By Jason Lloyd
Beacon Journal sports writer
LAS VEGAS: If he shows up to camp healthy and in shape, Andrew Bynum will be the Cavaliers’ starting center next season. That might seem obvious, but given Bynum’s knee history, nothing can be taken for granted.
Yet Cavs coach Mike Brown confirmed Friday that the Cavs aren’t really considering bringing Bynum off the bench in an effort to protect his knees and ease him back onto the court. If he can play, Bynum will start.
“He’s most likely going to start for us because he’s obviously an All-Star caliber player,” Brown said. “But we need to see where his health is as we progress toward training camp, into training camp, preseason and into the regular season. If everything fits right, if he’s completely healthy, no doubt about it, he’s our starter at center.”
Bynum was introduced at the Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence on Friday shortly before the Cavs’ summer league team began another practice in the desert. Brown said he didn’t want to put any expectations on Bynum other than to shed about 20 pounds, get in shape and get ready for training camp.
As for who will start alongside Bynum, the obvious answer would seem to be Tristan Thompson, but Brown didn’t rule out the possibility of Anderson Varejao starting at power forward, which would send Thompson to the bench.
“[Varejao] can start at the 4, he can start at the 5,” Brown said. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet with Anderson.
“You can go into so many hypotheticals … it’s too early to try to peg who’s starting where and all that other stuff. But I’m excited about all our bigs, including Tyler [Zeller]. I thought Tyler had a productive week, too.”
Waiters drops the point
Dion Waiters’ role will be simplified this season. He’s the shooting guard, with more emphasis on the “guard” than the “shooting.”
“I even told Dion, ‘You could go 0-for-20 for all I care. Shoot the ball every time you touch it. Don’t make a shot. I’m not looking at that right now because we’ll correct that part,’ ” Brown said. “I just want to see the little things that add up to championship level basketball. Each game I thought he’s gotten a little bit better in those areas.”
With Waiters removed from the role, Brown said the point guard duties will belong to Kyrie Irving and Jarrett Jack. The Cavs could have room to carry a third point guard. Right now, the most likely candidates would seem to be Matthew Dellavedova or Cory Higgins, both of whom have played well in summer league.
The Cavs have two open roster spots after Friday’s release of Kevin Jones and Chris Quinn. Both were playing on nonguaranteed contracts, and the Cavs needed the cap space to finalize Bynum’s deal.
There is a chance the Cavs could re-sign Jones on a minimum deal, but no decision has been made yet. Quinn has been drawing interest in recent weeks from European teams and will likely play overseas.
Zeller received two stitches on the tip of his left ring finger and will not play in any more summer league games.
The injury, however, won’t affect his status for next week’s USA Basketball minicamp.
Zeller injured the finger trying to block a dunk in Thursday’s victory over the San Antonio Spurs. He said he could play with it now, but the plan already was for him to sit the last couple of summer league games. The Cavs (3-1) face the Miami Heat at 4 p.m. today in a summer league quarterfinal game.
Zeller, along with teammates Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, are part of 27 young NBA players invited to Las Vegas for the Team USA camp.
It is the first step as USA Basketball begins to rebuild its team for the 2016 Games. Irving has the best chance of all the Cavs players at making the final roster.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.