The Cavaliers landed the No. 3 overall pick in the NBA Draft lottery on Tuesday, giving them the opportunity to select a player who could fit alongside Collin Sexton — or perhaps replace him.
Cleveland has “begun to explore trade options” involving Sexton, according to Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo. The 22-year-old is coming off a career year in which he averaged 24.3 points and 4.4 assists per game, but the Cavaliers’ potential interest in a deal has more to do with their financial situation than Sexton’s performance.
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Sexton will likely push for a maximum contract, as he is eligible for an extension this summer. Starting center Jarrett Allen, who was acquired in January as part of the blockbuster James Harden trade, is also extension-eligible, and Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com reported last month that the Cavs are going to give Allen “$100 million or more” on his next contract.
If general manager Koby Altman pays both Sexton and Allen, Cleveland won’t possess much roster flexibility moving forward. The Cavs finished 22-50 last season, so it’s not as though they would be keeping a winning team together.
Altman could ultimately decide the Cavaliers would be best positioned for future success building around a young core of Allen, Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro and this year’s draft pick, even if it means losing their top scorer. Assuming Cleveland doesn’t trade down, it would be in position to take a prospect such as Jalen Suggs or Jalen Green, filling the void left in the event of a Sexton trade.
And on top of everything else on Altman’s plate, the Cavs could still shop Kevin Love, who has seemingly been involved in trade rumors since he joined the team in 2014. To put it simply, this is a pivotal offseason for the franchise.