Cavaliers Rumors

Cavaliers Notes: Love, Dellavedova, Wade, Trade Deadline

Kevin Love‘s absence due to a high-grade strain in his right calf is expected to extend through the All-Star break, sources tell Chris Fedor of Love hasn’t played since December 27, when he aggravated an injury that he suffered in the preseason opener.

Love has shown progress in the past two weeks and went through another pre-game workout Saturday. A source described it as one of the veteran forward’s “best pre-game workouts” so far, even though he had to end it early because of a minor cramp in his lower leg. Love received treatment during the first half, then joined his teammates on the bench later in the game.

The Cavaliers have just two games remaining before the break, and team officials believe he would benefit from the extra nine days offs. They’re hoping to have him at 100% for the second half of the season. Love was able to participate in consecutive practices last week, but felt pain in his calf after the second one, according to sources. He has been limited to individual workouts since then.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • While his playing status remains uncertain, Matthew Dellavedova has taken on an assistant coach’s role for the Cavs, Fedor notes in a separate story. Dellavedova was re-signed to be a mentor to the team’s young guards both on and off the court, but he hasn’t been able to play because of a concussion and an appendectomy. “Delly sees everything,” Darius Garland said. “When he sees someone open, he’ll tell you that in the timeout. ‘You missed that guy in the corner.’ He’s always reading the game, he’s gonna put people in different positions to get a win. Delly, he’s a winner. So whatever you do to win, he’s gonna do it. 
  • Second-year forward Dean Wade was concerned about whether or not he’d have his contract guaranteed this week and was shocked to learn that he was making his first NBA start Tuesday, writes Marla Ritenour of The Akron Beacon Journal. Wade has remained in the starting lineup as Cleveland has strung together three straight wins. “I didn’t really have time to sit and think about it at first, but after shootaround I was like, ‘Man.’ I usually take a pregame nap, but I was so excited I didn’t even sleep,” Wade said. “I just sat there twiddling my thumbs on my phone the whole time.”
  • The Cavaliers will be one of the few definite sellers heading into the trade deadline, ESPN’s Tim McMahon said this week in an appearance on Brian Windhorst’s podcast.

Larry Nance Jr. Out Of Cast

  • Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr., who underwent surgery on his hand earlier this month, is making positive progress and recently had his cast removed, tweets Chris Fedor of Nance was ruled out at least six weeks when he underwent the procedure, so we won’t see him back until sometime after the All-Star break.

Knicks Notes: Rivers, Drummond, Schedule, Porzingis

Veteran guard Austin Rivers was excited to join the Knicks as a free agent back in November, but his first year in New York hasn’t played out as he envisioned so far. After getting a late start to the season due to a groin injury, Rivers has now fallen out of the rotation entirely following the acquisition of Derrick Rose.

Rivers, who said he heard rumors even before the season that the Knicks could eventually trade for Rose, referred to his situation as “tough.” But with the team outperforming preseason expectations, he’s focused on staying positive — even if his own future remains unclear as the trade deadline approaches.

“As long as I’m here, I’m here,” Rivers said, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. “I can’t control if I’m traded today, tomorrow or the next day. What I can control is how I am as a player and what I can bring to this team every day. That’s being ready at all times no matter if my name is called or not and to help the young, young guys be ready to play. I’ll just continue to be ready to play here as long as I’m here, for however long.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • The Knicks are “analyzing” whether to attempt to trade for Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. Drummond’s $28.75MM salary diminishes his value as a trade chip, but the Knicks still have approximately $15MM in cap room and wouldn’t have to match the big man’s full salary. Berman adds that the Cavs’ asking price is believed to be modest, which makes sense, since the club only gave up a second-round pick and expiring contracts for him a year ago.
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic explores how the Knicks’ second-half schedule will affect their chase for a playoff spot, noting that weathering the six games at the start of the second half will be crucial, since they could help determine the team’s approach to the trade deadline. That six-game stretch includes games against Brooklyn, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia (twice).
  • In a separate story of The Athletic, Vorkunov and Tim Cato revisit the Kristaps Porzingis trade, which the Knicks and Mavericks made in January 2019. According to Cato, Dallas still feels strongly that it won the deal, especially given the way Tim Hardaway Jr. has played over the last two years. However, Vorkunov suggests it hasn’t been a total disaster for New York, given Porzingis’ ongoing injury issues and his up-and-down play, plus the fact that the Knicks could still make good use of the two first-round picks they’re owed.

Cavs Sign Brodric Thomas To Two-Way Contract

9:45pm: Cleveland has officially signed Thomas and waived Bolden, Russo tweets.

