- The Cavaliers are in the market for a backup point guard and could fulfill that need later this month, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. That potential acquisition will likely come after December 15th, when free agents who signed contracts over the summer can be traded, Vardon adds. Cleveland doesn’t have a true point guard to back up Kyrie Irving other than rookie Kay Felder, who has played sparingly.
- Stanley Johnson needs to improve his work habits in order to reclaim his rotation spot, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy told Aaron McMann of MLive and other beat reporters. Johnson, a 2015 lottery pick, was benched in two games the last two weeks and also served a one-game team suspension after showing up late for the morning shootaround, McMann continues. Johnson only played four garbage-time minutes against the Hawks on Friday. “He’s got to be a better practice guy,” Van Gundy told McMann. “He’s got to be a better workout guy. He’s got to be better with all that stuff. Really working to get better. Once he’s out there competing, you don’t have a problem with that. He’ll play as hard as anybody, but he’s got to understand that’s not the whole thing. It’s preparing to play.”
- Bulls forward Doug McDermott could return sometime next week from a concussion that has sidelined him the last eight games, Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com writes. McDermott has suffered two concussions this season and the might practice with the team’s D-League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls, as well as the NBA team before he returns, Goodwill adds. “It’s gonna take him at least a couple days to have full practices,” Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg told Goodwill and other reporters.
The Cavs recently met with Turkish swingman Cedi Osman, who told them he wants to play in the NBA next season, a source told international journalist David Pick (Twitter link). Cleveland holds Osman’s rights by virtue of a draft-night trade in 2015.
The reaffirms a summertime report that Cavs GM David Griffin and his staff were keeping a close eye on Osman with the idea of signing him next season.
The 21-year-old Osman, who was born in Macedonia, was selected with the No. 31 overall pick by the Timberwolves. His draft rights, along with those of forward Rakeem Christmas and a future draft pick, were then shipped to the Cavs in exchange for the draft rights of point guard Tyus Jones.
The draft-and-stash prospect is a member of the Turkish national team and plays for Anadolu Efes Istanbul. He averaged 7.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 20 minutes last season.
In his DraftExpress profile prior to the draft, the 6’8”Osman was considered “a very mature prospect with a great pedigree and a clear passion for the game,” adding that “he has already established a niche for himself as an offensive garbage-man who is willing to do the dirty work defensively and contribute with his unselfish mentality and strong feel for the game.”
If Osman were to sign with the Cavs, he’d probably have to settle for a relatively modest salary. Though the Cavs only have eight guaranteed contracts for the 2017/18 season, all but two of them are at least $10MM, with the trio of LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving alone eating up $75MM in cap space. There could be a need for a wing player, as James Jones becomes a free agent after the season and Mike Dunleavy‘s $5.175MM salary for next season is not guaranteed.
The Sixers and Kings will have to find room on their schedules for a make-up game after tonight’s contest in Philadelphia was postponed because of excess moisture on the floor of Wells Fargo Center. Crews worked for about an hour trying to dry the court before the game was officially called off. No makeup date was announced, but there is speculation that it will be rescheduled when the Kings make their next Eastern swing in late January. Both teams are off and the arena will be available on January 30th, tweets The Vertical’s Bobby Marks.
There’s more basketball news tonight:
- Archie Goodwin, who was waived by the Pelicans November 20th, has been claimed by the Greensboro Swarm of the D-League, according to a tweet from D-League Digest. The Hornets’ affiliate reportedly tried to trade Goodwin’s rights, but couldn’t work out a deal (Twitter link). Goodwin spent the last three seasons with the Suns, but was released in the preseason. The Pelicans signed him earlier this month when injuries left them shorthanded, but he played just three games in New Orleans.
- Shooting guard Jordan Adams, who was claimed by the Oklahoma City Blue on Monday, has failed his physical, according to D-League Digest (Twitter link). The team will still retain the rights to Adams and will not move back to the top of the waiver order (Twitter link). Adams, a UCLA product, was waived by the Grizzlies during the preseason. A first-round pick in 2014, he had spent the past two seasons in Memphis, playing 30 games in 2014/15 and two games last season.
- Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue says a mental lapse by J.R. Smith that led to an easy Bucks basket Tuesday night is a sign of an overall focus problem by the team, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. Smith walked to the Milwaukee bench to greet Jason Terry during an inbounds play, leaving Matthew Dellavedova open for an easy layup. “Obviously we both know it wasn’t intentional, but it was just a lack of focus,” Smith said. “One of the multiple things that compounded onto the loss was just as a team we haven’t been as focused as we previously were.”
- Matthew Dellavedova, an important reserve on the Cavaliers‘ championship team, is settling into his new role as a starter with the Bucks, writes Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal. Cleveland entered the summer planning to match any offer to the restricted free agent, but decided the four-year, $38MM agreement he reached with Milwaukee would have placed too great a strain on the salary cap. “It was tough to decide to leave because you’re coming off the highest of highs and I loved my time in Cleveland,” Dellavedova said. “Fun team, great group of guys, great organization and fans, obviously. But I had an opportunity here that I couldn’t pass up to see how good I could be as a starting point guard and really challenge myself. You never know if or when that opportunity will come along again.”
