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Beyond the arc: Korver's 'scary' banged knee, LeBron's strep throat tests Cavs fans' psyches

By Marla Ridenour Published: February 26, 2017

In my debut as Cavs' beat writer, sights, sounds and observations from the Cavs' 117-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena:

1. Glass half empty fans, take a few deep breaths and remind yourselves it's only the regular season. Otherwise, Saturday's circumstances might get you down.

2. LeBron James stayed home with strep throat that could also compromise his chances of playing in Monday's home game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Kyle Korver took a frightening fall near the stanchion with 2:59 remaining that left him afraid to get up and prompted the medical staff's check of his right knee. And that's on top of starters J.R. Smith (thumb surgery) and Kevin Love (arthroscopic knee surgery) sidelined until mid-to-late March.

3. Just when you thought more help was on the way with ex-Dallas Mavericks point guard Deron Williams poised to sign after clearing waivers Saturday, Korver's brilliant shooting month may have come to a crashing halt, even if Korver wasn't sure what he hit.

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Deron Williams clears waivers, expected to sign with Cavaliers

By Marla Ridenour Published: February 25, 2017

Former Dallas Mavericks guard Deron Williams cleared waivers as the league's 5 p.m. deadline passed Saturday and is likely to be signed by the Cavaliers, a league source said.

ESPN's Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst first reported Williams made it through unclaimed, which a league source confirmed to the Beacon Journal.

Logistics may prevent the Cavaliers' signing from happening immediately, but it appears their long search for a backup point guard may soon end.

The Cavs had to suffer through some anxiety when three-time All-Star Williams hit waivers because of Williams' manageable $8 million salary. But the fact that Williams could join close friend Kyle Korver, a former teammate with the Utah Jazz, is another selling point for the defending NBA champions.

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LeBron James to miss home game vs. Bulls with illness

By Marla Ridenour Published: February 25, 2017

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said LeBron James will miss Saturday night's nationally televised game against the Chicago Bulls with an illness.

Lue said James was not at Quicken Loans Arena and that Richard Jefferson will start in his place. The absence of James and Jefferson's change in role will prohibit Lue from using his big second unit that features Kyle Korver, Derrick Williams, Channing Frye, James and Jefferson.

James did not participate in the morning shootaround and had been considered questionable.

The Cavs are 0-3 this season when the four-time league MVP does not play and 4-18 without him since the start of the 2014-15 season.

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Cavs 119, Knicks 104: Jason Lloyd's final, Final Thoughts

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 24, 2017

CLEVELAND: Twenty-three thoughts for 23 points from Kyrie Irving in Thursday’s 119-104 win over the New York Knicks…

1.     Forget about the trade deadline, now the real negotiating season is about to begin. The Cavs’ trade assets were always limited, particularly after they dealt their 2019 pick to Atlanta for Kyle Korver.

2.     The buyout market was likely always going to be their best option. In that regard, Thursday went as well as could be expected for General Manager David Griffin. Two of the targets he has long pursued, Andrew Bogut and Deron Williams, are both headed to free agency. Williams is already there and Bogut should be right behind him.

3.     Williams was released by the Mavericks in another good-faith move by owner Mark Cuban. When DeAndre Jordan’s free agency unraveled on Cuban prior to last season, he let Richard Jefferson out of his agreement to return to Dallas so Jefferson could pursue an opportunity with a contender. He wound up getting a ring out of it in Cleveland.

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LeBron's triple-double lifts Cavs to 119-104 win over Knicks

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 23, 2017

CLEVELAND: LeBron James has often called the post-All-Star break portion of the schedule his favorite time of year. He showed why again on Thursday.

James registered his sixth triple-double of the season with 18 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists in the Cavs’ 119-104 victory against the New York Knicks. It was James’ 48th career triple-double.

The Cavs remained red-hot during February, improving to 8-1 and surpassing their win total from all of January. James was concerned the All-Star break could disrupt their momentum, but that certainly didn’t happen.

The Cavs stood pat as Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline passed. With few assets left to trade, the Cavs will turn to the buyout market and hope guys like Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut pass through waivers unclaimed. Williams was waived by the Mavericks on Thursday and Bogut is expected to be released after he was traded from Dallas to Philadelphia prior to the deadline.

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Cavs stand pat at NBA's trade deadline, now will search buyout market

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 23, 2017

The trade deadline came and went without a move by the Cavaliers, who made their big trade last month when they acquired Kyle Korver. Now they’ll wait and see what veterans get bought out of their contracts in an effort to upgrade the roster.

Center Andrew Bogut has long been a target if his contract gets bought out, which now appears likely after he was traded from Dallas to the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday. The Sixers reportedly tried unsuccessfully to trade him again, but now will likely begin negotiations to buy out what’s left of his $11 million deal.

