The Cavaliers believe R.J. Barrett might be the leading scorer among next year’s rookies, but the prospect of trading up to the No. 3 pick would be difficult, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. A front office representative told Fedor that the Cavs put Barrett on the same level as Ja Morant, who is expected to be selected second, with a clear drop-off in talent after the top three.
The main obstacle to moving up, according to Fedor, is the Knicks’ potential asking price. The Mavericks executed the exact same scenario last season, moving from No. 5 to No. 3, and had to give up this year’s first-rounder to Atlanta. New York’s desire to deal the pick is unclear because the Knicks are counting on hitting the jackpot in free agency, which won’t begin until 10 days after the draft.
Cleveland already has a top-10 protected first-rounder headed to Atlanta next year from the Kyle Korver trade, so the Cavs won’t be able to offer a first-round pick prior to 2022’s selection in any deal.
There’s more today out of Cleveland:
- Owner Dan Gilbert is willing to pay the luxury tax to help the team improve, Fedor adds in the same piece. GM Koby Altman has received approval to enter tax territory if necessary, and the Cavs displayed a willingness to add salary this season, taking unwanted contracts from the Bucks and Rockets to get extra draft assets. Cleveland is looking at cap relief after the 2019/20 season, with only $42MM currently committed.
- Michigan graduate manager Jay Shunnar could be the next addition to the Cavaliers’ staff, Fedor adds. At 28, Shunnar may be too young to become an assistant coach, but Fedor states that John Beilein values his input and might give him some other job in the organization. A source tells Fedor that Wolverines assistant Luke Yaklich is unlikely to join the Cavs.
- One season into his four-year, $120MM contract, Kevin Love is unlikely to be traded this summer, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider account). Marks believes Love’s contract is still an issue because he wouldn’t get a similar deal if he were on the free agent market. Also, Cleveland isn’t in line to compete for the top players in free agency, so there’s not much value in unloading Love’s salary. After missing 105 games in the past three seasons, Love has to prove he can stay healthy before teams start to show interest.