Kyle Korver

Cavaliers Notes: Thompson, James, Wade, Korver

Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson could return to action as soon as Tuesday but he’s lost his starting job, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Joe Vardon. Thompson has missed 19 games with a strained left calf. Kevin Love was moved to center in his absence and coach Tyronn Lue wants Love to remain there. Lue also told reporters that Channing Frye would stay in the rotation, which could also cut into Thompson’s playing time, Vardon notes. Lue said that the staff needs to “figure out how we got to use him,” referring to Thompson. At least publicly, Thompson doesn’t want to make waves about his role. “If I don’t play, that’s fine,” Thompson told Vardon and other media members. “As long as we’re winning I’m going to cheer my teammates on. If I play two minutes, three minutes, 20 minutes, it don’t matter to me. As long as we win.”

In other news regarding the Cavs:

  • LeBron James ability to defy the aging curve has been a rare and remarkable feat, as ESPN.com’s Kevin Pelton details. His true shooting percentage of 65.8% this season is a career high, boosted by another career-best, his 3-point shooting (41.7%). That’s likely to decline as the season continues but he’s also taking more shots within three feet of the basket and converting a career-best 5.3 layups per game, Pelton continues. Additionally, he’s posting a career best in defensive block rate, something else that normally declines with age, Pelton notes. However, his overall defensive value has declined and his athleticism will also start to dip in his mid-30s, which could eventually become an issue for James, Pelton adds.
  • Combo guard Dwyane Wade knew from the beginning of the season he was more suited to a sixth man role with the club, USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt writes. Wade is averaging 12.3 PPG, 4.0 APG and 3.8 RPG when he comes off the bench this season and Zillgitt points out that the Cavs have a net efficiency rating of plus-10.8 with Wade on the court as a reserve. “I knew for me to be successful and for me to come to this team and bring what I can to this team, the starting unit just wasn’t a unit for me,” he told Zillgitt. “So, I decided to go to the unit that was for me.”
  • Handing shooting guard Kyle Korver a contract extension over the summer drew criticism but now seems like a wise investment, Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer opines. Korver, 36, signed a three-year, $22MM contract. He’s shooting 43.3% from long range and leads the team in plus-minus rating.

Central Notes: Cavs, Bradley, LaVine

The Cavaliers are essentially playing without a true point guard, as both Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Rose are out with injuries and Jose Calderon has been relegated to the bench, averaging only 6.7 MPG. Lately the Cavs have been using Iman Shumpert as their starting point guard, with LeBron James handling ball-handling duties as well.

However, according to a team press release, the Cavs will now also be without Shumpert for at least the next 5-7 days. Shumpert left last night’s game against the Clippers in the first half with left knee soreness. He was examined and did not return.

As first reported by Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, the Cavs will likely recall two-way player John Holland from the Canton Charge to replace Shumpert on the Cavs’ active roster. According to VardonDwyane Wade could also see his role at point guard increase after he filled in admirably during the Cavs’ come from behind victory against the Clippers last night.

There’s more from Cleveland and the rest of the Central Division:

  • As detailed by Chris Fedor of Cleveland.comKyle Korver has become an important centerpiece of the Cavaliers’ line-up so far this season. Perhaps most telling is James’ comparison of Korver to former teammate and 10-time NBA All-Star Ray Allen. “You’ve got two of the greatest shooters to ever play this game,” James said. “There’s a lot of similarities in their approach… they take that craft, that marksmanship very seriously.
  • In another piece for Cleveland.com, Fedor analyzes how James is beginning to accept the challenge of defending the opposing team’s best offensive player during crunch time. In the fourth quarter of the Cavs’ recent victories against the Knicks and the Clippers, James was the primary defender in the fourth quarter against both Kristaps Porzingis and Blake Griffin.
  • Avery Bradley is slowing becoming one of the best two-way guards in the NBA, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Bradley is averaging career-bests in PPG (17.8) and 3P% (45.2%) this season and Stan Van Gundy has been impressed. “He came in with the respect based on what he had done, but it grows a lot more when you’re out here every day and see the way he goes to work.” The Pistons are currently tied for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 10-5.
  • The Bulls’ Zach LaVine is expected to be cleared for practice on Monday, tweets K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. LaVine, who has not yet played for the Bulls this season after being traded from the Timberwolves as part of the Jimmy Butler trade, has been out with a torn ACL since February.

