Channing Frye

Central Notes: Parker, Bucks, Pistons, Cavs

The Bucks have looked good since acquiring Eric Bledsoe, and they’ll get another infusion of talent in the coming months, with Jabari Parker working to return from an ACL tear. Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times provides an update on Parker’s recovery, writing that the young forward is “running hard, cutting hard, doing pull up jumpers, and making crisp, sharp spin moves” in workouts at Milwaukee’s practice facility.

According to Woelfel, some Bucks officials “swear” that Parker would be capable of returning to the court right now. However, a source tells Woelfel that the team continues to take a cautious approach with the former second overall pick and will stick to a February target date for his return, as originally planned.

Here’s more from around the Central division:

Cavs Notes: Wade, J.R. Smith, Frye, Shumpert

Newest Cavalier Dwyane Wade will open the 2017/18 season in the team’s starting lineup, head coach Tyronn Lue confirmed today. As Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com details, J.R. Smith will come off the bench with Wade taking over as the starting shooting guard, and Lue said today that Smith handled the news well.

“He was fine,” Lue said. “It’s tough, you’ve been in position where you went to three straight Finals and you’ve been the starting two guard. But like I said, it’s about sacrifice if you want to win. J.R. was great about it. Just knows he has to have a different role right now so we’ll see how it works.”

Although Derrick Rose will join Wade in the starting lineup, Lue said today that Rose will head to the bench early in games and then return to run the second-team offense. In that scenario, the former MVP would likely lead a lineup that features Smith, Kyle Korver, and Jeff Green, though we’ll see what adjustments the team makes when the season officially gets underway.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • One player who likely won’t see many minutes in the Cavs’ rotation – barring injuries – is Channing Frye, Vardon writes in a separate piece. Lue told Frye that he probably won’t play a whole lot this season, and the head coach said the veteran forward responded admirably. “That’s the type of vet you want around,” Lue said. “Unbelievable character guy. He understands it’s a long season. There’s going to be opportunities.”
  • Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net hears that the Cavs already know which player with a guaranteed salary they’ll waive, assuming they can’t trade anyone. The Cavs haven’t identified that player, of course, but Richard Jefferson has been the candidate mentioned most frequently. Cleveland’s initial cuts may begin on Tuesday, Amico adds.
  • According to Amico, the Cavaliers continue to explore possible trades involving Iman Shumpert, but they’ve had trouble finding a taker all offseason, and Shumpert’s foot injury isn’t helping matters.
  • We rounded up a few Cavs notes on Sunday as well, including news on Isaiah Thomas‘ change in representation.

Cavaliers Mull Looming Roster Decision

Richard Jefferson‘s hold on a roster spot in Cleveland appears somewhat tenuous, according to reports from Jason Lloyd of The Athletic and Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net.

After signing Dwyane Wade last week, the Cavaliers are now carrying 16 players on fully guaranteed contracts, plus 2016/17 holdovers Kay Felder and Edy Tavares. Even if Cleveland cuts Felder and Tavares, the club will need to trade or waive one more player from a group of candidates that likely includes Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye, Jose Calderon, and Jefferson.

Calderon has been solid for the Cavs so far, according to Lloyd, who suggests that the veteran point guard should be safe, given the uncertainty on the depth chart ahead of him. Shumpert and Frye are considered trade candidates, but their salaries ($10.34MM and $7.42MM respectively) will make them difficult to move.

That leaves Jefferson as the potential odd man out. Unlike Calderon, Jefferson is trade-eligible now, and unlike Shumpert and Frye, his salary is modest, at just $2.5MM. The Cavaliers are exploring smaller-scale trades involving Jefferson, according to Amico, and finding a taker for the veteran forward would be preferable to cutting him, since it would reduce the Cavs’ projected tax bill substantially.

However, Cleveland has gotten no traction on a deal so far, and may end up having to outright release Jefferson or another player, since rivals won’t be eager to help out the defending Eastern Conference champs. If the Cavs do find a team willing to take on Jefferson or someone else, the salary dump would likely cost Cleveland at least one draft pick and/or cash.

Cavs Rumors: Trade Talks, Shumpert, Frye, Billups

Although an ESPN report classified pre-draft trade talks between the Cavaliers, Nuggets, and Pacers regarding Paul George and Kevin Love as “serious,” Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com spoke to a source who downplayed the rumor, suggesting a deal was never close and is unlikely to happen now.

