The Cavaliers privately deny that they were making Iman Shumpert available in trade talk before the deadline last month, but some in the organization think he might be doing too much to justify the four-year, $40MM contract he signed last summer, reports Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal. The fifth-year swingman is averaging career lows in points and field goal percentage since returning in December from a preseason wrist injury, and he often turns the ball over when he tries to drive to the hoop, Lloyd writes.
“His biggest thing for us is defending the best player every single night,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “His shot is going to come and go. Some games, he’s going to get six or seven shots, some games he gets two shots. I’m not really worried about his shots and his scoring. He just has to step up and shoot them with confidence. But for the most part, for Shump and for us, his value is every single night guarding the best player, which he’s done a great job of.”
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- Some Cavs players were convinced that Joe Johnson would sign with the team and were already talking about the sort of lineup they could play with him on the roster, Lloyd writes in a separate piece. Johnson instead signed with the Heat after earlier reports that he envisioned joining the Cavs.
- Tremendous weight is on Lue’s shoulders as he navigates his first NBA head coaching job and deals with immediate expectations of a title, but he’s keeping perspective, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com examines. “I want to win and I know I’m supposed to win, but I think the biggest thing for me is I have to do the best job I can do, but then also enjoy it,” Lue said. “I just can’t put the pressure on of winning a championship, winning a championship, because then I’d never be able to sleep.”
- The “word is” the Cavs signed Sasha Kaun last summer to give since-deposed coach David Blatt an ally in the locker room, according to Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Haynes reported last week that Cavs players were angry that the team decided against re-signing Kendrick Perkins to instead do the deal with Kaun. Perkins played the role of enforcer for Cleveland last season, and LeBron James and Kyrie Irving say having someone to fill that gritty capacity is vital, Haynes notes. Still, it’s “laughable” to suggest that Cavs players don’t think they have enough to win the championship as is, McMenamin opines.