The Cleveland Cavaliers are one of the most-talked about teams ahead of the NBA season, and the news and rumors have been ramping up.
Check out the latest buzz below.
Waiters Can Play Point
Kyrie Irving is out for now with an ankle injury and since he’s missed at least 11 games in each of his three seasons, he will likely miss at least a handful this season.
Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer noted that the Cavs have several potions at point guard.
“Matthew Dellavedova was set to start in place of Irving when the Cavs played Miami on Saturday night. The new coaching staff likes Dellavedova because he defends and he doesn’t need to take a lot of shots,” he said.
“He’s a good fit on a high-powered offensive team with LeBron James, Kevin Love and others.”
Also, Dion Waiters is a viable option at point.
“While the Cavs are giving Waiters a chance to win the starting shooting guard spot next to Irving, his natural position is point guard. That’s what he played in two years at Syracuse. He is very comfortable handling the ball, and he hit some clutch shots at the end of last season while playing the point,” noted Pluto.
Veteran A.J. Price, who hit a number of crucial shots against the Miami Heat in the overtime win, is also in training camp.
Allen May Not Sign With Cavs
Ray Allen may delay signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers, giving the veteran additional time to see which team he’d have the best chance of getting another championship with.
The Cavs, San Antonio Spurs, and Washington Wizards are among the high-profile suitors for the 38-year-old.
“Ray can really help them, but I anticipate that Ray will wait and see the landscape of the NBA,” Celtics president Danny Ainge said during an interview with a radio station.
“I just think he might wait and see how everybody’s clicking. There’s a handful of teams that would love to have Ray on their team right now that are trying to win a championship.”
“He may wait until All-Star break or January,” Ainge said. “And just see what teams are playing well, which teams are the healthiest and which team that he thinks that he might fit in, just in the style of play. With new coaches at some different places, he may just want to see how it unfolds before he makes a decision.”
Ainge noted how Allen will likely be taking minimum salary because most rosters are pretty full and the title is more important than money to him right now.
Love Will be a ‘Monster’ for Cavs
Kevin Love arrived in Cleveland with high expectations and analysts are saying that he won’t disappoint.
“LeBron was the headliner, but the Cavs’ other top-five player stole the show. In 26 minutes, Love had 25 points on 9-for-12 shooting. He made four of his five 3s, he grabbed seven rebounds and he looked completely comfortable with his new teammates,” noted James Herbert of CBS.
“It’s just startling to see how easy everything is for Love. Even after discussing his fit next to James at length for months, and going on and on about how he needed more help in Minnesota for years, to see simple plays resulting in him being left completely alone on the perimeter was scary.
“He’s probably not going to average 25 points a night on this team, but there will be games where he just goes off. Love is a better version of Bosh on offense, and this is going to be the year where his skills, versatility, and basketball IQ get the stage they deserve.”
In his second game with the Cavs since being acquired in a trade with Minnesota, Love said he feels he is starting to fit in with his new team.
“I think it’s just picking my spots and, more than anything, just being aggressive,” he said. “Talking to the coaching staff and the players in this team, they told me what they expect out of me and (what they) need out of me for this team to be successful. So I listen to LeBron and the guys. We are all trying to find a rhythm out there.”
“Obviously, his feeling about being in this great place helped him play a terrific game,” Cavs coach David Blatt said. “I thought Kevin was very good at both ends of the court. It seems that he found his way today in our team.
Blatt Could Get Fired?
New head coach Blatt could get fired is the Cavs don’t win enough, according to a new report.
Jordan Brenner of ESPN The Magazine says that Blatt, the first coach to jump straight from Europe to the NBA, “needs to win now.”
“To throw someone who has not spent a day on an NBA bench into that cauldron seems foolish, perhaps even sadistic. About 30 seconds after LeBron’s announcement, hoopheads were already clucking that he hadn’t bothered to meet with Blatt before signing. If the Cavs struggle early, Blatt’s job could be … well, let’s just say it could be a short honeymoon,” he alleged.
But many believe that Blatt will succeed, given his acument outside the NBA.
“Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin are betting, though, that Blatt is exactly what the Cavs need. It’s been 50 years since Cleveland has toasted a champion in any sport, and Blatt is nothing if not a winner. He’s won in Israel and Italy, with clubs in Russia and Greece, and with the Russian national team,” said Brenner.
“Gilbert and Griffin believe that he may just have the perfect combination of swagger, basketball smarts and — most crucially — emotional intelligence to pull this thing off.”
Anthony Parker, who played for Blatt at Maccabi and with James in Cleveland, says it will work out.
“Dave’s going to respect LeBron enough to know to give him some freedom and input, the same way he’s done all his top players,” Parker says. “And LeBron is smart enough to know that not everything clicks right away.”
“Listen,” Blatt himself said, “I’ve been doing this for a long time. The address has changed, but coaching is coaching.”
Cavs Beat Heat in Rio
LeBron James scored seven points while playing only 20 minutes against his former team, and the Cleveland Cavaliers went on to beat the Miami Heat 122-119 in overtime Saturday in an exhibition game in Brazil.
Kevin Love, who was acquired by Cleveland a month after James left the Heat to return to Ohio, finished with 25 points in an entertaining game in the beachfront city that will host the 2016 Olympics.
Chris Bosh led Miami with 19 points. The Cavaliers are 2-0 in the preseason and the Heat fell to 0-3.
James shook hands with the Heat starters at the tipoff, but made little eye contact. James said in practices in Rio there was no bad blood, which was confirmed by former teammates Dwyane Wade and Bosh.
“He’s on another team,” Bosh said Friday. “I think he’d understand that. I understand that. We’ll have plenty of time to talk in the summer, and that’s how it is now.”
The real tension between the Heat and Cavs comes on Dec. 25, when the teams meet for the first time in the regular season.
James struggled in the first half and played little after that, but his new team carried him. He finished 2 of 8 from the field and 3 of 7 from the free throw line, though did have eight assists.
According to a report this week by Forbes, James overtook Tiger Woods as the most marketable athlete in the world.
The HSBC Arena, which will be used for gymnastics during the Olympics, had a sold-out crowd of 15,411, with the top ticket advertised at $350 and green and yellow Brazilian flags adding to the color.
“Who knows where this league will be 20, 25 years from now,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “In the last six years since I’ve been the head coach we’ve been to England, France, China and Rio with tremendous experiences. Whether or not that happens on a regular basis — in the regular season — I don’t know.”
Wade is also a booster of the NBA’s global profile.
“The NBA has done an unbelievable job of growing the game — the players as well — of making this game global,” Wade said. We all benefit from it.”
It was the Cavaliers’ 32-year-old Brazilian center Anderson Varejao who got the loudest applause, upstaging James when the teams were introduced. Varejao left Brazil at 19 to begin playing abroad.
“I’ve been waiting my entire life for this,” Varejao said from an on-court microphone. “I hope you enjoy it.”
James missed the first shot of the game, a fall-away jumper from the left wing. Moments later Varejao scored the first points of the game on the Cavs’ second trip down the floor. He finished the first quarter with eight points as the Cavs led 27-21.
Miami trailed by 20 points, but rallied against the Cavs’ reserves to tie it at 105 and force overtime.Cleveland stretched the lead to 122-119 on two free throws by Joe Harris with 13 seconds left. Miami’s Shabazz Napier missed two 3-point attempts in the final seconds.