Recent reports have suggested and stated that the Cavaliers could be open to moving Sexton this offseason (Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer brought up this possibility). The University of Alabama product is coming off his most productive season in the NBA, as he averaged 24.3 points per game while shooting 37.1 percent from beyond the arc.
The idea of trading Sexton derives from him potentially being a restricted free agent in a year and the Cavaliers drafting a pair of guards/wings over the last two years in the first round (Darius Garland and Isaac Okoro). There has also been buzz about Sexton at times holding on to the ball a bit too much.
One way or another, Collin Sexton is a proven scorer and an impact player. No one puts up 24-plus points per game by accident. Here are three ideal trade destinations for the point guard if the Cavaliers look to make a move.
Collin Sexton trade destinations:
Los Angeles Lakers
Lakers receive: Collin Sexton
Cavaliers receive: Kyle Kuzma, Lakers’ 2021 first round draft pick (22), and Lakers’ 2025 second round draft pick
The Lakers will attempt to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis with players who can complement and take some pressure off them. Sexton would give coach Frank Vogel another legitimate scorer.
Sexton would go from the focus of defensive attention to a secondary thought. He’s efficient from the field, can attack the rack, and would benefit from the attention James and Davis attract. In their first round series loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Lakers’ offense was a mess when Davis was off the floor. They relied too much on James and few stepped up in a profound way to aid the scoring cause. If that scenario presents itself again, they’d have someone who can play in isolation in Sexton, who’s a bit of an upgrade over impending free agent Dennis Schroder.
Los Angeles moves on from Kuzma, whose career continues to stagger, as well as a first- and second-rounder for the sake of getting quicker and deeper in the backcourt (the Lakers had plenty of frontcourt depth this season). From the Cavaliers’ perspective, they can attempt to make Kuzma one of the driving forces of their offense and add a player of their choosing in the mid-to-late first round to go along with their lottery selection.
The knock on the Lakers making such a move is them having the option to instead re-sign Schroder without surrendering picks or pursue a cheaper route while keeping Kuzma in the fold.
Celtics receive: Collin Sexton
Cavaliers receive: Aaron Nesmith, Romeo Langford, and 2021 first round draft pick (16)
The coach became the president, the coaching position is vacant and the Celtics have to make some tough decisions with their roster this offseason. Sexton would add a spark to their rotation.
Jayson Tatum and a healthy Jaylen Brown make for a sturdy one-two punch, but it’s not enough for the Celtics to overcome Eastern Conference powerhouses like the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Brooklyn Nets. With Sexton present, the Celtics would have three bonafide scorers. Traditionally, the Celtics have been a defensive-minded, halfcourt team. While he perhaps lacks a bit defensively, Sexton adds a new dimension to their offense. It would be difficult to double-team either one of the team’s new Big 3 if you will, given how the trio is efficient from the field and can all get to the rim off the dribble.
This trade allows the Celtics to clear out some of the lottery selections that either haven’t panned out or won’t get the playing time to blossom into a productive rotation fixture. If all goes well and the Celtics become a conference contender again, they should have the cap room to pay Sexton handsomely (at least a $20 million average annual salary). From the Cavaliers’ perspective, they get another first-rounder this year and can experiment with a pair of talented lottery selections in Nesmith and Langford while lowering future payroll.
Why wouldn’t the Celtics trade for Sexton? Well, they could run it back with Kemba Walker at point guard for another year. Speaking of Walker, there’s talk of the Celtics having to attach draft picks to him via trade to move his salary. There would be a lot of moving pieces.
New York Knicks
Knicks receive: Collin Sexton
Cavaliers receive: Kevin Knox, 2021 first round draft pick (19), 2022 first-round draft pick, and Detroit Pistons’ 2021 second round draft pick (32)
The Knicks need another prominent scorer and a facilitator. They could potentially get two-for-one by trading for Sexton.
Julius Randle had a breakout campaign and needs someone to score at a high level alongside him. Sexton would handle the rock, serving as coach Tom Thibodeau’s number two scorer. His ability to attract attention off the dribble and in general would create open looks for RJ Barrett and other perimeter players. Sexton would help Randle, and Randle would help Sexton. Neither player would have to be the focal point of an offense, like they’ve respectively been in each of the last two seasons.
The Knicks would trade Knox, who has been unable to gain traction in the NBA, and a boatload of draft picks. They have four selections in this year’s draft and five first-rounders over the next three years, giving them the arsenal to surrender a few enticing picks. With minimal payroll commitments for the 2022-23 season, the Knicks would have no problems forking over the money necessary to ink Sexton to a long-term deal past next season. They’ll also still have in the ballpark of $50-60 million in cap space to toy with after trading for Sexton. The 22-year-old could be the start of a vibrant, transcendental offseason for the Knicks.
From the Cavaliers’ point of view, they get two draft picks this year, that being the better of the Knicks’ two first-rounders and the Pistons’ second-rounder, which is an essential late first-rounder. They also get the Knicks’ first-rounder next season and keep their payroll down for the long haul. All the while, they can attempt to get Knox on the right path. He was drafted in the top 10 for a reason: He has talent and can be a big-bodied scorer.