The Cleveland Cavaliers have a backup plan in case LeBron James leaves for free-agency in 2018. According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, the Cavaliers are keen on keeping the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick in the 2018 draft to get an eventual replacement for James. In his report, Deveney cited a general manager, who said that the Cavaliers are open to a deal this season, but it will not involve the Nets’ first-round pick, which the official called as “Plan B for the LeBron stuff”. “From what I know, they don't want to budge on it,’ the general manager said.

The Cavaliers acquired the Nets’ first-round pick from the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. Aside from the first-round pick, the Cavaliers also got Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2020 second-round pick from the Celtics. James has a player option after this season and he could turn free agent in 2018. He has an option to sign again with the Cavaliers or move to other teams. He is rumored to be joining the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Houston Rockets emerged as another destination for James due to his closeness to point guard Chris Paul.

Cavs’ pick dependent on Nets’ performance

Another general manager told Deveney that the Cavaliers reticence to trade the pick could be a move to increase its value in the eyes of other teams.

However, the first-round pick could give the Cavaliers a 10th overall selection at the most, depending on the Nets’ campaign this season. The Nets are 11-17 this season, but if they return to their losing ways, it will boost the Cavaliers’ chances of taking in the top five where they could pick top prospects such as Marvin Bagley, Luka Doncic, and DeAndre Ayton.

One of these three young players can give the Cavaliers a cornerstone where they could build around for the future.

James not locked in to join Lakers?

According to Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the possibility of James joining the Lakers is a ‘long shot.” When James moved to Miami in 2010, the Heat have an All-Star in Dwyane Wade and the team added one more in Chris Bosh, providing LeBron with the support that he needed.

Currently, the Lakers have potential stars in Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma, but they have no All-Star player. The Lakers have enough salary cap to give James a maximum contract, but they need to unload Luol Deng’s $37 million contract to enable them to add another All-Star, which could be Paul George.