Vardon suggests that the Pacers “obviously weren’t interested” in their end of the potential trade, which is corroborated by Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net. According to Amico, the Cavaliers and Nuggets both wanted to get something done, but the Pacers were hesitant. Amico notes that the exact details of the proposed offer aren’t known, but Indiana likely would’ve received one player from Cleveland and at least two from Denver, including Kenneth Faried.

Here’s more from out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavs are having trouble finding teams willing to take on the contracts of Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye, according to Amico, who says Cleveland would like to move both players before training camp. One GM of a lottery team tells Amico that his club may be willing to trade for Frye later, but only after waiting to see how his roster takes shape in free agency. Amico adds that Shumpert may have been discussed in talks with the Pacers.
  • The Cavaliers have discussed a possible three-way trade with the Knicks, but Carmelo Anthony‘s stand-off with Phil Jackson appears to be complicating New York’s chances of getting anything major done, says Amico.
  • In a piece for Basketball Insiders, James Blancarte wonders if Love is being undervalued by NBA fans and observers. If that’s the case, NBA execs may be guilty of it too — Amico writes that teams have thus far been unwilling to offer a ton for Love since it’s widely known the Cavs are looking to move him.
  • The Cavs still have no resolution on their front office situation. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported on Sunday evening (via Twitter) that talks between the team and Chauncey Billups were ongoing, with no immediate resolution anticipated. Nearly two full days later, there have been no real updates. Cleveland reportedly offered Billups a five-year deal to become the team’s new president of basketball operations.

Draft Night Rumors: Holiday, Smith Jr., Butler, Cavs

9:14pm: In response to Amico’s note below, Channing Frye has posted an Instagram message dismissing the idea that he’s planning to retire.

Meanwhile, Mavs president Donnie Nelson also addresses an item below, telling reporters that he thinks the Dennis Smith Jr. pick means the Mavs likely won’t target a point guard in free agency (Twitter link via Damon R. Marx of The Dallas Morning News).

8:28pm: The Mavericks may not be ready to hand their offense over to No. 9 pick Dennis Smith Jr. The team still plans to make a run at Pelicans‘ point guard Jrue Holiday once free agency begins, tweets Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. A former All-Star in Philadelphia, Holiday will be seeking a significant raise after making less than $11.3MM this season. The 27-year-old averaged 15.4 points and 7.3 assists in 67 games.

There’s more news from an eventful draft night:

  • Dallas coach Rick Carlisle offered a different perspective, posts Tim MacMahon on ESPN Now. Before being asked, Carlisle told reporters that he sees Smith as an immediate starter, noting his blend of intelligence, maturity and athleticism. “We believe he’s going to be a tremendous player for us and right away,” he said.
  • Carlisle added that the Mavs definitely preferred Smith over French point guard Frank Ntilikina, who was taken by the Knicks at No. 8. The coach said there was “uproarious” applause in the Dallas draft room when New York’s pick was announced (Twitter link).
  • In negotiations for Jimmy Butler, the Celtics refused to part with their No. 3 pick this year or the Nets‘ pick for 2018, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Butler was shipped to Minnesota in a deal involving the No. 7 pick, and the Celtics may send Jayson Tatum, whom they drafted at No. 3, to Indiana in a trade for Paul George.
  • Cavaliers veterans Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson may retire this offseason, relays Sam Amico of AmicoHoops (Twitter link). If they do, it will reduce the salary commitment in Cleveland and open up two roster spots, giving the new GM some flexibility. Frye, 34, made more than $7.4MM this season, while Jefferson, who turned 37 yesterday, collected a little more than $2.6MM.

Cavs Exploring Trade Market For Shumpert, Frye

In an effort to upgrade their roster, the Cavaliers have been exploring the trade market for Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye, sources tell Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net.

It’s no surprise that the Cavs are looking into possible deals involving Shumpert and Frye, though I wouldn’t expect the team to find much of value on the trade market. Shumpert will earn $10.34MM in 2017/18, while Frye will make $7.42MM, and neither veteran plays a huge role in Cleveland — teams interested in adding role players could probably find similar players for comparable prices – or less – on the free agent market.