Cavaliers Notes: Thompson, Monroe, Crowder, Smith

The Cavaliers should offer Tristan Thompson to the Suns for Greg Monroe, suggests Sam Amico of AmicoHoops. Amico reported last night that Cleveland is interested in Monroe, who was traded from Milwaukee to Phoenix this week and apparently has no long-term future with the Suns. The 27-year-old has averaged 14.0 points and 8.7 rebounds throughout his career, but fell out of the rotation in Milwaukee and has appeared in just five games this season.

Their salaries are similar, with Monroe making $17.8MM this year compared to Thompson’s $16.4MM, but Monroe has an expiring contract while Thompson is owed more than $36MM over the next two seasons. Acquiring Monroe would provide immediate help as Thompson is out for the next few weeks with a strained calf. Amico also notes that Thompson’s romantic involvement with actress Khloe Kardashian could bring an unwanted distraction to the Cavs’ locker room.

There’s more news out of Cleveland:

  • Jae Crowder had a lot of adjustments to make during his first few weeks in Cleveland, notes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. One of the key pieces in the Kyrie Irving trade, Crowder has seen his role change several times in 13 games, starting at small forward and power forward and coming off the bench at both positions. Teammates have noticed how well Crowder has been able to handle all the different roles being thrown at him. “He’s such a huge X factor for us and can do so many things, it’s just tough because we’ve been asking him to play the 4, play the 3, guard the other team’s best player, score the basketball,” said Kevin Love. “He just has to find a way to go out there and play and compete because tonight that’s what he did and he was great for us.”
  • J.R. Smith seems comfortable in the starting lineup again, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Smith started the season in a reserve role after the signing of Dwyane Wade, but was reinserted as a starter after Wade asked to come off the bench. Smith struggled with his shot throughout October, but has strung together three straight games in double figures. “I’m shooting the same shots, it’s just, they’re starting to fall,” Smith said. “For whatever reason it is, just happened earlier. Being aggressive earlier, trying to put the ball on the floor, get to the basket. Trying to get to the free-throw line. Just trying to be more aggressive, as opposed to waiting for it to come to me.”
  • Kyle Korver, who re-signed with the Cavs for $22MM over three years, is providing more than just his play on the court, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. He is also serving as a shooting coach, helping Crowder and others with their mechanics.

Kyle Korver Re-Signs With Cavaliers

Kyle Korver vertical

JULY 12, 8:28pm: The signing is official, the Cavaliers announced on their website.

JULY 2, 3:09pm: Kyle Korver has agreed to a new three-year, $22MM contract with the Cavaliers, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical. The final season is only partially guaranteed, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

The 36-year-old came to Cleveland in a January deal and provided a needed outside threat. He averaged 10.7 points in 35 games and shot .485 from 3-point range.

The Cavs acquired Korver’s Bird rights when they brought him over from Atlanta, which is fortunate because they don’t have any available cap room to use to re-sign him. The 14-year veteran will get a nice raise from the little more than $5.2MM he made this season.

Several other teams expressed an interest in Korver, including the Pelicans and Bucks, but he decided to remain with the Eastern Conference champions and take another shot at a ring.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Rumors: Shumpert, Korver, Bulls, Forman

While trade talks between the Cavaliers and Rockets involving Iman Shumpert appear to have lost momentum, Cleveland continues to try to find a landing spot for the swingman, indicating that there are other possible trade partners, per Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. According to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net, the Raptors, Timberwolves, Lakers, and Kings have expressed some level of interest in Shumpert, though it’s not clear how many of those clubs remain in pursuit.

As we wait to see if the Cavs can find a taker for Shumpert, let’s round up a few more Central notes and rumors…

  • The Cavaliers have made a contract offer to Kyle Korver, according to Vardon. The terms of that offer aren’t known.
  • After a Saturday report indicated that the Bulls have conveyed interest in Justin Holiday, Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link) hears from a source that Chicago is one of the teams that has made Holiday a contract offer. The Knicks haven’t formally put an offer on the table for Holiday, but the situation is fluid, says Berman.
  • The Bulls may end up re-shuffling their front office this offseason, a source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. According to Cowley, GM Gar Forman could be the odd man out if the team restructures its management hierarchy, while John Paxson‘s brother Jim Paxson – the Bulls’ director of basketball operations – may take on more responsibilities.

Cavs To Make Contract Offer To Kyle Korver

12:30pm: The Spurs, Lakers, and Clippers are also expected to have interest in Korver, per Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net. We can add those potential suitors to the Pelicans and Bucks, who are noted below.

11:57am: The Cavaliers are expected to make a contract offer to Kyle Korver when free agency opens early on Saturday morning, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. While details of that offer aren’t yet known, it will likely come at 12:01 am ET on Saturday, per Vardon.

