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Report: Cavaliers ‘torn’ on whether to take Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins with top pick in NBA Draft


The Cavaliers have been on the clock since winning the Draft Lottery and securing the number one overall pick, but with the big night quickly approaching, the team still has not made a decision.

Joel Embiid was the one initially targeted, before a foot injury that required surgery threw a wrench into the machine behind that choice. Cleveland then was reportedly leaning toward Jabari Parker, but with Andrew Wiggins being equally tempting, things are apparently still very much in a state of flux.

From Jeff Goodman and Chad Ford of

Just two days before the NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers are split on whether to take Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins with the top overall pick, multiple sources told

“They are torn,” one source close to the situation told “They met for three hours, and all they talked about was those two guys.”

Added another industry source: “They haven’t come to a decision yet.”

Cleveland general manager David Griffin had decided to choose 7-footer Joel Embiid with the No. 1 pick, sources told However, that changed when it was discovered that Embiid needed surgery on his foot that could sideline him for much — if not his entire — rookie season.

The Cavaliers can’t afford to take chances this time around, after going with an unconventional selection in Anthony Bennett with the draft’s top pick a season ago. Parker and Wiggins are both projected to be stellar in the NBA, with the former appearing to be more ready to contribute immediately, and the latter having a potentially higher ceiling.

Just how far Embiid ends up falling is much more interesting than who Cleveland selects, as long as it’s one of these two prospects.

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LeBron James posts photo with Tristan Thompson, sends message to Cavs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.

Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.

But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.

LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.

However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.

For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.

Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.


Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.