1:45pm: The Cavaliers are signing G League guard Brodric Thomas to a two-way contract, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Thomas had been on a two-way deal with Houston, but was cut earlier in the month to open up a spot for Ray Spalding. Thomas saw very limited minutes in four games for the Rockets, but has been a regular starter for the club’s NBAGL affiliate, averaging 16.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, and 1.6 SPG in eight games (33.4 MPG) for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Cleveland will waive two-way center Marques Bolden in order to make room for Thomas, sources tell Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link). Bolden has played 29 total minutes in six games for the Cavs this season and has also had a limited impact at the G League level, recording 6.3 PPG and 6.0 RPG in three games (17.0 MPG) for the Canton Charge.

After officially completing those two transactions, the Cavs will once again have a 16-man roster, with 14 players on standard contracts and a pair on two-way deals. Dean Wade is the lone player on the standard roster without a fully guaranteed contract, but Chris Fedor of (Twitter link) hears the club has no plans to waive Wade before today’s salary guarantee deadline.

Lamar Stevens, the Cavs’ other two-way player, has recently emerged as a regular part of the club’s rotation, and a source tells Fedor that Cleveland will likely consider converting Stevens’ contract to a standard contract at some point. However, the fact that the Cavs are clearing space for Thomas by waiving Bolden rather than promoting Stevens to fill the open spot on the 15-man roster suggests that’s a decision that will be made later in the season.

Injuries, Other Issues Have Caught Up To Cavs

Central Notes: Drummond, Love, Merrill, LaVine

With veteran Cavaliers center Andre Drummond now benched for the express purpose of being preserved for a trade, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic examines his possible on-court value and most likely trade or buyout destinations.

“If [you] had a bad center situation, I understand going after him,” a rival executive opined. “But I wouldn’t give up anything real [in a trade].” The Raptors are cited as being able to theoretically construct a workable deal for Drummond. Clubs like the Nets, Clippers, Lakers, Trail Blazers, Mavericks and Rockets could be open to adding Drummond if he’s bought out of his $28.7MM contract.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love practiced with Cleveland on Wednesday, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link). Russo tweets that Love did not practice with the club on Saturday, though head coach J.B. Bickerstaff would not officially term his absence a setback. “I’ll let our medical staff handle that,” Bickerstaff said. Love has appeared in just two games for Cleveland thus far this season.
  • Rookie Bucks guard Sam Merrill has been recalled from a stint with the Memphis Hustle in the G League bubble, the team announced Friday. Merrill is averaging 6.1 MPG across nine games for Milwaukee.
  • Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine appears to be cementing his case for his first All-Star berth with efficient scoring on a near-.500 Chicago squad that is currently the No. 9 seed in the East. LaVine’s play could put him in line for a lucrative contract extension this summer, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I try to let my game speak for itself,’’ LaVine said. “I let [the press] assess that and put the numbers behind it on the things I’ve done versus my contract and other players.” LaVine is averaging 28.9 PPG while shooting 51.8% from the floor and 42.9% from deep. He pulling down 5.4 RPG and dishing out 5.1 APG.

Matthew Dellavedova Has Appendicitis Surgery

Veteran guard Matthew Dellavedova underwent surgery today for acute appendicitis, the Cavaliers announced in a press release.

The condition was discovered after Dellavedova told the team’s medical staff he was feeling pain in his lower right abdomen. He is currently recovering, and the Cavs stated that status updates will be issued “as appropriate.”

The 30-year-old suffered a concussion during Cleveland’s first preseason game and hasn’t played yet this season. Earlier this month, he called it a “temporary setback” and said he has no plans to retire.

Dellavedova saw limited action for the Cavaliers last season, averaging 3.1 points and 3.2 assists in 57 games. He re-signed with the team on a one-year deal during the offseason.

Norvel Pelle Enters G League Bubble As NBA Teams Circle

Free agent center Norvel Pelle, recently waived by the Nets, is set to enter the Orlando G League “bubble” campus for the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers‘ G League affiliate, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (Twitter link).

After going undrafted in 2013, the 6’10” big man had four separate stints with the Sixers’ G League affiliate in Delaware, first while the club was still known as the 87ers, and most recently after the team had rebranded itself as the Blue Coats. Across 83 games (including 38 starts) for parts of four seasons with the Delaware G League affiliate, Pelle holds averages of 8.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 2.2 BPG, all in just 18.1 MPG. He also logged time overseas, playing in Taiwan, Beirut, and Italy.

