The Cavaliers will send a contingent to New Jersey this week to conduct a private, in-person workout with former Dayton forward Obi Toppin, sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. According to Fedor, the Cavs intend to dine with Toppin as part of the visit to get to know him better.
General manager Koby Altman, assistant GM Mike Gansey, and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff will be part of Cleveland’s traveling party as the team takes a closer look at Toppin and other top prospects this week, Fedor writes. It’s not yet clear which other players the group will be visiting, but Isaac Okoro, Onyeka Okongwu, James Wiseman, and Deni Avdija are among the other players the Cavs have done plenty of homework on, per Fedor.
While some teams may not take advantage of the change to the pre-draft rules that allows clubs to conduct up to a total of 10 in-person workouts prior to next month’s draft, the Cavs view it as a “vital part of the process,” according to Fedor, who notes that in-person visits played important roles when the team drafted Collin Sexton in 2018 and Darius Garland in 2019.
Fedor has reiterated throughout the pre-draft process that Toppin is very much in play for the Cavs, who hold the No. 5 pick in the 2020 draft. The former Flyer is already 22 years old and there are some concerns about his defense, as well as where he fits into a crowded Cleveland frontcourt. However, Fedor says that some members of the organization think the roster could use another long-term frontcourt piece, with Tristan Thompson facing free agency and Andre Drummond on an expiring deal. Additionally, Toppin’s defensive shortcomings aren’t considered a deal-breaker.
“It’s certainly not a strength, but is he a liability on that end? I won’t go that far,” one source told Fedor.