A familiar face is back in Cleveland.
The Cavaliers have signed forward/center Tristan Thompson, the team announced on Tuesday.
According to reports, it’s a one-year deal.
Thompson, a vital figure on Cleveland’s 2016 championship team and a part of the Cavs’ teams that went to four straight NBA Finals, was selected fourth by the Cavs in 2011 and spent the first nine seasons of his career in Cleveland.
Last season, the 12-year veteran signed with the Lakers in April and appeared in six postseason games.
“Tristan embodies every trait we want as part of our team culture, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring his experience and character back into our franchise,” Cavs president of basketball operations Koby Altman said in a press release. “His impact both on and off the court is immeasurable, and his history with our team adds a layer of familiarity, leadership, and physicality that will undoubtedly make a positive impact with our younger players. An integral part of our four consecutive NBA Finals trips and an NBA Championship in 2016, Tristan represented the organization with the utmost charm and professionalism during his nine seasons in Northeast Ohio. We are thrilled to reunite with Tristan and welcome him and his family back to the Cavaliers family.”
Thompson still ranks among the franchise’s all-time leaders in offensive rebounds (second, 2,115), total rebounds (third, 5,393), defensive rebounds (fifth, 3,278), blocks (sixth, 447), games played (seventh, 619) and minutes (eighth, 17,373). His 447 consecutive regular season games played from Feb. 10, 2012, to April 4, 2017, remains the longest streak in Cavaliers history. Additionally, Thompson holds the franchise record for most offensive rebounds in a single season with 306 in 2012-13.
Over his career, Thompson has played in 730 regular season games (478 starts) for Cleveland, Boston, Sacramento, Indiana, and Chicago, with averages of 9.0 points on .519 shooting from the field and 8.4 rebounds in 26.8 minutes per contest. Thompson is one of only four players in franchise history to accumulate at least 5,000 points and 5,000 rebounds, joining LeBron James, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Brad Daugherty.
Thompson is a fan favorite and brings postseason experience to Cleveland, and he could give the Cavs solid minutes off the bench.
On Saturday, Cleveland Cavaliers backup point guard Ricky Rubio announced that he is stepping away from basketball to focus on his mental health.
“I have decided to stop my professional activity to take care of my mental health,” Rubio said. “I want to thank all the support I have received from the [Spanish national] team to understand my decision. “Today #family makes more sense than ever. Thank you. I would ask that my privacy be respected so that I can face these moments and be able to give more information when the time is right.”
The 32-year-old was expected to play for the Spanish National team in the FIBA World Cup this summer.
Cavs president of basketball operations Koby Altman said in a statement that the team will support Rubio.
“We were informed today by Ricky and his representation that he has decided to step away from his illustrious basketball career to focus on his mental health at this time,” Altman said. “We understand how difficult of a decision this was for him and will balance providing whatever support we can while simultaneously respecting Ricky’s request for privacy.”
At this point, there’s no word on when or if Rubio will return to basketball.
Last season, Rubio, who returned in January from a torn ACL, averaged 5.2 points on 34% shooting and 3.4 assists per contest.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have officially reached a buyout agreement with forward Kevin Love, the team announced on Saturday.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Miami Heat are a frontrunner to sign Love, but he plans to talk to the Philadelphia 76ers before making a decision.
Love, the longest-tenured member of the Cavaliers, playing in his 9th season with the franchise, has been out of the rotation and has not played in the last 12 games.
The 34-year-old appeared in 41 games (three starts) this season, averaging 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds.
Love had this to say on Twitter:
I’ll have more to say soon but want to get this off my chest.
To the people of Cleveland and all of Ohio. I fucking LOVE you…and always will. Thank you for everything.
More to come. #0️⃣
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) February 18, 2023
During his time with the Cavs, Love appeared in 489 games (380 starts) since being traded to Cleveland on Aug. 23, 2014, marking the 12th-most games in team history. In his nine seasons in Cleveland, Love posted averages of 15.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 28.5 minutes and ranks 2nd in team history in three-pointers made (1,096 3FGM), 3rd in defensive rebounds (3,720 DREB), 6th in total rebounds (4,493 REB) and 9th in total points scored (7,663).
Love was also a member of the Cavaliers’ 2016 NBA Championship team and appeared in 63 playoff games (62 starts), averaging 15.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, and shooting a .404 three-point percentage in 31.1 minutes during his postseason career. His 63 postseason appearances with Cleveland are the 6th-most playoff games in team history.
“Kevin Love had an outstanding run with the Cavaliers, including memorable on-court moments, four NBA Finals appearances, and an NBA Championship in 2016,” said Altman via a statement from the team. “Kevin represented the organization and the city of Cleveland with the utmost charm and professionalism during his nine seasons in Northeast Ohio. He also embodied everything a franchise would want in a player, and the admiration and gratitude we have for him will ultimately land his jersey in the rafters of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. We thank Kevin for his impact and wish him nothing but the best, knowing that he has solidified his place in the hearts of Cavaliers fans and this organization forever.”
