Draft Rumors: Cavs, Cunningham, Pistons, Green, Barnes

The Pistons won the lottery last month and while all signs point to them keeping the pick, Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com hears that several teams are eyeing the selection.

The Cavaliers, Rockets, Pelicans, and Thunder are among the teams evaluating what it would take to trade for the No. 1 overall pick.

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.

Givony adds that Cade Cunningham isn’t a lock to go No. 1. Detroit is conducting its due diligence on a number of players, including Jalen Green and Evan Mobley.

Pistons GM Troy Weaver will be the lead decision-maker on draft night and he’s done considerable research throughout the season, including personally making a trip inside the G League bubble to view prospects such as Green and Jonathan Kuminga.

More NBA Draft Rumors

  • While there has been a narrative that this draft contains a clear top-5 (Cunningham, Green, Mobley, Jalen Suggs, and Kuminga), evaluators believe the group is really a “core four,” as ESPN’s Mike Schmitz writes in the same piece. Kuminga’s stock may have slightly dropped during his time in the G League Bubble as his production tailed off as the short season progressed.

  • Scottie Barnes remains the favorite to leapfrog into the top-5 if Kuminga or one of the top prospects finds himself dropping in the draft, Schmitz adds. Barnes is seen as a surefire starter with defensive versatility and play-making chops. Our latest Mock Draft has Barnes going No. 6 to the Thunder.

  • Schmitz mentions James Bouknight as a prospect who could ultimately become one of the best players outside of the “core fore.” Bouknight, who the Knicks reportedly have eyes for, is a perfect fit in the NBA’s modern game with his ability to shoot off the dribble.

  • It’s hard to envision one of the teams with a top-4 pick moving back in the draft to collect assets, former Nets assistant GM and current ESPN personality Bobby Marks contends (same piece). Over the past 20 years, there’s only been one instance where a team with a top-4 pick completely traded outside the top-4: the Lakers in 2019 when they acquired Anthony Davis.

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About the Author

Chris Crouse
As a co-owner of FortyEightMinutes.com, Chris Crouse wears many hats, including editor and marketing director. He previously covered sports business at CNBC and he has covered the NBA for various publications, including SLAM Magazine and Hoops Rumors, in addition to working on the business side of media.

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