Report: Cavs holding conversations with Nets, Blazers, Pacers, Hornets and Jazz about moving into 1st round

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

In an effort to get back into the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly talking with at least five different teams prior to Thursday night’s selection process.

Chris Fedor of looked at how the Cavaliers are approaching this draft, with their only current choice being the 49th overall pick.

“The Cavs don’t have a first-round pick, sending it to the Indiana Pacers last February as part of the Caris LeVert deal,” wrote Fedor. “But sources maintain they are attempting to move back into the first round, holding numerous conversations with teams in the 20s — Brooklyn (could the Cavs get Patty Mills back in a player-player swap as well?), Portland (former Cavs executive Andrae Patterson is the assistant general manager and the two sides spoke at the trade deadline, mainly about deals involving Josh Hart), Indiana (would they consider something involving Aaron Nesmith or Jordan Nwora?), Charlotte, Utah (the organizations have a great working relationship, have consummated numerous deals recently and getting Rudy Gay back would be logical).

“Cleveland has been trying to gauge the cost and figure out whether it would be worth it for an asset-poor organization to use some of its trade chips on a young, unproven rookie who may not be able to crack coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s tight rotation.

“While Cleveland has been asked about the availability of Cedi Osman, Dean Wade, Isaac Okoro and Ricky Rubio in such a move, team decision-makers have gotten the impression that a haul of future second-rounders would do the trick. Still, any draft-night trade would limit what the Cavs could accomplish from a trade standpoint the remainder of the summer and at the February deadline.”

The near future for the Cavaliers is something that involves a drought of first-round choices. They currently have their 2024 top pick but owe multiple first-rounders to the Jazz after last year’s Donovan Mitchell trade.

A chief reason why the teams mentioned by Fedor might be inclined to send a later first-round pick to the Cavaliers is that all of them have multiple choices in the first round. Another aspect is that the players in that part of the draft often don’t turn into blockbuster performers.

Of the possible players the Cavaliers might deal to make such an acquisition, Okoro might intrigue some of those teams. The Cavaliers chose him with the fifth overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, though his playing time has diminished in each of his three seasons.

A serious need for the Cavaliers is a wing player who can put up better statistical numbers than Okoro has been able to deliver. In his three seasons, Okoro has averaged just 8.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

Besides the potential players the Cavaliers could deal, the team does have a healthy supply of future second-round choices that might catch the attention of teams.

The Cavaliers know that being able to uncover a future superstar in the second round is a rarity.

The team had three second-round picks last year. Only one of those choices, Isaiah Mobley, saw any time on the court for the team. The other two players, Luke Travers and Khalifa Diop, played internationally.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that a move into the first round would uncover the next star player for the Cavaliers. However, there seems to be a better chance of discovering someone who can actually contribute next season.

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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.