Kevin Love

Kevin Love Returns To Action Monday

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love will play on Monday for the first time since breaking a bone in his left hand, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today tweets.

Love has been sidelined since suffering the injury during the first quarter at Detroit on January 30th. He was expected to miss eight weeks, so Love recovered a little quicker than expected. He has missed 21 games.

This is welcome news for a team that just lost its coach for an unknown period of time. Tyronn Lue was given a leave of absence on Monday to deal with health issues.

Love will be on a minutes restriction, according to Zillgitt, but he should give the floundering team, which has lost seven of its last 13 games, an immediate jolt. He was averaging 17.9 PPG and 9.4 RPG prior to the injury. He’ll have to blend in with a variety of new teammates who were acquired after Love was sidelined.

Central Notes: B. Wallace, Pistons, Cavs, LaVine

Former Pistons big man Ben Wallace is once again involved in the franchise, according to Peter J. Wallner of MLive, who reports that Wallace has reached an agreement to become part-owner and chairman of the Grand Rapids Drive. Wallace, who met with Drive season-tickets holders on Thursday, is expected to be formally introduced by the G League franchise next week.

“It was just the right fit,” Wallace said of his new role with the Pistons’ NBAGL affiliate. “It’s an opportunity for me to get back in basketball. It’s an opportunity for me to learn the business side of basketball, something I’ve wanted to do. And this gives me an opportunity to ease into it and learn as we go.”

Drive president Steve Jbara said he heard through a mutual friend with the Bucks that Wallace was exploring potential business options. As Wallner details, Jbara is looking forward to working with Wallace, who was a four-time All-Star during his career with the Pistons. “I told him, ‘You help me on the basketball side and we’ll make that partnership, and I’ll work with you on the business side and we’ll collaborate on everything,” Jbara said.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • After going on a brief hot streak following the trade deadline, the Cavaliers are once again slumping, posting a 5-7 record since the All-Star break. Following Thursday’s loss to Portland, LeBron James pointed to Kevin Love‘s absence as one big reason for Cleveland’s struggles, per Dave McMenamin of “It’s been a long time since I haven’t played with another All-Star on my team,” James said. “So, having Kev out has been very challenging for all of us. Kev has a big usage rate on our team. He’ll get the ball when things get tight, chaotic; we can throw it to him in the low post and get some things going.” Love is aiming to return from his hand injury next week.
  • It’s been a frustrating year for Zach LaVine, who missed much of the season as he recovered from ACL surgery and has been inconsistent for a lottery-bound Bulls team since returning. However, he’s looking forward to getting a full offseason with the Bulls, writes Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. Of course, LaVine will be eligible for restricted free agency, but he’s considered a near-lock to remain in Chicago. K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune takes an early look at LaVine’s upcoming free agency.
  • Re-signing LaVine figures to be one of the Bulls‘ few moves in free agency, according to Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders, who doesn’t expect the club to do much shopping on the open market this offseason.

Kevin Love Hopes To Return Next Week

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, who has missed 19 games with a broken bone in his left hand, is planning to return to action next week, according to Joe Vardon of

Love was projected to miss six to eight weeks when he suffered the injury, and March 26 will mark exactly eight weeks. He told reporters last night that he is hoping to be ready for a March 23 game against Phoenix, but isn’t ready to set an exact return date. Cleveland will also play on March 21 against Toronto and on March 25 against Brooklyn.

The Cavaliers have gone 10-9 without Love, who earned an All-Star selection by averaging 17.9 points and 9.4 rebounds in 48 games. Cleveland underwent a roster upheaval in his absence, acquiring George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson in three deals at the trade deadline.

“I just want us to get as healthy as we can get,” teammate LeBron James said, “so I know and obviously our coaching staff knows and we all know what we can become.”

Central Notes: Bullock, Griffin, Van Gundy, Cavs

Pistons‘ starting swingman Reggie Bullock suffered minor injuries after being involved in a two-car motor vehicle accident this morning on his way to practice, reports Rod Beard of The Detroit News. He wasn’t seriously injured but was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Bullock, who was on his way to the Pistons’ practice facility in Auburn Hills, was also apparently the victim of a hit-and-run, as head coach Stan Van Gundy tells Beard that “the other driver took off” after the collision. Bullock did not practice, but will travel with the team on their upcoming six-game road trip.

Bullock, 26, has had somewhat of a breakthrough season for the underachieving Pistons, averaging 10.7 points per game and shooting 43% from long range in 41 starts.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN worries that the Pistons‘ newly-acquired Blake Griffin may be the league’s new version of Carmelo Anthony – a player paid like a superstar but not producing at a level high enough to build a consistently successful team around. And as Pelton points out, paying a player who is not quite a superstar like one of the league’s best players makes it difficult to win because it takes away the financial flexibility necessary to build a team around the overpaid player.
  • In more Pistons‘ news, team owner Tom Gores ambiguously hinted that Van Gundy make not be back next season, reports Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News. Speaking at halftime of Detroit’s win over Chicago on Friday, Gores said, “Stan and I have not discussed (whether he will be the coach next season). I believe in Stan, but he’s a team player, so we’re gonna see. He’ll do exactly the right thing for this franchise. But right now he’s busy coaching this team. We’ll go from there.”
  • In a wide-ranging piece on the Cavaliers, Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer discusses the rumored timetable for the return of Kevin Love from injury, the importance of a starting role for newly-acquired swingman Rodney Hood, and more details on the trade that brought Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. from Los Angeles to Cleveland.

