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Cavs ‘really want’ RJ Barrett

RJ Barrett

Before the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night, numerous mock drafts had Duke standout RJ Barrett landing with the Cleveland Cavaliers around the no. 3 spot. But matters were complicated when the Cavs fell to the fifth pick, likely missing out on the chance to draft Barrett.

Still, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reports that Cleveland has their sights set on Barrett, which could prompt them to try to swing a deal and move up the board:

RJ Barrett showcased his scoring ability throughout the 2018-19 collegiate season. His size and strength make him tough to handle in the paint, while he has also proven that he can get hot shooting the ball from the perimeter.

The 19-year-old Canadian would provide an immediate lift to a Cavs team that averaged just over 104 points per game and lacks a capable slasher like Barrett.

The question would be how much Cleveland would have to give up to have the chance to draft him. The first two picks will almost certainly be Zion Williamson (to New Orleans) and Ja Morant (to Memphis), making the New York Knicks the most obvious candidate to land Barrett in the top three.

Would New York risk trading back to no. 5 spot, and who might they demand from Cleveland? It would not be surprising if New York asked for Kevin Love in addition to Cleveland’s pick, although the contract extension Love signed last summer may be a disqualifier for the Knicks.

In reality, the Knicks simply might not be the best trade partner for Cleveland, who clearly will have to get super aggressive if they want to move into the top three.