The Cleveland Cavaliers would rather not be yearly participants in the NBA draft lottery despite their remarkable luck in it over the last few years.
They want to win now after four straight seasons of no playoff basketball following LeBron James’ departure to Miami, which is why new general manager David Griffin will explore all options with the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft to make his team better. [tweet https://twitter.com/PDcavsinsider/statuses/468924474134630401 align=”center”] [tweet https://twitter.com/PDcavsinsider/statuses/468924270656368640 align=”center”]
The Cavaliers will pick first overall for the third time in the last four seasons unless the selection is traded. Cleveland has a roster full of talented young players, highlighted by former top-five picks Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. The team lacks a veteran superstar to pair with Irving, who has emerged as one of the elite scoring guards in the league since he was taken No. 1 overall in the 2011 draft.
According to Sheridan Hoops, the Cavaliers could emerge as a player in the Kevin Love trade market after winning the lottery. Love has a year left on his contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who might decide to trade him if he refuses to sign an extension.
“According to league sources, the Cavs have a serious interest in Minnesota forward Kevin Love and could package the top pick, Anderson Varejao, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson to try and get the All-Star from the Wolves,” writes Joe Kotoch. “Cleveland also is loaded with cap space this summer and could be a player for any of the top free agents, including LeBron James if he opts out this summer.”
Trading the No. 1 pick is a rarity in the NBA. In fact, we haven’t seen a top pick traded on draft day since the Orlando Magic dealt Chris Webber to the Golden State Warriors for Penny Hardaway in a package that included three additional picks. But after the horrendous rookie season of last year’s No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett, combined with the fact that this draft class lacks a franchise cornerstone player, it wouldn’t be shocking if Cleveland moved the top selection to acquire an established star.
Cleveland, like most small markets, isn’t a top destination for mega stars in free agency. Making shrewd trades and drafting well is the route that the Cavaliers must take on the road back to the league’s elite. Trading this year’s No. 1 pick for a player of Love’s caliber wouldn’t be a bad start.