It’s possible that LeBron James could be returning to Cleveland to play for the Cavaliers. He may even announce his decision as early as tonight. If he does agree to play for the Cavs next season, the contract he’d eventually sign might even be considered the most significant legal document in this city’s history since Moses Cleaveland agreed to terms with the Connecticut Land Company in 1796.
But we can’t think about all that right now. NBA Summer League is about to begin and we need to be prepared.
The Cavaliers announced their Vegas Summer League Roster on Tuesday. As expected, Andrew Wiggins and a slimmed-down Anthony Bennett highlight the group. The summer debuts for both of the former No. 1 overall picks will be highly anticipated. Bennett’s injuries robbed him of the experience this time last year and I expect him to play with a chip on his shoulder while totally dominating the competition. I’m also excited to see A.Wiggins take flight for the first time on a professional stage.
Besides those two headliners, though, there are four other players I’ll be specifically focused on later this week for various reasons–all of which are highlighted below.
Jack Cooley: I covered Summer League in Vegas last year and Jack Cooley was a beast. He generated a ton of buzz with his performance and earned a number of training camp invites as a result. But according to reports, the 6-9 forward received an unusually lucrative offer to play for a team named Trabzonspor in the Turkish Basketball League and that’s where he was last season. He averaged 13.9 points and 7.6 rebounds in a league that doesn’t give players credit for a rebound after the missed shot is tipped by another player. For some reason. So he probably collected a whole lot more than 7.6 rebounds per night but that was all he was credited with. Regardless, the former Notre Dame big man is a player who Cavs fans should be keeping a close eye on. He has a chance to earn his way onto an NBA roster.
Matthew Dellavedova: After impressing the Cavaliers brass at Summer League last year, I believe that Delly did enough during the regular season to earn himself a roster spot in 2014-15. He is currently on an $816,482 contract that becomes fully guaranteed if he’s not waived by July 25. It’s likely he’s here for the duration of the year, but I’m looking forward to seeing the Australian Assassin leave no shadow of a doubt with his summer work. I’m also pretty hyped for the first time he sends that lob pass high above the rim in the direction of Andrew Wiggins.
Carrick Felix: The 2013 second round pick of the Cavaliers was another player who turned in a solid effort in Summer League last year. I came back describing him as a more athletic version of Alonzo Gee. Mike Brown didn’t see it that way, however, and the 6-6 wing from Arizona State only ended up appearing in seven NBA games during the regular season. Gee is gone now, though, and so is C.J. Miles. The Cavaliers will need to find depth off the bench from someone at the wing position. Maybe Felix can begin to convince Coach Blatt he’s capable of developing into one of those guys. He can accomplish as much by making his biggest impact on the defensive end of the floor.
Joe “Hoops” Harris: While most Cavs fans were celebrating the acquisition of No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, GM David Griffin swung back around and selected a guy who people refer to as “Joey Hoops” with the 33rd overall pick. If that handle isn’t enough to get you excited, you’re also about to find out that the 6-6 guard who sacrificed scoring numbers for the betterment of his Virginia Cavaliers team last season can step out and stroke. If he can demonstrate the ability to also be serviceable on the defensive end, Hoops could start carving out a role off the bench as shooting specialist for the Cavaliers.
Rest of the Squad: In addition to Wiggins, Bennett, Cooley, Dellavedova, Felix and Harris, the Cavs Summer League roster also includes rookies Will Cherry (Montana), Steven Gracy (Gonzaga) and Alex Kirk (New Mexico). Sergey Karasev was on the roster until he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday morning according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Second-year pros Scotty Hopson and Shane Edwards round out the group at the moment but Dwight Powell could be own his way. Powell, the 45th overall pick acquired by Cleveland in a draft-night trade with Charlotte, can not officially be added to the roster until the new NBA year begins on July 10. He is expected to join Coach Blatt and the fellas sometime after that.
Summer League Schedule: The Cavaliers first three games are scheduled for July 11, 13 and 14. I am credentialed again for Summer League this year and hoping to make the trip. Unfortunately, though, Dan Gilbert’s plane is off the tracking grid and it looks like I’ll probably have to fly commercial if I go. At the moment, I’m still working on flight arrangements but will be sure to keep you posted.
Be back later with more. Good luck refreshing your Twitter feeds every 30 seconds today you guys.
Photo: Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images