Cavaliers Rumors

Cavs’ Ante Zizic Out Four Weeks With Foot Injury

Cavaliers center Ante Zizic will be unavailable for the start of the season due to a left foot injury, the club announced today in a press release.

According to the Cavs, Zizic – who missed all four preseason games due to foot pain and discomfort – underwent further testing and has been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. The team estimates that he’ll be sidelined for approximately the next four weeks as he goes through a treatment and rehab process.

If Zizic misses exactly four weeks of action, he’ll be on the shelf for Cleveland’s first 11 games and could potentially get back on the court vs. the Sixers on November 17.

The Cavs have plenty of options at center in Zizic’s absence. Tristan Thompson will see regular minutes and John Henson could too, assuming his groin injury doesn’t sideline him. Kevin Love and Larry Nance can also play at the five in certain lineups.

Cavaliers Waive Four Players

The Cavaliers have made a series of roster cuts, announcing tonight in a press release that they’ve waived guards Daniel Hamilton, Sindarius Thornwell, and J.P. Macura, as well as forward Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. The club now has 16 players under contract.

Hamilton, Thornwell, Macura, and Luwawu-Cabarrot were all on non-guaranteed contracts in Cleveland, so releasing them won’t have an impact on the team’s cap. According to Chris Fedor of, the Cavaliers are hopeful that Hamilton and Macura, in particular, will end up joining the Canton Charge, Cleveland’s G League affiliate.

All four players have some NBA experience, with Thornwell and Luwawu-Cabarrot seeing the most action in 2018/19. Thornwell, 24, appeared in 64 games for the Clippers, while Luwawu-Cabarrot, a former first-round pick, played in 50 contests for the Thunder and Bulls.

The Cavs are currently carrying 13 players with guaranteed salaries and one player on a two-way contract, so there are at least two openings available on the roster to start the regular season — one two-way deal and at least one spot on the 15-man roster (teams are permitted to carry just 14 players on standard contracts).

While Jarell Martin and Marques Bolden are the two camp invitees who remain under contract, that doesn’t mean they’re assured spots on the Cavs’ final roster, sources tell Fedor. With a ton of cuts expected across the NBA over the next several days, Cleveland will continue to monitor the rest of the league for potential roster additions, Fedor adds.

Garland Could Wind Up Starting

Pacers’ first-round pick Goga Bitadze will make his preseason debut on Tuesday, Mark Monteith of the team’s website relays. The Euro big man missed the first three preseason games with an ankle injury. He’s slated as the main backup at center with Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis projected as starters. “That’s kind of where we’ve got him at,” coach Nate McMillan said. “We’ll see as we get into the season what the rotation is going to look like.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers rookie Darius Garland could wind up in the starting lineup with Collin Sexton in a dual point guard backcourt, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Garland has come off the bench thus far in the preseason but that could change with coach John Beilein continuing to tinker with various lineups. “If he’s able to practice enough and earn it, I have no qualms about that at all,” Beilein said. “But there’s a certain process you have to go through to be that starting point guard and whatever it’s going to take. We will get him in when we think it’s best for the team to win.”
  • Pistons coach Dwane Casey wants to see his team take 40% of its shots from beyond the arc, Keith Langlois of the team’s website relays. Like many teams, Detroit attempted a franchise record number of 3-pointers last season and Casey wants to continue that trend. Their backup bigs, including Markieff Morris, will help the Pistons achieve that goal. “We want to stay around 40,” Casey said. “We want to continue to get up more corner threes as much as possible. Our slot threes were up, but we were getting a fair amount of corner threes. We’ve got to continue to do that and put pressure on the basket.”
  • The Bucks added veteran guard Kyle Korver as another perimeter option but coach Mike Budenholzer sees Korver providing assistance in other areas, according to Ben Steele of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Korver signed a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal in July. “All the little things he does,” Budenholzer said. “Competing and screening. Getting hits on the defensive boards. I think we’re really excited about how he is going to make us better this year.”
  • Zach LaVine is eager to shed his reputation as a subpar defender, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times relays. LaVine has been challenged to become a better two-way player by Bulls coach Jim Boylen‘‘I’m just tired of people talking [poorly] about my defense,’’ LaVine said. ‘‘I’ve always been a good on-ball defender. But there’s no reason I can be this good offensively and not be that good on the defensive end. So I’m taking more pride in it. I’m pretty sure it’ll show.”

2019/20 Over/Unders: Central Division

The 2019/20 NBA regular season will get underway in less than two weeks, which means it’s time to start getting serious about predictions for the upcoming campaign.

