NBA Trades: Grades For Cavs-Clippers' Baron Davis Deal Hinges On Value Of 2011 First-Round Pick

There were a flurry of NBA trades in the past week as the trade deadline approached, and when the dust settled, many key players were suddenly on other teams. Which teams did well and which teams made mistakes? We grade each of the major trades, thinking specifically about each teams' unique situation, in this StoryStream. 

TRADE: Cleveland Cavaliers get: Baron Davis, 2011 unprotected first-round pick; Los Angeles Clippers get: Mo Williams and Jamario Moon

For the Cavaliers: I dunno, this is a tough trade to judge in general. My first thought was to say the Cavaliers fleeced the Clippers because the unprotected first-round pick is a major asset. But now, I'm not so sure.

What I think is clear is that Davis is a bad influence and has a big contract. The Cavaliers may be getting that pick, but they are sacrificing $5 million a year in cap room for the next two years while also adding a player that has been a problem for multiple teams because of his attitude. Cavaliers fans will counter that the cap room is negligible anyway because free agents won't want to come to Cleveland, which I suppose is fair, but Davis' presence certainly isn't helping to make Cleveland a free-agent destination.

Then again - that pick could be Cleveland's best shot to get the player they need to build around. It's at worst a mid-lottery pick, and at best a top-three pick. The 2011 Draft is expected to be weak, but you never know. The same was said about the 2008 and 2009 drafts, and both of those have multiple impact players. The Cavaliers could come away with two franchise cornerstones for the future, and if so, the price of taking on Baron Davis is worth it. They just have to nail those picks. Grade: B-

For the Clippers: I guess one's feelings depend on how close the Clippers truly are to contending. They have their two franchise building blocks in Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon, so maybe the lottery pick they gave up isn't all that important in the grand scheme of things. But they're also nowhere close to the playoffs, and a long-term building block can be found with that pick even in a weak draft. This might be a big risk.

Otherwise, getting rid of Davis is probably a positive. The Clippers were getting somewhere despite him, but his tenure has been so disappointing that having him around is a drain. Williams is a better fit that allows Gordon and Griffin to become better playmakers, and Moon can help them at small forward.

I just wonder whether losing that unprotected pick is going to come back and bite them. Was Davis' presence really that much of a drain? (That's an honest question - I don't think I know enough to judge either way). Grade: B-

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