The Cavaliers ultimately got something in return for LeBron James. The team agreed to a sign-and-trade with the Miami Heat that gives the Cavaliers two first round picks, a pair of second-round picks and the right to swap first-round picks with the Heat in 2012. In addition, the Cavs receive a large trade exception, valued by ESPN.com at $14.5 million.
"This deal provides us with multiple key assets and additional flexibility as we move forward for both the short term and beyond," Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant said.
The Cavs get two first-round picks from Miami, but not before 2013 and continuing through 2017. The Cavs get Miami's second-round pick from New Orleans in 2012 and a future second-round pick acquired from Oklahoma City. The trade exception might be the most appealing facet, since it can be used anytime within the next year to acquire a big-ticket player.
The benefit for James is it allows him to sign for the full six years, although ESPN reported that James signed for $110.1 million, meaning he took about $15 million less than a max contract in order to fit Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Heat's payroll, too. All three superstars have an early termination in their deals that will allow all three to hit free agency again in 2014. The final year (2015-16) in each deal is also a player option.
The first-round picks are likely to be low, given the Heat's potential, but they are additional picks the Cavs have rarely enjoyed lately. Cleveland has gone without a first-round pick in three of the last six drafts.