With the 2021-22 season officially in the books after the Golden State Warriors beat the Boston Celtics in the Finals, basketball fans are now counting down the days until the draft.
Fortunately, they don’t have to count very high.
Cavaliers fans won’t have to wait too long to hear their team’s newest addition, either.
Or will they. . .
Cleveland currently owns the last pick in the lottery, lucky number 14.
And so far, the team has brought in players for workouts that are widely expected to be available around that no. 14 slot.
But is the team potentially exploring a trade?
On The Move
According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, the Cavs are open for business:
“The Cleveland Cavaliers are open to moving back in the draft if they can acquire an additional future first-round pick, league sources told HoopsHype.”
That news after it was also reported by ESPN analyst Brian Windhorst that other teams are interested in moving into the late-lottery:
“There are other teams that are farther back, I know of one team that’s in the teens that called the Cavs in the last few days, looking to move up to their pick, just to start talking about it, so Cavs are getting some offers.”
So the interest is mutual.
The only problem for Cleveland is that, while it technically has a pick in the lottery, the club is at the very back end of the line.
What kind of future value could the team get for the no. 14 pick?
Happy Birthday to Evan Mobley 🔥 pic.twitter.com/UwiLd2vWj1
— Cavaliers Nation (@WeAreCavsNation) June 18, 2022
It’s not like the team is within striking distance of one of the draft’s top-eight players.
But even still, could the move backwards be a good thing for this team?
Perhaps it signals a few things.
First, the front office has zeroed in on a player they like.
The scouting department has done a fairly excellent job at identifying talented and winning players.
Further, the team has not been afraid to stand by those picks, even despite monster interest elsewhere.
Last summer, the Cavs stood pat at the third pick to take Evan Mobley, so confident in Mobley that they declined serious offers from teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Second, perhaps the team is stocking up assets to parlay into a trade.
We just saw the Sixers have to cough up multiple first-round picks plus players to pull off a trade for James Harden.
Maybe Cleveland doesn’t intend to use the future pick as anything more than trade bait.
Third, it puts Cleveland back in the first round of next year’s draft, where the currently several second-round picks, but nothing in the first.
Regardless, it keeps Cleveland’s options open heading into this season and beyond.
If Cleveland does indeed trade down, it will draft outside the lottery for the first time since 2015.
So far, Cleveland has hosted a number of guys for workouts.
That list includes players like Ohio State’s Malaki Branham and EJ Liddell, Kentucky’s TyTy Washington, LSU’s Tari Eason, and Kansas’ Ochai Agbaji.
Who else is ready for Year 2 Mobley? 👀🔥@evanmobley | 📹 @swishcultures_ pic.twitter.com/PYqTlrwT9z
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) June 16, 2022
Each of those names are fringe lottery players; none are projected to go above no. 14 according to The Ringer’s most recent Mock Draft.
If the Cavs end up picking later than 20, keep an eye out for wings like Jaden Hardy and Bryce McGowens.
Both are taller than Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, offering a longer running mate with Garland in the backcourt.
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