Tag: Mo Williams

Kyrie Irving

Report: Kyrie Irving likely not back opening night, could be out until January


LeBron James may be pumped about finally getting to play with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love again, but it looks like he is going to have to wait awhile.

The Cavaliers are going to be very cautious with Irving’s return from a fractured left kneecap, which required surgery. Understandably, we’re talking about a franchise player here. But instead of the original timetable of 3-4 months, the Cavaliers likely will not have him when the season tips off in late October, reports Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. They may not even have him in 2015 period.

Multiple league sources say his rehabilitation is going smoothly, but that the chances are slim of him being in the opening-night lineup against the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 27. One source said he could very well be unavailable up until January….

The Cavaliers want to bring him back slowly without risking a setback, with the goal of being at full strength entering the playoffs.

This isn’t just the exact right approach to take, it’s the only sane one to take.

Last season, when Irving, Love and LeBron were on the court together the Cavaliers outscored opponents by 13.6 points per 48 minutes with an offensive rating of 113.5 points per 100 possessions. After the All-Star break, they were +14.7 per 48 and did that with a defensive rating of 99.2 (points per 100 possessions allowed).

As much as Irving will push to get back on the court, the Cavaliers can go without him for an extended period — Mo Williams was brought in as a backup point guard and Matthew Dellaveova has re-signed — and still comfortably be a top seed in the East. Likely the top seed.

What matters starts in mid-April. Cleveland’s success next season is not going to be judged on regular season wins, it’s all about the playoffs. If healthy, anything less than a return trip to the Finals is a disappointment (and for some, it will take winning a ring to make them happy). Pushing Irving back for a game in November, which could lead to a compensation issue and pain or an injury that follows him through the season, makes no sense.

What the Cavaliers want is to be 100 percent healthy around the All-Star break and then pick up momentum into the postseason. If they can do that, watch out.

Cavaliers look to reduce Kyrie Irving’s minutes next season

2015 NBA Finals - Game One

Last season, only Jimmy Butler and James Harden played more minutes per game than Kyrie Irving at 36.4. Irving logged a total of 2,730 minutes last season, 10th in the NBA total. He had a heavy workload.

Now, he is coming off fractured kneecap surgery, an injury sustained in the playoffs.

Which leads to the obvious — coach David Blatt and the Cavaliers want to cut back Irving’s minutes next season. From Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

The Cavs also want to cut Irving’s minutes. Mo Williams was signed to help out at point guard. Irving is coming off surgery for a fractured knee cap, so it makes sense to keep his workload light in the regular season.


As Pluto notes, this is exactly why the Cavaliers wanted Mo Williams.

With the veteran Williams and the scrappy fan favorite Matthew Dellavedova, the Cavaliers can easily trim six or more minutes off a night for Irving, getting him down to 30 minutes a night or just below. Plus, they can give him nights off. Considering the injury and what we know about guys who are rested playing better, all of this should be expected.

What helps is the Cavaliers will not pay a real price for this. The added Cavaliers’ depth, plus the fact they are in the East and have an easier path to the top seed, means they can lighten the load on Irving and still get have home court throughout the playoffs (or at least until the Finals). Then come the playoffs, the minutes will crank up again.

Report: Cavs likely to sign Russian center Sasha Kaun

Antreas Christodoulou, Sasha Kaun

The Cavs still haven’t worked out new deals with Tristan Thompson or J.R. Smith, but they appear to be close to signing another player who’s been on their radar for a while. Russian center Sasha Kaun, a second-round pick in 2008, looks to be on the verge of finally making the jump over to the NBA.

From Cleveland.com’s Chris Haynes:

Veteran Russian center Sasha Kaun embarked on a mini-tour of Cleveland on Monday, league sources informed Northeast Ohio Media Group.

His visit was for the purpose of house hunting, among other things, sources said.

Kaun, 30, and the Cavaliers have yet to reach an agreement. However, “it’s only a matter of time” before a deal is struck, according to a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations. The Cavaliers’ main focus is on locking up a longtime pact with restricted free agent Tristan Thompson.

Kaun is to depart town on Tuesday and it is anticipated that a deal will not be finalized before his exit, I’m told.

The Cavs don’t have much to spend on Kaun — other than a minimum deal, they have about $1.2 million left in their taxpayer midlevel exception (they used $2.1 million of it on Mo Williams). It’s also doubtful that Kaun will get much playing time in a crowded frontcourt that includes Kevin Love, Timofey Mozgov, Anderson Varejao and (once they inevitably re-sign him) Thompson. But at age 30, if Kaun was ever going to make the leap over to the NBA, now’s the time to do it.

Report: Cavaliers sign Quinn Cook

Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers have just 11 players with guaranteed salaries, but their roster could fill up in a hurry.

Cleveland has Bird rights for Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith, and draft rights for Sasha Kaun.

Just in case, the Cavs are bringing in other options. Jared Cunningham signed what appears to be a non- or partially guaranteed deal, and I’m guessing Quinn Cook is getting similar.

Brandy L. Simms of the Sentinel:

Thompson will almost certainly return. Whether it’s on long-term deal, matched offer sheet or qualifying offer, it’s difficult to see him playing for another team next season.

Smith isn’t getting the offers he wants, but it’s unlikely someone bests Cleveland’s offer. Plus, the Cavaliers offer him the best chance to impress before he next hits free agency.

Kaun is a tossup. The Cavs could use another center, but he might wait until they can offer more money.

Cleveland also has the Brendan Haywood trade exception, which it could use to add a player. The Clippers’ Jamal Crawford is reportedly a possibility.

So, I wouldn’t count on Cook lasting to the regular season.

But he could potentially help an NBA team. Cook, who went undrafted out of Duke, is a steady point guard. He shoots well from outside and avoids mistakes. He has limited upside, but that’s the profile of a successful backup point guard.

I’m not sure there’s a place in Cleveland for him, though. The Cavaliers already have Kyrie Irving, Mo Williams and Matthew Dellavedova at point guard. If the roster fills as expected, a fourth point guard would be an unnecessary luxury.

But just in case it doesn’t – especially if Cleveland doesn’t re-sign Smith – Cook could fill a role at point guard with Williams playing more off the ball.

Cavaliers sign Jared Cunningham to training camp contract

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Clippers

When last we saw Jared Cunningham, he was riding the bench for the Los Angeles Clippers last season — he played just 89 minutes as a reserve guard — until in January they traded him in a salary dump to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers promptly waived him.

Now Cunningham is going to get a chance to make the roster of the team that drafted him No. 24 overall back in 2012 (then quickly traded him to Dallas), the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Shams Charania of Real GM had the news.

This is a non-guaranteed training camp deal, Cunningham is going to have to earn his way onto the roster.

Which is not going to be easy. He’s an undersized shooting guard who doesn’t shoot well, a career 36.4 percent shooter overall and 30 percent from three (he doesn’t have the handles to run the point or be a playmaker at the NBA level, either). He came into the league raw, a guy who had been able to get by on his athleticism but now was going to have to sharpen his skills, and that has not happened.

The Cavaliers have open roster spots, but they are deep at guard: Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, Mo Williams, Matthew Dellavedova, James Jones, and they could re-sign J.R. Smith still. It seems unlikely Cunningham will get into that mix, but he’ll get his shot.