By Jason Lloyd
Beacon Journal sports writer
PORTLAND, ORE.: While Carrick Felix flew cross-country this week to join the Canton Charge, Anthony Bennett remained with the Cavs for Wednesday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Coach Mike Brown acknowledged Wednesday the team has discussed sending Bennett, the top overall pick in last summer’s draft, to the Development League, but thus far that move hasn’t been made.
“We talked a little bit about it, but we’ve talked about all of our rookies at one point in time going,” Brown said. “That’s going to be a call that [General Manager Chris Grant] has to make and he’s got to feel comfortable with. Right now there’s still an opportunity for him to possibly play some minutes. While he’s here in uniform, I’m not necessarily thinking about him going down there.”
Bennett has played sparingly most of the season and has vanished since the Cavs acquired Luol Deng, which forced Earl Clark back to his more natural power forward position and has shoved Bennett to the bench.
Bennett played a total of 10 minutes during the first three games of this West Coast trip, and nine of those minutes came during garbage time of a blowout loss at the Sacramento Kings. He played less than a minute in the victory against the Utah Jazz and didn’t play at all in Tuesday’s win against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Brown said earlier on this trip he hasn’t lost patience with the rookie, he’s just trying to win now and obviously thinks Clark gives the Cavs a better chance at that.
Bennett said Tuesday he would be open to playing in the D-League, but of course, it isn’t his decision. No previous top overall pick has ever played in the D-League, but rookie Shabazz Muhammad, selected 14th overall last summer, was recently recalled by the Minnesota Timberwolves after playing well in four games in the D-League. Like Bennett, Muhammad had played sparingly with the Timberwolves prior to his demotion.
“It’s something I’d think about, for sure,” Bennett said. “It’s not a bad thing, especially going down there, hopefully playing a lot, going out there, building my confidence.”
Bennett entered Wednesday’s game against the Blazers averaging 2.4 points, 2.2 rebounds and shooting 31 percent this season. Brown said it’s still beneficial for Bennett to remain in the NBA for the experience he’s getting.
“This is the first and only time he’ll come to Portland and face this environment being in a back-to-back, feel what it’s like to a certain degree to play in L.A. [Tuesday] night and then come experience this tonight as a group,” Brown said. “Whether it’s in the huddle or halftime or whatever, he can always listen and learn and grow.”
Despite his miserable rookie season, Bennett said he doesn’t regret turning pro after just one season at UNLV.
“I went No. 1,” Bennett said. “I’ve just got to work hard.”
The Cavs stayed over in Portland and will visit the Nike store today before flying to Denver for the final stop on this West Coast trip. A number of the veterans have Nike deals and have been to the store plenty, but it’s usually a big deal for the rookies.
Sergey Karasev has already been there as part of the Nike Hoops Summit and has a Nike contract, but undrafted rookie Henry Sims is making his first trip. Most rookies bring lists of items family and friends want, but not Sims.
“I didn’t tell them I was coming,” he said. “I’m smarter than that.”
Sims doesn’t really have a list, except for shoes. He struggles finding shoes that fit in most stores because he wears a size 18.
“Felix told me I’ve got to bring him something back,” Sims said.
Felix was assigned to the D-League on Wednesday.
Lawrence Tanter has been the Lakers’ public address announcer for 31 years and has come across countless difficult pronunciations, particularly in recent years while the game has grown internationally.
But no matter how many times he tried, Tanter kept stumbling over Cavs rookie Matthew Dellavedova’s last name whenever Delly scored or went to the free-throw line. Delly, however, said he didn’t even notice.
“I’m used to it by now,” he said.
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.