CLEVELAND -- Each time the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets play each other this season, as they do Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena, another element is in play.
The Cavs own the rights to Brooklyn's first-round draft pick in 2018, which Cleveland acquired from Boston as part of the Kyrie Irving trade.
The pick is highly valued because, the thinking goes, the Nets will be a lottery team. The Cavs could wind up with a top-five pick in a talent-rich draft.
That is why when the Nets beat Cleveland 112-107 on Oct. 25, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue quipped: "We're running around here worrying about getting the Brooklyn pick; they might want our pick."
Brooklyn drained 17 shots from beyond the arc that night and stunned the Cavs, who led by a point with 1:03 left. It was the first loss in an early-season tailspin for Cleveland, the three-time defending East champs who ended up losing four straight.
The Cavs (10-7) enter their rematch against the Nets on Wednesday riding a five-game winning streak and sitting one game out of third place in the East. The Nets (6-10) are in the 13th slot in the East and seem headed for the lottery, which means Cleveland is headed for the lottery. >> Read more