While Shumpert and Frye may not bring a huge return to Cleveland, they do make some sense as trade chips, since both players could be on expiring deals next season. Frye will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2018, while Shumpert has a player option for 2018/19. That might make them more viable trade candidates than someone like J.R. Smith, who has multiple guaranteed years left on his contract. Ultimately though, the Cavs aren’t likely to land a true impact player on the trade market unless they’re willing to discuss Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love.

As the Cavs explore potential deals, general manager David Griffin continues to field calls and make decisions for the franchise, despite the fact that his contract will expire at the end of the month, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. It has been a week since Cleveland was eliminated from the postseason, and there was an expectation that there might be some resolution on Griffin’s situation by now, but with no new agreement in place, the situation is starting to “cause some unrest” in the Cavs’ front office, per McMenamin.

One source who spoke to McMenamin describes it as “insanity,” while a source tells Amico it’s “going to be a hairy few days” in Cleveland as Griffin continues to focus on the Cavs’ future while his own future remains up in the air.

Cavaliers Notes: James, Griffin, Luxury Tax, Lue

LeBron James had opposition within his family when he decided to return to the Cavaliers in 2014, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. James shares the information in an episode of “Uninterrupted,” his web-based production, which was taped during All-Star weekend and posted Friday. Gloria James remained angry about a derisive letter written by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert when LeBron left Cleveland for Miami. “Some people was on the fence,” James explains. “Even my wife was like, I ain’t, my mom and my wife was like I ain’t with that. … I had to finally just be like, you know mom it ain’t even really about [the Gilbert letter]. For me, going back is more of this. It’s more of a bigger picture. It’s more of all these kids, all these people, that need inspiration and need a way to get out. And I believe I am that way out.”

There’s more today out of Cleveland:

  • If the Cavs wind up losing in the Finals, it won’t be easy to improve for next year’s run at the Warriors, according to Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. The first decision will involve whether to re-sign GM David Griffin, whose contract runs out at the end of the month. Griffin was sought after by Orlando and Atlanta before they hired other candidates, as well as Milwaukee, which trimmed its GM search to three finalists this week. McMenamin and Windhorst talked to several anonymous sources to get player personnel advice, with suggestions including trading away Kevin Love and trying to acquire Paul George from the Pacers. Cleveland’s biggest obstacle in making any roster moves is its cap situation. The franchise paid $24MM in taxes this year and because of the repeater tax would be looking at a $38MM bill if they keep the same payroll next season. The salary commitment could be even higher if the team brings back free agent Kyle Korver, who the authors say can expect a deal similar to the $14MM per year that Jamal Crawford received last summer.
  • Coach Tyronn Lue deserves credit for not changing the team’s rotation or style of play in Game 4, notes Bud Shaw of Cleveland.com. After hearing public outcry to slow down the tempo, the Cavs responded with 49 points in the first quarter and 86 in the first half of a 137-116 win. That meant only two minutes for Derrick Williams, who will be a free agent this summer, and no playing time for Channing Frye, who has one year left on his deal at about $7.4MM.

Cavs Notes: Love, Smith, James, Williams, Lue

The Cavaliers are concerned with Kevin Love‘s sore left knee and will pursue a second opinion, according to a report from Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Love, who has been ruled out of Cleveland’s match-up with the Timberwolves on Tuesday, underwent an MRI on Sunday. Love missed a pair of games on January 30 and February 1 due to a back issue, but has otherwise produced well of late- averaging 21.4 points with 11.8 rebounds over his last five games.

“Always concerned when guys are going down,” coach Tyronn Lue said of Love’s ailment. “And we’re already limited as it is. Definitely concerned, but gotta see how he feels. Just, get evaluated tomorrow and see how he feels.”

