Here’s some of the latest rumors and updates for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Dion Waiters skips national anthem
Dion Waiters has refuted a report about why he missed the national anthem during the team’s Utah Jazz game.
“It’s because of my religion,” Waiters said, via Cleveland.com. “That’s why I stayed in the locker room.”
Waiters has said that he’s a practicing Muslim and is refocusing on his faith.
He also tweeted: “Lol I wasn’t going to even say anything about the situation but whoever made that up about me & the national anthem is a damn lie….”
The tweet is odd because he clearly stated to Cleveland.com that he “stayed in the locker room.”
But he added: “I can’t believe yall believe everything yall hear smh I guess ppl listen to anything now a days!!! I love everything about America!!!!!!!”
“I’m not here to entertain nobody but come on now I’m always out there for the national anthem if they gone write BS make sure it’s correct.”
As Pro Basketball Talk notes, “Waiters was replaced by Shawn Marion in the starting lineup for the game at Utah. He may — may — have not been too thrilled with this, and decided to take some extra time mentally preparing (or pouting) before tip-off, and missed the national anthem. When asked about it, Waiters may — may — have made up the whole religion thing, either as an attempt at humor or simply to diffuse any potential controversy surrounding the situation.”
Kevin Love what-ifs emerge
A report is saying that Kevin Love would be the with Timberwolves if LeBron didn’t move to the Cavs this offseason.
Flip Saunders, the Wolves coach, said that Love probably would have returned to the team.
“We were in a situation where if LeBron doesn’t go to Cleveland, do we trade [Love]? Probably not,” Saunders said.
“He’s probably still here. But the way it worked out, LeBron went there, and a lot of pieces started to fall into place for Cleveland and it became a very logical thing for them to try to make a push to try to win a championship to get a guy that, ultimately, is one of the two best power forwards in the league, and that became a reality for them,” he told the New York Post via Fansided.
Rondo to Cavs?
There’s also been rumors that Celtics guard Rajon Rondo could head to the Cavs.
Rondo is a free agent after this season.
Former NBA superstar Tracy McGrady thinks Rondo on the Cavs would be a perfect fit.
“Bron, go get Rondo out of Boston!” he wrote on Twitter after the Cavs lost to the Utah Jazz a few days ago.
LeBron insists no feud with Cavs point guard
DENVER (AP) — LeBron James sat at one end of the court, listening to music. On the other end, about as far away from James as possible, Kyrie Irving leaned back in his seat.
Quite a distance between the Cleveland Cavaliers teammates.
“Means we hate each other,” Irving said Friday after the morning shootaround, hours before tipoff against Denver. He was only joking, of course.
James shot down reports that he and his point guard got into a heated disagreement after the Portland game on Tuesday.
“We have not had a verbal exchange,” said James, whose team has dropped two straight road games. “But I understand that negativity sells. No one wants to hear a good story. Those reports are not true. They’re very false.”
Irving had some fun with their reported rift. He good-naturedly said the dispute with James was actually over which show is better: “Survivor’s Remorse” or “Family Guy.” Irving is a big fan of the animated series.
“He’s going to feel strong about ‘Survivor’s Remorse,’ because it’s his show. I love ‘Family Guy,'” Irving said. “Heated exchange. Words were said. No blows this time.”
Unlike James, Irving has never really been through anything like this, where all eyes are constantly on him.
“We attract a lot of hoopla. Always something to blame,” Irving said. “The only thing that matters is what’s going on within our locker room. That’s the only thing that matters.”
And fine-tuning on his on-court chemistry with James.
“We’re two dynamic players and it’s coming along well, I believe,” James said. “It’s going to continue to get better and better. It’s just four games. It’s our first time playing together. Every game is going to be a learned experience for both of us. It’s not just me and Kyrie. It’s myself and the rest of the guys, and Kyrie and the rest of the guys as well.”
To calm some of the angst over their sluggish start, James posted a message on his Twitter page Thursday: “In the words of the great @AaronRodgers12 ‘RELAX.'”
James said that wasn’t directed at anyone in particular, simply, “how I was feeling at the time.”
“Just a message for everyone to understand how important the process is,” James added. “Everyone wants overnight success. It just doesn’t happen in team sports, when teams first come together.”
Two nights ago, Irving had 34 points in a last-second loss in Utah. He also had no assists, a stat he’s well aware of, too.
“It’s not like I wasn’t passing the ball,” Irving said. “For me, it’s about finding ways to get guys the ball in right spots. I’m going to do anything possible to win a ball game. I have the confidence from my teammates to go do that.”
