Although it seems like the NBA Finals just ended weeks ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers are preparing for the 2017-18 season, which begins on October 17 this year. With less than a month before the opening tip of the season, most of the Cavs are in California at UC-Santa Barbara for LeBron James’ annual pre-training camp team workout.
With plenty of new faces on the team, this is the first time since James’ return to Cleveland in 2014 that there is plenty of intriguing parts heading into training camp. When will Isaiah Thomas and his hip be ready to play? Can Derrick Rose be a significant addition to the team? What will all the new players bring to the wine and gold?
Those, along with plenty of other questions, are what make this training camp very interesting. On ESPN’s The Jump on Wednesday, Cavs reporter Dave McMenamin had some interesting things to see. Here’s the clip:
Two of the biggest takeaways from all that McMenamin said: Rose is “killing it” so far in team camp, and James is invested in helping the point guard achieve his goal of getting another significant payday before he retires.
Due to Rose’s nagging knee injuries throughout his career, teams have been somewhat scared to take a long-term chance on him. How concerned, you ask? Coming off a season in which he averaged 18 points (best since 2011-12), 4.4 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game while shooting 47.1 percent from the floor (best since his 2009-10 season) in 32.5 minutes per game (most since 2011-12), no one would give him significant money, so he signed with the Cavs for the veteran’s minimum.
While he took a chance on himself, he couldn’t have put himself in a better situation. Not only will he play alongside the best player in the world, but with Thomas’ hip injury, Rose will begin the season as Cleveland’s starting point guard. With James wanting to get Rose another significant deal along with the point guard knowing that his next contract solely depends on how he performs this season, if he can stay healthy, it’s the perfect situation for both Rose and the Cavs.
Along with talking about Rose and how he is turning plenty of his teammates’ heads in camp, McMenamin also talked about how motivated the Cavs are this year. In seasons past, it was hard for the team to be motivated for the regular season outside of a game here and there. With the wine and gold set to host Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics in their season opener, that’s all the motivation the Cavs need. It will definitely be interesting to see how James and the Cavs play from the start given the changes that have taken place and the motivation they will have right away.
Many seem to think that the Celtics are now the best team in the East, but if Rose stays healthy, Cleveland will be the class of the East even without Thomas. Just remember, a motivated and angry LeBron James is a very good one, teams across the NBA better be prepared for The King to dominate this season.