Ante Zizic

Cavaliers Notes: Love, Lue, James, Zizic

Kevin Love has a chance to raise his trade value by the February deadline, which may explain why the Cavaliers aren’t putting him on the market now, writes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. GM Koby Altman said this week that the organization “doesn’t get better” by moving Love, and a rival executive that Pluto talked to agrees.

With LeBron James gone, Love will become the new focus of the offense in Cleveland and he has a good chance to raise the numbers of 17.6PPG and 9.0 RPG that earned him an All-Star berth this season. He also stretches opposing defense, which will give Jordan Clarkson and rookie point guard Collin Sexton easier paths to the rim.

Love will make $24MM in the upcoming season, then has a $25.6MM salary for 2019/20 that he is expected to opt out of, so the Cavaliers will likely decide to trade him at some point. The unidentified executive says he could be very popular around the deadline, especially in the Eastern Conference, where teams will see a wide open field with James now a Laker.

There’s more this morning out of Cleveland:

  • The Heat, Hornets, Trail Blazers and Raptors stand out as potential trade destinations for Love, according to Frank Urbina of Hoops Hype.
  • Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue will meet with Lakers coach Luke Walton and associate head coach Brian Shaw to discuss the experience of coaching James, according to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. “I’ll just tell them LeBron’s easy,” Lue said. “People get this whole thing built up like he’s hard to coach. It’s not. LeBron’s not the problem. It’s the outside tension that’s the problem. Just put added pressure immediately on the coaches, on his teammates. Now everything you do is under a microscope. … So it’s going to be a totally different change for the Lakers. They’ll be able to handle it.” Lue adds that he spoke to James a number of times while he was making his free agency decision, but never pressed him to stay in Cleveland.
  • Pluto examines James’ legacy with the Cavaliers in a separate story. Through all he has accomplished, the enduring memory for James may be bringing an NBA championship to Cleveland. “Only people who are from there understand what that title meant,” said former Cavs coach Mike Brown. “To LeBron, I bet it’s worth more than all his MVP awards [four] and his other titles [in Miami] combined.”
  • Ante Zizic, an overlooked part of the Kyrie Irving trade, has been putting up huge numbers in the Las Vegas Summer League, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. He posted 25 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday’s loss to the Bulls.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Larkin, Zizic, Raptors

The Knicks are in the process of filling out David Fizdale‘s new coaching staff, and are engaged in serious talks with Lakers assistant Jud Buechler about a move to New York, sources tell ESPN’s Ian Begley. Buechler, who played in the NBA for 12 seasons and won three titles with the Bulls, has worked in a player development role on Luke Walton‘s staff since 2016. He also coached the Lakers’ Summer League squad to a championship victory in Vegas last summer.

Meanwhile, the Knicks are also in advanced discussions with Clippers assistant Pat Sullivan about joining Fizdale’s staff, says Begley. A veteran assistant, Sullivan has worked for the Wizards, Pistons, and Nets, and was in Detroit at the same time that current Knicks GM Scott Perry worked in the Pistons’ front office.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said on Tuesday that there’s a chance injured guard Shane Larkin could return before the end of the Eastern Conference Finals, but Larkin is doubtful to play in Game 5 (Twitter link). Larkin, who is battling an injured shoulder, went through an individual workout on Sunday and said at the time that he felt like he was getting “pretty close,” per Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com. “The biggest part is just being able to protect the shoulder from another blow like that,” Larkin said. “Because another blow like that means more severe injury and surgery and all that.”
  • Despite barely spending any time under contract with the Celtics, Cavs center Ante Zizic says he felt like he was with the club for “a year or two” before being traded to Cleveland, he tells Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Zizic also spoke to Bulpett about being drafted and stashed by the C’s, and being included in last year’s Kyrie Irving blockbuster.
  • Sean Deveney of The Sporting News spoke to a league executive about the trade value of the Raptors‘ four highest-paid players, with that exec suggesting that Kyle Lowry would probably be the most appealing trade chip of the bunch.

Cavs Notes: Green, Zizic, Korver

The Cavaliers will start Jeff Green for the remainder of the season, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. Head coach Tyronn Lue cites the team’s recent success against some Eastern Conference contenders as the inspiration behind the 31-year-old combo forward’s promotion.

