Here’s part two of our check-in on the Cavs’ slow summer. You can check out part one here.
Share one observation about the Cavs’ summer league.
Chris Manning (@cwmwrites): I wish Yovel Zoosman had been locked into a roster spot. I loved his energy, loved his profile coming into the draft and don’t think signing another young wing with upside is ever really a bad idea. But it seems like he’s heading back to Israel. It’s also unclear what kind of offer the Cavs floated his way and it seems like a two-way deal was something that would appeal to him considering his status with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Evan Dammarell (@AmNotEvan): Dean Wade looks like he could be a superb pickup for a two-way deal. After going undrafted due to injury concerns, Wade played great for the Cavs in both Salt Lake City and Las Vegas Summer Leagues. He’ll for sure spend the better part of this year in Canton. But if he properly develops, then the Cavs got a steal.
Zac Lockwood (@thezlock): Dean Wade is absolutely an NBA player in my eyes. He may never be a guy you have in the top-seven of your rotation, but I think he can become a solid player that helps get good teams through the regular season and into the playoffs without relying too heavily on top-seven guys.
What is your take on the unceremonious end of the J.R. Smith era?
CM: J.R. deserved a more celebrated end that didn’t end with him exiled from the team and then waived in the dead part of free agency. But that’s the business of basketball and this ending was always in play once he signed that contract with a small guarantee for the last year of the contract.
From the Cavs side of this, it seems like they were hunting for a top-level asset and weren’t going to settle for some second-round picks or something of similar value in exchange for Smith — especially with the luxury tax concerns.
ED: It’s a bit of a bummer how things ended. But fans shouldn’t remember Smith for his gaffe in Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals, Soup Gate, or how he was exiled by the team this year. Instead, they should remember the Smith who was vital to the organization winning their first title and the city’s first in over 50 years. Most of all, they should remember a guy who embraced this city with open arms and based on how the Celebrity Softball Game went during All-Star weekend, the feeling is mutual.
ZL: I disagree a little with Evan here in that I think fans should remember J.R. for all those things listed, good and bad. It was all part of the J.R. Smith experience and that experience was awesome. He was the perfect weird-drama guy to add into the LeBron James circus. The J.R. rollercoaster is one that I think every team should get on with a player, especially one that loves the city and gets that same love back.
How do you feel about Kevin Love not playing for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup?
CM: On one hand, I would have liked to have seen Love come into the season having played for Gregg Popovich and having played a big role for Team USA as momentum heading into the season. He’s 30 — and will turn 31 before the season starts — and who knows where he’ll be when the 2020 Olympics come around next year. On the other hand, at this stage in his career and having had his 2018-19 season defined by injuries, maybe it’s better that he’s not playing and is focusing on starting the season as fresh as possible. One way or another, this feels like a hugely important season for Love.
ED: It’s disappointing as a fan but I also understand why. Team USA is the favorite to reach the Gold Medal game in the FIBA World Cup and that would bump up right against the start of training camp for the Cavs. With John Beilein as the team’s new head coach and three new rookies in the fold, it makes sense that Love would want to stay back and get acclimated to all the new changes to the Cavs. That, and the Cavs should be relieved that he doesn’t run the risk of getting hurt overseas representing the United States.
ZL: It felt like we lost Kevin Love within the first millisecond of last season, so I’m all for him just continuing to run around Canada with Kate Bock and Vestry and having the time of his life and flexing on Instagram rather than put more minutes of basketball on his body. I’m absolutely on Team Don’t Trade Kevin Unless He Asks And Really Wants To Go, so I’m highly invested in just having him healthy and watching him play basketball really well in a Cavaliers uniform.