CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cleveland Cavaliers have made their first draft-day move.
Hours before the annual event began, the Cavs acquired the No. 49 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for the rights to international forward Sasha Vezenkov, sources tell cleveland.com. The Cavs also sent out $1.75 million in cash to consume the deal, sources say.
Vezenkov (6-9, 225) was acquired on Jan. 14, 2021 from the Brooklyn Nets as part of a three-team trade that brought Jarrett Allen to Cleveland. Vezenkov, 26, was drafted 57th overall by Brooklyn in the 2017 NBA Draft and named First Team All-EuroLeague this past season.
The move gives Cleveland four picks in Thursday’s draft — Nos. 14, 39, 49 and 56. Their tight roster crunch, with 11 players already under contract, makes it highly unlikely for them to roster four rookies.
Nevertheless, having that many assets provides optionality and flexibility — two things the Cavs value greatly. It also creates a simpler path — if desired — to move from the early portion of the second round (No. 39) into the late first. Multiple reports say the Miami Heat at No. 27 and Golden State Warriors, picking 28th, could be interested in trading out of the first round.
A source said early Thursday morning the Cavs like around 20 players in the first-round range. If one starts to slide — similar to 2019, when the Cavs jumped back into the first round for mercurial Kevin Porter Jr. — the Cavs could have enough trade capital to make a deal. The Cavs also have around $4 million in cash remaining to buy a pick, with chairman Dan Gilbert’s blessing to be aggressive.
Over the last few days, the Cavs have received calls for the No. 14 pick. Those calls haven’t stopped. The framework of some of those deals have been for help-now, NBA rotational players — none compelling enough for the Cavs to accept. Other potential packages have centered around the idea of moving down from No. 14 and adding future draft capital — if a player Cleveland wants is off the board.
The Cavs also spent much of Wednesday making calls around the league, trying to see what it would take to move up from No. 14, possibly even into the top 10. But their salary cap situation makes a move-up tricky.
The draft begins at 8 p.m. Thursday night. The Magic have the top pick.
Get the latest Cavs merchandise: Here’s where you can order Cleveland Cavaliers gear online, including jerseys, shirts, hats, 2016 NBA Champions products and much more.
If you or a loved one has questions and needs to talk to a professional about gambling, call the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966 or the National Council on Program Gambling Helpline (NCPG) at 1-800-522- 4700.
Fitting the Cavs
G-League wing MarJon Beauchamp
New Zealand guard Ousmane Dieng
Kansas forward Ochai Agbaji
Santa Clara forward Jalen Williams
Ohio State forward EJ Liddell
Baylor guard/forward Jeremy Sochan
LSU wing Tari Eason
OSU guard Malaki Branham
More Cavaliers coverage
Rumors: Hornets pondering Westbrook; Spurs may deal Murray?
Fan’s guide to the 2022 NBA Draft
Cavaliers offer hope – which isn’t easy without a superstar: Pluto
Rumors: Suns looking at Pelicans’ No. 8 pick; Could Banchero go No. 1?
Multiple teams interested dealing for Cavs’ selection
Final 2022 draft primer: Podcast
Three trades that might happen by draft day
Rumors: Mathurin a lock for top 8? Irving, Nets at stalemate
Cavaliers open summer league July 8 vs. Spurs