Draft day trades give Cavaliers a shot at signing top free agent targets

Kristaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards. Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images
Kristaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards. Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings and Isaac Okoro, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /

Kings trading Richaun Holmes means Harrison Barnes could be available

The Sacramento Kings made a much quieter move on draft night, sending Richaun Holmes to the Dallas Mavericks and not receiving back any salary in return. If the Kings want to, they can now get to as much as $38 million in salary cap space.

There are a number of things they could do with that space. They could use it to give Domantas Sabonis an increase in salary this next season, or they could sign a pair of role players using a combination of cap space and the room exception while still bringing back most of their rotation. The most fascinating option, of course, is making a run at a big-name free agent using that cap space, be that Jerami Grant, Khris Middleton or the incredibly interesting option of signing Draymond Green away from their in-state rivals.

That final option would preclude the Kings from being able to bring back free-agent forward Harrison Barnes, and the Cavaliers would be fighting with other teams for the chance to sign him. Barnes has connections to Dallas (his former team) and Indiana (his former coach in Rick Carlisle, and former teammates in Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield) but the Cavs would be a strong candidate.

Barnes could start at small forward and slide to the 4 in many lineups, similar to Grant Williams. He can’t defend centers like Grant can, but that’s less needed on this team, and he is better equipped to defend smaller players and offers more on-ball scoring juice. He would be an excellent addition, and he comes without any restricted free-agent complications to work through.

Next. Cavaliers depth chart after the 2023 NBA Draft and before free agency. dark

Neither of these players are simply going to walk straight to Cleveland and say “sign me” but now there is a path to the Cavaliers adding either one of them. Everything in the NBA matters, and in this case two draft-day trades could be the reason Cleveland makes a big upgrade this summer.