With the help of the lines from a handful of sports betting sites, including Bovada and BetOnline, we’re running through the predicted win totals for each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. In a series of team-by-team polls, you’ll get the chance to weigh in on whether you think those forecasts are too optimistic or too pessimistic.

Having already looked at the Atlantic and Northwest, we’re moving onto the Central today…

Milwaukee Bucks

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Indiana Pacers

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Detroit Pistons

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Pistons poll.

Chicago Bulls

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Bulls poll.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Cavaliers poll.

Previous voting results:


  • Philadelphia 76ers (54.5 wins): Over (54.9%)
  • Boston Celtics (49.5 wins): Under (57.0%)
  • Toronto Raptors (46.5 wins): Under (59.1%)
  • Brooklyn Nets (43.5 wins): Over (58.3%)
  • New York Knicks (27.5 wins): Under (54.9%)


  • Denver Nuggets (53.5 wins): Over (51.8%)
  • Utah Jazz (53.5 wins): Under (50.8%)
  • Portland Trail Blazers (46.5 wins): Over (78.7%)
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (35.5 wins): Under (57.5%)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (32.5 wins): Under (55.1%)

NBL Prospects Ball, Hampton Drawing Significant Interest

After initially telling NBA teams that they wouldn’t be permitted to scout practices involving top prospects LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton this season due to the league’s no-contact rules, the league office allowed clubs to attend a pair of New Zealand Breakers practices in Memphis this week to get a look at Hampton, according to a pair of reports from Jonathan Givony of

As Givony details, scouts and executives from NBA teams had hoped to attend a total of five Breakers practices this week in Memphis and Oklahoma City to scout Hampton as part of the New Zealand club’s preseason tour. However, the league prohibited teams from attending sessions on Sunday and Monday morning before opening up Monday night’s practice as well as Tuesday morning’s shootaround. Teams will also be allowed to attend the Breakers’ morning shootaround on Thursday in OKC, Givony adds.

As Givony explains, the NBA’s no-contact rules prohibit teams from having contact with draft-ineligible players outside of a few approved settings, including official games and select college practices. Non-college prospects like Ball and Hampton are still considered draft-ineligible for 2020 at this point since they haven’t officially declared through the league office.

The league’s latest memo related to non-contact rules extensively addressed college and international prospects, but Ball and Hampton technically don’t fall into either category since they’re not attending college and haven’t lived outside the U.S. for three years — they’re essentially in a grey area, leaving the NBA to interpret their status based on the league’s existing rules.

It’s possible the NBA will alter its interpretation of those rules or tweak them slightly to allow teams more freedom to scout Ball and Hampton over the course of the 2019/20 season. Givony points out that 27 NBA scouts attending the NBL Blitz in Tasmania last month and many of those scouts attended practices involving Ball and Hampton, which may lead to fines.

The Breakers practices that were open to NBA execs and scouts this week were heavily populated, according to the NBL, which estimates that over 100 reps from teams were on hand on Monday night to get a look at Hampton. Another top 2020 prospect, James Wiseman, had his pro day at the University of Memphis earlier on Monday, so many scouts and execs attended both events.

Meanwhile, Ball, who is also playing in the NBL as a member of the Illawarra Hawks, is drawing plenty of attention from fans in addition to NBA teams. According to Adam Zagoria of, Ball’s NBL debut became the most-watched game in league history, with one million viewers streaming the game on Facebook in the United States.

Zagoria also wrote in a separate Forbes article that the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Nets, and Raptors are among the teams that have reached out to the Spire Academy in Ohio – where Ball played last season – for information on the young point guard. The Cavaliers have also been evaluating him, sources tell Zagoria.

In ESPN’s latest mock draft, Givony had Wiseman coming off the board at No. 1, followed by Ball at No. 3 and Hampton at No. 6.

Kevin Love: I Want To Stay With Cavaliers

Since the day LeBron James announced that he was leaving the Cavaliers to sign with the Lakers, few players have been cited as trade candidates more frequently than Kevin Love. Those trade rumors persisted even after Love signed a four-year contract extension with the rebuilding Cavs last summer, but the five-time All-Star insists he has no desire to leave Cleveland for a team closer to title contention, as he tells Chris Fedor of

“I do want to be here. I always have,” Love said. “I say that knowing it’s the NBA and it’s a business. I think especially after seeing last year, the summer leading up to last year and this summer, the changeover is like unprecedented so you don’t know what is going to happen.

