Kevin Love penned a farewell tribute to former teammate Richard Jefferson on Instagram, relays Hayden Grove of Cleveland.com. The veteran forward was traded Saturday to the Hawks along with Kay Felder to help reduce the Cavaliers’ luxury tax bill. Jefferson spent two seasons in Cleveland and helped the team win its only NBA title. “We would never have been able to celebrate our 2016 Championship without the contributions of RJ,” Love wrote. “He always stepped up to make our team better.”
Jefferson recorded an episode of his “Road Trippin'” podcast Saturday and said he knew his time in Cleveland was over when the team signed Dwyane Wade last week. Atlanta waived both players shortly after completing the deal, but the 37-year-old Jefferson has stated that he has no plans to retire and has already received interest from the Bucks and other teams.
There’s more today out of Cleveland:
- Jefferson was nearly traded last summer after unveiling the Cavs’ championship rings on his Snapchat account before the team was ready to make them public, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Former GM David Griffin was reportedly so angry that he wanted to move Jefferson to another team, but he eventually cooled down and accepted an apology.
- Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving took a shot at his former home, saying there’s “a vast difference” between Boston and Cleveland, according to the Associated Press. “Boston, I’m driving in and [thinking], ‘I’m really playing in a real, live sports city?” Irving said to reporters this week. Irving is also downplaying the thought of starting his Celtics career with a game in Cleveland, relays Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “I understand the magnitude … but I know what it is going to entail in terms of marketing, whatever the case may be, to garner up this energy to make people feel a certain type of way,” Irving said. “I get all that. It’s part of the game. It’s been a part of the game for a while, but it’s just two hoops and a basketball.”
- The Cavaliers have been very cautious with LeBron James‘ injured left ankle during the preseason, but coach Tyronn Lue expects him to be ready for opening night, McMenamin posts on ESPN Now. “That would be a tough one for him personally to miss,” Lue said. “There’s a lot of hype behind the game but like I told him, we got to be smart about it. It’s just one game, but I think he’ll be OK.”