Would the Cavaliers trade Evan Mobley for Victor Wembanyama? – Right Down Euclid mailbag

Victor Wembanyama is the greatest basketball prospect anyone has seen in quite a while. Is it worth losing Evan Mobley?
LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 6: Victor Wembanyama #1 of Metropolitans 92 celebrates during the game against the G League Ignite on October 6, 2022, at The Dollar Loan Center in Las Vegas, NV. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

When the Cleveland Guardians return from their six-game road trip, Right Down Euclid will re-enter the coverage fray after some time away to recharge when the Cleveland Cavaliers’ season came to an earlier-than-expected end. But the bills still need to be paid between now and then. So, Right Down Euclid asked you to submit your questions for another mailbag!

There’s a good variety of questions in this edition – including one that Right Down Euclid asked the community to answer. Let’s skip the semantics and dive right into it!

If you were running the Cavaliers would you trade Evan Mobley for Victor Wembanyama? – Isaiah J.

Short answer: No.

Long answer:

As some of you may know, I’m unapologetically proud of my French heritage, and I’m writing this while wearing my French National Team hoodie. I adore Les Bleus and their chances on the global basketball stage could match the United States if Joel Embiid elects to play for France in FIBA play. For a time, Rudy Gobert led the way with veterans like Nicolas Batum, Evan Fournier and Nando de Colo behind him. But, with the ascension of Victor Wembanyama, France’s win over Team USA in Tokyo may happen more often from now on.

Simply put, Wembanyama is one of the greatest basketball prospects in quite a long time. Since I was too young to process and understand LeBron James in high school, since I was only in fourth grade, Wembanyama has been my basketball wrecking force. Watching a seven-foot goliath of a human move as fluidly as a guard on the court hit three-pointers, pass the ball with relative ease and lock up opponents from anywhere is hard to comprehend fully. Include that he’s French, and I’ve been a Wembanyama fan since he broke onto the scene several years ago.

Now that he’s headed to the NBA, it’s even more exciting not just for me as a Wembanyama fan but for the game of basketball globally. I understood the sentiment when San Antonio Spurs managing partner Peter J. Holt yelped excitedly when his team secured the no. 1 pick and Wembanyama. Wembanyama has the potential to be the next game-changing player, and he truly is one-of-one. Sure, there will be adjustments and tons of expectations heading into next season for Wembanyama and the Spurs. But San Antonio could have another dynasty on their hands sooner rather than later.

Evan Mobley was another player I had similar feelings about during the pre-draft process. No, it isn’t because we share the same first name or have a secret love for the University of Southern California. Instead, COVID shut many things down and I had digested enough footage on the 2020 NBA Draft group. Considering the Cavaliers were a bad team at the time, I looked ahead to what 2021 had to offer. Sure, Cade Cunningham stuck out like a sore thumb due to big-bodied point guards scratching an itch for me. Despite that, I kept circling back to Mobley and the primary takeaway I got from breaking down every angle of everything available was that he had the potential to be a franchise-altering talent.

It was the defensive-first mindset and the fact that he was so comfortable defending anything and everything while never fouling. It was the playmaking chops and how Mobley was comfortable acting as the primary offensive hub for his teammates. It was the interior scoring ability on top of the signs as a possible long-range scorer. There was so much to like when breaking down Mobley’s game and, even though Jarrett Allen and Andre Drummond were on the roster at the time, Mobley could completely revitalize Cleveland’s fortunes.

Funnily enough, Mobley ended up with the Cavaliers, and I was right: he was the catalyst for the team going from a bottom feeder to a legitimate force. Mobley was the one who made Cleveland the NBA’s top defensive team in just two years. Sure, he experienced growing pains as all young big men who enter the NBA do. But, as J.B. Bickerstaff once shared, Mobley was and still is hyper-fixated on winning and didn’t care about his counting stats. Mobley is odd in the best imaginable way and will continuously improve as a player. He’s the guy the Cavaliers haven’t had since LeBron James left town for the second time. If Cleveland ever makes the NBA Finals again, it’ll be because of Mobley and his otherworldly potential as a player.

Now, if the Spurs called tomorrow and offered a path to secure Wembanyama for Mobley, I’d consider it if I was running the show. It would be a fireable offense if you didn’t. But, like Mobley, there is a path for Wembanyma to become a two-way force of nature that could also help build a dynasty. It’s just going to take time for Wembanyama to get there. Considering the Cavaliers acquired Donovan Mitchell last summer, they’re on a much different timeline from how Mobley has developed. Cleveland cannot afford to hit reset and scale things back for a year or two. Their window is right now and time is fleeting in all walks of life, basketball included.

I’m excited to see what becomes of Wembanyama in San Antonio. It was the best possible place for him to land and he can grow and develop as the face of the Spurs at a rate he’s comfortable with. It will be fun to watch him grow as a prospect, and you better believe I’ll own a fiesta-themed jersey of his the moment it becomes available. But it’ll be equally fun watching Mobley hit his next apex as a player entering year three of his NBA career. So, until then, it’s Allez San Antonio, while Right Down Euclid continues to be the best place for coverage of Mobley and the Cavaliers.

Speaking of the 2023 NBA Draft – the Cavaliers have a pick late in the second round! In the coming weeks, Right Down Euclid will be doing a deep dive leading up to the draft itself on prospects that sources say are of interest and players that would make sense for Cleveland.

To answer your question, Ruben Dominguez has good size for an NBA prospect and, in theory, could make sense for the Cavaliers. He’s an excellent shooter and Dominguez has strong game awareness and an even more potent motor. Unfortunately, Dominguez doesn’t have the athleticism to match with NBA perimeter players defensively and that somewhat limits his overall prospects as an NBA-level player. He could be worth a shot if Cleveland sticks with drafting international players to give them a longer runway to develop. But, Dominguez could also elect to stay overseas. I’m of the camp that the Cavaliers should look elsewhere, but I don’t hate the fit.

I understand that JB Bickerstaff should have a secure position this upcoming season but obviously with all of the current chaos in the coaching market. There will come speculation amongst fan bases. I wonder how much Monty Williams or Nick Nurse could improve upon what JB Bickerstaff has built. I look at their recent experiences and don’t really see much more of an upgrade. Am I wrong? – Andy K.

I think it’s fair to have FOMO when looking at some of the candidates available, but some of the candidates available don’t inspire a ton of optimism either. More importantly, like Cleveland’s roster, this was an opportunity to grow and learn from the playoffs for Bickerstaff no matter how far the Cavaliers went. Let’s say Cleveland struggles out the gates next season or flames out again in the playoffs. That’s when the Cavaliers have the uncomfortable conversation about Bickertaff’s future with the team. Until then, they’re trusting the process.

If Donovan Mitchell makes his intentions clear to Cleveland that he doesn’t want to stick around long-term with what the Cavaliers are building, sure. But, contrary to what’s been reported, I haven’t been able to personally confirm with several league sources whether Mitchell has eyes on joining the New York Knicks despite him publicly saying he’s happy in Cleveland and wants to move past the speculation. It’s fitting that TNT showcases so many games because there needs to be drama in the NBA for whatever reason. To your point, it’s better to lose him in a trade rather than lose him for nothing in free agency. But, for now, let’s focus on what happens this offseason for the Cavaliers since the grass doesn’t always seem greener on the other side.

I’m honestly surprised by the results of this poll. I’m personally #TeamHandle versus #TeamThree for Mobley’s development as a player, and I’ll dive deeper into it next week!

Evan Dammarell is a sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can also email him at [email protected] He can also be found three to five times weekly on Locked On Cavs, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network.

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