Dion Waiters may have been moved out of the starting lineup, but Cavaliers coach David Blatt tells Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders that the third-year guard should think of himself as a “second starter.” “I just don’t like the term ‘bench player’ because I don’t think that’s what he is,” Blatt said. “He’s a player who plays important minutes in the game when we need them. To me, whether he begins the game [as a starter] or not is less significant. It’s about the minutes he plays and what he does in those minutes.” Still on his rookie contract, Waiters is under the Cavaliers’ control through the 2016/17 season.
Also in the Eastern Conference:
- The Magic know what Channing Frye can do for them, but his new teammates don’t always know where he is, reports Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. “When I’m watching film, he’s open more times than he’s receiving the basketball,” lamented Magic coach Jacque Vaughn. “That’s just guys not knowing where he’s going to be yet, not knowing how the defense is going to play him.” The growing pains are to be expected for the Magic, who brought in eight new players during the offseason. Frye, a big man with three-point range, came to Orlando as a free agent, signing for $32MM over four years.
- Malcolm Thomas, who was waived Monday by the Sixers, has opted to undergo knee surgery, according to Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com. Thomas, who was playing about 14 minutes per game, suffered a left knee effusion and will be out of action for four to five weeks.
- The Celtics‘ Dwight Powell has no complaints about his short stint in the D-League, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. Powell, who was recalled by the Celtics Monday, scored 29 points in a Maine Red Claws scrimmage. “It’s very important for me or any player really, to work on your skills,” Powell said. “I’m glad I was able to get down there.” Powell came to Boston this summer as part of a three-team deal with the Nets and Cavaliers. He has yet to appear in a regular-season game for the Celtics.