As things stand now, with just over three weeks to go in the regular season, the fourth-seeded Cavaliers would have home court advantage over the fifth-seeded Knicks in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
But, according to Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor, Cleveland is hoping something specific changes before the end of the season.
Per Fedor, the Cavaliers are "privately hoping" to face the Nets in the first round, seeing the Knicks' city rivals as a much easier path into the conference semifinals.
"No one inside the organization would say this publicly -- and they shouldn’t," Fedor said. "But multiple people I’ve spoken to recently are privately hoping for a Brooklyn matchup. It’s easy to understand why. Even though the Cavs, with home-court advantage, would likely be capable of competing -- and possibly winning -- a seven-game series against any of the teams currently behind them in the standings, the Nets would be Cleveland’s easiest path out of round one."
Currently, the Knicks lead the Nets for the fifth seed by 1.5 games after Brooklyn fell to the Kings on Thursday night. With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving out of the picture, the Nets are nowhere near the formidable force they seemed to be at the start of the season, while the Knicks have taken an opposite trajectory, statistically boasting one of the top teams in the league since acquiring Josh Hart at the trade deadline.
The Knicks have won two of three games against the Cavaliers so far this season, dropping the first matchup back in October before winning the next two. The two teams play one more time on March 31.