INDEPENDENCE: It’s not often a trade made in the middle of the second round of the NBA Draft can fetch a star, but the Cavaliers are hopeful a small-term investment could pay off with a big future contract.
The Cavs acquired Stanford senior Dwight Powell, the 45th pick Thursday night, and veteran center Brendan Haywood from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Alonzo Gee.
Gee has a $3 million nonguaranteed contract for next season and can be waived at no cost to the Hornets, while the Cavs wanted Haywood’s future contract.
They’re on the hook for $2.2 million for a center who missed all of last season with a stress fracture in his left foot, but they’ll also have his mammoth $10.5 million nonguaranteed contract for the 2015-16 season to dangle in a trade.
The monstrous contract will essentially create a trade exception for the Cavs to use next summer. Regardless of where they stand against the cap, they can trade Haywood to a team looking to shed salary and that team will be able to release Haywood without paying him a dime.
Haywood, incidentally, was drafted by the Cavaliers 20th overall in 2001 and traded to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Michael Doleac. Haywood signed a six-year, $52 million deal with the Dallas Mavericks in 2010 and was subsequently waived under the amnesty provision in 2012. He was claimed by the Hornets for a little more than $6 million, which was divided over the remaining guaranteed years on his deal.
That’s how the Cavs are able to pay him $2 million for next season and have a $10.5 million trade bullet to fire next summer.
Haywood, 34, last played during the 2012-13 season for the Hornets, appearing in 61 games (17 starts) and averaging 3.5 points and 4.8 rebounds.
In Powell, the Cavs get a first team All-Pac 12 player who averaged 14 points and 6.9 rebounds as a senior for the Cardinal. He was named the Pac-12’s Most Improved Player of the Year after leading the team in scoring with 14.9 points as a junior.
The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Powell was also the Pac 12’s Scholar Athlete of the Year and joins Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins as Canadian natives on the Cavs.
Second-round pick Joe Harris, selected 33rd overall, was unable to attend Friday’s news conference because he lives in Washington state and logistically couldn’t make it in time. He’s expected to arrive in Cleveland next week.
Harris departs Virginia as the all-time leader in games played (135), second in 3-pointers made (263) and 11th all-time in school history with 1,698 points. He brings a 3-point shooting element the Cavs desperately lacked last season, but perhaps more importantly believes in sacrifice.
Harris was a four-year player who brings a level of maturity (at least by typical rookie standards) to the Cavs’ roster.
“I was fortunate to play in a program where it’s all about the team first,” Harris said. “It’s hard to buy into that early on when you’re a freshman or a sophomore in college and you want immediate success. I was able to mature and get that experience and professionalism.”
Wiggins raised eyebrows Friday when he said he wanted to make the league’s All-Defensive team, which isn’t typically part of a rookie’s to-do list.
“My father always really emphasized defense,” Wiggins said. “I tried to set goals every game about the person I’m guarding and just trying to lock them up. I don’t like when my man scores, even when I’m on the bench and he scores, that makes me mad. So it’s always been a big priority of mine.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.