Right now, the Cavaliers are slated to pick No. 3 overall in the upcoming NBA Draft. However, it appears they’ve explored what it would take to trade up to No. 1 overall.
Per ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, the Cavs are among a group of teams that have explored to trading up with the Pistons for the first pick. Here’s what he wrote:
Teams including Cleveland, Houston, New Orleans and Oklahoma City are among those making overtures to evaluate what it would take to move up to the No. 1 slot, sources say, but those talks are at an early stage, and any trade is unlikely to be consummated until much closer to the draft, if at all. From all accounts, Detroit is comfortable standing pat at No. 1 and taking Cunningham but will be active in exploring the possibility of trading down and obtaining additional assets, with Mobley a potential target if something gets done.
There is recent history for teams trading up to No. 1 overall (or at least up in the draft for a prized prospect) for Cleveland work off of. In 2017, the Celtics traded back from No. 1 from No. 3 with the 76ers and netted the third pick and a future protected first-round pick for their efforts. In 2018, the Hawks (picking at No. 3) also netted a future first-round pick for flipping their pick to Dallas, who was picking fifth.
The biggest questions here for Cleveland may be a) how high are they on Cunningham vs. Evan Mobley or Jalen Green and b) are they willing to pay more than that? Personally, I think Cunningham would be a really ideal fit with what the Cavs have right now. So I would give up a protected 2022 first-round pick and No. 3 to get to No. 1. But would I do more than that? Probably not.