Cleveland Cavaliers Rumors
Tony Leotti is the new senior director of strategy and systems and will assist with overseeing the salary cap as well as strategy. Leotti had been with the Cleveland Cavaliers for four seasons in a joint role as director of basketball administration and team counsel. Leotti also worked with the NBA league office as associate vice president and senior associate counsel. Two new pro personnel evaluators are Harold Ellis and Ryan West. Ellis previously was a Pistons assistant coach from 2008-09 and a scout from 2009-12. Since then, he’s worked as a director of pro scouting with the Orlando Magic and director of player personnel with the New York Knicks.
As a Los Angeles Lakers player, Lue won NBA titles in 2000 and 2001 while playing with Hall of Famers and Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, who like Simmons and Embiid didn’t always get along. As a coach, Lue won the 2016 NBA title with the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James, one of the best to play basketball, was the headliner of that squad. In addition to being the only candidate with a championship pedigree, he knows a thing or two about dealing with all-time greats.
You had to watch the league go on with your peers, your friends, without you. What’s it been like to observe a league that you’re part of and not be a part of it? “I think that’s the hardest part probably. It’s just not playing meaningful games. I was talking to JJ Reddick about it. I think it was his first time missing the playoffs. And he’s like, ‘I’m pissed.’ He’s like, we went down to the bubble. And, you know, we were right there. But at the end of the day, we didn’t make the playoffs. And like [it’s not] being able to play in meaningful games, where like, you’re actually laying it all out there.”
Kevin Love: “It can get lost in you sometimes is an 82-game season, even in the spirit of competition, like in the months where it drags on like January and February. … It’s a different mind-set. But this, with how abruptly the season ended, especially, it had been my 12th season, it was tough for me too, you know, just absorb that and think, ‘OK, I might not be playing basketball for maybe a full year.’ And, you know, that’s like a doomsday-type scenario. So that was tough. As a fan, it’s awesome watching these games, but like, you want to be in it so bad.”
Kevin Love: “This time has been trying, really, for everyone. I’ve been thinking a lot about life. And I didn’t really focus on it too much in my article but I sit back and think a lot about regret. And sometimes that can lead me into quite a spiral. But as far as how I’m doing now, I think I just have the resources and I’ve been able, as you said, that adaptability, I’ve been able to find ways and know when my triggers are happening, and I’m able to combat whatever it is. That would in the past have sent me off for weeks and weeks at a time. But, I think if anything, this has been a great time for self-reflection, has been a great time to work. Even on myself. I mentioned relationships, I mentioned, you know, other hobbies, not wrapping up my entire identity into one thing in that unhealthy way as I mentioned in the article. As far as this time has gone, you know, I’m not, I guess, unhappy with it because I’ve been able to focus on other things, and I do have other things to work on that are bigger than me.”
“I think it’s fair to say there’s mutual interest for sure,” general manager Koby Altman said about the possibility of re-signing Thompson. “He’s been with this franchise his entire career since we drafted him. He’s won a championship here. Obviously, he means a lot to the players on the team right now, but it has to make sense. There are some events coming up — the draft, free agency — where we have to see if it makes sense for him. He’s earned the right to be an unrestricted free agent and explore opportunities at this point in his career. So, we’ll see.”
Members of the organization and Thompson, an unrestricted free agent, have stayed in contact throughout the offseason. One source classified a reunion as “50-50,” especially with the leaguewide salary cap uncertainty. Beyond that, the Cavs aren’t going to discuss negotiations publicly.
First is the team’s salary cap situation. When asked about that Friday morning, Altman couldn’t provide any clarity. Drummond’s $28.7 million player option determines how much space the Cavs will have this offseason. Altman admitted he “doesn’t know” what Drummond will decide. Even though Drummond isn’t with the team this week and won’t be joining them at all for this bubble, he’s stayed engaged. Drummond and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff have been in contact. Drummond has been part of team Zoom calls.