Cavs GM David Griffin says Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao will be ready for the start of training camp


After being ravaged with injuries in the playoffs, the Cavaliers are going to be close to full strength for next season. They lost Anderson Varejao in December to a torn Achilles, Kevin Love to a separated shoulder in the first round of the playoffs, and Kyrie Irving to a fractured kneecap in Game 1 of the Finals against the Warriors. Despite missing two of their three best players, they managed to win two games against the eventual champion Warriors in the Finals, and GM David Griffin says all three injured players are doing well in their rehab, via Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick:

Irving was ruled out for three to four months after the June 5 injury, so he might not be ready for the start of training camp. But even if he’s not quite back then, he should be ready either by the start of the season or shortly after. Now that the Cavs have mostly figured out the chemistry issues that plagued them early in the season, a fully healthy version of this team will be even more difficult to beat in the Eastern Conference.

LeBron on Cavaliers’ off-season: “It’s been good so far, but we have a lot of work to do”


LeBron James used his free agency to leverage the Cleveland Cavaliers management to improve the team this off-season. Whether he needed to put on that show or not (he didn’t), owner Dan Gilbert is going to break out the checkbook. The Cavaliers will have the highest payroll in the land next season — 0ne that includes a hefty luxury tax bill that will push the Cavs’ up to $200 million or so spent on players.

So what does LeBron think of the efforts to re-sign Kevin Love and Iman Shumpert (and himself), plus get Mo Williams?

It’s a good start, but he wants to see more, he told Dave McMenamin of ESPN at an Akron premiere of his movie “Trainwreck.”

“It’s been good so far, but we have a lot of work to do,” said James, who co-stars in the movie, when asked about the Cavs’ offseason. “We still got to re-sign Tristan [Thompson]. Hopefully we can bring back J.R. [Smith] as well and see if there’s some other free agents out there that’d love to come here and play if we’re able to do that.

“We definitely don’t want to come back the same team. We want to come back better. But right now, we’ve been doing so far, so good.”

The Tristan Thompson deal will likely get done. Eventually. There’s a gap between the two sides — Thompson reportedly wants Draymond Green level money (five years, $85 million), while the Cavaliers realize he isn’t worth that much. Thompson and LeBron share an agent, so LeBron can lean on the Cavs to get a deal done, while Thompson has to know there are few teams left with the cap space to make him an offer sheet in the ballpark he wants. The sides will figure it out.

J.R. Smith could be a different story. The Cavaliers have a great trade chip in the expiring $10.5 million contract of Brendan Haywood, and they are shopping it around looking for wing depth. If they find a deal for a player less erratic than Smith, then they may not be as eager to re-sign him. At least at a price that Smith would like.

The biggest advantage the Cavaliers have going into next season is continuity — a second year with the core playing together, a second year working with coach David Blatt. The second half of last season the Cavaliers started to figure it out, they were an offensive juggernaut, and they might have won it all if not for playoff injuries to Love and Kyrie Irving. Next season they will be better just for having had those experiences and time together.

But the roster will be deeper, too. LeBron should be happy.

Draymond Green to Kyrie Irving: “Larry O’Brien resides in Oakland, California”


Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving spoke for the entire state of Ohio when he said:

“I feel like (the Cavaliers) definitely would have won an NBA championship if we had everyone healthy.”

Golden State’s Draymond Green was asked about that when speaking to the media after signing a new five-year, $85 million contract to stay in Golden State. Green wasn’t going to play the hypothetical “what if Irving and Kevin Love had been healthy” game.

“Larry O’Brien resides in Oakland, California…

“If I was 6-foot-11, I think that I could be like Anthony Davis. But I’m not, and I’m not like Anthony Davis.”

I’m not convinced the series ends differently if Love and Irving play, but the question is moot. No team ever wins a title without catching a couple breaks. Golden State caught theirs this year.

Cavaliers fans will catch theirs in the coming years.

Report: LeBron James was concerned about Kevin Love not putting winning first


LeBron James was reportedly upset with Kevin Love for not fitting in.

Can we get more specific?

Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report:

It’s safe to say that the soap opera isn’t on permanent hiatus, even after Love—following a poolside pow-wow with James—re-signed for five years, a decision that suggests he’s not especially queasy about their ongoing collaboration. It also should alleviate James’ concerns, which he expressed to many confidants, especially early in the season, that Love wasn’t ready to put winning first.

Despite his excellent individual production, Love never made the playoffs with the Timberwolves. That was his norm for his first six seasons in the league. So, joining the title-contending Cavaliers was surely a culture shock.

At times, LeBron probably was not patient enough Love’s adjustment.

But, as Skolnick said, Love showed a huge commitment to winning by re-signing with the Cavaliers. The power forward could have bolted to a bigger market, escaping LeBron’s shadow and scoring more. And yes, that deal might have been somewhat about the money, but Love could have gotten more (though less security) by taking a two-year deal with a player option.

Love valued winning.

I expect year two with Love and LeBron to go better than last season. Love will have to show more he’s willing to make the sacrifices necessary to win, but late last year, LeBron showed a better understanding of Love’s predicament.

LeBron’s concerns were understandable, but if all goes right for Cleveland, they’ll become less and less relevant.

Report: LeBron James informs Cavs he will re-sign


In the least surprising development of free agency, LeBron has informed the Cavs that he will re-sign after opting out of his contract, according to’s Chris Broussard:

The fact that James is re-signing is not news. He was always going to; he was just waiting to make it official until they handled their other business first. Dan Gilbert already locked up Kevin Love and Iman Shumpert to long-term deals, and talks with Tristan Thompson remain ongoing. The Cavs also signed Mo Williams to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.

The contract is the same deal he signed last summer: a two-year max with a player option in the second year, which will allow him to take advantage of salary cap jump next summer.