Rumor Roundup: LeBron, Cavaliers, Sixers

LeBron James and the Cavaliers held on for a close win on the opening day of the NBA playoffs.

The Cavaliers are struggling as they continue to seek roster help following the injury to Andrew Bogut.

Here is a quick look at the latest on the Cavs, and all the news, moves and views from around pro hoops:

Per the Akron Beacon Journal: “During his post-game press conference, LeBron James constantly reached his right hand around his waist to grab his left side. He said he suffered a hip pointer in a collision with the Pistons’ Stanley Johnson, the same Stanley Johnson who took some verbal shots at James during the first round of the playoffs last season when Johnson was a rookie.”

LeBron to reporters, via the Akron Beacon Journal: “Very sore. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody, but I’ve got to be ready to play on Saturday. Just round-the-clock treatment from the time we get on this plane all the way to Orlando until Saturday. I’ll be all right.”

Per the Akron Beacon Journal: “Perhaps some of this is a byproduct of the additions of three new players since Jan. 7. But Channing Frye had some pointed words, saying it was time for the Cavs to stop coasting into the post-season.”

Per ESPN Stats & Info: “The Cavaliers have been outscored 64-19 over the last 2 games in the 18 minutes in which LeBron James has been on the bench.”

Cavs guard Kyrie Irving, via Cleveland.com: “A lot of it had to do with my mistakes going into the fourth and not necessarily setting a tone and really coming out and making a stand. In order for us to be great, we have to be good across the board. I have to demand more out of myself as well as out of my teammates.”

Per Cleveland.com: “Players are creatures of habit and they tend to get comfortable in specific roles. While James downplayed the fourth-quarter lineup switch, giving a carefree response, Irving seemed a tad caught off guard by it.”

Per Amico Hoops: “So make it three straight losses, tying their season-high. That’s no way for championship teams to behave.” (Full column.)

Per Amico Hoops: “So far this month, the Cavs are playing like they did in January. They’re showing only partial interest, trying to turn it on when they fall behind, and failing to step on the gas when they take a lead.” (Full report.)

Per the Akron Beacon Journal: “Asked what J.R. Smith will bring and how long it will take him to reacclimate, Tyronn Lue said, ‘It’s going to take him some time, we know that. He brings defense — he can guard 1s, 2s and 3s — and also the ability to be able to knock down shots, timely shots at that.'”

Per Amico Hoops: “Even a struggling Smith can lift the Cavs with his effort on defense and ability to go on long streaks of, well, swishing long and challenging shots.”

Per the Akron Beacon Journal: “Lue said he never got to see Andrew Bogut, but has texted him since he was hurt.”

Lue on Bogut, via the Akron Beacon Journal: “It was a tough blow for us and I hate that for him. I just checked on his spirits; he said he’s OK. But it’s tough, especially coming back from [a knee] injury last year in The Finals and coming here and then having to go through what he’s going through right now.”

Per The Associated Press: “Unless the teams meet in the postseason, this was the last game for James at The Palace. The Pistons are moving downtown next season. James had one of his first transcendent postseason moments in this building back in 2007, when he scored 48 points — including Cleveland’s final 25 — in a win over Detroit in the Eastern Conference finals.”

Per Amico Hoops: “As expected, Quinn Cook has returned to the Canton Charge following his stop with the Dallas Mavericks.” (Full report.)

Per the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Five days after saying he was still trying to win NBA games, 76ers coach Brett Brown was stressing that the goal now is to develop players.”

Per the Philadelphia Inquirer: “While they won’t come out and say it, the Sixers are focused once again on securing a top lottery draft pick. That became more obvious after the recent roster moves.”

Per CSN Philly: “Sixers big man Jahlil Okafor said he has’t considered sitting out remainder of season because of a troublesome knee: ‘We just rest and do treatment when we think it’s necessary.'”

Per Hoops Rumors: “Commissioner Adam Silver told Brian Seltzer of NBA.com that he is excited about the Sixers’ progress this season. ‘It’s fun coming to games here. Just as I was walking through the tunnel pre-game, I ran into Allen Iverson and Julius Erving. [It’s] nice to see that they’re back, they’re believers, and I am, too,’ Silver said.”

Per ESPN: “The Pelicans have generated plenty of open looks with both DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis occupying so much defensive attention, but they entered Monday’s game shooting 21 percent on “open” 3-point looks, by far the worst in the NBA since the All-Star break, and 30.1 percent from 3 overall, good for second-worst.”

Per ESPN: “But the lack of success with perhaps the two best big men in the league paired in the same frontcourt has been jarring, even with most expecting a period of adjustment and acknowledging that the backcourt is a patchwork being built on the fly.”

Per Amico Hoops: “All of this is a long way of saying things haven’t exactly gone as planned in New Orleans, but Cousins’ cynics would say that none of this comes as a surprise.” (Full report.)

Per Amico Hoops: “It’s far too early to judge anything definitively, but for a team whose intention of adding Cousins at the deadline was to make a playoff push, it’s certainly backfired up to this point.” (Full report.)

Per the New York Post: “Considering the many cases of just one or two draft slots being the difference between a franchise-altering player and a bust, Knicks president Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills have a dilemma on whether to order Jeff Hornacek to rest Carmelo Anthony more and play certain inexperienced lineups across March and April. And that tank strategy still could backfire.”

Per the New York Post: “Compounding the tanking issue is that the Knicks technically are still in the playoff chase, though last Friday’s loss in Philadelphia turned the Knicks into the greatest of long shots.”

Per Yahoo Sports: “When Chicago gave up Doug McDermott, the No. 11 selection in the draft, and its longest-tenured player in Taj Gibson, rival executives believed it was a clear sign that the Bulls’ envisioned Cameron Payne as its starting point guard of the future.”

Per Yahoo Sports: “Now, they must work toward his growth. Ever since the Derrick Rose trade, the Bulls have searched for a stable replacement and have given opportunities to Rajon Rondo, Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams.”

Per the Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Mike Budenholzer met with Dennis Schroder to clear the air and move forward two days after the Hawks coach benched his starting point guard for most of the second half in a loss to the Warriors.”

Per the Atlanta Journal Constitution: “The incident comes after Schroder was suspended for one game last month for failure to return from the All-Star break on time.”

Per The Associated Press: “The Mavericks have signed guard Manny Harris and forward Jarrod Uthoff to 10-day contracts and assigned Harris to their NBA Development League affiliate, where he has played 27 games this season.”

 The Rockets are signing guard Troy Williams to a 10-day contract, per Yahoo Sports.

The Rockets have recalled rookie forward Kyle Wiltjer from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, per the team.

The Kings have assigned rookie big man Georgios Papagiannis to the Reno Bighorns, per CSN Bay Area.

The Pelicans have assigned rookie big man Cheick Diallo to the Greensboro Swarm, per the team.

Former D-League guard Ramone Moore has agreed to a contract with Lithuanian club Lietkabelis, per Amico Hoops.

Amico: Cavs lacking D, and now suddenly, W’s