Signing Mario Chalmers could be an option if the Cavaliers are desperate for a backup point guard in January, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Vardon stresses that the team would prefer to trade for someone in December, but if that doesn’t happen, Chalmers could become an attractive option. The 30-year-old is still recovering from an Achilles injury. He has been working out since August, but hasn’t been medically cleared for full basketball activities. Because the Cavs are well over the salary cap, Chalmers would have to accept the league minimum to come to Cleveland.
- Jordan McRae‘s increased playing time probably means the Cavaliers are showcasing him for a possible trade, Vardon contends in the same piece. McRae, who joined the team in March, has seen at least 10 minutes per night over the past five games. That has meant reduced playing time for offseason acquisition Mike Dunleavy Jr., although Vardon says it’s possible that coach Tyronn Lue is just resting the 36-year-old.
Channing Frye will be on leave indefinitely from the Cavaliers as he grieves the loss of his father, Thomas, who passed away on Thursday, Tom Withers of The Associated Press reports. Frye has been excused from the team and won’t suit up tonight against Dallas. The team’s next contest is on Sunday at Philadelphia. Frye is the second player to lose a parent over the holiday, with Zach Randolph of the Grizzlies also going on leave after the passing of his mother on Thursday.
Frye posted a message Thursday on Instagram saying: “Be thankful for the person next to you. My father passed away today. Y’all better love on your family.” The 33-year-old lost his mother, who succumbed to her battle with cancer, approximately a month ago. Frye missed two games after her passing.
The big man has appeared in 11 games for Cleveland this season, averaging 11.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 18.0 minutes per outing. Frye’s shooting line on the campaign is .439/.485/1.000.
The Cavaliers don’t have a ton of depth at the point guard position behind Kyrie Irving. However, the team isn’t actively looking to add a point guard to its roster, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).
As Kyler notes, the Cavs are currently happy to move forward with Irving, Iman Shumpert, LeBron James, and even J.R. Smith sharing the ball-handling duties. While Shumpert, James, and Smith aren’t technically point guards, they’re capable of running the offense for a few minutes at a time when Irving is resting. The club also has another pure point guard in Kay Felder, though the rookie has played sparingly so far, appearing in just four games.
The Cavaliers invited veteran Toney Douglas to training camp, and also continue to carry Mo Williams on their 15-man squad, but Douglas didn’t make the regular-season roster, and Williams has decided to retire — the team has kept him on the roster in the hopes that he’ll agree to a buyout or that his contract can be used to match salaries in a trade.
Although the Cavs aren’t actively seeking a point guard at the moment, the team will likely keep an eye out for opportunities to fortify its backcourt. If its current point guard rotation struggles at all, a trade could be an option later in the season. Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com suggested last week that Cleveland could poke around the trade market after December 15, when offseason signees like Deron Williams, D.J. Augustin, and many others become trade-eligible.
The Cavs will likely examine the trade market if they are going to make an upgrade at their back-up point guard slot, Joe Vardon of the Northeast Ohio Media Group writes. Vardon adds that Norris Cole is no longer on the team’s radar since he may not be available to come back to the NBA until February or later, depending on how far his team in the Chinese Basketball Association advances in the playoffs. It has been reported that Cole does indeed have an NBA opt-out clause in his deal, though Cleveland believes he will not truly be available until after his season in China.
- Kevin Love has no regrets about signing his five-year contract with the Cavs, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal writes. Love could have signed a one-year deal during the summer of 2015 and positioned himself to take advantage of this past summer’s exploding salary cap. Instead, Love chose security over taking a risk to maximize his earnings. “When it’s your time [to sign], it’s your time. You’ve got to figure it out,” Love said. “Maybe the shoulder had something to do with it, but you’ve got to think about risk adversity. How much risk do you want to take? Knowing I could be with this team, locking in for five years, it was an easy choice.”
Knicks president Phil Jackson took to social media in an attempt to diffuse the reaction to his controversial comments regarding LeBron James, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Jackson has taken criticism for referring to James’ entourage as a “posse,” drawing reactions not only from James, but also from Knicks star Carmelo Anthony. Jackson re-tweeted a post from team advisor, Clarence Gaines, an African-American, who was promoting the “Posse Foundation,” which was set up to help black students succeed. Jackson refused to discuss the situation with reporters on Tuesday.
There’s more today out of New York:
- Jackson’s statements were part of a continued effort to take the focus off the job he has done with the Knicks, contends Mike Vacarro of The New York Post. The writer called Jackson “petty” for focusing on James and Heat president Pat Riley in recent public comments and blasted Jackson for not talking to New York media since September 22nd.
- Joakim Noah, one of the team’s prize offseason additions, will continue to start, but may not play much during fourth quarters, Berman writes in a separate piece. The Knicks have been more successful lately with coach Jeff Hornacek’s “small-ball” lineup that has Kristaps Porzingis playing center. Hornacek said Noah, who hasn’t scored in three games and is averaging just 4.3 points per contest, needs to become more “aggressive” on offense. “We don’t mind him taking the little mid-range shot, keeping teams honest if they’re going to stay back,’’ Hornacek said. “We want him to continue rolling to the basket, get low in the dunk area if guys penetrate and a big helps, he gets the dump and can just dunk it. If he stays outside, that’s what another team wants. We want for him to be more aggressive when he does get the ball around the basket.’’
- Derrick Rose is seeking $70K in court costs related to his civil trial that concluded last month, according to ESPN. A woman’s $21.5MM suit alleging rape was rejected by a jury, and the law permits winners of civil trials to ask the court to have some of their costs covered by the losers.