June 25, 2013
By Joe Kotoch
As the NBA Draft approaches rumors are swirling that the Cavs are actively trying to trade the 1st overall pick, Cleveland has narrowed their choice at 1 to three prospects, Washington seems to have made up their mind on who their top prospect is, and much more.
The Cavs, as we've discussed for weeks, want to trade the first pick but their struggling to find a package that meets their demands. Cleveland would love to trade the first pick for an established star such as LaMarcus Aldridge or Kevin Love but in a weak draft cannot entice teams to take the bait.
According to a source, the Cavs trade request for the first pick is , "No way they trade the pick. CG [Chris Grant - Cavs GM] is asking for way too much in this draft. If Andrew Wiggins was in this class it would be a different story." Cleveland's asking price consists of at least one lottery pick, one additional first round pick, and a young prospect. Its easy to see why Cleveland cannot find a team willing to trade for the top pick.
With news that Cleveland has narrowed its choice down to three players at one it appears to be Alex Len, Ben McLemore, and Nerlens Noel. Cleveland has its fair share of concerns with Noel, who is raw offensively, not just on the court. While Noel has the most upside and is a darling of the analytics. McLemore is a proven shooter and can be a great complimentary player but has turned off many with his agent saga and inner circle. Len, the likely target for the Cavs offers Cleveland a capable scorer on offense and a quality rebounder and shot blocker.
In fact Cleveland has the structure in place to help any big man blossom with assistant coach Jamal Mosely, who was critical in helping Tristan Thompson develop, along with Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Vitaly Potapenko, Len's countryman from the Ukraine. Cleveland GM Chris Grant loves bigs who can score and Len is by the most polished scorer at his position.
Washington appears to be down to Otto Porter and Anthony Bennett. However, the Wizards according to a source have placed Anthony Bennett at the top of their board. Bennett combined with John Wall and Bradley Beal would give the Wizards a dynamic threesome with plenty of offensive versatility.
It is true Portland has been listening to offers for LaMarcus Aldridge, who quietly wants out, but Portland expects a large sum for their All-Star. Cleveland has had talks about Aldridge for 1 and 19 but that offer was laughed at by members of the Blazers front office.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a hot name right now, the Georgia wing has been shooting up boards and now is liekly to be a top-10 pick. According to a source, Oklahoma City really is intrigued by Caldwell-Pope and would consider trading up to land him. Several teams I spoke with believe he is the target of several teams looking to jump the Thunder.
I have been extremely high on Jamaal Franklin for some time but an ankle injury limited his availability to work out for teams and prevented him from cracking the lottery but watch for Atlanta to tab him with one of their two picks as Franklin is working out for a 2nd time in front of Danny Ferry and company.