July 22, 2014

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Cavs: Mavs trying to create cap space

Rumors are circulating that the Cavaliers are involved in trade talks with the Dallas Mavericks, who are trying to deal the No. 13 pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday.

The Mavs, who ultimately want to create salary cap space to sign All-Star center Dwight Howard, are reportedly close to dealing the 13th pick to Cleveland for the No. 19 pick in the first round and two second-round choices (31 and 33 overall).

Shawn Marion

Dallas owner Mark Cuban reportedly denied reports that veteran forward Shawn Marion, who will earn $9.3 million in the final year of his contract, would be involved as part of a salary dump. However, there is a chance the Cavs would have to take on the salary of another Mavs player.

Several reports said the Cavs are targeting Russian shooting guard Sergey Karasev with the 13th pick, but extremely secretive Cleveland general manager Chris Grant could have a number of players in mind if he moves up.

In fact, several respected mock drafts have the 6-foot-7, 196-pound Karasev going to Cleveland at 19, but Grant might think he has to move up in order to land the 19-year-old.

The left-hander, who doesn’t turn 20 until Oct. 26, is considered a natural scorer and a very good shooter who is willing to compete, though he still needs to add strength.

Karasev previously denied reports he had a first-round guarantee from an NBA team. He was said to be considering pulling out of the draft right up until the Monday deadline.

If Karasev — or any other wing player, for that matter — is the player the Cavs are targeting at 13 or 19, that likely means Cleveland is leaning toward taking a big man like Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel or Maryland’s Alex Len with the No. 1 pick.

Both players met with the Cavs organization Thursday, though they were unable to work out due to injury. Noel will be out until at least Christmas after tearing his ACL, while Len is coming off a stress fracture in his ankle.

The Cavs and Mavs made a draft night trade last year that brought No. 17 pick Tyler Zeller and since-released veteran Kelenna Azubuike to Cleveland. The Cavs picked Jared Cunningham (No. 24), Bernard James (33) and Jae Crowder (34) and traded them to Dallas.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com.