Rumor Roundup: Cavs, George, Magic

The Cavaliers are gearing up for the real thing, the NBA playoffs. Here’s a look at the Cavs, and all the latest news, views and moves from around pro hoops:

Per the Akron Beacon Journal: “After all the injuries, after a 51-win season that feels like a disappointment, LeBron James said he believes the defending champion Cavaliers can still do ‘something special’ and win it all.”

Per the Akron Beacon Journal: “Perhaps only James knows how much he was saving for the playoffs, how much he has in reserve. In his 14th season in the league, he may have reined himself in earlier than usual as he seeks to make his seventh consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.”

James to reporters, via the Akron Beacon Journal: “It’s been strange events this season, unfortunate events, some of them bad, some of them good but at the end of the day I can’t have my mind focused on the past now. The present is the only thing that matters. Me preparing this group, me getting this group locked in and understanding what our opportunity is. We’ve got to have our mind sharp, our bodies as fresh as possible going into Game 1 on Saturday. You guys can harp on the regular season. I’m not one to do it, not with the postseason starting right now.” (Full report.)

Per ESPN: “Cavs coach Tyronn Lue had already started trying to figure out how he could get his team to stop the Pacers before the playoff seeding was set, locking into Indiana well before the regular season ended Wednesday.”

Per ESPN: “One might think the first person the Cavs would try to limit would be Paul George, the Pacers’ leading scorer at 23.7 points per game who put up 43 points, nine rebounds and nine assists the last time these two teams met in Cleveland’s 135-130 double-overtime victory. However, Lue hinted it was the rest of the Indiana roster that worried him.” (Full report.)

Per Cleveland.com: “Following Wednesday’s regular season finale, a 98-83 win for the Raptors at Quicken Loans Arena, Kyle Lowry insisted the road to an NBA title still runs through Cleveland.”

Lowry to reporters, via Cleveland.com: “They’re the champs for a reason. I would never say they’re vulnerable. Every team out there has to beat them to become the champs.” (Full report.)

Per ESPN Stats & Info: “While the Pacers mustered a win against the Cavs in the regular season, it’ll be very hard for them to do the same in this first-round series. Not only does ESPN’s BPI give the Cavs an 80 percent chance to win the series, but LeBron James has won 17 consecutive first-round games.”

Per the Indianapolis Star: “The media will decide whether Paul George stays with the Indiana Pacers, and it will be close — a vote for PG or Anthony Davis here, a vote for Jimmy Butler or Draymond Green there. And then it will be over. Paul George will make the All-NBA third team, or he won’t.”

Per the Indianapolis Star: “Look, it’s possible that not even the money — assuming he makes the All-NBA third team and the Pacers offer him the super-max extension — would sway George to stay. One way or another he’s going to be rich in a manner none of us can probably comprehend, himself included.” (Full column.)

Per Yahoo Sports: “Sources: Memphis’ Tony Allen will rehab his calf strain as intensely as possible, but recovery time for this particular injury is a month.”

Per ESPN: “Carmelo Anthony, whose default demeanor is relaxed and easygoing, responded with anger and expletives of his own. For those accustomed to seeing Anthony live by his oft-used idiom, ‘Stay Melo,’ it was jarring.”

Per ESPN: “Anthony’s R-rated rant essentially questioned the direction of the entire organization, according to sources. Associate head coach Kurt Rambis fired back, calling out Anthony’s effort on defense.”

Per ESPN: “Anthony responded again, but before things could devolve further, one Knick suggested that the players head back to the court and start warming up.” (Full report.)

Per Hoops Rumors: “Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly believes he has a roster full of players who should be coveted on the trade market because they’ve outperformed their contracts. ‘I think what’s interesting about our team is we have a lot of good players,’ Connelly said. ‘And I think relative to their contracts, most of our guys outperformed their contracts, which is a testament to our coaching and player development.'” (Full report.)

Per Basketball Insiders: “Lakers guard Nick Young hasn’t decided on his player option but he’s not sure he wants to be the vet on a young team, may want to get onto a playoff team.”

Per Mavs.com: “Dirk Nowitzki says he will return for a 20th season with the Mavericks.”

Per the Orlando Sentinel: “The Orlando Magic fired Rob Hennigan on Thursday, ending his five-year tenure as the team’s general manager.”

Per the Orlando Sentinel: “The franchise could seek to hire a well-known figure as president of basketball operations and have that hire pick a new general manager to do the day-to-day work. Or the team could decline to hire a president of basketball operations and instead hire a less-experienced person to serve as general manager.”

Per the Orlando Sentinel: “Candidates for the general manager job likely will include Detroit Pistons associate general manager and former Magic player Pat Garrity and Golden State Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk.”

Per the Orlando Sentinel: “Alex Martins made clear that Frank Vogel, who just finished his first season with the Magic, will remain on as coach. Martins added the Magic will not have a coach who also serves as president of basketball operations.” (Full report.)

Per Yahoo Sports: “Assistant general manager Matt Lloyd will take over as the interim GM, league sources said, and his candidacy will be considered for the permanent general manager job.”

Per Yahoo Sports: “Assistant GM Scott Perry was dismissed too, league sources said.”

Per Yahoo Sports: “Two league executives with Orlando ties – Detroit assistant GM Pat Garrity and San Antonio assistant GM Brian Wright – are on a list of preliminary candidates to replace Hennigan, but the search is expected to be extensive, league sources said.” (Full report.)

NBA Playoffs: Complete series-by-series schedule