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Mailbag: Could the Cavs buy another pick to take a wing if they pick a big at No. 5?

It’s possible, but it’s not quite the same as when the Cavs bought a pick to take Kevin Porter Jr.

South Carolina State v Memphis Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images

If the Cavs take one of the bigs being mentioned at 5; Wiseman, Okongwu, or Toppin, what are your thoughts on the possibility of them picking up a late 1st or early 2nd round pick to also get a switchable defender such as Tyler Bey or Robert Woodward II? That could allow them to get both the young big they want and the wing defender they need? from John T

If the draft happened today, I think they would go with a wing. To my understanding, it’s what the organization (correctly) sees as its biggest need and unless something crazy happens, I’d expect a wing to be the pick.

But for the question’s sake, let’s say they take a big. Of the three mentioned, James Wiseman is the overall favorite in the organization. Some really like Onyeka Okongwu, some are really concerned about his offense. Ditto for Toppin. The only scenario where I see them actually taking a big is if Wiseman falls to No. 5 and the wings they like — Isaac Okoro, Deni Avidija, etc. — are gone. In fact, I’d say the opposite of this scenario is more likely.

As far as getting another pick, it’s possible. And it probably comes down to money. Last year, the Cavs spent a record $3 million to get the pick that became Kevin Porter Jr. In 2016, the Cavs spent $2.4 million to buy a second-round pick from the Hawks and take Kay Felder. They’ve done this before. You can criticize Dan Gilbert for a lot, but spending isn’t one of them.

The question for this year is two-fold. First, Is there a prospect who, a la Porter Jr., who they have rated as a lottery prospect or is a short point guard from Michigan and slips and is thus worth that amount of money? There is no one with that kind of buzz right now. There’s also a big drop off, per scouts I’ve talked to about this draft, from Okoro and Avidija to Tyler Bey or Robert Woodward II. I also don’t think that the Cavs like any of those guys as much as they liked Porter Jr.

Second, the NBA is in a different financial place now vs. last year. Revenue is down and while the Cavs (and every team) want a world with fans back, it’s a different financial environment right now. Maybe that makes Gilbert less likely to buy another pick. Granted, he is the second-richest owner in the NBA after Quicken Loans went public earlier this year — so if anyone can do it now, it’s him or Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.

So is it possible? Yes. But I wouldn’t describe this scenario as likely.