Cleveland Cavaliers rumored to target moving into lottery ahead of NBA Draft

New reports name the Cavaliers as potential movers in the NBA Draft.
2022 NBA Draft
2022 NBA Draft / Arturo Holmes/GettyImages

This year's NBA Draft has been filled with rumors and teams expected to move up and down the board ahead of draft night, and the Cleveland Cavaliers have joined the list according to a new report.

Currently, the Cavaliers hold No. 20 overall in the draft and have been mocked to select a range of prospects from experienced wings and floor spacers to shifty combo guards. While the Cavs are searching for win-now players this offseason, the draft can provide a cheap rotational player with the right selection.

According to a new podcast episode from Kevin O'Connor and J. Kyle Mann on The NBA Draft Show, Cleveland has their eyes on moving up into the lottery ahead of the draft.

""I've heard in the middle of the first round that there are some other teams who are trying to move up. I've heard the Cavaliers. They currently have the 20th pick in the draft. They're trying to move up.""

Kevin O'Connor

If the Cavaliers move into the lottery, they likely do so with a specific prospect in mind. Over the past weeks, the Cavs have invited a plethora of aspiring rookies to work out in Cleveland, including NC State standout big man DJ Burns, Jr. Few mock drafts rank members of the Cavs' list in the lottery, suggesting the Cavaliers may have the impression that their real target will be gone by the time they select in the latter half of the first round.

On the Cavs, O'Connor said that there is no clear consensus on Cleveland's plans, saying "They're [the Cavaliers] everywhere, to be clear. They're everywhere - nobody knows exactly what they're going to do" and citing the potential for the Cavs to trade one or more of their core four players. With Donovan Mitchell's contract extension and Evan Mobley's possible move to center, O'Connor suggested that the Cavaliers' plans are a mystery this year.

Who could the Cavaliers target in the lottery?

As O'Connor noted, the Cavs' desire to move into the lottery as a playoff team is a perplexing piece of news. Rather than targeting a young, inexperienced prospect, the Cavaliers would expectedly search for an NBA-ready prospect who can produce day one rather than taking a massive swing based on theoretical potential.

Both hosts cited Darius Garland as Cleveland's best trade piece to move up in the draft. If the Cavs used Garland as bait to move up, O'Connor suggested they could look for a player who fit better next to Mitchell, assuming he stays for the long term.

""I think there's guys who make more sense next to what they currently have. Like, I think somebody like Devin Carter makes more sense than Darius Garland because of the defense he provides. I think Dalton Knecht makes more sense than Darius Garland because of the size and kind of, you know, scoring mentality that he brings in a backcourt next to Mitchell.""

Kevin O'Connor

According to the latest reports, though, Darius Garland is viewed as an untouchable asset for the Cavaliers, making Carter and Knecht unlikely reasons for the Cavs to move up.

If Cleveland moved Allen in a draft trade, O'Connor noted Colorado senior forward Tristan da Silva as a potential selection. In prior mock drafts, da Silva was listed as the Cavs' ideal pick at 20, but the 23-year-old wing's proven talent and NBA-ready skillset could make him a late riser on draft night with range reportedly as high as pick 12. If Cleveland wants to guarantee a chance at da Silva, moving up could be their path forward.

This year's draft pool is not expected to produce an era-defining star, but O'Connor began the podcast episode noting that many sources like this draft for the vast amount of high-level role players among the ranks. Each franchise's rankings likely looks entirely different from another, leading to uncertainty across the board. If a front office is enthralled with any single target, they will have no definitive way to know if they will be available when they are called to select.

For the Cleveland Cavaliers, this draft is about finding an impactful complementary player for their current core. The Cavs do not need to seek out another star to add to the cast, but their depth chart still needs another young high-level contributor to take another step forward in contention.

Next. Draft Watch: Underrated rookie Cavaliers must consider at No. 20. Draft Watch: Underrated rookie Cavaliers must consider at No. 20. dark