As of Wednesday, the Cavaliers had a 2/1 chance of winning the Eastern Conference, the best chances of anyone in the East, and now they have more balance on the floor
Cavaliers Get: Denver Nuggets Center Timofey Mozgov
Denver Nuggets Get: Two 2015 First-Round Draft Picks (One unprotected from Memphis and One Protected from OKC)
The Cleveland Cavaliers gave up two first-round draft picks (one of which they picked up from OKC in Tuesday’s three-team trade) to the Denver Nuggets to replace their weak spot: their Center Anderson Varejao out due to an Achillies injury. It’s obvious that the Cavs are thinking in the present, and why not? You aren’t guaranteed a tomorrow, and especially not guaranteed a tomorrow with free-agent LeBron James unless you can start winning to keep him around.
Let’s face it. LeBron is a winner, and he is used to getting titles and rings. Do you really think he will stick around for much longer if GM David Griffin doesn’t figure out how to give him a squad he can win with? Which is exactly why the Cavs have traded twice in 48 hours. They want to keep their biggest weapon in the arsenal for as long as possible.
First they got rid of headache Dion Waiters to relieve the tension of sharing the spotlight off the Cavaliers’ court. And now they have recovered their Achilles Heel – replacing their starting Center with the Denver Nuggets’ Timofey Mozgov. Mozgov is a 28-year-old Russian hoss on the boards (8 rebounds per game) and proud protector of the rim. The star center will be reunited with Coach David Blatt, with whom he for on the Russian national team.
The Cavs still have one first-round pick up their sleeve for the 2015 season, but the Chicago Bulls have the rights to swap first-round picks with Cleveland in the draft. So, whoever they get certainly won’t be a hoops stud. After this draft, Cleveland won’t see another first-round pick until 2017.
Now the Cavs have filled out all their weaknesses. They have Mozgov (their Boards Beast), Iman Shumpert (the ‘three and D” man) and J.R. Smith (a second-team scorer). So it’s pretty obvious these guys are looking to win this season, and to keep their stars around for at least a few more years, but will it work out in their favor?
NBA Odds Makers certainly seem to think so. As of Wednesday, the Cavaliers had a 2/1 chance of winning the Eastern Conference, the best chances of anyone in the East, and now they have more balance on the floor. Here is how the NBA odds currently list the Eastern Conference Future odds to win the Eastern Conference:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: 2/1
2. Chicago Bulls: 8/5
3. Atlanta Hawks: 5/1
4. Toronto Raptors: 11/2
5. Washington Wizards: 7/1
6. Miami Heat: 50/1
7. Brooklyn Nets: 75/1
8. Milwaukee Bucks: 75/1
9. Indiana Pacers: 150/1
10. Boston Celtics: 200/1
11. Charlotte Hornets: 250/1
12. Orlando Magic: 500/1
13. Detroit Pistons: 1000/1
14. New York Knicks: 2000/1
15. Philadelphia 76ers: 2000/1