Lue likes Green’s ability to check opposing teams’ elite guards and certain metrics suggest that the Cavs are better both offensively and defensively with Green in the lineup alongside LeBron James.

I just like that we can switch a lot of 1 through 4 stuff and it gives us another ball handler on the floor too, so I just think it’s the right thing for us to start,” Lue said.

There’s more out of Cleveland tonight:

  • The Cavaliers saw a brief glimpse of what they acquired in the Kyrie Irving trade when rookie big man Ante Zizic was thrust into a more prominent role in the Cleveland rotation last month. Jason Lloyd of The Athletic talks about the Turkish pivot’s rise through the Adriatic League and the steps he’s taking to make a meaningful impact in the NBA.
  • The Cavs weren’t the only team interested in Kyle Korver when the veteran hit free agency last summer. Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes that among Korver’s suitors were the 76ers, Lakers and Spurs.
  • A commitment to a healthier diet and exercise has allowed Tyronn Lue to return to the sidelines after missing nine games related to chest pains he experienced last month. “This was the first time in 20 years where I really just had a chance to focus on me and get myself right and [Warriors coach Steve Kerr] reminded me of that,” Lue told Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. “We get so wrapped up in the game that we forget about real life, and it was the best advice I got so thank Steve for that.

Cavaliers Notes: Lue, Drew, Injuries, Zizic

The Cavaliers and Tyronn Lue announced on Monday morning that the head coach would be taking a leave of absence for health reasons, and that was just the start of another eventful day in the life of the 2017/18 Cavs. Later, Cleveland confirmed that Kevin Love would be making his long-awaited return from a hand injury on Monday night. The team later went out and grabbed a dramatic 124-117 win over the Bucks, with LeBron James posting a rare 40-point triple-double.

As Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post writes, the day was emblematic of the Cavaliers’ season as a whole, which has been filled with ups and downs, with one thing happening after another all year long. While the roster appears to be getting healthy as the regular season nears an end, the same can’t be said for its head coach, whose health will be the franchise’s top concern in the coming weeks. Lue hopes to return well before the playoffs get underway, according to Bontemps.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • Before Lue’s leave of absence was announced, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com wrote in a mailbag that he doesn’t think the Cavs’ head coach is on the hot seat. As long as Lue is healthy, Vardon assumes that he’ll continue to be the coach in Cleveland next season.
  • Interim head coach Larry Drew found out at 1:30 on Monday morning that he’d be taking over for Lue for the time being, Vardon writes in another Cleveland.com article. Vardon notes that the process of having Lue step down temporarily was initiated by GM Koby Altman, adding that it’s expected to take about a week for Lue’s body to become accustomed to the new medication he’s on.
  • With so many players set to return from injuries for the Cavs, Drew plans to give Lue a call to get his input on some lineup decisions, per Vardon. “We’ll talk about it,” Drew said. “He’s got the final say-so. Whatever he wants, then that’s what we’re going to go with. But if he tells me to make a decision, then I’ll have to make a decision.” Although Love is back, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance, Tristan Thompson, and Cedi Osman are all still dealing with various injuries.
  • Speaking of Thompson, given the way Ante Zizic has been playing during the veteran’s absence, the Cavs will soon have to figure out how to balance the frontcourt minutes, says Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Zizic posted 13 points and six boards during Cleveland’s win on Monday, and has been making a case for a more regular role.

Tristan Thompson To Miss Two Weeks

MARCH 6: Speaking to reporters on Monday night, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue provided a more specific recovery timeline for Thompson, suggesting the big man will be out for two weeks (Twitter link via Marla Ridenour of The Akron Beacon Journal).

MARCH 4: Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson could be out for an extended period after suffering a right ankle sprain, the team announced in a press release. Thompson will miss multiple games while undergoing a period of treatment and rehabilitation for the injury, the release adds.

Thompson was injured during the first quarter of Cleveland’s loss to the Nuggets on Saturday night when he stepped on the heel of a Denver player. He continued to play a total of 28 minutes and finished with 12 points and seven rebounds but the ankle swelled up overnight.

Thompson is averaging a career-low 6.3 PPG and 6.5 RPG in 42 games this season but had perked up since the Cavaliers remade their roster prior to the trade deadline. Thompson was averaging 7.8 PPG nd 8.2 RPG over the last 10 games.