“If they decide to go completely young … and that could be the case, but it’s funny, my agent didn’t call me one time this summer to say, ‘Hey, you’re getting traded, there’s talks that this is happening.’ Of course, somehow it’s still out there and people are talking about, ‘Oh, Kevin would be great here or great there.’ I just keep it moving and try to do right by these guys because we have a good group.”

Love, who turned 31 last month, missed most of the 2018/19 season due to a foot injury. He appeared in just 22 games, averaging 17.0 PPG and 10.9 RPG in 27.2 minutes per contest with a career-worst .385 FG%. As he enters the first season of his four-year extension, he’s hoping for a bounce-back year and has raved about new head coach John Beilein, whom Love believes has “breathed new life into us,” per Fedor.

Meanwhile, the Cavs’ stance on Love hasn’t changed, according to Fedor. Cleveland would consider moving the veteran if the right offer comes in, but sources tell Fedor the club would have to be “blown away” by a package of young players and draft picks.

Love, who says he feels comfortable in Cleveland and has “embraced” the city and its fans, knows that his four-year contract doesn’t offer any guarantees and that it’s entirely possible he won’t be a Cavalier by this year’s trade deadline. However, he vowed to continue giving the team his best effort, whether he’s in Cleveland for another four years or just another four months.

“If they do decide (to move on), then at least I would have laid a really, really great foundation and done right by the whole team,” Love said. “Hopefully people will see that, know that no matter what goes down, how it goes down, I will always do right by the city of Cleveland. They’ve done right by me and stuck with me.”

Fedor On Cavs' Rotation, Roster Battle

  • In a pair of articles for, Chris Fedor explores what the Cavaliers‘ regular season rotation might look like and digs into whether the team’s first preseason game provided any hints on the battle for the final roster spot(s).

Cavaliers Signed, Waived Sir’Dominic Pointer

The Cavaliers signed and then waived swingman Sir’Dominic Pointer over the weekend, according to Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link).

This sort of move isn’t uncommon during the preseason as teams look to either secure players’ G League rights or ensure that returning-rights NBAGL players will receive Exhibit 10 bonuses. However, Pointer’s case is a little more complicated.

The 53rd overall pick in the 2015 draft, Pointer was technically a draft-and-stash prospect who had yet to sign with the Cavaliers. He has spent his first four professional seasons playing for teams in Israel, Lebanon, and Hungary, as well as the Canton Charge, Cleveland’s G League affiliate.

In order to retain their draft rights to stashed players, NBA teams must submit a required tender, which is generally a non-guaranteed minimum salary contract. According to Keith Smith of RealGM (Twitter link), Pointer signed that tender. Because the 27-year-old wasn’t in Cleveland’s plans, he was subsequently released and the team no longer holds his NBA rights.

Curiously, the Cavs already had 20 players under contract at the time Pointer signed his tender. Teams aren’t permitted to carry more than 20 players during the offseason and preseason, but no other Cavs roster moves show up in the NBA’s transaction logs. Unless a corresponding move is reported retroactively, it seems safe to assume that Cleveland wasn’t required to clear a spot for Pointer because he signed a tender – rather than as a free agent – and was immediately released.

Knight Healthy; Nance Excited Not To Play Center

Cavaliers point guard Brandon Knight, an NBA All-Rookie First Team member after averaging 12.8 PPG and 3.8 APG for Detroit during the 2011/12 season, hasn’t played 60+ games since the 2013/14 season. But, as Chris Fedor of writes, Knight is looking to bounce back from a series of injuries in what is a contract year for the 27-year-old former McDonald’s All-American.

“I just try to be myself,” Knight said. “I think I stood out just because people haven’t seen me, like the actual me, in over two years. I was really just myself and I think I shot the ball well. I think that’s one of my strengths. I’ve been working on my body a lot, being quick, being explosive. From what guys saw at the end of the year (with the Cavaliers) I think that’s what guys probably thought they would see coming into the year.”

Knight, who estimates it’s been two or three years since he’s had a healthy offseason, has been able to focus more on his game than on rehab while preparing for his second season with the Cavaliers. As part of that focus, Knight has bought some top-of-the-line equipment to help improve his body as well.

Fedor specifically notes that Knight looks more explosive during Cavaliers’ training camp, easily making his way to the basket and finishing at the rim while also repeatedly draining jumpers off the dribble. He believes he’s finally back to pre-injury form, if not better.

“I feel like I’m there. Or even a little bit better,” Knight said. “A little bit smarter, my pace is a little bit better, so I feel good. It’s still early. Just trying to maintain that throughout the (Cavaliers’) season and just trying to stay on top of doing the right things for my body.”

