That does not mean those picks were worthless. Pascal Siakam, Dejounte Murray, and Malcolm Brogdon all went among the 10 picks after Korkmaz. Giles could have been OG Anunoby. Swanigan could have become Kyle Kuzma or Josh Hart. Picks are always liquid on the trade market.
You know what? Who cares? The Cavs won a freaking championship, and Love was a huge part of it. Wiggins wasn’t ready. Nobody is dying to pay his new max contract.
Yeah, the Cavs went a little overboard with present-for-future moves. It was clear at the time that two first-rounders — even in the 20s — was an overpay for Mozgov. They lavished Thompson and Smith with fat new deals after long standoffs, even though neither (especially Smith) had much of a market at those salary ranges.
What, exactly, were they supposed to do? Cleveland had no cap room to replace either. They could rationalize the Thompson deal, knowing he would otherwise hit free agency in the summer of 2016 — when a cap spike gave almost the whole league max-level cap space. Thompson had just helped Cleveland make the Finals when he inked his contract. Smith had just helped them win the whole stinking thing when he signed his. (Remember those two massive 3-pointers in the third quarter of Game 7?) Both had good relationships with LeBron. Both were represented by Klutch — Rich Paul’s LeBron-adjacent agency. LeBron was hopping between one-year contracts, holding the Cavs over a barrel.
Some of my favorite memories as an NFL fan were the moments when a player came along who was so terrifying and electrifying as a punt returner that teams did everything possible to keep the ball out of his hands — and he still toasted everyone.
There was Dante Hall wrecking ankles with two punt return touchdowns and two kick return touchdowns in 2003. Devin Hester racking up 11 return touchdowns in his first two seasons — not to mention that one on the opening kickoff of Super Bowl 41. Even Patrick Peterson returning four punts for touchdowns as a rookie in 2011, including a game-winning 99-yarder in overtime.
Hester’s six total return touchdowns in 2007 is the single-season record. It would so, so much fun to see that kind of drama again. — Adam Stites
Imagine losing almost 20 percent of your career earnings just for doing stupid stuff. That’s exactly what I’d do if I ever won the lottery or somehow came across a trust fund. But neither of those things are actually happening. Vontaze Burfict, on the other hand, doesn’t have to imagine it; he’s living it.