NBA Report: Interest strong at lottery top

News and notes from around the NBA, particularly as they relate to Thursday’s draft:

• Interest is building league-wide in lottery picks, particularly in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ first overall pick — and even more so in the second and third overall selections, owned by the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards, respectively, sources said.

• After attempting to work on something big, the Cavs’ recent discussions have been described by one inside source as “exploratory (and) touching base, but nothing serious.” The source indicated that some of those conversations have taken place with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

• A Sirius Radio report earlier in the week said the Cavs and Timberwolves were “on the verge” of making a trade in which the Cavs would send the No. 1 pick to Minnesota for forward Derrick Williams and the ninth pick. That was never true.

• Williams was the second overall pick (behind Kyrie Irving) in 2011, and his pro career has been fairly uneven and somewhat disappointing. The majority of his struggles have come defensively, as he’s too small too guard power forwards and not quick enough for small forwards.

• Talent-evaluators, including some employed by the Cavs and Timberwolves, feel that Williams is “too stiff” on defense. However, if Williams were a little lighter, and “coached up” by the right staff, many around the league feel he could be an adequate defensive small forward.

• Regardless, outside of power forward Kevin Love and point guard Ricky Rubio, the Timberwolves view Williams (and the No. 9 pick) as the piece that can land them in the top three of the draft.

• While everyone expects the Washington Wizards to draft D.C. product and Georgetown small forward Otto Porter if he’s available, he’s no shoe-in. The Wizards are actually debating between Porter and UNLV forward Anthony Bennett, according to one source.

• Indiana guard Victor Oladipo was described by one source as “explosive” during his workout with the Cavs. That’s a little different than the finding related to Kansas guard Ben McLemore. Sources said McLemore didn’t “lay down the effort” of Oladipo.

• That said, as of earlier in the week, it was believed Oladipo was not in the equation for the Cavs at No. 1 pick. He could be a possibility in a trade-down scenario, however.

• According to one report, the Cavs and Boston Celtics are discussing a trade involving the Cavs’ two second-round picks (Nos. 31 and 33) for Celtics forward Paul Pierce. FOX Sports Ohio has been unable to confirm that report.

• The Milwaukee Bucks have also had conversations with the Celtics about Pierce, sources said.

• Whether the Pierce rumors are true or not, there’s little doubt the Cavs have had discussions about trading their second-rounders and 19th overall selection to move up in the draft.

• Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley Jr. told FOX Sports Florida that former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden is interested in signing with the Heat. Conley and Oden are close from their time together in high school and at Ohio State. Oden is expected to meet with Heat president Pat Riley when the free-agent negotiating period begins July 1.

Twitter: @SamAmicoFSO