Report: Cavs attempted trading up draft spots to acquire R.J. Barrett in 2019

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Continued rumors about a possible trade of Collin Sexton have led to reflections on how the Cleveland Cavaliers made efforts to trade up prior to the 2019 NBA Draft to select R.J. Barrett.

Chris Fedor of looked at a possible trade of Sexton to the New York Knicks and pointed to the possible inclusion of Barrett, noting Cleveland’s past interest in the guard.

“The Cavs were smitten with RJ Barrett ahead of the 2019 draft,” Fedor wrote. “They even tried trading up a few spots, sources say. Barrett is reportedly not viewed as untouchable, considered a potential trade centerpiece if the Knicks go star hunting. Coming off a strong sophomore season in which the 21-year-old averaged 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists while hitting 40.1% from 3-point range and started all 72 games, it’s hard to see the Knicks parting with him for Sexton — and then agreeing to give Sexton a massive contract.”

In the end, the Cavaliers ended up drafting Darius Garland, who continues to develop into a solid NBA guard, though perhaps not quite as advanced as Barrett.

The uncertainty surrounding of getting Sexton to sign a contract extension serves as one reason for his possible trade. What Cleveland offers and what Sexton believes he’s worth is likely to be much different.

The 22-year-old Sexton has put up solid numbers during his three seasons with the Cavaliers, but exactly where he fits in the team’s lineup in the future is another reason for the trade rumors.

Sexton was the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft and exactly what the Cavaliers might get in return for him remains unknown. However, right now, it seems apparent that Barrett will not be part of any such deal.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.