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.