Represented by 14-year-old Nick Gilbert, the son of owner Dan Gilbert, the Cavaliers got a huge jump on their rebuilding when a pick they got from the Los Angeles Clippers in a midseason trade moved up from the No. 8 spot to the top.
The Cavaliers will pick first for the first time since 2003, when they drafted James.
He left for the Miami Heat last summer and the Cavs tumbled to the second-worst record in the league, but they will have two top-four picks. They already had their own and picked up another at the trade deadline from the Clippers in the Baron Davis deal.
The Timberwolves continued their unbelievable lottery losing streak, falling to 0-for-14 and dropping for the eighth time. They had a 25-percent chance of winning after finishing with a league-worst 17-65 record.
Instead the luck went to the Cavs, who are used to playing deep in the playoffs and hope they won't have to worry about this trip again.
Nick Gilbert was born with Neurofibromatosis (NF), a nerve disorder that causes tumors to grow anywhere in the body at any time. He was wearing black-rimmed glasses and a bow tie and looked serious until he showed a keen sense of humor in a television interview. His father called him his "hero," and the Cavs also brought along two members of the Cleveland Browns dressed in the Cavs' wine-and-gold jerseys for good luck.