The Cavaliers were well represented at Darius Garland‘s private workout Friday night in Los Angeles, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Cleveland officials had been hoping for a close-up look at the Vanderbilt point guard, whose Klutch Sports representatives limited his availability early in the pre-draft process.
There’s no guarantee Garland will still be on the board when the Cavs pick at No. 5, as the Pelicans now hold the fourth pick and are reportedly receiving strong interest from teams looking to move up. There are questions surrounding Garland’s durability after he played just four games in college before suffering a meniscus injury, but many teams view him as a potential All-Star because of his exceptional shooting and ball-handling, along with the ability to take charge of an offense.
The No. 4 pick may be more unpredictable now that the Lakers are sending it to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis trade, Fedor adds. The Suns and Bulls might trade up for Garland if they believe he’s significantly better than Coby White, while the Hawks, who own the eighth and 10th picks, may decide to move up for Jarrett Culver.
The Cavs wouldn’t be afraid to team Garland with last year’s No. 1 pick, Collin Sexton, even though that would be an undersized backcourt with a pair of 6’2″ guards. Fedor notes that the organization is early enough in the rebuilding process that draft decisions will be based more on talent than fit.
There’s more from Cleveland, all courtesy of Fedor:
- Cleveland also likes Culver, but Fedor believes the chance to get him decreases if the Pelicans keep their pick. If another team trades up for Garland, then Culver becomes a strong possibility at No. 5. He had a private workout and dinner with several Cavaliers representatives last week, and the team has scouted him several times. New coach John Beilein faced Culver in the NCAA Tournament, where he scored 22 points in Texas Tech’s win over Michigan.
- Even though the Cavaliers were hoping for a top three pick, they’re confident they can add a contributor at No. 5. De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish are on their radar as well as Garland and Culver.
- The Cavaliers have less than two weeks to work out a trade involving J.R. Smith before his $15.6MM contract becomes guaranteed for next season. It carries just a $3.8MM guarantee until then and could be an enticing trade chip for a team looking to unload salary. Fedor sees the Heat as a prime contender for Smith, but lists the Hornets, Bucks, Thunder and Trail Blazers as other teams that could use some cap relief.