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Cavaliers win No. 8 pick in NBA draft lottery

By JOE VARDON • May 16, 2018 at 2:15 AM

BOSTON — The Cavaliers traded Kyrie Irving for the eighth pick in the 2018 draft.

That's how last summer's blockbuster trade shook out Tuesday, when the Cavs won the No. 8 pick in the June draft at the NBA Draft lottery in Chicago.

The Phoenix Suns will make the first pick in the draft, followed by Sacramento and the Atlanta Hawks.

Cleveland was in the lottery because it owns the Brooklyn Nets' first-round pick for 2018, thanks to the franchise-shifting trade in which the Cavaliers received two picks (including that one) and three players from the Boston Celtics for Irving.

The Celtics and Cavs, of course, played Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against each other on Tuesday.

The Nets finished with the eighth-worst record (28-54) — so the Cavs are picking exactly where they were supposed to. They went from No. 8 to No. 1 in the 2011 lottery and drafted Irving.

Cleveland had a 2.8 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick and a 9.9 percent chance of landing one in the top three.

Nick Gilbert, 21, the son of team owner Dan Gilbert who is recovering from February brain surgery, represented the Cavs on stage. Nick Gilbert's bowtie was made with a piece of the Cavs' home floor from the 2016 championship season.

Dan Gilbert accompanied his son to Chicago, rather than attend Game 2 in Boston.

"Any time you have a situation where someone's going through something that's life-threatening as that is and for him to be able to come to some of the home games and be at the lottery tonight representing our franchise, it's a blessing," LeBron James said of Nick Gilbert.

Two of the three players and one of the picks (a future second rounder) the Cavs received for Irving — Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder — were traded again on Feb. 8. Ante Zizic, a rookie center, is still on the roster but not playing a role in these playoffs.

The Cavaliers knew Irving would eventually need minor, corrective surgery on his left knee as a follow up to the surgery he had during the 2015 NBA Finals. Irving, according to multiple sources, threatened to have that surgery and otherwise mess up the 2018 season — maybe LeBron James' last with the Cavs — if he wasn't traded.

Irving underwent a "minimally invasive" surgery in March to alleviate soreness, and it was then doctors found infection in wiring surgically placed in his knee from 2015. A second surgery to clean out the infection sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

Meanwhile, Altman traded Thomas to the Lakers in February for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., two 25-year-olds who are under contract beyond this season and have upside.

The rest of the 2018 draft lottery shook out like this:

4. Memphis

5. Dallas

6. Magic

7. Bulls

9. Knicks

10. Sixers (via trade with Lakers)

11. Hornets

12. Clippers (via trade with Detroit)

13. Clippers

14. Nuggets

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