Pelle finally made his NBA debut at age 26 last year, averaging 9.7 MPG across 24 NBA games with the Sixers during the 2019/20 season. This season, Pelle inked a deal with Brooklyn after the club traded away center Jarrett Allen and forwards Taurean Prince, Caris LeVert and Rodions Kurucs in the deal that netted them All-Star guard James Harden.

Pelle appeared in three games for Brooklyn before the team cut him to make room for defensive-oriented wing Andre Roberson earlier this week.

Bondy adds that several NBA playoff hopefuls have expressed some interest in Pelle as a candidate to shore up their own frontcourt rotations, including the Rockets and two Atlantic Division rivals to the Nets and Sixers, the Knicks and Raptors.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Anunoby, Knicks, Pelle, T. Johnson

Failing to retain at least one of Serge Ibaka or Marc Gasol during the 2020 offseason is turning out to be a “rare misplay” by the Raptors‘ front office, according to Michael Grange of As Grange points out, Toronto has been one of the NBA’s worst defensive rebounding teams, and the overall team defense has slipped to the middle of the pack after ranking within the top five in each of the last two years.

League sources tell Grange that the Raptors don’t actually have much interest in pursuing Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, but he acknowledges that it makes sense that Drummond was linked to Toronto, given the team’s deficiencies in the middle and on the glass.

As Grange writes, the Raptors will face some tough decisions in the coming weeks and months as they try to determine how to address the center position and figure out whether Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell, who are both eligible for free agency at season’s end, will be a part of their future.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Raptors forward OG Anunoby, who returned on Tuesday after missing 10 games with a calf strain, showed why the team was willing to lock him up to a lucrative long-term extension prior to the season, making an impact on both ends of the court in the team’s win over Milwaukee, writes Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Interestingly, Anunoby replaced Aron Baynes – not Powell – in the starting lineup as Toronto opted for a small starting lineup with Anunoby and Pascal Siakam at the four and five.
  • With center Mitchell Robinson on the shelf, the Knicks have had internal talks about big man Norvel Pelle, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. However, New York has a full roster and would have to waive a player to make room for someone like Pelle, who will be a free agent on Thursday if he clears waivers after being cut by Brooklyn.
  • Tyler Johnson appeared in only seven of the Nets‘ first 24 games, logging over seven minutes in just one of them. However, he has reclaimed a rotation role in the team’s star-studded backcourt as of late, averaging 8.3 PPG on .486/.480/1.000 shooting in Brooklyn’s last six games (19.3 MPG). “I just love him as a person and a player, his competitive spirit is outstanding,” head coach Steve Nash said of Johnson, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “He’s been making some shots as well, and he’s very capable offensively, of course. But just that competitive nature I think is really important for our group.”

Central Notes: Giannis, Bucks, Carter, Cavs

After leading the NBA in regular season wins in each of the last two seasons, the Bucks have had an up-and-down start to the 2020/21 season. The team has now lost its last four games, dropping its record to 16-12, but reigning two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t concerned about the slump, as Eric Woodyard of ESPN details.

“I kind of have a feeling that everybody is in a panic mode, which should not be the case,” Antetokounmpo said.

While the Bucks’ star isn’t ready to panic, he acknowledged that the team has to “be better,” and noted that the absence of Jrue Holiday – who is sidelined due to the league’s health and safety protocols – has hurt in the last week.

“Obviously, one of our best players on the team and playmakers and best defenders on the team is not playing with us,” Antetokounmpo said. “Obviously, it’s not an excuse. I’m not a guy that gives excuses. But it’s a big part of who we are, and we need him.”

The Bucks haven’t offered any specifics on Holiday’s status, but he has now been out for over a week and the belief is that he registered a positive COVID-19 test.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Tuesday’s game was the first this season in which the Bucks allowed fans into Fiserv Forum. According to a press release, the plan is to increase capacity to approximately 1,800 fans – 10% of the arena’s full capacity – by Sunday.
  • After missing 11 games due to a quad injury, Wendell Carter Jr. returned to the Bulls‘ starting lineup on Monday. Carter, who beat his projected recovery timeline, said after the game that he felt healthy, but admitted his conditioning could use some work, per Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. “I got winded pretty quickly which I knew was going to happen,” Carter said after logging 21 minutes.
  • Several Cavaliers players – including J.R. Smith, Kevin Love, Kevin Porter, and now Andre Drummond – have expressed some level of dissatisfaction with the organization in recent years, prompting Jason Lloyd of The Athletic to try to determine why it keeps happening. While Lloyd has no solid answers, he observes that general manager Koby Altman has been a common denominator and questions the front office’s culture-building ability.