the Cavs get the opportunity to assess Cauley-Stein, who has been balling out in a contract year (averaging 13.2pts/8.8reb/2.7ast on interesting shooting splits of 53%fg/50%3pt/56%ft). The Kentucky product may be worth keeping around #Believeland, as he profiles as a potential future front-court partner for the recently extended Larry Nance Jr. To get a little more long-term substance for their departed star, the Cavs also receive Skal Labissiere, a 22-year old third year player with only 99 minutes played this season (in which he put up a line of 12.0pts/7.3reb/1.5ast per 36 minutes).

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