Reporting Daryl Ruiter
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Cavaliers’ offseason rebuild received a big boost Wednesday night with the Los Angeles Lakers clinching a Western Conference Playoff spot.
The Utah Jazz 86-70 loss at Memphis secured the playoff spot for the Lakers, who wound up with the 7th seed following their 99-95 overtime win over the Houston Rockets Wednesday night.
The Cavaliers received the right to swap the Lakers’ first round pick with Miami’s this year – if Los Angeles made the playoffs – as part of the Ramon Sessions trade in March of 2012.
As a result the Cavaliers will select between 18-20 pending the outcome of tie breakers since Houston and Chicago also finished the season 45-37 along with the Lakers.
The Heat finished with the NBA’s best record this season meaning they own the 30th pick in the draft. Their 2013 pick was sent to the Cavaliers as part of the LeBron James sign and trade deal in 2010.
Had Los Angeles not made the playoffs their lottery slot would’ve gone to the Phoenix Suns, who instead receive No. 30 from Miami via the Cavaliers, as part of the Steve Nash trade which was completed last offseason.
The Cavaliers finished with the 3rd worst record in the NBA this season at 24-58 following a 105-98 loss at Charlotte Wednesday. They have a 15.6% chance of winning the NBA draft lottery next month.
Head coach Byron Scott, who is 64-166 in 3 seasons, could be fired despite having the option on his contract picked up last October. Cleveland lost 16 of their last 18 games.
The Cavaliers have endured the third-worst, 3-year stretch in team history while only Charlotte (62-168) is the worst in the NBA over the last 3 years.