CLEVELAND: LeBron James sidestepped questions about one day returning to the Cavaliers and insisted he hasn’t paid much attention to their rebuild, but still remembers the date of his initial return to Quicken Loans Arena.
One year after shocking everyone by saying a return to the Cavaliers would be “great” and “hopefully the fans will accept me,” James was much more subdued on Wednesday when asked about it again.
“Right now I’m focused on right now,” James said. “I don’t get involved in the road ahead of me. I kind of live in the moment and as a team right now we’re focused on trying to defend our championship. That’s the No. 1 thing.”
The Heat carried a 23-game winning streak into Wednesday’s game against the Cavs, second-longest in league history, so no one really expected James to disrupt the momentum of that by flirting with the Cavaliers.
Asked if he felt the city of Cleveland had moved on, James said he doesn’t spend much time in Cleveland so he doesn’t know.
“I’m back home in the summertime, but back home [in Akron] has always been kind of different,” James said. “I’ve moved on and they have some really good pieces here and they’re trying to move on as well.”
James received a mixed reception. He was booed heavily during pregame introductions, but they were blended with a smattering of cheers. Numerous James Heat jerseys were spotted in the stands and some of James’ dunks were greeted with approving cheers — along with the required boos. It was still in stark contrast to his return on Dec. 2, 2010, which was filled with hate and vitriol. It was so bad, James even remembers the date off the top of his head.
“It can’t get no worse than Year 1,” James said.
On a lighter note, James took great delight in his poster dunk over the Boston Celtics’ Jason Terry on Monday night, which ended with Terry flat on his back and James staring down at him.
“It was one of my better ones,” James said. “And the fact it happened to JT made it that much sweeter, because I think we all know JT talks and he talks too much sometimes. I’m glad it happened to him.”
Cavs sign Quinn
With Dion Waiters sidelined for at least a week, the Cavaliers signed veteran journeyman Chris Quinn for the rest of the season. Quinn, 29, hasn’t played in the NBA since 2011. He spent the last two years overseas and was playing with the Tulsa 66ers of the Development League when the Cavs called.
He grew up in Dublin, Ohio, outside Columbus, and attended Coffman High School. He is of no relation to former Browns quarterback Brady Quinn, although they share the last name and went to the same high school. Chris said they are friends, however.
“I can’t say I was a huge Cavs fan, but it’s a dream come true to be playing this close to home,” he said. “Obviously the Cavs have always been a team I’d love to play for.”
Quinn is 6-foot-2 with a decent outside shot. He has played for the Heat, San Antonio Spurs and New Jersey Nets. He appeared in 66 games for the Heat in 2008-09 and has career averages of 4.6 points and 1.9 assists in 234 career NBA games.
The Cavs are delaying operating on the loose cartilage in Dion Waiters’ knee because the fragment is so small, doctors believe it might work itself out with rest and treatment. They are prolonging arthroscopic surgery because that would effectively end his season.
Cavs coach Byron Scott is still preparing for that worst-case scenario and hoping for the best.
“I always try to go worst-case scenario,” Scott said. “If he comes back, it’d be great, but I tend to look at it worst case. The worst case is he’s done for the year and if he gets back, I’d be thrilled to death.”
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert sent a gracious tweet out toward James on his Twitter account prior to the game.
“Cleveland Cavaliers young talent makes our future very bright. Clearly, LeBron’s is as well,” Gilbert wrote. “Time for everyone to focus on the road ahead.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.