The four players the Cavaliers acquired at the trade deadline understand that they’re now teammates with the NBA’s version of a superhero in LeBron James, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.“He’s the Batman and we gotta be all Robins,” George Hill said at practice today.
They’ve all played against James plenty of times before, but none more intensely than Hill, whose Pacers battled the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals in both 2013 and 2014. Rodney Hood attended LeBron’s summer Skills Academy in Las Vegas in 2012 and another of his training camps before then. “He’s the best player of our generation and I’ve been a big fan of his since I went to his camp when I was in high school,” Hood said. “To get a chance to play with him and learn from him I think will be great for me.”
Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. already had the experience of playing with a larger-than-life figure as teammates of Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles. They’re both looking forward to being in a similar situation. “That first year with Kob was unbelievable, getting to travel around that locker room, his fan base was insane,” Nance said. “This is going to be a whole ‘nother beast in itself. I’m anxious, I’m excited and I think I’m ready.”
There’s more today from Cleveland:
- The four new players will make their Cavaliers debut tomorrow in Boston, but Hill will be the only one to start, Vardon relays in a separate story. Coach Tyronn Lue plans to use Hood, Clarkson and Nance in reserve roles and promises they will all see playing time. “I mean, they don’t know the plays yet,” Lue said. “So it’s going to be tough tomorrow with George starting because you can’t really run a lot of stuff. Just run some pick-and-rolls. But just having him on the floor will be good. He’s a veteran so he can understand the flow of the game and then once we get our plays down and defensively what we want to do, then you could see a lineup change.”
- The Cavaliers took an obvious gamble in the deal that bought Clarkson and Nance from the Lakers, notes Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated. Cleveland helped L.A. clear cap room that may be used to pursue James this summer and sent the Lakers a first-round pick as well. However, Sharp adds that Isaiah Thomas was such a poor fit and a disruptive influence with the Cavs that he had to be sent somewhere.
- The front office would have been inviting James to leave in free agency this summer if it hadn’t shaken up the team, adds Bud Shaw of Cleveland.com. It’s hard to say how much the Cavaliers improved their chances of keeping him, Shaw adds, but the franchise is now in better shape for the present and future.