Cavs torn on No. 1 heading into draft
With only one day remaining until the NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers' ownership and front office remain torn on whether to select Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker with the top overall pick, multiple sources told ESPN.com.
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert favors drafting Wiggins with the No. 1 pick after the former Kansas star's terrific workout last Wednesday, according to multiple sources.
However, the majority of the Cavs' front office -- including new general manager David Griffin -- is leaning toward selecting Parker, sources said.
Parker came in for a workout and was less than stellar, appearing out of shape and even disinterested. Sources told ESPN.com that the former Duke forward prefers to play in Milwaukee Bucks, which is closer to his Chicago home and also a spot in which he can be featured as a go-to player. In an interview with ESPN's Andy Katz, Parker also predicted he would land in Milwaukee.
Sources said that it's still unclear whether Gilbert will overrule Griffin and the Cavs' front office -- as was the case when he offered Kentucky coach John Calipari the coaching job prior to hiring David Blatt.
A year ago, Gilbert allowed his front office and new head coach Mike Brown to make the call, and they chose Anthony Bennett with the top pick. Bennett struggled as a rookie, averaging just 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game last season.
"After what happened last year, he may choose to make the call himself," one source close to the situation told ESPN.com.
There is also the option of trading the No. 1 pick. With multiple trade offers coming in and LeBron James deciding to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat on Tuesday, the Cavs' decision is complicated.
Of the offers they've received, a source says the Cavs aren't enamored by either the Sixers' offer (Thaddeus Young and the No. 3 pick) nor the Jazz's offer (Derrick Favors and the No. 5 pick). However, the Cavs do have some interest in the Magic's offer of Arron Afflalo, the No. 4 pick and the No. 12 pick.
Mike and Mike
ESPN Cleveland's Aaron Goldhammer talks about whom the Cavaliers will choose with the No. 1 pick in the draft and whether LeBron James will return to play for Cleveland.
The Cavs have strong interest in trying to lure James back to Cleveland this summer and know they need to add more pieces to make the team more attractive. Afflalo is a veteran guard who both defends and shoots the three and would be a nice addition to the Cavs' backcourt.
If the Cavs keep the pick, they also may have to factor in who could help in the process to lure James.
Griffin had decided to choose 7-footer Joel Embiid with the No. 1 pick, sources told ESPN.com. However, that changed when it was discovered that Embiid needed surgery on his foot that could sideline him for much of -- if not his entire -- rookie season.
The combination of Embiid's injury concerns -- a stress fracture in his lower back that sidelined him for the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments as well as the stress fracture in his right foot -- have him out of the equation for the top pick in Thursday's draft.
Since Embiid's foot injury, the Cavaliers front office, according to sources, was leaning toward selecting Parker. The 6-8 forward averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds as a freshman at Duke last season. He would address some of Cleveland's most pressing needs: shooting, basketball smarts and toughness. If the Cavs lose Luol Deng to free agency as widely expected, they will need help at small forward.
Furthermore, Gilbert has given a mandate to ownership to turn this roster into a playoff squad this season. Parker is, by virtually all accounts, the most NBA-ready prospect in the draft.
However, Parker's workout Friday in Cleveland was a disappointment, according to multiple sources. Parker weighed in at 254 pounds with 11 percent body fat, more than 10 pounds above his playing weight at Duke. One source even went as far as to say that Parker appeared to be "tanking" the workout.
"He was bad," one source told ESPN.com. "He was huffing and puffing early in the workout."
The Cavs also have concerns about which position Parker ultimately will play in the NBA. They, along with other teams, think he'll struggle to guard NBA 3s and ultimately end up playing like a stretch power forward. With Tristan Thompson and Bennett already on the roster, Parker may not be as good of a fit as it first appeared.
Meanwhile, the athletic 6-8 Wiggins went to Cleveland on Wednesday and shot the ball extremely well -- which is considered one of his primary weaknesses. Wiggins also showed off his elite athletic abilities and generally wowed ownership during the workout.
Although Wiggins doesn't yet have the offensive game that Parker does, he is much more athletic and is already an elite defender. The Cavs struggled nightly to guard anyone on the perimeter last season, and Wiggins could change that.
The Cavs also believe that although Wiggins is more of a risk and not as ready as Parker to contribute right away, he has the higher upside.
"You can't base everything on one one-on-none workout," a source said. "But Wiggins was great and Jabari wasn't. It makes an impact. It makes you go back and reassess everything you saw during the year."
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