Cavaliers mulling NBA draft decisions

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CLEVELAND (AP) - They’re done measuring, timing and talking to prospective draft picks. It’s time for the Cleveland Cavaliers to choose a few.

Empowered with the Nos. 1 and 4 picks in Thursday’s NBA draft, the Cavs will spend the next 48 hours deciding who to add to their roster. While all signs indicate they will select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving first overall, the Cavs have not yet made any final decisions.

They’ll spend Tuesday and Wednesday setting their board and debating their many options, which could include a trade _ or two. The Cavs also have two second-round picks (Nos. 32 and 54) and a $14.5 million trade exception, assets they may package with players or owner Dan Gilbert’s cash to make deals.

On Monday, the team held its last round of workouts by hosting Arizona forward Derrick Williams, Turkish center Enes Kanter and Kentucky guard Brandon Knight at their suburban training facility. Williams and Kanter were in for their second visits, and the pair also met with Gilbert and some of his kids, adding another layer of mystery to the team’s true intentions.

The Cavs have treated this draft with air-tight security, throwing up an impenetrable defense around their plans. Other than a few random tweets on his Twitter account, Gilbert has been out of sight; general manager Chris Grant has made no public comments in weeks and the club closed player workouts to the media.

Nearly one year after LeBron James stripped them of their identity, the Cavs have all the power _ and they’re using it.

Aside from the record rainfall, it’s been an otherwise joyous spring in Cleveland, a city not accustomed to feeling too good about its sports teams. The Cavaliers, who lost 63 games and were out of the playoff hunt by January in their first season without James, won the draft lottery in May.

Then James, whose tortuous departure last summer left scars, lost to Dallas in the NBA finals, giving Cleveland fans a chance to gloat over someone else’s misery for a change.

But this draft has spawned optimism and is giving the Cavaliers a chance to accelerate their post-LeBron recovery. As the first team with two picks in the top four since Houston in 1983, Cleveland is confident it will come away climbing a few rungs up the ladder back to contention.

Trouble is, experts have labeled this draft as one of the weakest in recent memory.

Several top players, including lottery locks Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger, decided to stay in college perhaps because of concerns about a possible labor lockout. What’s left are players laden with question marks and only Irving and Williams viewed as potential perennial All-Stars.

If there’s a year when having the No. 1 and No. 4 picks is not ideal, this would be it.

Sorry, Cleveland.

And although the Cavs have not publicly committed to settling on Irving, he appears to be their top choice.

In the point-guard-driven NBA, where backcourt players like Derrick Rose, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo and John Wall are obscuring their taller teammates as stars, the 6-foot-4 Irving has all the tools _ size, speed, ballhandling _ to make an immediate impact for the Cavs. At times, Cleveland’s Princeton offense barely performed up to Ivy League levels last season, frustrating first-year coach Byron Scott.

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