Thompson’s season has been marred by injuries. He missed 21 games from early November through mid-December with a calf strain.

Thompson’s injuries robs the Cavaliers of their top two big men for the balance of the month. Kevin Love is not expected to return from his broken left hand until late this month. Larry Nance Jr. and Ante Zizic will see their playing time increase until one or both return.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/2/18

Here are Friday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Timberwolves have recalled rookie big man Justin Patton from the G League, according to a team press release. Patton, who has yet to make his NBA debut, may provide some emergency frontcourt depth for Minnesota on Friday night, with Shabazz Muhammad gone and Taj Gibson injured.
  • Cavaliers center Ante Zizic continues to bounce back and forth between the NBA and G League, with the team announcing in a press release that he has been re-assigned to Canton. The Cavs’ G League affiliate will host the Grand Rapids Drive on Friday night, so Zizic should be in Canton’s starting lineup for that game.
  • The Spurs have sent guards Brandon Paul and Derrick White to the G League, the team announced today in a press release. The backcourt duo figures to suit up for the Austin Spurs on Friday night as San Antonio’s G League affiliate hosts the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
  • The Jazz have recalled Tony Bradley from the Salt Lake City Stars, according to the team’s website. Bradley has had 16 trips to the G League this season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/1/18

Here are Thursday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Cavaliers have recalled rookie center Ante Zizic to the NBA, the team announced today in a press release. Zizic helped lead the Canton Charge to a win over the Maine Red Claws on Wednesday night, posting 15 points and 13 rebounds for Cleveland’s G League affiliate.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/28/18

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Cavaliers have assigned rookie center Ante Zizic to the G League, the team announced today in a press release. Zizic will suit up for the Canton Charge on Wednesday night in the club’s game against the Maine Red Claws.
  • Forward Tyler Cavanaugh has been sent to the G League by the Hawks, according to a press release from the team. Cavanaugh, who has averaged 16.3 PPG and 8.3 RPG in seven G League games, will play for the Erie Bayhawks (Atlanta’s affiliate) on Wednesday night.
  • After assigning him to the G League on Tuesday, the Jazz have recalled Naz Mitrou-Long, the team announced today. Mitrou-Long is currently on a 10-day contract with the Utah, but remains more likely to see minutes for the Salt Lake City Stars.
  • Rookie center Thomas Bryant has been recalled from the G League by the Lakers, per a team release. Bryant has played well lately for the South Bay Lakers, recording three straight double-doubles.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/22/18

Here are Thursday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA.

  • The Cavaliers have recalled rookie center Ante Zizic from their Canton affiliate, the team announced on its website. In 15 games for the Charge, Zizic has averaged 15.7 PPG and 8.9 RPG.
  • The Magic assigned forward Jonathan Isaac to their Lakeland affiliate, according to Orlando’s PR Twitter. Isaac will attend Lakeland’s practice but he is expected to be recalled back to Orlando before the team faces the Knicks on Thursday. Isaac, who has missed almost three months with an ankle injury, is expected to see his first game action tomorrow for the G League squad.
  • The Heat have assigned guard Rodney McGruder to their G League affiliate, the Sioux City Skyforce, the team announced in a press release. McGruder has not appeared in a regular season game after undergoing surgery on a  left tibia stress fracture in mid-October. He is expected to play two G League games on Saturday and Monday before making his NBA return, tweets Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald.
  • The Lakers assigned rookie center Thomas Bryant to the South Bay Lakers for their upcoming two-game road trip, according to the G League team’s Twitter feed. Thomas has averaged 19.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 1.6 BPG in 27 games with South Bay.
  • The Timberwolves have assigned rookie center Justin Patton to the G League’s Iowa Wolves, according to the team (Twitter link). Patton has yet to make his NBA debut but has averaged 11.9 PPG for Iowa in 25 games.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/21/18

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA.

9:32pm:

  • The Warriors have recalled guard Quinn Cook and center Damian Jones from their affiliate in Santa Cruz, tweets Monte Poole of NBC Bay Area.
  • The Cavaliers have assigned center Ante Zizic to their Canton affiliate, the team announced on its website.
  • The Jazz assigned center Tony Bradley to their affiliate in Salt Lake City, according to the team website.

4:05pm: