July 25, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Cavs looking for help

Rick Noland

The Gazette

INDEPENDENCE — One of the few certainties tonight in the NBA Draft is that there will be a ton of uncertainty.

Several trades have already occurred and more are likely before — and after — the draft, with the Cavaliers actively looking to move up from the No. 30 pick.

Cleveland, which also owns the 46th overall choice, could offer as much as $3 million to buy a first-round pick. The Cavaliers also could package money along with a player or fu-ture pick.

“Whether it’s through trades, the draft or free agency, our focus is on doing the best thing that combines our short-term goal of chasing a champion-ship with our long-term goal of being one of those teams for a long time,” general manager Danny Ferry said. “Overall, we’re in a good position in that regard.”

The Cavaliers, who won a franchise-record and NBA-high 66 games in the regular season, would like to add interior size and strength, length on the wing, shooting and bench scoring, but they may have to do that through trades and free agency if they are unable to move up in what is widely consid-ered a very weak draft.

Though already small in the backcourt, the Cavaliers also are open to taking a point guard, especially if they stay at No. 30, where their primary objective would be finding a player who can make — and even-tually help — their team.

With Ben Wallace threatening to retire, Anderson Varejao about to become an unrestricted free agent and Zydrunas Ilgauskas showing signs of age, Cleveland’s primary concern in the offseason is acquiring inside help.

The Cavaliers were tar-geting Milwaukee’s 6-foot-11 Charlie Villanueva through free agency, but it now looks like the Bucks, who traded high-priced swingman Richard Jefferson on Tues-day, will try to keep the power forward.

Unless Ferry can find a way to move up — and move up quite a bit — the Cavaliers aren’t going to fill that need in the draft.

The center spot is remarkably thin after Connecticut’s Hasheem Thabeet, who is expected to go as high as No. 2. In fact, the only other true center expected to go in the first round is Ohio State’s B.J. Mullens, who is young and will likely take several years to develop.

The top power forwards are expected No. 1 pick Blake Griffin (Oklahoma), Arizona’s Jordan Hill, Louisville’s Earl Clark, North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough and Pitt’s De-Juan Blair. It looked for a time like Clark might fall to the Cavaliers at No. 30, but it now appears he’ll go about 10 picks earlier.

Cleveland will probably jump quickly if Xavier’s much-improved Derrick Brown slides to 30, but he will likely be gone if the Cavaliers don’t improve their draft position, leaving long and lean Taj Gibson of USC as the best power for-ward likely to still be on the board.

The top small forwards — some are “tweeners” who may also play power forward — are Wake Forest’s James Johnson, Gonzaga’s Austin Daye, USC’s Demar DeRozan and Pitt’s Sam Young. The Cavaliers like the athletic Young, but will likely have to move up to get him.

Small forwards who might be available include Georgetown’s DaJuan Summers, Arizona’s Chase Budinger and a pair of in-ternational players, Omri Casspi and Jonas Jerebko.

The top shooting guards are Arizona State’s James Harden, Memphis’ Tyreke Evans, Davidson’s Stephen Curry, Louisville’s Terrence Williams, Duke’s Gerald Henderson and LSU’s Mar-cus Thornton.

There’s a chance Thornton could slide, and the Cavaliers will also be keeping an eye on the availability of North Carolina’s Wayne Ellington and possibly Florida State’s Toney Douglas.

Point guard is far and away the deepest position in the draft, as Ricky Rubio (DKV Joventut), Johnny Flynn (Syracuse), Jrue Holiday (UCLA) and Bran-don Jennings (Italy) are expected to go high in the first round.

North Carolina’s Ty Lawson, Virginia Com-monwealth’s Eric Maynor and Wake Forest’s Jeff Teague will also likely go in the first round, with other possibilities including UCLA’s Darren Collison, Cholet’s Rodrique Beaubois and St. Mary’s Patrick Mills. One or all of the latter could be available at No. 30.

“Our goals are the same,” said Ferry, whose team lost to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference finals. “Whether we won or lost (in the playoffs), we were going to try to get better.

“We want to continue to be one of those four teams where, if you don’t win it (all), you go through some misery.”


Cavaliers swingman Tarence Kinsey was arrested early Wednesday and charged with driving under the influence, Tampa police told tbo.com (Tampa Bay Online). Kinsey’s $995,000 contract for next season is not guaranteed.

** The last five No. 30 picks in the draft have been J.R. Giddens, Petteri Kaponen, Joel Freeland, David Lee and David Harrison.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rickn@ohio.net.

Rick Noland About Rick Noland

Rick Noland is the Cavs beat writer for The Gazette and the author of "Over Time," a compilation of stories he's written in more than 30 years as a journalist. He can be reached at 330-721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.