CLEVELAND, Ohio — Over the final few days leading up to the 2022 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers have received numerous trade offers for the No. 14 pick, sources tell cleveland.com.
To this point, sources say, the interest hasn’t led to anything more than discussions. But the Cavaliers have heard from multiple teams looking to move up and are willing to entertain possibilities of dropping back or moving out of the first round altogether — depending on the strength of the offers.
Cleveland’s front office has conducted its pre-draft due diligence, bringing in a plethora of prospects for group workouts and interviews. A few weeks ago, the Cavs had about 10 players on the No. 14 radar, including Arizona’s Dalen Terry and G League Ignite swingman MarJon Beauchamp, both of whom came to town for a workout and would be surprise lottery choices. Santa Clara swingman Jalen Williams — another prospect who doesn’t appear in the lottery on many mock drafts — worked out for the team on Monday.
Like most teams, the Cavs group these prospects into tiers, and then each player gets ranked within that tier. Given how crowded some of the tiers are, with five or six players currently considered realistic possibilities for them at 14 depending on who is still available, a trade-down seems like a viable strategy. Theoretically, the Cavs could move back a few spots, pick up another asset and still draft someone from the cluster of prospects they’d be discussing with the last pick of the lottery.
According to sources, the Minnesota Timberwolves (No. 19) and Memphis Grizzlies (No. 22) are exploring move-up scenarios. The Grizzlies also have the 29th pick. Could they swap both selections for No. 14? Would the Cavs be willing to drop eight spots? Do they even want multiple picks this year, which would slightly alter their salary cap projection?
Sources say Cleveland would prefer to acquire a future first-round pick to move back — if possible. It would also be open to the possibility of adding a help-now rotational player, depending on his contract situation and the expected on-court impact. But the team-friendly, financial-flexible, multiple-year cost control they’d get with a rookie is appealing, especially given the Cavs’ current cap situation and the complicated Collin Sexton negotiations coming in restricted free agency.
A few months ago, the Cavs dealt Ricky Rubio their lottery-protected first-round pick and multiple seconds to the Indiana Pacers for Caris LeVert. Because Cleveland collapsed at the end of the season, it did not have to convey that first-rounder (No. 14 this year) to the Pacers. Instead, it becomes lottery-protected in 2023. If the Cavs reach the playoffs in 2022-23 — a franchise goal even if not yet stated publicly — they lose their 2023 first-rounder to Indiana. Trading back from this year’s 14th pick could allow Cleveland to restock some of its lost draft capital, giving the team another valuable trade asset it doesn’t currently have for this offseason or next year’s trade deadline.
Draft week always leads to trade speculation. There are reportedly a plethora of teams (Sacramento, Portland and New Orleans) in the top 10 willing to make deals. The Cavs are getting calls as well — and they are listening. Maybe a deal materializes or maybe it doesn’t. That will be determined by the strength of the offers.
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