Because the Cavaliers traded for Korver during the season, they acquired the veteran’s Bird rights along with him, which will allow them to make him a contract offer without any restrictions. However, the team will have to seriously consider the tax implications of an offer to Korver. Cleveland projects to be well over the tax line already, and repeater tax penalties will be significant.

There are also several other teams believed to have interest in Korver. Vardon names the Pelicans and Bucks as two clubs likely to be among the suitors for the veteran sharpshooter, though it remains to be seen how aggressive those teams – or others – will be.

In addition to eyeing a new deal for Korver, the Cavaliers have also had discussions with Turkish forward Cedi Osman, a draft-and-stash prospect who was the 31st overall pick in the 2015 draft. However, with no cap room and only the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.192MM) at their disposal, the Cavs’ ability to offer a significant contract will be limited, especially if they intend to use that MLE on someone else. As Vardon notes, Carmelo Anthony remains on the club’s radar as a probable target if he’s bought out, though there’s no indication that the Knicks are leaning toward that option.

The Cavaliers continue to operate without a full-time president of basketball operations or GM in place. We heard earlier this week from ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that Chauncey Billups and the Cavs remained in talks after Billups issued a counter-offer to the team, but there is still no resolution. Assistant general manager Koby Altman has essentially been Cleveland’s acting GM.

Free Agent Notes: Caldwell-Pope, Korver, Millsap, Hill

Coach/executive Stan Van Gundy says keeping restricted free agent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be the Pistons‘ priority in free agency, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. The Pistons submitted a $4.96MM qualifying offer to Caldwell-Pope earlier this week, giving them the right to match any offer he receives. Van Gundy adds that the team will be searching for a third center at the veterans minimum and would like to find a veteran point guard to back up Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith (Twitter link). “Our main focus in [free agency] is guards,” Van Gundy said, “whether it’s our own guys or whatever we can spend on the MLE.”

There’s more as the free agency countdown continues:

  • Luxury tax issues could force Kyle Korver out of Cleveland, even though he and the team would like to extend their relationship, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The Cavaliers may have to part with Korver, who shot a league-best .485 from 3-point range this season, if a large offer comes from another organization. Cleveland topped the $113MM tax threshold by $15MM this year and is facing a luxury tax bill of about $24.8MM, which includes a repeater penalty for exceeding the threshold every year since LeBron James returned. The Cavs currently have 10 players under contract for 2017/18 with a total salary of $128MM. With a projected tax line of $119MM, the team is looking at $29.75MM in taxes without filling up the roster.
  • Six to eight teams are expected to pursue Hawks forward Paul Millsap, tweets Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. The Nuggets, Spurs and Rockets are teams that have expressed interest in Millsap, although Houston’s plans may be altered by the package it gave the Clippers today in exchange for Chris Paul. New Hawks GM Travis Schlenk has said the Hawks don’t expect to make a full max offer to Millsap.
  • Gordon Hayward is hoping the Jazz will re-sign point guard George Hill, relays Jody Genessy of The Deseret News (Twitter link). Utah is hoping for an early meeting with Hill, who averaged 16.9 points in 49 games after coming to the team in an offseason trade. Hayward remains the top priority in free agency, and the Jazz will meet with him Monday after he hears presentations from the Heat and Celtics.

Central Notes: Korver, Williams, Workouts

There’s a better chance that the Cavaliers bring mid-season trade acquisition Kyle Korver back for 2017/18 than buyout season bargain Deron Williams, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. In response to a reader’s question, Vardon broke down the circumstances of their respective pending free agencies.

Because they gave up a first-round pick to acquire him, the Cavaliers hold Korver’s Bird Rights. That means, of course, that they can go above the salary cap to retain him, something outright inevitable given that they’re operating with the league’s highest payroll. Bringing Korver – who led the league in 3-point percentage at age 36 – back is a cost effective way of keeping offensive weapons on board for next season.

Williams, in contrast, will be limited in the size of contract he can land with the Cavaliers, a figure certainly less than what he drew on the open market with the Mavs last offseason. Despite his having been waived by Dallas in February, his eventual playoff struggles with Cleveland and the staggering fact that he’ll make $5.5MM for the next three years thanks to a stretch provision dating back to his time with the Nets, Vardon says he’s “unlikely” to sign with the Cavaliers for just their $5.1 exception.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks worked out a handful of guards Friday, including Donovan Mitchell (projected to be drafted at No. 14 by NBADraft.net) and Justin Jackson (No. 19). A report on Milwaukee’s official website has the details.
  • The Pistons spent time Friday working out a number of deep sleepers, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets. The scribe notes facetiously that the names aren’t likely candidates to go 12th overall. With no second-round pick, Detroit could be auditioning eventual free agent options.
  • The Pacers will bring John Collins (projected to be drafted at No. 13 by NBADraft.net) and Harry Giles (No. 22) in for a workout Saturday, the team writes on its official site, as well as several others.
  • A combination of age and limited financial flexibility could make it difficult for the Cavaliers to improve this offseason, Bobby Marks of The Vertical writes. Marks notes that even if the club looked elsewhere than Kyle Korver and Deron Williams, they’d only have minimum contracts and the mid-level exception at their disposal.

