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Smack, Twitter / Jun 25, 2014 / 5:00 pm

Jabari Parker Denies Tanking For Cavs Workout; Cavs Still Split on Top Pick

Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)

The Cavs are reportedly torn about the No. 1 pick. With Joel Embiid out of the dicussion after fracturing his foot, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker became the top contenders for first pick. Except, reports Parker tanked his Friday workout with the Cavs so he’d go to Milwaukee — which is closer to his hometown of Chicago — are false, according to Jabari.

During his pre-draft media availability yesterday, Parker told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel‘s Charles F. Gardner the tanking reports are false, and it’s a matter of pride more than anything:

The Bucks hold the second pick in the draft, and the consternation among Cleveland’s brass arose from Parker’s seemingly disengaged performance during his workout on Friday. A source told Chad Ford he even thought Parker might have tanked the performance.

This has led to a split between Cleveland’s owner Dan Gilbert, who wants Wiggins, and GM David Griffin, who thinks Parker’s advanced offensive game is more NBA-ready right now, something that’s more important now with a coterie of stars electing to become free agents this summer. Chad Ford’s latest piece has more on the disconnect between Cavs ownership and management:

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert favors drafting Wiggins with the No. 1 pick after the former Kansas star’s terrific workout last Wednesday, according to multiple sources.

However, the majority of the Cavs’ front office — including new general manager David Griffin — is leaning toward selecting Parker, sources said.

[…]

Sources told ESPN.com that the former Duke forward prefers to play in Milwaukee Bucks, which is closer to his Chicago home and also a spot in which he can be featured as a go-to player.

Sources said that it’s still unclear whether Gilbert will overrule Griffin and the Cavs’ front office — as was the case when he offered Kentucky coach John Calipari the coaching job prior to hiring David Blatt.

Gilbert could still be smarting from bowing out last season and letting Cavs management select Anthony Bennett with the top pick. Bennett’s lone season was stunted by a shoulder injury (hence the fear about Embiid) and was far below what was expected of a No. 1 pick, even in a down draft year.

“After what happened last year, [Gilbert] may choose to make the call himself,” one source close to the situation told ESPN.com.

The Bucks have already told Parker they’ll take him at No. 2 if Cleveland passes, but that all depends on the top pick.

If the Cavs do take Wiggins, it might dissuade stars who want to win right now, since Wiggins is a little bit more raw than Parker, though he has more athleticism and what many feel is a higher ceiling. Wiggins is also a fantastic on-the-ball defender, something the Cavs have struggled with, particularly with Kyrie Irving having to do so much on the other end.

Ford does mention the possibility the Cavs trade their No. 1 pick to another lottery team in return for a lower lottery pick and a solid starter in return:

Of the offers they’ve received, a source says the Cavs aren’t enamored by either the Sixers’ offer (Thaddeus Young and the No. 3 pick) nor the Jazz’s offer (Derrick Favors and the No. 5 pick). However, the Cavs do have some interest in the Magic’s offer of Arron Afflalo, the No. 4 pick and the No. 12 pick.

The Cavs really want LeBron, and they’re positioning themselves as a win-now team, which means Parker over Wiggins. But they might be preparing for another disappointment if James spurns them regardless of who they draft or trade for.

While the Cavs lucked out by getting the top pick in this year’s loaded draft, it’s become a conundrum with so many variables in the air right now. Just makes tomorrow night’s draft all the more exciting. We can’t wait.

(ESPN; H/T EOB)

Does Parker go No. 1 or No. 2 tomorrow night?

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