LeBron James believes the Cavaliers, who were silent as the trade passed, can win a championship with their current roster, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal writes. James’ stance presents a different view than the one he had previously offered in his summer essay announcing his return to Cleveland and when speaking to reporters during the holidays, Lloyd notes. The Cavs, who entered the All-Star break having won 14 of their last 16 games, have remade their roster since James last made those statements, having acquired J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov. “Obviously health is a huge thing. Clicking at the right time,” James said. “The team that’s clicking at the right time, is healthy at the right time, can make a huge push. I believe we can make a push to win one. Does it guarantee that? Of course not, we still gotta go out and play. But this roster can challenge any team out there.”
Here’s more from the Central Division:
- The Bulls, who did not make a deal at the trade deadline and have a vacant roster spot, will monitor the buyout market between now and March 1st, which is the deadline for free agent signees to be eligible for the playoffs, K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune notes. The Bulls appear to be interested in center Kendrick Perkins, who was dealt on Thursday from the Thunder to the Jazz, Johnson writes. Utah is reportedly considering a buyout arrangement with the veteran big man. Johnson also added that Chicago would be interested in guard Gary Neal, if his contract were to be bought out by the Timberwolves.
- Any roster addition made for the stretch run for the Bulls will be a veteran insurance player who is comfortable sitting on the bench, Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com notes.
- The Bucks were reluctant to part with Kendall Marshall, who was traded to the Suns along with Brandon Knight on Thursday, but Milwaukee wanted to free up a roster spot, Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentine