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The other way LeBron James helped the Cavaliers trade for Kevin Love

Aug 7, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT

LeBron James helped the Cavaliers land Kevin Love in the most obvious ways.

By signing in Cleveland, LeBron turned the franchise into a desirable destination for star players. He even personally coaxed Love into coming. (Yes, the Timberwolves could trade Love wherever he wanted, but for the most part, teams weren’t going to make quality offers without knowing Love wanted to join them.)

But LeBron also helped the Cavaliers’ Love bid in more subtle ways.

When he left in 2010, LeBron set up the Cavaliers to be bad enough to win the lottery three times in four years. Two of those No. 1 picks – Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett – will go to Minnesota in the trade, and the other – Kyrie Irving – helps make Cleveland appealing to Love.

LeBron also went to the Heat via a sign-and-trade. It got him more money, something not possible under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. It also netted the Cavaliers two first rounders and two second rounders.

One of those first rounders – top-10 protected in 2015 and 2016, unprotected in 2017 – is still pending. It just won’t be going to Cleveland anymore.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

That has to rub salt in the wound of already-salty Heat fans.

Cleveland also has the Grizzlies’ first-round pick (top-five and 15-30 protected in 2015 and 2016, top-five protected in 2017 and 2018 and unprotected in 2019) and the lesser of its own and the Bulls’ 2015 first rounder (if the Cavaliers make the playoffs; otherwise they keep their own pick).

The Cavaliers/Bulls pick clearly has the lowest value, and depending how you evaluate Memphis, the other two are close. Based on how these negotiations went, I bet Flip Saunders got his choice.

With Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Luol Deng, the Heat should avoid one of the NBA’s 10 worst records, meaning they’d send their pick to Minnesota this season. But Miami also shouldn’t be too good to avoid that pick falling into the late 20s.

LeBron leaving the Heat made that pick more valuable – just valuable enough to land him a star teammate in Cleveland.

  1. canucks30 - Aug 7, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    Kyrie Irving. LeBron James. Kevin Love.


    • rodyaugu - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:09 PM

      Lebron is the only consistently durable player between the 3. Love and Irving always injured.

    • apkyletexas - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      Kevin and Kyrie will get their stats and let LeBron handle the defensive end. The Western powers are giggling already.

  2. succulentnipples - Aug 7, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    The Heat are going to be bad for a while. Nipples.

  3. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    Yuuuup. The sad part is that the Heat opted to trade for LeBron & Bosh rather than sign them outright so they could give them the extra sixth year on their contracts. And then all three players opted out after 4 and obviously LeBron left. So this has gotta sting for the Heat.

    • rawgator06 - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:09 PM

      i think 2 rings, 4 championship appearances in a row, and still having a playoff team gets rid of the sting lol

  4. timberwolvesbrisin - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    Not completely accurate. The Irving pick was obtained from the Clippers in exchange for taking on Baron Davis’ contract.

    Just another example of why you guys really need an editor.

    • Dan Feldman - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      The Cavaliers took Davis’ contract only because they were bad. If they were trying to contend (with LeBron), they would not have made that trade.

      • Hard On For Harden - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:44 PM

        Oh God. Talk about rushing out tons of material today to account for the fact LBJ played all of you like a fiddle for years. You had zero inkling of this, people have covered all these angles long before any of you have decided to join the party the past few weeks to demonstrate your awesome power of hindsight.

  5. DonRSD - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    In Pat We Trust.

  6. miamatt - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    “That has to rub salt in the wound of already-salty Heat fans.”

    Why? Like the deal would have fallen through if the Cavs didn’t have the Miami pick to deal? Cleveland simply would have given up another pick or picks. Wiggins and Bennett are the main haul.

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