Report: Cavs have had lots of talks with Blazers, are interested in Nassir Little

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Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly have had a lot of talks with the Portland Trail Blazers ahead of the 2023 NBA Draft.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Cavs are interested in the No. 23 pick in the draft that Portland holds as well as forward Nassir Little. It’s unclear how much traction Cleveland and Portland have made in these trade talks.

“The pick I keep hearing about is 23 with Portland,” Windhorst said.

“Where I have actionable intelligence is pick 23. The Cavs, from what I understand, have had a lot of talks with the Blazers, not just for the 23rd pick — I think they have some interest in Nassir Little, who was a forward who was injured for a lot of last year but has already signed his contract extension.

“I think the Cavs have liked him in the past. That’s a guy they have interest in so it may not even involve a pick. It may involve Nassir Little and a pick, or maybe nothing.

“They’ve had quite a bit of talks. … It seems like a lot of their discussions are revolving on the 23rd pick.”

The Cavs are looking to improve their wing depth after several of their options at the position struggled in the playoffs in the 2022-23 season.

Isaac Okoro ended up losing his starting spot in favor of Caris LeVert in the playoffs, and LeVert is now an unrestricted free agent. Cleveland also used Danny Green and Cedi Osman on the wing against the New York Knicks, but those two weren’t very impressive in the series.

Little, 23, was the No. 25 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He’s dealt with injuries early on in his NBA career, appearing in 54 or fewer games in each of his first four NBA seasons.

However, he’s been a productive player for Portland when healthy, averaging 6.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game at the NBA level while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 33.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Little’s best NBA season so far came in the 2021-22 campaign, when he averaged 9.8 points across a career-high 25.9 minutes per game. The young forward has not played over 20 minutes per game in any other season.

If the Cavs were to make a deal for the No. 23 overall pick, it would give the team a chance to find a rotation player who would come on a cheap contract for several seasons.

With the Cavs already paying Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen hefty salaries, the team would be wise to find some relatively inexpensive players that can contribute, especially since Evan Mobley is going to eventually need a contract extension as well.

The 2023 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday night, so it will be interesting to see if Cleveland can work out a deal with the Blazers by then.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.