CHICAGO: Omri Casspi declined to comment on a national report he has asked to be traded, but said he’s happy in Cleveland and would like to stay there.
Yahoo! Sports reported on Monday that Casspi asked for the trade through his agent. He is represented by Creative Artists Agency.
A league source dismissed the report as inaccurate.
“I like Cleveland. Cleveland has been great to me — the fans, the city, the organization,” Casspi said. “I don’t have any other focus but help my team win. Whatever the future holds will happen.”
Entering Monday’s game at the Bulls, Casspi had played one minute in the past 13 games since Dec. 11.
He hasn’t approached coach Byron Scott about what he has to do to get back in the rotation, but stressed he has a good relationship with Scott.
“To be honest, I think I’ve done everything I can,” Casspi said. “Over the course of the summer, over the course of training camp with the opportunities I got. It’s just different rotations and I have to accept it.”
Scott said Casspi has fallen out of the rotation because of a numbers crunch at his position. He is pleased with the way Alonzo Gee and C.J. Miles are playing.
“It’s nothing that he’s done to get put in this position,” Scott said. “This is all based on my beliefs with the other two guys. He has to continue to do what he’s been doing at practice every single day, continue to be the professional that he is.”
Casspi is shooting 44 percent on 3-pointers (19-of-43) and was among the leaders in 3-point shooting when he had enough attempts to qualify. He is averaging 4.9 points in 19 games and shooting 39 percent overall.
“As far as him playing, he’s probably going to get another shot at it,” Scott said. “It’s just a matter of time and me finagling some other lineups.”
So long Samardo
Scott said the release of Samardo Samuels on Sunday “was a tough one” and had trouble explaining the move.
“I can’t really explain it, because I have a hard time understanding why we did it, but I do understand it as well,” Scott said. “He’s been with our organization three years, haven’t really seen the growth we wanted to see. But he was a guy that we really loved, too, so it’s kind of hard to explain.”
Samuels was in the final year of a three-year deal he signed after going undrafted in 2010.
Players can now be signed to 10-day contracts and the open roster spot will give them a chance to cycle through a few players as they have done in the past with the likes of Gee, Donald Sloan, Lester Hudson and D.J. Kennedy.
Scott said the recent releases of both Sloan and Samuels were difficult.
“Sometimes you’ve got to do things you feel are right for the team moving forward,” he said. “Samardo will be in the league. I’m pretty sure somebody will pick him up.”
Samuels was averaging 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 38 games. He was playing on a non-guaranteed contract that would have become guaranteed on Thursday.
Luke Walton was not with the team Monday because he was tending to a personal matter. … Samuels’ release, plus Walton’s absence, left the Cavs thin up front, so they recalled Jon Leuer from the Development League. … Daniel Gibson accompanied the team to Chicago, but has yet to be cleared from his concussion. … Gee, who played basketball at Alabama, said he didn’t make any bets with teammates on Monday’s national championship game. … Scott didn’t have any more updates on Anderson Varejao, who did not make the trip. He was hopeful Varejao could practice today, giving him a chance of playing in Wednesday’s home game against the Atlanta Hawks.
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.