More from Cleveland…

  • J.R. Smith could make an on-court return sooner than expected, according to Chris Haynes and Dave McMenamin of ESPN. While Smith is targeting a mid-March return to the lineup, his timeline could be expedited during the All-Star break. Even if Smith returns in three weeks, the 31-year-old will only have 16 games to prepare for the postseason.
  • A Cavs source told Dave McMenamin of ESPN that Derrick Williams has already done enough to earn a second 10-day contract. One of Williams’ biggest advocates has been LeBron James, who told Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com that he’d like to see Williams stick with the team. “We hope that this is a long-term thing,” James said. “He’s 25-years old. It doesn’t seem like it because we’ve been hearing his name for so long. But he’s 25, he hasn’t even gotten to his potential, to his prime yet. So hopefully this group, this locker room, myself, my leadership — just want to see him grow every day, and it’s a good place for him.”
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com discussed Lue’s new lineup- LeBron James, Kyle Korver, Derrick Williams, Richard Jefferson, and Channing Frye. None of the players in this formation are under 6-foot-7, Fedor writes, while possessing athletic ability and above-average shooting. “Yeah, I did (like it),” Lue said. “And I got to figure out different ways to get LeBron the ball where we want to get it to when we’re running our other actions.” James echoed his coach’s sentiments. “It’s a fantastic lineup, so it worked well for us. We got up the floor, got stops, shared the ball, so it’s a pretty good lineup. It’s something that coach has in his back pocket if he wants to use it again.”

Cavaliers Notes: Thompson, Love, Griffin

Now in the second year of a five-year, $82MM pact, Cleveland big man Tristan Thompson balked at criticisms that he hasn’t lived up to his contract. “I earned my money,” Thompson told Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “LeBron’s not my agent. I earned my money doing what I do; you can ask anyone around the league. I opened doors for other guys. It’s a business, and you get paid what the market value is for you. I got my money and opened up doors for other guys that play hard and do the little things.”

While Thompson certainly hasn’t been a hindrance to the 32-14 Cavs, his numbers aren’t what they were in 2012 and 2013. Thompson has averaged 7.5 points with 9.7 rebounds through 46 games while shooting a career-worst 49.3% from the free-throw line. For what it’s worth, Thompson still has LeBron James‘ stamp of approval. “He’s the one rim protector that we have, and we need him to continue to do that,” James said. “You know he’s going to clean glass, but when he’s active like that — trying to get shots blocked and things of that nature, it helps us a lot.”

Other goings-on in the ‘Land…

  • Kevin Love was removed from the second half of Cleveland’s 107-91 win over OKC on Sunday, and did not make the trip for tonight’s match-up with Dallas. Love, who suffered lower-back spasms in a 12-minute outing, will remain in Cleveland to undergo an MRI. “It’s nothing to play with,” James told Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “It’s a terrible feeling when your back is hurt. It just limits you more than anything. I know it’s very frustrating for him because he puts in a lot of work. He’s in the weight room all the time, and he’s doing his thing to keep his body in shape, then this is happening to him, so it’s very frustrating.”
  • Cleveland will use their “next man up” mentality without Love against the Mavericks tonight. “Guys have got to step up. This has been our mantra since we first all came together, ‘The Next Man Up,'” Thompson told Matthew Florjancic of WKYC. “We hope Kevin gets well, takes care of his body because we’re going to need him for the long haul. Whatever he has to do to get to 100 percent, that’s the most important thing because we need Kev for the long haul. Everyone wants to push it through, but if you’re hurt or you’re not well, get right because we’re going to need the big fella.”  With Love sidelined, Channing Frye appears to be the most logical candidate to receive a bump in court time.
  • The Cavaliers were among the teams featured in Bobby Marks’ NBA trade guide on The Vertical. To their detriment, Cleveland has only $750K to offer in a trade, and just one second-round pick over the next four years. GM David Griffin has displayed an aggressive nature on the trade market, Marks notes, having completed three January trades since joining the team in 2014. Marks predicts Cleveland will swoop in to sign veterans bought out after the trade deadline.

Channing Frye On Indefinite Leave

Channing Frye will be on leave indefinitely from the Cavaliers as he grieves the loss of his father, Thomas, who passed away on Thursday, Tom Withers of The Associated Press reports. Frye has been excused from the team and won’t suit up tonight against Dallas. The team’s next contest is on Sunday at Philadelphia. Frye is the second player to lose a parent over the holiday, with Zach Randolph of the Grizzlies also going on leave after the passing of his mother on Thursday.

Frye posted a message Thursday on Instagram saying: “Be thankful for the person next to you. My father passed away today. Y’all better love on your family.” The 33-year-old lost his mother, who succumbed to her battle with cancer, approximately a month ago. Frye missed two games after her passing.

The big man has appeared in 11 games for Cleveland this season, averaging 11.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 18.0 minutes per outing. Frye’s shooting line on the campaign is .439/.485/1.000.

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