In training camp, James intimated that if he had to challenge players, he wouldn’t shy away. But he said he hasn’t reached that point yet.
“Too early,” James said. “For our team to be as good as we want to be, we can’t worry about what’s going on on the outside. We have to control our own destiny and play hard and get a win.
“We can’t shortcut the process along the way.”
AP piece: King James knows Cavs a work in progress
LeBron James is right.
Everyone needs to RELAX.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are going to be just fine.
But it’s going to take time.
James and his latest version of the Big Three are still a work in progress, which was evident as they lost three of their first four games.
Not surprisingly for a team that’s already been anointed as the next NBA champion, the slow start sparked an immediate stream of conjecture over just what’s wrong with the Cavs. The diagnosis ranged from James playing too passively as he adjusts to a new set of teammates (guilty as charged) to the King not getting along with point guard Kyrie Irving (a run-of-the-mill disagreement has surely been blown waaaaay out of proportion).
James took to Twitter, hitting the all-caps button for emphasis.
He, better than anyone, knows it’s far too early to hit the panic button.
Let’s not forget: When James and Chris Bosh signed with Miami in 2010, joining Dwyane Wade to turn the Heat into a supposedly unbeatable juggernaut, that version of the Big Three lost eight of its first 17 games together.
James, Irving and Kevin Love will likely take even longer to mesh.
“It’s a message for everyone to understand how important the process is,” James said, when asked about his tweet during Friday’s shootaround in Denver. “Everyone wants overnight success. It just doesn’t happen when teams first come together.”
The most pressing issue for the Cavs was tightening up when they don’t have the ball. Heading into Friday night’s game at Denver, they had surrendered 101.5 points a game (23rd overall), not exactly the sort of defense expected from a championship-level team. Only two teams were allowing opponents to make a higher share of their shots than Cleveland, which was giving up a whopping 49.5 field-goal percentage.
The Knicks made nearly 54 percent in their opening-night win at Cleveland; they were shooting less than 42 percent against everyone else. Utah knocked down more than half its shots (39 of 77) while beating the Cavaliers on Wednesday night, the first time the Jazz had eclipsed 50 percent in a game this season. The Portland Trailblazers shot significantly better while beating LeBron & Co. (49.3 percent) than they had against their other opponents (a cumulative 44.2 percent).
James has long been one of the league’s top defenders, but he must get some help from Love and Irving. If not, the Cavs are unlikely to get out of the Eastern Conference, much less win long-suffering Cleveland’s first championship — in any sport — since the 1960s.
Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but the Cavaliers may have to go through a postseason disappointment or two before they finally win it all.
That’s usually the way it’s done.
Detroit had to get over a pair of excruciating defeats to Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics before the Bad Boys finally broke through to win the first of two straight titles in 1989. During both of those title runs, the Pistons knocked off Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals. MJ, of course, used the motivation from those defeats to win a half-dozen championships.
Even the Heat lost in their first trip to the finals with a Big Three, beaten by the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. James, Wade and Bosh closed out their four years together with a crushing loss to San Antonio in last season’s championship round.
Now, James is teamed with Love and Irving, who are undoubtedly two of the league’s best players but don’t have the same life experiences — not yet anyway — as the last Big Three.
Wade already had a championship on his resume before he played a minute with King James. Bosh had appeared in a couple of playoff series for Toronto before he signed with the Heat.
Love and Irving have never been to the playoffs.
Never even played for a winning team.
Irving spent his first three years as the top player on Cleveland squads that were a combined 74 games under .500. Love endured even more frustration during six seasons in Minnesota, essentially a one-man team as the Timberwolves struggled through 160 more losses than wins.
Both are used to putting up gaudy numbers, with little feedback or criticism for the flaws in their games.
Now they’re playing with King James, who is the undisputed star.
Love and Irving are the supporting players, and how quickly they adapt to less-glamorous duties — playing tough defense, pounding the boards, doling out assists — will go a long way toward determining how long it takes the Cavaliers to win a championship. Consider Wade and Bosh, whose strong play in the early going this season shows just how much of an ancillary role they played while LeBron was around.
Irving, for instance, can’t go through a stretch where he’s taken 36 shots since his last assist (as was the case before Friday’s game against the Nuggets).
“This team can be as good as it wants to be,” James said. “But we can’t short-cut the process along the way.”
Maybe he should’ve added another word to his “RELAX” tweet.