2:59pm: The Cavs don’t have immediate plans to address the injury with a roster move, Griffin said, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com, but he didn’t rule out doing so at some point.
“I think we look at this as a very similar situation to what we went through in the playoffs last year: Next man up,” Griffin said. “We have a roster we feel is deep enough to withstand one injury like this, and so we’re going to give people a chance to kind of absorb it from within, but obviously we’ve been paying attention to a lot of opportunities that we may be able to [use] to improve the group. We’ll just play it by ear.”
11:32am: Iman Shumpert will miss the next 12-14 weeks because of a wrist injury, the team announced. The swingman, who re-signed with the Cavaliers for four years and $40MM this summer, recently suffered a ruptured extensor carpi ulnaris sheath in his right wrist, according to the team. Shumpert hit his wrist on the rim during a workout last week but continued to play through it, GM David Griffin said today, according to Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Twitter link). The injury is poised to force Shumpert out for training camp and the first two months of the regular season.
Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Timofey Mozgov and Anderson Varejao are all coming off surgery, and while all were reportedly to be ready for camp, Griffin said Monday the team will take it slow with Irving and Love and wouldn’t lay out a timetable for their return to game action, notes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. If they return to playing by the start of the regular season, it would combine with the late summer signing of J.R. Smith to soften the blow of the Shumpert injury.
Cleveland would need to have at least four players who are expected to be out for an extended length of time to qualify for a hardship provision, which would allow for a 16th regular season roster spot. The team can’t apply for a disabled player exception, which would give the team cap flexibility to acquire a player, unless Shumpert is deemed likely to miss the season. Since neither scenario is in play, the Cavs will have to replace Shumpert using existing means. They can’t sign any free agent for more than the minimum salary, but they have a $10,522,500 trade exception. The team would probably use that exception only if necessary, preferring to save it for next offseason, as Haynes explained to Hoops Rumors in a recent installment of The Beat.
Shumpert took over for Smith in the starting lineup during the postseason, so Smith figures to flip back into the role of starter at the wing in Shumpert’s absence. Backup point guards Mo Williams and Matthew Dellavedova can slide over to shooting guard, while Richard Jefferson and James Jones are available at small forward. The injury may well force 30-year-old LeBron James to play more minutes than would be ideal at the start of the season. In any case, the depth is a product of the team’s offseason player personnel work, as Williams, Dellavedova, Jefferson, Jones and James all signed contracts with the team this summer, just like Shumpert and Smith.
Do you think the Cavs should use their trade exception to deal for someone to replace Shumpert, or ride it out until he gets back? Comment to tell us.