  • In another article for, Fedor adds that Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. is thrilled to not be playing center anymore. “I don’t play anymore 5 really. Thank goodness. I’ve been doing a whole lot of 4. A little bit in the post, a whole lot on the wing. The biggest difference between a 4 and 5 in this offense is kind of the freedom it gives you. I think with my playmaking ability that I kind of found last year I think that best suits me.”

Five NBA Roster Battles To Watch

For certain NBA teams, the path to finalizing their regular season roster is obvious. The Mavericks, for instance, are currently carrying 15 players with guaranteed salaries and two on two-way contracts. Barring a major surprise in the next couple weeks, those 17 players will open the regular season under contract with the team, while the remaining three players on non-guaranteed camp deals may end up in the G League with the Texas Legends.

In other NBA cities though, the regular season roster isn’t quite so clear cut. A number of clubs haven’t filled their two-way contract slots and/or don’t have 15 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving the door open for camp invitees to compete for those final roster spots.

We don’t know exactly what all these teams are thinking — some may have already made their decisions, or at least could have a good idea which way they’re leaning. But here are five teams that appear to have roster spots up for grabs and are worth watching during training camp and the preseason:

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Fully guaranteed salaries: 13
  • Two-way slots open: 1
  • It looks like at least two roster spots are up for grabs in Cleveland — one on the standard roster and one two-way slot. That number could increase to three if the Cavaliers decide to carry a 15th man to open the season, though their proximity to the tax line may discourage them from doing so. An intriguing mix of rookies and young veterans are in the running for those openings, and none have partial guarantees that would give them a leg up.
  • Contenders: Marques Bolden, Daniel Hamilton, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, J.P. Macura, Jarell Martin (ineligible for two-way), Sindarius Thornwell

Detroit Pistons

  • Fully guaranteed salaries: 14
  • Two-way slots open: 0
  • There’s only one spot available on the Pistons‘ roster, but the battle for it is an interesting one. In one corner is 17-year veteran Joe Johnson, who has appeared in nearly 1,400 total regular season and playoff games, and has a $220K partial guarantee. He’s going up against young forward Christian Wood, who just turned 24 and is already on his fifth NBA team. Wood flashed promise during his end-of-season stint with the Pelicans in the spring, averaging 16.9 PPG and 7.9 RPG in eight games (23.6 MPG), but beating out Johnson will be a tall order.
  • Contenders: Johnson, Wood

Orlando Magic

  • Fully guaranteed salaries: 13
  • Two-way slots open: 0
  • The Magic don’t have a ton of flexibility below the tax threshold, so they may not carry a 15th man to start the season, but they have to carry at least 14. The five non-guaranteed camp invitees that appear for now to be in the running for that 14th spot have appeared in a combined total of 12 regular season NBA games, so it will be interesting to see if Orlando looks to bring in a veteran or goes with a rookie.
  • Contenders: Hassani Gravett, Isaac Humphries, DaQuan Jeffries, B.J. Johnson, Vic Law

Toronto Raptors

  • Fully guaranteed salaries: 12
  • Two-way slots open: 2
  • Unlike last season, the Raptors don’t have any pressing luxury-tax concerns, so they could carry a full roster, which would leave five spots up for grabs in the preseason. Returning players Chris Boucher and Malcolm Miller each have partial guarantees and look like viable candidates for roster spots. But second-round pick Dewan Hernandez and free agent signees Cameron Payne and Isaiah Taylor also have partial guarantees and strong cases for a place on the 15-man squad. It will be interesting to see which way Toronto goes.
  • Contenders: Boucher (ineligible for two-way), Oshae Brissett, Dewan Hernandez (ineligible for two-way), Sagaba Konate, Miller (ineligible for two-way), Payne (ineligible for two-way), Devin Robinson, Taylor

Washington Wizards

  • Fully guaranteed salaries: 13
  • Two-way slots open: 1
  • The Wizards‘ injury woes may complicate their roster decisions and could make them more likely to carry 15 players on their standard roster instead of just 14. The partial guarantees for Jordan McRae, Justin Robinson, and Jemerrio Jones put them in the best position to claim those open roster spots. Meanwhile, only two of the team’s camp invitees are eligible for two-way deals, so that may be a one-on-one competition.
  • Contenders: Justin Anderson (ineligible for two-way), Phil Booth, Chris Chiozza, Jones (ineligible for two-way), McRae (ineligible for two-way), Robinson (ineligible for two-way)

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.