Atlantic Notes: Hayward, Ilyasova, Lowry, Sixers

Gordon Hayward‘s outside shooting and overall offensive skills would blend well with Isaiah Thomas game if the Jazz forward chooses the Celtics in free agency, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald opines. The fact that the Celtics protected their salary-cap space in order to make a run at a top free agent indicates that Hayward would at least take a close look at Boston and a potential reunion with his college coach Brad Stevens, Bulpett continues. If Hayward signs a three-year deal with the Celtics that includes an opt-out clause, he could sign for the 10-year veteran’s maximum in 2020, Bulpett notes. The Celtics could alternatively put together a big package to trade with the Pacers for Paul George if George is willing to stay in Boston after he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer, Bulpett adds.

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • It’s unlikely that the Sixers will make a run at veteran power forward Ersan Ilyasova in free agency, according to Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com. While Ilyasova lifted their offense and aided in Dario Saric‘s development before he was traded to the Hawks this season, the Sixers want to maintain flexibility with their frontcourt group. Ilyasova will be seeking a multi-year commitment and security after being traded around the league in recent years, Camerato adds.
  • Free agent point guard Kyle Lowry could wind up with the Clippers if the Raptors don’t re-sign him and Chris Paul heads elsewhere in free agency, Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun opines. Lowry could also be a fit with the Spurs if Paul declines to play there, Simmons continues. On a separate note, Toronto could wind up signing a veteran shooting guard such as Kyle Korver or Vince Carter because of their ability to make 3-pointers, Simmons adds.
  • Forbes magazine estimates the value of the Sixers’ franchise has jumped to $800MM, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays. That’s an increase of over $500MM than the purchase price for the franchise in 2011, Pompey notes. The team’s value could continue to rise if Ben Simmons becomes a star player, according to the magazine.

Cavaliers Notes: James, Korver, Williams, Love

While returning to the NBA Finals is a thrill for LeBron James, the Cavaliers superstar is thrilled Kyle Korver and Deron Williams will get to experience the big stage for the first time, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes.

The Cavaliers wrapped up the Eastern Conference Finals with a 135-102 blowout win over the Celtics on Thursday, setting the stage for a third consecutive Cavaliers vs. Warriors NBA Finals matchup. This third installment will feature new faces as Warriors’ All-Star Kevin Durant tries to secure his first title. However, it’s the decade-plus veterans in Cleveland who are getting their first crack at the gold — which excites James.

“I think the first thing for me was seeing the excitement on Kyle [Korver’s] and Deron [Williams’] face,” James, who will appear in his seventh consecutive NBA Finals, said. “You’ve got one guy with 12 years, first Finals appearance, and another guy 14 [years]. So that’s the first thing I picked. And just to see the excitement around my teammates — I do it for them, and they give it back to me as well.”

The Cavaliers struggled after acquiring Korver in January and issues with their backup point guards forced the team to acquire Williams. Now, the team and its reinforcements are four wins from bringing a second consecutive NBA title to Cleveland.

Here are some additional tidbits surrounding the Cavaliers:

  • In a separate piece, Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor reveals that Cavaliers forward Kevin Love refused to join James for a dual media session after the team’s Game 5. Despite the duo appearing simultaneously after previous contests, Love explained that James deserved to have the spotlight on just him after the team secured its third straight Finals appearance.”I just told [communications director] Tad [Carper] I wouldn’t share a podium with him because tonight is a night where he deserves to be on his own,” Love said.
  • Former NBA champion and Pistons legend Bill Laimbeer appeared on The Rematch Podcast with Etan Thomas recently and explained why he prefers James over Michael Jordan. While Laimbeer and the Pistons engaged in several wars with the Jordan-led Bulls decades ago, he feels James’ skills supersede the Chicago legend. “LeBron can do anything. Michael couldn’t get all the rebounds. He couldn’t be the assist man like LeBron James can,” Laimbeer said (via USA Today). “He was very focused on scoring, a deadly assassin, but the rest of the part of his game, LeBron James is better than Michael Jordan.”
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