Kevin Love‘s duties in taking over for LeBron James as team leader include organizing the Cavaliers’ annual pre-camp workouts, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Love, whose leadership role was cemented when he agreed to a four-year, $120MM extension this summer, is hosting the voluntary sessions this week at the University of Miami.
Most of the players who are under contract are expected to attend. Coach Tyronn Lue is in Miami as well, but won’t participate if the players-only tradition continues. Tristan Thompson, Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic are all out of the country to play in World Cup qualifiers.
James, who signed with the Lakers in July, organized the workouts in each of the past four seasons. They are usually held in vacation spots, with coaches and front office personnel accompanying the team but letting the players run things.
There’s more today out of Cleveland:
- Osman can look forward to a much larger role in his second season with the Cavaliers, Vardon notes in a player profile. Osman may inherit James’ role as starting small forward, although Rodney Hood is also a candidate. The 23-year-old saw action in 61 games as a rookie, averaging 3.9 points per night. Osman played several years in Europe before coming to the NBA and appeared much more polished in this year’s Summer League, according to Vardon.
- Collin Sexton will need to improve his shot, especially from long distance, to become a Rookie of the Year candidate, Vardon states in another profile. Sexton tied with Suns center Deandre Ayton as the favorite for the award in a poll among players drafted this year. However, his success could depend on improving his accuracy from 3-point range, where he hit just .336 last year as a college freshman, and just .242 in SEC games.
- Thompson, who owns a championship ring and has made four straight trips to the NBA Finals, hopes to create that same atmosphere of success on the Canadian national team. He has been playing for his home country for nearly a decade and believes there’s an opportunity for Canada to become a major player in international competitions. “Right now we have a wave of really good players in the NBA,” Thompson said, “but who knows? Maybe 15 years from now we have a drought, so while guys are here and at a high level, let’s take advantage of it.”