When LeBron James returns to the court from his injury, he will have three new teammates after the Cavs swung two trades this past week. The team is 1-7 without James in the lineup this season. James is second in the league points per game with 25.2, third in the league in minutes per game averaging 37.5 and has a player efficiency rating of 25.2, which ranks eighth in the league. Those numbers, coupled with the team’s win discrepancy without James on the floor, should put the four-time MVP in contention to win his fifth award this season.
Here’s more from Cleveland:
- Newly acquired center Timofey Mozgov is ready to help turn around the disappointing Cavaliers, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. Coach David Blatt said the organization has been trying to work out a deal for Mozgov since July. The efforts paid off on Wednesday, as the team picked him up from the Nuggets in exchange for two first-round draft picks. Mozgov said he tried not to follow the off-the-court rumors. “I always try to be away from this business,” he said. “I just try to do my stuff on the court. Of course, I read the news, I knew it. But not too deep to think about it every day.”
- Kevin Love is unlikely to sign a long-term deal with the Cavs due to the expected rise in the salary cap, writes Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal. Lloyd speculates that he might only sign a short-term deal, similar to what LeBron James signed this offseason, in order to maximize the benefit of the potential rising salary cap. Love could simply exercise his player option worth $16.7MM for next season to get the same effect; however, if he signs a new deal, he will likely get a raise on that figure, although that is just my speculation.
- Despite struggling to live up to expectations this season, the Cavs are not panicking, writes Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. “We know that things are going to work out,” Love said. “I know that we have a lot of talent here, guys who can do a lot of different things, so I tend to look at that more than the negative stuff.” Love hasn’t played well this year by his standards. His player efficiency rating is 19.1, down from 26.9 last season and his scoring has fallen by 8.4 points per game.
Arthur Hill contributed to this post