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Report: Cavaliers working out Lance Stephenson, Mario Chalmers, Kirk Hinrich, more

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LeBron James complaining about the Cavaliers’ lack of spending wasn’t necessarily about making a big splash by trading for Carmelo Anthony. LeBron also wasn’t griping about money allocated to his guys: J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, James Jones.

There are common-sense moves Cleveland — which is down to nine healthy players with at least 100 career games of experience — can make to shore up its depth.

The Cavs have an open roster spot and could easily create another by waiving Chris Andersen, who’s on a one-year contract and out for the year. Sure, paying additional players would come with a cost, including luxury-tax payments. But it always seemed these were the fringe additions LeBron, who’s leading the NBA with 37.5 minutes per game, was prioritizing — especially at point guard.

Maybe the Cavaliers are finally answering his call.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

There are a few other free agent prospects that are expected to attend the session as well, sources say. Depending on how well the participants perform, sources with knowledge of the Cavaliers’ thinking believe one of them could be signed prior to the All-Star break.

Veteran point guards Mario Chalmers and Kirk Hinrich, along with wing Lance Stephenson are scheduled to work out for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday in hopes of inking a deal, league sources informed ESPN.

Chalmers, a teammate of LeBron on the Heat, was playing extremely well for the Grizzlies before tearing his Achilles last March. If he’s healthy, he’d be my top choice.

Stephenson is also recovering from injury, and he’ll have to overcome a checkered history with LeBron. Presumably, the Cavs wouldn’t have even invited Stephenson to the workout without LeBron’s blessing. Stephenson is talented and just 26, but he has mostly been lousy and sulky since leaving the Pacers (a brief stretch in Memphis excepted). Before signing him, I’d want a clear understanding of why he was so good in Indiana and so bad elsewhere and a confidence that my team could duplicate the Pacers’ environment. I would not chance signing him without both those elements.

The 36-year-old Hinrich has been washed up for years.

Gordon Hayward’s agent says return this season unlikely

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Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.

There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.

Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.

Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.

The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

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Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.

More than fine.

Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.

Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):

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The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova scrap (video)

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Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.

Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.

Report: ‘Tremendous concern’ for Jeremy Lin’s knee injury

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The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?

Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:

If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.

The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.

It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.