Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers could be rooting for the Lakers… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )
It's not just the Lakers and their fans who want to see the team make the playoffs.
The 24-win Cleveland Cavaliers (24-57) have a vested interest in seeing the Lakers in the postseason. Conversely, the Phoenix Suns (25-56) are hoping the Utah Jazz (44-37) eclipse the Lakers (45-36) in the standings Wednesday.
Future draft picks can make interesting bedfellows.
As part of the Steve Nash trade this past summer, the Lakers sent their 2013 first-round pick to the Suns. While the pick is technically unprotected, final standings will dictate exactly which pick goes to Phoenix.
If the Lakers lose and the Jazz win, the pick will go to Phoenix.
The caveat for the Suns -- if the Lakers win on Wednesday (or the Jazz lose), the Lakers pick will go to Cleveland and Phoenix will get the 30th pick in the draft from the Miami Heat.
In an earlier transaction, the Lakers acquired Ramon Sessions in a deal that gave the Cavaliers the right to swap 2013 picks, but only if the Lakers make the playoffs.
Additionally, the Cavaliers will receive a 2013 first-round pick from Miami as part of the LeBron James sign-and-trade.
In making the playoffs, the Lakers swap their pick with Cleveland, bringing back Miami's first. That pick would then go to Phoenix to complete that part of the Nash trade.
Based on the actual standings, if the Lakers do not make the playoffs, the Suns will get the 14th pick in the draft (with slight lottery odds to move up to the top three). The Cavaliers will get the 30th pick from Miami.
If the Lakers do make it, the Suns get Miami's 30th pick and the Cavaliers will get the Lakers in the 17-20 range. Regardless, the Lakers do not get to keep their first-round pick.
Naturally, both organizations want the highest pick they can get given their own lottery-bound seasons.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.