The Cleveland Cavaliers are reeling after yet another loss, and the news and rumors are ramping up.
Check out the latest buzz below.
James, Blatt Dismiss Shoving Incident
The biggest moment to many in the Cavs latest loss was when LeBron James shoved his coach David Blatt, although both tried to downplay the incident after the game.
“I got called for an offensive foul, and they said I hooked one of the Morris twins on a post-up when he grabbed me,” James told reporters after the game, reported ESPN.
“It was a referee that was away from the play [who called it]. I was talking to Eric Lewis, one of the other refs, and Coach Blatt was getting a little fired up about it, too, and he was on his way to a technical. So I just got him up out of the way before he got a T. So, just protecting my coach.”
Blatt agreed, saying, “He was trying to keep me from getting a technical foul.”
“Look, it’s a physical game, and no disrespect to the officials, but I just thought my guy was taking a lot of hard hits and I didn’t like it and I was expressing my opinion, and LeBron stepped in to I guess protect me in that situation, which is more than fine,” Blatt elaborated.
“But what I really wanted to do was protect him.”
Love Doesn’t Plan to Opt Out
Kevin Love emphasized that he doesn’t plan on opting out of his contract after this season.
Love was traded to the Cavs with just one season left on his deal, and could become an unrestricted free agent.
“I think that we will figure it out here, so I don’t plan on opting out or any of that,” Love told Northeast Ohio Media Group.
“I plan on being here. As far as leaving my options open, I mean sure, it’s always there. At the end of the day, it’s always good to have something but no, I plan on being here.”
Love has a $16.7 million player option for next season. He could opt in and sign a new contract after that season.
“I’ve said all along that I plan on being a Cavalier long-term,” Love said without hesitation. “As we continue to evolve, my role will continue to evolve. It’s still a process where I’m figuring it out.”
However, some around the league still feel Love will test free agency, particularly considering he hasn’t fit well with the Cavs so far.
Love said he’s been studying film to see how he could be more effective, and that he needs to call for the ball some times.
Cavs Ignoring Coaches?
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says that the Cavaliers appear to be ignoring some of the plays being called.
“It isn’t just the casinos that are agape at how this is playing out — the Cavs were 4-15 in their past 19 games against the spread coming in to Tuesday — so are league scouts, executives and rival players,” he wrote in a commentary.
“They see players appearing to run different plays than the bench calls, see assistant coach Tyronn Lue calling timeouts literally behind Blatt’s back during games, and hear Cavs players openly talking about coaching issues with opposing players and personnel. Not once, not twice, but frequently over the past several months.”
Windhorst said that for weeks, small talk among league personnel has often started with wondering what’s going on in Cleveland.
It’s just the latest in the Cavs drama, which has included in the past week not only LeBron’s shove but also Blatt saying Love “is not a max player yet.”
New Rotation After Trades
The Cavs are likely set with the current roster for the rest of the season, bringing up the question of rotations after everyone gets healthy.
Timofey Mozgov, Kevin Love, LeBron James, and Kyrie Irving are locks in the starting lineup, and Tristan Thompson is the first big off the bench, but the rest of the rotation is still up in the air.
Will Iman Shumpert start when he returns from injury, or come off the bench as J.R. Smith keeps his starting role? Who among Shawn Marion, Mike Miller, James Jones, Joe Harris, and Matthew Dellavedova gets minutes?
Bleacher Report made some predictions this week, predicting that Marion, at 6’7″, will come off the bench as an undersized power forward for about 15 minutes a game.
Miller or Jones will come in for James at small forward for about 10 minutes a game.
Shumpert will start when he gets healthy but only play about 25 minutes a game, with Smith coming off the bench for 15 to 25 minutes a game, and Harris likely getting few if any minutes.
Dellavedova will play backup point guard for about 10 minutes a game.