CLEVELAND — Right now, the Cavaliers don’t have an invitation, but they might crash the party at the last minute.
The NBA Draft will take place tonight at 7:30, but Cleveland does not have a pick in the two-round affair. That could change, as Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry is exploring several options to get his Eastern Conference champion squad a pick in the first round.
The Cavaliers could make a multiplayer trade that includes them receiving a draft pick, or they could simply try to purchase a pick from a club that isn’t thrilled with giving a three-year guaranteed contract to any of the players left on the board in the first round.
The most a team can pay for another club’s first-round pick, however, is $3 million, making it highly doubtful the Cavaliers could go that route and acquire a choice in the top half of the draft. Making matters even tougher, not many teams will want to dump their pick, and there will be plenty of teams interested in acquiring the selection of any club looking to get out of the first round.
“Definitely, we’ll look at buying a pick, but that doesn’t mean we’ll get one,” Ferry said.
As for the players in the draft, there are two potential franchise building blocks at the top, a fairly good crop of players in the next five to 10, then a lot of uncertainty.
“It’s a good draft, but not an exceptional one,” Ferry said. “The two guys at the top make it good.”
Those two guys are Ohio State center Greg Oden, who is expected to go No. 1 to Portland, and Texas forward Kevin Durant, who will likely go No. 2 to Seattle.
After that, the next group of players includes Ohio State point guard Mike Conley Jr., China’s Yi Jianlian, the University of Florida’s Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer and Al Horford, Georgetown’s Jeff Green, North Carolina’s Brandan Wright and Kansas’ Julian Wright.
From there, teams could start having vastly different opinions on the remaining players, so a guy some people expect to go in the top half of the first round could start slipping, much like Michigan State’s Shannon Brown did last year when the Cavaliers ended up getting him at No. 25.
The Cavaliers got even luckier in the second round, when the player they had considered taking in the first round, Texas point guard Daniel Gibson, was still on the board at No. 42.
If it fails in its quest to get a first-round pick, Cleveland could attempt to trade its way into the second round tonight, but that will happen only if Ferry identifies a player he believes has first-round talent. Nineteen of the 30 players selected in the second round in 2006 played in the NBA last season.
Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani was the No. 1 pick in 2006, but the No. 6 choice, Brandon Roy, won Rookie of the Year honors.
Contact Rick Noland (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.