First and foremost, and for the first time since they won the lottery, he has Joel Embiid as the Cavaliers selection.
Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Embiid all are in the mix here. On lottery night, a Cavs source told me that they had Parker ranked highest on their board all year because of his ability to come in and make an immediate impact, and they believe Embiid has the most upside of anyone in the draft and fits a long-term need for them. However, the source felt that Wiggins in the end would be the compromise pick -- someone who has both elite upside, and who can play (especially defensively) impactful minutes right out of the gate.
That said, if Embiid is cleared by the Cavs' doctors, and if GM David Griffin can persuade owner Dan Gilbert to be patient and wait on Embiid, I think he gets the nod here. But those are still two big ifs. While Embiid certainly looked healthy enough during a workout in Santa Monica, California, a few weeks ago, until the Cavs' doctors green light him, we just don't know. And Gilbert is anxious for the Cavs to be a playoff team. Drafting the guy who's likely to have the least impact next season is going to be a tough sell. At the end of the day, I think the Cavs would prefer to trade the pick, but unless they are getting someone like Kevin Love or LaMarcus Aldridge in return, I don't think they pull the trigger.
That's pretty much exactly what we've been hearing from NBA insiders for some time now. If Embiid is healthy, he seems to be the guy that general manager David Griffin has focused in on. However, Ford does explore the idea from his sources that Dan Gilbert may get involved. If Gilbert gets involved, it's anybody's guess what happens. Unfortunately, we've been saying the phrase "if Dan Gilbert gets involved..." far too often recently.
Ford also mentions the idea that the Cavs are still looking to move the pick. He states that he doesn't think they will trade it for anything less than a Love or Aldridge-type, which is good. I'm not sure I'd even move the pick for one of them given their contract situations, to be perfectly honest. But Ford also mentions another trade idea later on in the post:
This is a dream scenario for the 76ers. They would take Wiggins at No. 1 if they could, and having him fall to No. 3 would be a godsend. The Sixers actually have engaged the Cavs about moving to No. 1. They aren't willing to give up both the Nos. 3 and 10 picks, but a combination of No. 3 and Thaddeus Young is a possibility.
Well that's way more interesting to me. The Cavs would still have their pick of Embiid, Wiggins, or Parker, PLUS they'd get an excellent power forward in Young? That's an interesting offer that deserves some exploration.
Young is a really good player that would be an interesting fit with Kyrie Irving. He'd also be a fantastic fit with Joel Embiid if Embiid could fall to three. He'd space out the floor from the 4 position (he's typically a 40% shooter from 16-23 feet), and Embiid could help him with his slight rebounding deficiencies. He's a pretty average defender for the position that uses his length well to make shots difficult for others, and has active hands that force turnovers. Young would immediately become the best power forward on the Cavs, allowing Tristan Thompson to move to a more high-leverage bench role.
However, what happens if the Bucks take Embiid and the Cavs are "stuck" with Parker? A Parker-Young forward combination is an interesting and versatile one. Both Young and Parker are better at defending 4s than 3s, so it might be a defensive quagmire in the front court when paired with Anderson Varejao or Spencer Hawes. Therefore, a deal like this would necessitate a corresponding trade for a true, rim-protecting, defensive center.
(At that point, an Asik trade actually works with this lineup. An Irving-Waiters-Parker-Young-Asik lineup is so fun and watchable that I might not be able to pass this idea up. Seriously, this team probably wouldn't make the playoffs because they'd get pummeled on the defensive glass and I wouldn't even care.)
But, given that Young is able to defend both positions, it creates a situation where the Cavs could put Parker on the less demanding defensive assignment immediately. Plus, it would create an uptempo front court that could run with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. Basically, I've never simultaneously hated and loved the idea of a forward combination as much as I would a Young-Parker one.
Having said all of this, it's probably not a likely trade. If Embiid's medical exam checks out and they love him as much as they say they do, I wouldn't make this move. Young only has one year remaining on his deal before his early termination option can be exercised, and it's not worth passing up on the opportunity to go get your guy that you believe is the future to get him. However, if the Embiid medical DOESN'T check out and you make this move, the Bucks most likely take Parker at #2 and you're stuck at #3 with a guy who hasn't passed your medical exams or a lesser prospect. Exum and a year of Young is not worth Wiggins, in my opinion.
So while this is an interesting idea, I'm not sure it's particularly practical.