The Cleveland Cavaliers won the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft in Tuesday's lottery, but not with the team's own selection. It was the pick acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers that landed the opportunity to draft Kyrie Irving. That pick had a 2.8 percent chance to land at No. 1.
The Clippers sent the unprotected first-round pick to Cleveland along with high-dollar point guard Baron Davis in a swap for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon. It was a pure salary dump for the Clippers, who actually had a great deal of cap space last summer, but couldn't land any top-flight free agents. You don't typically send away unprotected lottery picks in salary dumps, but the Clippers run a different type of kitchen.
Clippers general manager Neil Olshey engaged in some immediate damage control, telling NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper that the Cavs wouldn't have done the trade with protections on the pick, and that had L.A. not acquired Williams, it would not have finished the season 11-11. That will be small consolation to Clippers' fans who have lost a shot at pairing a playmaker like Irving with a beast like Blake Griffin.