Reporting Daryl Ruiter
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Besides trying to focus on the home stretch, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott has his eye out west as well.
Scott along with general manager Chris Grant and the rest of the Cavaliers organization have their fingers crossed that the Los Angeles Lakers can keep it together and hang on to the 8th and final seed in the Western Conference.
It could mean the difference of up to 16 slots in the NBA Draft in June which means Scott is doing a little scoreboard watching of his former team.
“Just a little bit, it’s hard not to,” Scott said. “I find myself looking at ESPN and when they lose I’m going, ‘damn!’
“Right now I do kind of keep my eye on them a little bit more than I probably would have if we didn’t have a chance to get their pick.”
Last March the Cavaliers sent Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga to LA for Luke Walton, Jason Kapono and cash. Cleveland also received the right to swap LA’s first round draft pick this year with Miami’s which they acquired as part of the LeBron James sign-and-trade deal in 2010.
The Heat are expected to finish with the best record in the league – if not win it all this June – meaning that pick would be No. 30.
The Lakers are clinging to the 8th seed out west – .5 a game in front of Utah – but they will be without Metta World Peace, who has a torn meniscus and is likely lost for the season.
Should the Lakers make the playoffs as the 8th seed out west the pick would be in the 15-16th overall range which would be a significant benefit for the Cavaliers, who were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs Thursday night and will be in the lottery for the 3rd straight year.
If the Lakers don’t make the playoffs, their first round selection would go to Phoenix as part of the Steve Nash trade from last July. The deal with the Suns also included a 2015 first-round pick, 2 second-round picks (in 2013 and 2014) and cash.