Cavaliers make UNLV's Anthony Bennett the first Canadian taken with No. 1 pick in NBA draft

  • Article by: BRIAN MAHONEY , AP Basketball Writer
  • Updated: June 28, 2013 - 6:36 AM

NEW YORK — Anthony Bennett learned he would be making NBA draft history the same time as everyone else.

"When they said my name," Bennett said. "That's when I knew it happened. I had no idea before."

Who did?

The Cleveland Cavaliers surprisingly made Bennett the first Canadian No. 1 overall pick, and Nerlens Noel tumbled out of the top five and right into a trade Thursday night in an unsettled first round of the draft.

"It was chaotic from the first pick," Minnesota president Flip Saunders said. "When Bennett was taken off the board, that set the tone for the whole draft."

There were moves all night, all of them taking a back seat to one in the works for the team that calls Barclays Center home.

The Brooklyn Nets will acquire Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from Boston in a blockbuster deal that was still developing as the draft neared its conclusion, according to a person with knowledge of the details.

"There was a lot of activity," said Nets general manager Billy King, who wouldn't comment on the trade. "As you guys will find out, there will be a lot of trades that are announced."

His can't be until July 10, after next season's salary cap is set.

As for the draft, it was as unpredictable as expected, capped by Hakeem Olajuwon coming on stage at the end of the first round to greet David Stern, dressed in the same tuxedo style he wore when Stern called his name to start the soon-to-be retired commissioner's first draft in 1984.

One of the favorites to be taken first Thursday night, Noel fell to No. 6, where the New Orleans Pelicans took him and then dealt his rights to the Philadelphia 76ers for a package headlined by All-Star guard Jrue Holiday, according to a person familiar with the details. That trade can't become official until July 10 because of salary cap concerns, according to another official with knowledge of the deal.

The Cavaliers started things by passing on centers Noel and Alex Len, who went to Phoenix at No. 5, in favor of Bennett, the UNLV freshman forward who starred for Canada's junior national teams and was the Mountain West Conference freshman of the year. Bennett led a record 12 international players who were taken in the first round.

"I'm just as surprised as anyone else," Bennett said.

There was suspense right until the end of the Cavs' 5-minute window to make their selection, either because they were unsure who they wanted or were trying to trade the pick. Most predictions had them taking one of the big men, with Noel largely considered the favorite for the No. 1 choice even after a torn ACL that ended his lone season at Kentucky in February.

"I thought everything was in the air, so I wasn't thinking I was the No. 1 pick," Noel said.

Stern, booed heavily for most of his final draft, added to the surprise of the moment by pausing slightly before announcing the Cavs' pick, their first at No. 1 since taking All-Star Kyrie Irving in 2011.

Orlando passed on both of the big men, too, going with Indiana swingman Victor Oladipo with the No. 2 pick. Washington took Otto Porter Jr. with the third pick, keeping the Georgetown star in town.

Ten years after the Cavaliers selected LeBron James to start a draft that included future NBA championship teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the top five, this one lacked star power and perhaps even the promise of stardom.

Bennett, Noel and Len are all coming off injuries and couldn't even work out for teams, but the Cavs decided Bennett's shoulder surgery wasn't enough cause for concern.

Len walked up to meet Stern and collect his orange Suns hat, then sat down near the stage to put on the walking boot he needs for the stress fracture of his left ankle that was discovered after Maryland's season.

Noel finally went to New Orleans with the next pick. He didn't seem upset at his fall down the draft board, hugging his mother and shaking hands with Kentucky coach John Calipari.

It was a good start to the night for the Hoosiers, with Cody Zeller going to the Charlotte Bobcats two places after Oladipo.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore, another player who was considered a potential top-three pick, also dropped, going seventh to Sacramento.

Headed by a lackluster class, the draft promised confusion and second-guessing, with no consensus No. 1 pick and little agreement among the order of the top five.

And with lesser-known names in the draft, veterans soaked up the spotlight in the hours leading up to it.

Yahoo Sports first reported that the Nets and Celtics were working on the trade that would complete the breakup of the Celtics' veteran core.

ESPN reported earlier Thursday that Dwight Howard was unlikely to return to the Los Angeles Lakers when he becomes a free agent next month.

The guys coming into the league were glad for the attention they did finally get once their names were called.

"It's like a weight vest you took off after running five miles," Oladipo said. "It's relaxing, man. But at the same time, you know it's just getting started."

National player of the year Trey Burke of Michigan also was traded, the Timberwolves sending his rights to Utah for the rights to Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng, the 14th and 21st picks.

Lehigh's C.J. McCollum rounded out the top 10 by going to Portland.

Stern, retiring in February, seemed to play up the boos, which turned to cheers after every pick, fans perhaps as puzzled as some of the players at the names they were hearing.

"I was just kidding my agent because he didn't bail me out," Zeller said. "He didn't tell me. I didn't know until David Stern announced it. It's a crazy process not knowing, but I'm definitely excited that I ended up with the Bobcats."

Other players couldn't get too excited about their new addresses, because they changed quickly.

Stern was announcing deals by the middle of the first round and they kept coming after he called it a night and turned things over to Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver for the final 30 picks.

The flurry of trades wasn't surprising with so much uncertainty surrounding this class and so much hope in other areas. Teams such as Houston, Dallas and Atlanta already have an eye on Howard's future, needing to have necessary salary cap space to offer a maximum contract that could lure him away from Los Angeles.

The 2014 class — which could be topped by a second straight Canadian in incoming Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins — will be higher regarded than this one, with James perhaps heading the available free agents to follow.

Local fans seemed pleased with their picks, cheering loudly when the Nets took Duke forward Mason Plumlee at No. 22 and the New York Knicks grabbed Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr. two picks later.

Stern made his final pick to close the first round to cheers of "David! David!" before handing things off to Silver. Seven deals were official by the time Silver wrapped it up, with some, including the Noel trade, still being worked on even after the draft was finished.

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Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 3rd Prd 11:04
San Jose 3
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56

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