Similarly, Mavericks point guard Deron Williams has begun negotiating a buyout, according to the Vertical. Williams previously seemed uninterested in a buyout, but apparently that has changed. Williams would fill the backup point guard role the Cavs have been seeking all season.

The team also interviewed Larry Sanders on Wednesday and came away impressed. Coach Tyronn Lue spoke highly of Sanders and he impressed front office executives as well. Sanders, however, would likely be a fallback plan if they miss on Bogut. The Cavs only have one open roster spot, but could create another by waiving a player. 

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Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving won't back down on his belief the Earth is flat

By Marla Ridenour Published: February 18, 2017

NEW ORLEANS: For the record, Fox Sports Ohio's Allie Clifton sounded as incredulous as the rest of us when Kyrie Irving repeatedly insisted the Earth is flat.

That's the belief the 24-year-old Cavaliers guard stated during a Feb. 17 "Road Trippin' with RJ and Channing" podcast posted on cavs.com that sent the Twitter world into a frenzy Friday.

The conversation also touched on conspiracy theories, the existence of aliens, John F. Kennedy's assassination, Bob Marley and bad hamburgers.

"The earth is flat," Irving said during the podcast. "All these things that particular groups, I won't even pinpoint one group, that they almost offer up as education. The fact that in our lifetimes that there are so many holes and so many pockets in our history ... All these things that they keep giving to us, all the explanations, I'm just saying that these things that used to put me in fear, it makes you not want to question it naturally because of how much information you can figure out and how much information is out there. Anything you have a particular question on, is the Earth flat or round, I think you need to do research on it."

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Cavs 113, Pacers 104; Jason Lloyd's 9 thoughts on Tyronn Lue and misinterpretations

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 16, 2017

CLEVELAND: Nine thoughts for nine free throws  in Wednesday’s 113-104 win over the Indiana Pacers…

1.     My head hurts.

2.     Did you read this? If not, don’t bother reading it now. Tyronn Lue believes he misinterpreted some questions pregame and now says he didn’t know Kevin Love was hurt until after Saturday’s game against the Denver Nuggets.

3.     Lue held a clear-the-air session in the hallway adjacent the locker room after Wednesday’s game. He said, basically, that of course he didn’t know Love was hurt earlier or else he wouldn’t have played him against the Thunder and Nuggets. He’d never force a guy to play when he wasn’t feeling right, etc… He said everything I expected the head coach of an NBA team to say.

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Kyle Korver joins exclusive club, stays hot from deep in Cavs' 113-104 win over Pacers

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 15, 2017

CLEVELAND: Kyle Korver ascended into rare air Wednesday night. The Indiana Pacers won’t mind if he stays there.

Korver scored 22 points off the bench Wednesday and became the seventh player in NBA history to make 2,000 3-pointers in a career in the Cavs’ 113-104 victory. LeBron James scored 31 points, his 13th 30-point game of the season, and Kyrie Irving scored 26 points and passed for seven assists, but Korver’s dominance over the Pacers was somehow even more impressive than James and Irving, both of whom are heading to New Orleans now for Sunday’s All-Star game.

Korver shot 6-of-8 on 3-pointers Wednesday, including a heave from 31 feet midway through the third quarter. It splashed through the net just like the rest of them. Korver scored 13 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday and shot 14-of-17 from deep in two games against the Pacers over the course of the last week.

The Cavs went into the All-Star break on a three-game streak and winners of seven of their last eight. They have the best record in the East at the break for the second consecutive season despite playing most of the half without J.R. Smith and recently losing Kevin Love to knee surgery. Still, they have persisted.

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Cavs 116, Timberwolves 108; Jason Lloyd's 34 thoughts on Channing Frye's new role, LeBron's minutes

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 15, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS: Thirty-four thoughts for 34 minutes from Channing Frye in Tuesday’s 116-108 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves…

1.     Such is life in the NBA, where the same lineup in which LeBron James is thriving is the one that makes Channing Frye the most uncomfortable. Frye has spent 10 years in the league playing like a 7-foot guard, spacing the floor and shooting with his feet set. Only now, because the Cavs don’t have a backup point guard, he’s been forced to play pick-and-roll more than any other time in his career.

2.     On the flip side is James, who is thriving with the second unit. Coach Tyronn Lue sees James grabbing rebounds and pushing the tempo with the reserves and thinks of Jason Kidd in his prime.

3.     “He gets to the paint a lot with that second unit,” Lue said. “That’s when he really gets aggressive in that second quarter. In the first quarter, he comes out, feels the game out, gets guys involved early. Then in that second quarter, he’s still making plays, but he ramps his offense up.”

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