Anderson Varejao says he expects Mike Brown to limit his minutes

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The Cleveland Cavaliers are going to be without Andrew Bynum until… I’m no even going to take a guess here. Theoretically someday he returns. Yes, he practiced with the team and has done some 5-on-5 work, until he suits up and walks on the court I’m not playing your game.

Until that magical day, at least the Cavaliers have Anderson Varejao… for a few minutes.

Coming off life threatening blood clots that kept him out much of last season, the latest of three injury-plagued seasons, the Brazilian center told the News Herald that he could be on a minutes limit.

The Cavs have made no announcement on whether they’ll restrict Varejao’s minutes. It might not be wise to play him 35 minutes a game, even though it might be tempting.

“(I’m) not sure yet,” Varejao said. “But knowing Coach Brown, (he) probably (will). It’s all him. I want to play. If he plays me five minutes, if he plays me 35, like I said, I will give 100 percent. My goal is to stay healthy. After these last three seasons of freak injuries, I want to go out there and just have a healthy season.”

This sounds less like a hard cap of minutes (ala Amar’e Stoudemire) and more a “let’s play it by ear and not burn the guy out” situation. If you can trust Mike Brown to do that.

Tyler Zeller will get minutes at center, while Tristan Thompson will soak up a lot of the minutes at the four (if Bynum gets healthy, Varejao likely slides to the four and Thompson could see his minutes drop). Expect Brown to keep tinkering with rotations for a while to see what works… and if he finds something that works, that’s when Bynum will return.

In the mean time, Cleveland just going to lean heavily on Kyrie Irving. He’s driving that bus.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.