OK, there are a few ways to look at this.
1. ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THIS, CAVALIERS???? Yes, absolutely you need a rim protector, and Mozgov fills that role fine. If you go by the NBA's player tracking, he's holding opponents to 48.6 percent on close field goal attempts—a little better than Andre Drummond, a little worse than DeAndre Jordan—and is involved in 7.1 per game. Timofey Mozgov is Fine. But c'mon, man—it's still Timofey Mozgov! And look at these protections! From Adrian Wojnarowski's writeup on Yahoo:
The protections on the pick from Memphis: Nos. 1-5 and 15-30 in 2015; 1-5 and 15-30 in '16; 1-5 in '17 and 1-5 in 2018; unprotected in 2019. The protections on the OKC pick: Nos. 1-18 in 2015; 1-15 in '16; 1-15 in 2017. After 2017, it becomes two seconds.
The OKC pick you can write off as found money, sort of, since it just arrived in the Waiters deal, in which the Cavs managed to flip Dion Waiters into a year of Shump and a first-rounder for the cut-rate price of running cleanup duty on whatever inconveniences J.R. Smith can imagine in the next year and a half.
But the Memphis pick on top of that has to make your brain itch at least a little. Memphis is on fire this season, but has to worry about an impending Marc Gasol free agency and the storm doors falling the rest of the way off of Z-Bo and Tony Allen. That's got the makings of a pretty good pick! But Cleveland can't afford to hold onto it, because it really can't afford to be left just holding its nuts and losing to the buster-ass Sixers. So you send two firsts out to Denver, make your tacit little admission that you're a little shook by those LeBron-might-Decision-again rumors, and hope it helps. Because:
2. The Cavs aren't building shit. If you read around the negative space in those pick restictions, they're looking at a two- or three-year window and are going to fire off any assets they have to make sure it actually opens.
3. This deal comes off as a recalibration of the actual value of draft picks is cresting through the league. Remember, the valuation of assets in the NBA is not absolute—you can't just thumb around the Blue Book and peg your Good-to-Fair-condition 2014-15 Mike Dunleavy, Jr. at a late-first and cash considerations—and are informed by a specific point of view. The Morey Model that's taken over these last few years puts extreme value on the draft picks, especially first rounders, and talented young players. But not long ago, the prevailing notion was that expiring deals were valuable enough to trade good players for useless ones. Now, think—how much have you heard about Amar'e Stoudemire being a hot trade chip this year? The market is more mature now than it was then, but there's plenty of track unlaid as far as what a draft pick is actually worth, and some teams have already begun redoing the math.
5. The old joke is fair enough, too. The Cavaliers draft people like Dion Waiters. Trade all of your draft picks if you do shit like that.