Kyrie Irving will miss four weeks with a broken left index finger, the team announced. The point guard sustained the injury, described as a hairline/non-displaced fracture, in Saturday's game against the Mavericks. He played last night against the Sixers, but was unusually ineffective, scoring just nine points on 4 of 14 shooting. The news puts the Cavs in a tough spot, to say the least, since Irving was off to a strong start, averaging a team-high 22.9 points a game, and played an even greater role in the offense than he did as Rookie of the Year last season.
The Cavs have only Donald Sloan and Jeremy Pargo as point guards on the roster behind Irving, and the poor play of the team's bench has already led coach Byron Scott to hint at a possible move. The Cavs have a full complement of 15 players, but only 12 have guaranteed contracts. Sloan's contract is the only fully non-guaranteed deal, as Samardo Samuels can be bought out for $200K, while Daniel Gibson's $4.79MM contract can be let go for just $2.49MM. Nonetheless, Sloan is one of the two true point guards on the roster, while Samuels has been a part of the rotation, averaging 16.7 minutes per game. Gibson has been seeing minutes, too, and he's played the point at stretches during his career, so there's no obvious answer about whom to let go.
The Cavs, with a payroll of just $47.666MM, have the most cap room in the league with more than $10MM. Yet they could be wary of too significant an expenditure, since they're on the hook for $12.25MM to Baron Davis, whom they amnestied last year, even though that amount does not count against the cap. Few on the list of available free agents would command much more than the minimum salary, however, and though we noted yesterday that they're not interested in reaching out to former Cav Delonte West, their position could change in light of the news about Irving. Cleveland could also pursue a trade, though that might be an uphill battle, since most teams aren't looking to deal at this time of year, and GM Chris Grant and company may be reluctant to make long-term changes to the roster to solve a problem that will last only a month.