A four-man race has developed for the final two spots on the Cavaliers’ roster, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. With four preseason games remaining, the competition has boiled down to shooting guards Jordan McRae and DeAndre Liggins, small forward Dahntay Jones and point guard Toney Douglas. Coach Tyronn Lue has promised that those four, plus everyone with non-guaranteed deals, will get a chance to prove themselves before cuts have to be made. Rookie point guard Kay Felder and veteran swingman James Jones are believed to be sure things for the final roster, and another spot will likely belong to J.R. Smith, who has been in a contract standoff with the Cavs all summer. Vardon believes McRae and Liggins are the current favorites to earn the last two positions.
There’s more news out of Cleveland:
- McRae is no longer being considered as a possible backup to point guard Kyrie Irving, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “It’s not fair to him,” Lue said. “It’s something he hasn’t done his whole career. You can put guys in position, they’ve got to come out and just score the basketball. But to tell them they’ve got to get into their sets, little guards picking up full court and just having to think so much when you’re a natural scorer, it is kind of tough.” Lue is looking at a committee approach, with Liggins, Felder and Douglas all logging time as reserve point guards. McRae has been the Cavs’ leading scorer in the past two games with 20 points each night.
- With Smith still absent, Iman Shumpert has been impressive in training camp, Fedor writes in the same piece. The fifth-year shooting guard has started just six games since coming to Cleveland in January of 2015, but he took over the starter’s role in camp and seems likely to begin the season in that position. Shumpert is trying to bounce back from a disastrous season in which he shot a career-low 37% from the field and 30% from 3-point range. “J.R. here or J.R. not here, Shump still has the same role on our team,” Lue said, “and that’s to come out and be a stopper every single night and take and make his open shots.”