Latest posts by Sam Amico (see all)
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Coach Tyronn Lue apparently is feeling just fine about the state of his Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Yeah, we’re going to have a training camp and everything,” Lue told the Boston Herald. “We’re going to prepare and have a team and play. And we’re going to scrap every night, too.”
Lue was speaking from the NBA summer league in Las Vegas earlier this month — about a week or so after LeBron James decided to take his talents to the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency.
Now, Lue is left to coach many of the veteran holdovers, with power forward Kevin Love being the lone All-Star remaining from a franchise that has made four straight trips to the Finals and won its first championship two years ago.
Others with winning experience include center Tristan Thompson, shooting guard J.R. Smith, forward Channing Frye, point guard George Hill and sharphsooting wing Kyle Korver.
Along with the vets, the Cavs have several younger reasons for hope, from big man Larry Nance Jr. to scoring sub Jordan Clarkson, to center Ante Zizic, to swingman Cedi Osman, and especially, rookie point guard Collin Sexton.
Is it a team that can get back to the Finals? Well, most will tell you no.
Is it a team that could surprise and give their fans a regular-season full of fun by playing a brand of hustling, smart and team-first basketball?
Lue and the Cavs sure seem to think so.
“Well, when you lose the best player in the world, it’s hard to bounce back from that,” Lue told the Herald. “You can’t replace a player like LeBron James. So we’ve got to do it by committee.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys that we’ve got to continue to develop. My coaching staff’s on board for that. They’re excited. My front office is excited. (Cavs owner) Dan Gilbert is excited. So it’s going to be a new challenge, a different challenge, but we’re up for it.”
* The Cavs have held trade talks centered on Hill and Korver, league sources told Amico Hoops, but most of those talks have reached an end for now. That includes the reported conversations that would have sent Korver to Philadelphia for point guard Jerryd Bayless.
* Lue very well could enter training camp with the idea of starting Hill and Sexton together in a two-point guard system. So the Cavs are likely looking for a veteran ball-handler (such as Bayless) to back up those two. Summer-league standout Scoochie Smith, who received a camp invite, is a younger option.
* The Cavs intend to sign restricted free agent Rodney Hood and will likely let him and Osman battle it out for the starting small forward spot. Other free agents said to be on the team’s radar — shooting guard David Nwaba, power forward Trevor Booker, forward Luke Babbitt, swingman Shabazz Muhammad and center Jahlil Okafor.