Central Notes: R. Jackson, Dunn, LaVine, Love

Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson hasn’t given up on playing again before the end of the season, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Jackson, who has missed the past 10 weeks with a severely sprained right ankle, was able to perform some quick movements in a workout today and step into his shot without discomfort.

“In a lot of ways, it’s been tough,” Jackson said. “It’s [past 30 games missed] now and I never envisioned a sprain lasting this long. Usually, you bounce back and play within a few hours or a few days or a week’s time. I never envisioned being out this long. The season’s been up and down and I just really want to go out there and play.”

Coach Stan Van Gundy recently suggested that Jackson may be ready for a full-contact practice by next week, but Beard cautions that’s unlikely without significant progress in the next few days.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The young Bulls stars are showing respect to one another now, but conflict will come when someone has to emerge as the team leader, predicts Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn are both aware that possibility is coming, but they are focused on more immediate goals. “I don’t worry about that. I don’t get into that — who’s the best player and all that,” Dunn said. “We all have to be leaders for this team. We have to be leaders in different ways. It’s a matter of time to see how we jell out. Right now we just keep playing.”
  • After sitting out seven games as the Bulls opted for a youth movement, center Robin Lopez will return to the starting lineup Friday in the wake of a warning from the NBA about resting healthy players. “It’s a little bit of a crazy situation,” Lopez told K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). “I’m always excited to get out there and play with the guys.”
  • Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, who is getting a positive response throughout the league over a piece he posted on The Players Tribune about panic attacks, said he was motivated to write it after the issue came up at a team meeting in January. “One of the things that was brought up was [coach] Ty Lue had mentioned the panic attack [from] early in the season,” Love told Michael Singer of USA Today. “And I wasn’t aware how many people knew. I kind of buried it and put it off to the side. And that kind of started a big push in the back to why I wanted to write this article.”

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.

Cavaliers Notes: Love, Smith, Green, Buyout Market

Injured Cavaliers big man Kevin Love is back on the court rehabbing from a broken left hand he suffered in late January, Joe Vardon of writes. A team source tells Vardon that there is no anticipated change from the original eight-week timetable for Love’s recovery, putting his return on track for the end of March.

While the team may not see a change, Love hopes he can return ahead of schedule, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin writes.

“If I can get back before eight weeks, great,” Love said. “I’m hoping that is the case.”

Before the injury, Love was enjoying a characteristically strong season, averaging 17.9 PPG and 9.4 RPG in 48 games.

There is more Cavaliers news and notes below:

  • J.R. Smith made his first public comments since serving a one-game suspension for throwing soup at assistant coach Damon Jones, Joe Vardon of writes. Smith said he has spoken to teammates and hopes to move on from the incident. “I talked to my teammates about it, everybody seemed cool,” Smith said. “We moved on from it as a team, so whether it warranted a suspension or not, that’s not my job. I’m just here to play basketball.” Smith noted that he does not remember what type of soup he threw but Jason Lloyd of The Athletic tweets it was chicken tortilla.
  • Since the Cavaliers restructured the team at the deadline, Jeff Green has seen his both his role and production diminish. With four name faces in Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Rodney Hood, and George Hill on board, the team is still trying to find the right balance, Joe Vardon of writes.  “When Channing (Frye) and those guys were here, he had the ball in his hands a lot and making plays and he was orchestrating, and now we have a different team of guys who can score and the second unit can make a play so the ball hasn’t been in his hands as much,” head  coach Tyronn Lue said. “We have to find that balance still. Searching for that balance.”
  • The Cavaliers have been active in the buyout market in recent years but the market is razor thin this season, Sam Amico of Amico Hoops writes. Last year, Cleveland added Andrew Bogut and Deron Williams for the postseason run. Both those names are available now but would not be much of an upgrade to the current roster. As it stands, even with an open roster spot, the current Cavaliers roster is the one we will see for the remainder of the year, Amico notes.

Cavaliers Notes: LeBron, Irving, Love, Wade

Today’s All-Star Game will reunite LeBron James and Kyrie Irving as teammates for the first time since the trade that sent Irving to Boston for three players and two draft picks. They were on the court together at Saturday’s practice and neither made a big deal out of the reunion, relays Joe Vardon of

Irving told reporters it was “pretty awesome” to be back with James, but added that their interactions were “just normal.” “Sorry, I know that sounds like not a lot,” he added, “but it’s just normal.” 

James is responsible for bringing them back together. As one of the team captains for today’s game, he made the decision to select Irving, saying, “If he was available I was taking him.” James was originally angry that Irving requested a trade, but didn’t do much to talk him out of it, Vardon writes, even though he asked Cleveland’s front office not to make a deal. James said he still has fond memories of their partnership.

