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CLEVELAND: When he was leaving his house Wednesday night to watch the NBA draft lottery from his office at Cleveland Clinic Courts, Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant’s 7-year-old son Cameron asked him whom he was going to take in the draft.
The rest of Cleveland is now wondering that, too. But before Grant decides whom to select with the fourth overall pick, he must first decide whether he wants the fourth pick.
Make no mistake, the Cavaliers are not trading down in this draft, but there remains at least a slight chance they could move up.
Of the three teams selecting ahead of them, the Charlotte Bobcats’ pick at No. 2 seems to be in play. The Hornets certainly won’t trade the No. 1 pick and the chance to draft Kentucky center Anthony Davis and Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis made it clear Wednesday night the Wizards are staying put at No. 3.
“This fortunately is a deep draft,” Leonsis told the Washington Post. “We won’t be trading the third pick.”
That leaves the Bobcats, who are so good at losing that they even lost the draft lottery after finishing the season with the worst winning percentage in NBA history. Their roster is in desperate need of an overhaul and one player – even a player they deem the second-best in this draft – won’t come close to solving all of their problems.
Teams are still in the early stages of compiling their draft board, but if the Bobcats believe there isn’t much of a drop between their second and fourth choices, they could entertain offers from the Cavs for their pick.
“Some other teams are going to call us about No. 2,” Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins told the Charlotte Observer. “We’re going to get some interest there until the pick is called” on draft night.
Being open to trading the second overall pick and actually doing it are completely different strategies. The Minnesota Timberwolves shopped the No. 2 pick prior to last year’s draft before ultimately settling on forward Derrick Williams, even though the Wolves already had a logjam at the position, which is why they tried so hard trading it in the first place.
At least right now, the Cavs are believed to have Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist entrenched as the No. 2 choice on their draft board. After that, it gets murky.
If the Cavs’ final draft board has Kidd-Gilchrist clearly ahead of others like Connecticut center Andre Drummond, Florida guard Bradley Beal, North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes and Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson, the Cavs could try to package their two first-round picks (Nos. 4 and No. 24) as a starting point to move up to No. 2.
“With our ownership group, they like being aggressive and we like being aggressive,” Grant said. “We’ll look at a lot of different options. I’d presume we’ll be pretty active.”
The Cavaliers kicked the tires on what it would cost to move up from No. 4 to No. 2 last season, but felt all along they could stay at No. 4 and come away with the player they wanted. They ultimately chose Tristan Thompson.
They enter this draft with four of the top 34 picks, but little chance of adding four rookies to an already young roster. That means at least one trade is likely. Whether or not it includes the No. 4 pick won’t be determined until they interview all the candidates and bring them in for private workouts.
“It can be difficult (to trade up), but I like where we are,” Grant said. “If we move around, great. If we stay where we are, that’s fantastic, too. We’re in a really good spot.”