Cleveland draft positioning could make Detroit a likely trade partner

With the 1st and 4th picks in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers have an enviable position in an otherwise anemic draft class. Duke's Kyrie Irving is likely to be called with the Cavs first pick, and the 4th pick will likely be used for an offensively-focused big man like Derrick Williams (should he fall to the fourth), Enes Kanter or Jonas Valanciunas. Yet this Cavs team has more than two holes, and their weakness on the wings could make Detroit a likely trade partner.

More than bigs and point guards, the Cavaliers are in dire need of help at shooting guard and small forward. This is a team that started luminaries such as Anthony Parker and Alonzo Gee for much of last season. In the season ahead, they'll be even weaker on the wings unless they make some changes. With the expiration of Anthony Parker's contract, the Cavaliers have one shooting guard on the roster for 2011, the under-sized and under-performing sophomore Manny Harris.

What will the Cavaliers need at shooting guard in 2011-12? They'll need a veteran. If the Cavaliers make no changes to the current roster and wind up selecting Irving and Kanter in the draft, their starting line will be exactly 20.8 years old on average. They'll need a player with a strong spot-up game that can catch-and-shoot Irving's rocket-armed passes. They'll need a player who has experience winning at either the collegiate or NBA level. Fortunately for the Cavaliers, the Pistons have two of those.

Expect Cleveland's interest in Richard Hamilton to return this summer, and don't be surprised if they ask about Ben Gordon either. Hamilton would be a short term solution for a team that will still need a few years to build. Gordon, on the other hand, still has years ahead of him to provide the Cavaliers with reliable production.

Don't expect Detroit to see much in return if they can work out a deal with Cleveland. A swap of the 4th pick for the 8th pick might suit both team's needs better, as wings are not available until around the 8th pick. If picks are not involved, expect Cleveland to make Antawn Jamison, Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions available.

Since I don't think Detroit will be interested in taking on Davis' contract, a package of either Antawn Jamison and Ramon Sessions or Jamison and the 4th pick should interest Detroit. What package might interest Cleveland for those pieces? While Gordon/Villanueva for Jamison/Sessions works in the trade machine, the speculation is up to you. Given Cleveland's needs at shooting guard, the Pistons should be considered a potential trade partner on or around draft day.

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