“Those thoughts still go into my head of how great it was to break the drought in our city, over 50-plus years,” James said. “The both of us had magical Finals runs and, so it’s always special.”

There’s more this morning out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers got rid of a bad situation on and off the court with three deals just before the trade deadline, Kevin Love tells Vardon in a separate story. Several players the Cavs sent away were reportedly affecting team chemistry, although Love says he didn’t see any “friction” with Dwyane Wade. “It might not have been a bad thing to get some fresh faces in there and guys from situations where they really wanted to win,” Love said. “I think first and foremost, seeing those [new] guys in Atlanta, they didn’t play, but they got there right after the trade and they just said they want to win. You can tell when somebody says it, you can tell when somebody means it. They really meant it and it felt good to have that there.”
  • Love offered a medical update on the broken left hand that has sidelined him since late January, Vardon adds. Love has started running again and plans to have his cast taken off at the four-week mark, which will be in early March. His prognosis has him out of action for eight weeks.
  • James has been able to make about $20MM extra since rejoining the Cavaliers by signing one-year contracts with player options, notes Terry Pluto of The team wanted James to agree to a four-year max deal when he returned to Cleveland that would have been worth roughly $88MM. By opting for shorter commitments, James maximized his flexibility and will have earned $108MM by the end of this season.

Cavs Rumors: Nets Pick, Thompson, J.R. Smith

Most teams in the Cavaliers’ situation would do all they can to improve this year’s roster in an effort to make a deep playoff run and convince their free-agent-to-be star to stick around, even if that means putting the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick on the table in trade talks, Sam Amick of USA Today writes.

However, there’s a growing narrative that owner Dan Gilbert – perhaps due to emotional baggage related to LeBron James‘ 2010 departure – is prepared to keep that pick even if it means losing James this summer, according to Amick, who suggests that Gilbert “wants his team back.”

Within his USA Today report, Amick provides a few more Cavs-related tidbits, writing that the team is trying to shed the Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith contracts. The Cavs have also not offered more than their own 2018 first-round pick and unwanted salary to the Clippers for DeAndre Jordan, says Amick. That’s not surprising, as we heard earlier today that Jordan isn’t the type of player for whom the Cavs would surrender the Nets’ pick.

Here’s more out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavs currently sit just five games ahead of the ninth-seeded Pistons in the East, closer to missing the playoffs than they are to the No. 1 seed. Still, the idea of somehow falling out of the playoff picture isn’t one head coach Tyronn Lue is willing to entertain — Lue says there’s “no doubt” the Cavs will make the postseason, as Joe Vardon of relays.
  • In an Insider-only piece for, Bobby Marks takes a closer look at the Cavaliers’ trade deadline options, noting that adding salary will be tricky due to repeater tax concerns.
  • At, Vardon also discusses the Cavs’ luxury tax problems, suggesting that if LeBron James leaves as a free agent this summer, Dan Gilbert will want to make sure that team salary gets out of tax territory. According to Vardon, league sources also believe that Cleveland would try to trade Kevin Love if James leaves, though no team sources confirmed that.
  • Seth Walder of makes the case that the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick is actually a little more valuable than people think, even though it probably won’t land as high as Brooklyn’s last couple first-rounders have.
  • Appearing recently on NBA TV’s The Starters, former Cavs GM David Griffin dismissed the notion that LeBron James wants to be heavily involved in personnel decisions for the franchise, as Dane Carbaugh of NBC Sports writes.

Central Notes: LaVine, Prunty, Asik

It has been one year since Bulls guard Zach LaVine tore his ACL. Since then, LaVine has changed teams and spent months recovering. As Dan Santaromita of NBC Sports Chicago writes, the 22-year-old has made progress since returning to the court but is still finding his legs.

He’s had stretches in the last few games where I think he’s shown what he can do,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “Now it’s about getting his rhythm and timing and getting him to understand when we produce good shots he’s got to raise up and shoot those.

LaVine has looked solid in limited action for the Bulls this season, posting averages of 14.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in 10 contests. His shooting percentages are down versus his time with the Timberwolves but that is to be expected from somebody who had been away from the game as long as he was.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers don’t intend to change their trade deadline strategy due to Kevin Love‘s injury, Joe Vardon of writes. Love’s absence will be felt, particularly on the glass, but the organization expects players like LeBron James and Jae Crowder to step up in that regard.
  • Interim head coach Joe Prunty has made major strides with the Bucks in his first few weeks at the helm, Steve Aschburner of writes, and the team’s offensive and defensive ratings have reflected that. “Right now, you can tell guys are a little bit looser,” guard Khris Middleton said. “With Joe, he preaches confidence. His plays are designed for us to move the ball side to side more. And just, not necessarily just playing off one matchup, but just trying to use the matchup as a decoy to get other guys shots.
  • Having started his career with the Bulls, recently acquired Omer Asik is happy to be back in Chicago, K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune writes, but the big man also knows that he may not see a ton of playing time. “They are really young and playing hard, so it will be good to see. I’m not young anymore. As much as they need me, I’ll be ready,” he said.