It’s officially smokescreen season for the NBA Draft. Rumors are swirling, but some of them have to be true, right? Even though the Cleveland Cavaliers are presumably out of the running for the top three players in the class, that hasn’t stopped the NBA media from speculating. According to Basketball Insiders’ Steve Kyler, the Cavs are extremely interested in Duke guard R.J. Barrett.
It’s been a foregone conclusion that Barrett would be selected by either the Memphis Grizzliesor New York Knicks, but perhaps the Cavaliers will have the chance to move up and grab him.
Assuming New York wants Barrett, Cleveland could attempt to acquire the third overall pick by making the Knicks an offer they can’t refuse, but that would be very difficult to do. The Cavs have done a good job of accumulating future draft picks, but none of them appear to be extremely valuable at this point.
Kevin Love is the team’s best player, but with his contract, it’s quite possible he doesn’t even carry a positive trade value. The Cavaliers just don’t have the ammunition to overwhelm teams with trade offers.
However, suppose the Knicks didn’t really want Barrett at three. Reports suggest the team is considering Culver with their pick. Of course, this could be completely bogus, but what if it isn’t? Could moving up for Barrett be a possibility for Cleveland?
If the Knicks aren’t sold on Barrett, moving back to pick five makes the most sense. It would allow them to gain future assets and still secure their chance at Culver. If they were to trade down with the Phoenix Suns at six, the Cavs would likely just take Culver.