2020 NBA Draft: Will the Cleveland Cavaliers look to trade No. 5 pick?

By Vincent Frank
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a shortened 2019-20 NBA season that saw them post the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 19-46, the Cleveland Cavaliers are reeling big time.

That’s magnified by the fact that Cleveland fell all the way down to the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft following the lottery. Cleveland joined two other teams in boasting the best odds to acquire the top pick leading up to said lottery.

It’s definitely not a great year to get a bad draw in the lottery. There’s about three prospects who are seen as potential franchise cornerstones. After that, the 2020 NBA Draft is seen as one of the weakest in modern history.

Related: Predicting the top-10 picks in 2020 NBA Draft

With all of that as the backdrop, we look at the best options for the Cavaliers heading into the draft.

Cleveland Cavaliers need a running partner for Collin Sexton

  • In the early stages of a rebuild, general manager Koby Altman has very few young building blocks. He did, however, do well in landing Sexton with the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The youngster averaged 20.8 points on a stellar 47% shooting this past season.
  • There’s not much more after that. Last year’s lottery pick, Darius Garland, showed flashes as a rookie. It’s an open question whether he’ll be a building block with Sexton.
  • This leads me to believe Cleveland will look to keep the fifth pick in hopes of landing a true star. Reigning College Basketball Player of the Year Obi Toppin from Dayton has been bandied about here. The forward averaged 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds last season. He’d be a good inside-out companion to Sexton.

Trade Kevin Love during 2020 NBA Draft

  • This might not have much to do with the fifth overall selection. Given the economic complexities around the NBA, there’s no telling how much interest Love would draw in the trade block. Cleveland might actually have to move down from the fifth pick to unload the $121-plus million Love is due over the next three seasons.
  • Even then, it is logical to believe that a contending team might come calling to offer a late first-round pick, a rotational player and another bad contract for Love. The veteran still averaged 17.6 points and 9.7 rebounds while shooting 37% from distance this past season.
  • Purely hypothetical, but a team like the Philadelphia 76ers could make sense. They’ve been looking for some outside shooting help in the front court. Al Horford did not pan out. Could Philly offer up the 21st pick, Horford and Shake Milton for Love? It’s possible.

Cavaliers could package picks and players during 2020 NBA Draft for a proven veteran

  • It’s not yet known how valuable selections outside of the top three are going to be once the draft comes calling. Sure it’s a week class, but a top-five pick normally tends to have a nice amount of value. Instead of continuing to build through the draft, maybe Cleveland looks to add a proven player.
  • This isn’t to say the Cavaliers move completely out of Round 1. Perhaps, dealing the fifth pick and someone like Larry Nance Jr. could net Cleveland another foundational piece while keeping a lottery selection.
  • There’s one potential trade stands out above the rest. Cleveland moves the fifth pick and Nance Jr. to the Phoenix Suns for wing Kelly Oubre and the 10th selection. Phoenix will be in the market for a point guard, the strongest position in this draft class. Meanwhile, Oubre would give the Cavs a 24-year-old forward who averaged nearly 19 points per game.

Bottom line: 2020 NBA Draft is extremely important to Cavaliers’ rebuild

Regardless of what this downtrodden franchise decides to do come draft time, it must find a way to add to a young core that has lacked competitiveness.

Sexton is the franchise cornerstone. Garland seems to have some upside. Even then, this is nowhere near enough to field a competitive product. After being on the receiving end of some bad luck during the lottery, the Cavaliers are now under immense pressure. They can’t afford to screw this up.