The Cavaliers are planning to have only 14 players on opening night instead of the maximum 15, reports Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It would take an overwhelming performance from one of the players on the roster bubble to convince the team to carry a 15th man, Haynes hears. Jared Cunningham has a non-guaranteed deal, but he’s the team’s leading scorer in the preseason and “by far” the favorite to join 13 other players with full guarantees, according to Haynes. Cavs coach David Blatt said late Thursday that the team’s 14th spot would likely go to a guard because of point guard Kyrie Irving‘s injury, as Chris Fedor of the Northeast Ohio Media Group relays (Twitter link), and Cunningham plays shooting guard.
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- The contract that Dionte Christmas, another shooting guard, signed with the Cavs last week is non-guaranteed for two years at the minimum salary, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter links).
- The Cavs will likely release a few of their camp invitees after their preseason schedule ends Monday and briefly add replacements for practice purposes, Haynes adds in the same piece. Those replacements would only be on the roster for a few days, since they’ll have to be off the books by October 26th, the day the roster limit shrinks from 20 to 15. In any case, Cleveland intends to keep the roster at 20 players as long as possible, team sources tell Haynes.
- Blatt wasn’t familiar with Cunningham’s game prior to this year’s training camp, but the coach is certainly a fan of the shooting guard’s game now, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. “Honestly, coming in I did not have direct experience with Jared,” Blatt said. “I hadn’t really seen him play in the league. I didn’t see him play in college. I know his history and looked into what he had done in the NBA and in the D-League. But this is the first time I’ve had a chance to work directly with him and see him on the floor, and he’d done nothing but acquit himself well in every way. He’s playing good basketball. He’s playing two-way basketball, and he’s making a serious run to try and make this team. He’s doing a good job.”
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.