Over his 15-year NBA career, Love has played in 853 games (662 starts) with Minnesota and Cleveland, owning career averages of 17.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 30.4 minutes per contest while also shooting .372 from the three-point line. A five-time NBA All-Star (2011, 2012, 2014, 2017, 2018), Love was named an All-NBA Second Team selection in 2012 and 2014.
He is 1 of 4 players in the history of the NBA to record 14,000 points, 8,000 rebounds, 1,500 assists, and 1,500 three-pointers made (LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, and Jason Kidd).
Love had a great run with the Cavs, but all good things must come to an end.
On Wednesday, the Cavs’ newest guard Donovan Mitchell was introduced to the Cleveland media at a press conference at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Cleveland recently acquired the 26-year-old from the Utah Jazz In exchange for Collin Sexton (via sign and trade), Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, three future unprotected first-round draft picks (2025, 2027, 2029), and also agreeing to swap picks in 2026 and 2028.
It was rumored for weeks that the three-time All-Star was going to get moved, and many, including Mitchell, who is a New York native, thought it was going to be the Knicks, but things broke down, the Cavs swooped in, and he’s happy to be in Cleveland.
“I thought for sure I was going back home,” he said. I’m not gonna lie about that, but when I found out where I was headed, who I was playing with; the group, the team, the coaching staff. I couldn’t be more happier to be here.”
On paper, with the addition of Mitchell, to go along with what they have with All-Stars Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen and an ascending player in Evan Mobley, some believe the Cavs are championship contenders. Mitchell thinks the Cavs look scary, but they still have to prove it in the end.
“On paper, we look scary,” he said. “But at the end of the day it comes down to what we do in the gym. We had a good run today and we’ve got to continue to have good work, so I can’t sit here and tell you, ‘Yes, we’re a championship team.’ We have to go out there and prove it every night.”
Despite all the championship talk in Cleveland, Cavs President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman says it’s not contention or bust for the Cavs.
“We’re super young,” Altman said. “And the timeline fits to bring in this caliber of player with this group, and let’s rock; let’s rock out. I’m excited to see what it looks like, but there’s a runway here, and I don’t want everyone to think that this year we have to be contention or bust. That’s not what this is.”
It’s too early to say whether or not the Cavs are championship contenders, but it’s probably safe to say they are one of the better teams in the East. However, to Altman’s point, this is a young team, and some of these players are not finished products, so a championship in this upcoming season might be too lofty, but in my Kevin Garnett voice,
“Anything is possible!!!”
The Cleveland Cavaliers wanted a player who could contribute immediately, and they might have found that in Thursday’s NBA Draft at Barclays Center.
With the 14th overall pick, the Cavaliers selected Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji.
The 22-year-old Agbaji started in all 39 games this past season as a senior at Kansas, averaging a Big-12 leading 18.8 points and 5.1 rebounds in a team-high 35.0 minutes. Agbaji finished second in the Big-12 in three-point percentage (.409) and three-point field goals made per game (2.64). He helped lead Kansas to its fourth national championship in program history and was named the 2022 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
The 6-5 guard also finished as a 2021-22 consensus All-American First Team selection and the 2021-22 Big 12 Player of the Year.
“First off, I just want to thank the organization and Cleveland for drafting me, believing in me,” Agbaji said Thursday night. “I’m going to give you 110 percent every single day and a positive attitude. That’s really all. I’m just going to be a hard worker, come in, be humble, and represent my city well.”
Cavs president of basketball operations Koby Altman wanted a player who could contribute right away and be a solid fit for the team, and he feels they’ve gotten that with Agbaji.
“This was more about who can come in and really help us, help this team achieve,” Altman said after the selection. “It was a different process in terms of trying to find the most upside swing talent versus who can be the best fit. Certainly more of a finished product than what we’ve drafted in the past.”
Agbaji’s coach at Kansas, Bill Self, credits his work ethic and believes Agbaji will be in the NBA for a long time.
“To see the natural progression that’s taken place and to see him being a guy that is going to make a lot of money playing this game for a long time when he wasn’t projected to do that, it’s been special to watch,” Self said before the draft. “And he deserves all the credit because there’s nobody that works like him.”
This selection shows that the Cavs want to make the playoffs now. No more developmental picks; they were a game away from the playoffs and wanted to ensure that they had enough to get into the postseason.
With Agbaji, the Cavs have a guy who is a solid defender, decent athlete, and a good shooter. Many believe he is your prototypical 3-and-D guy, which should help the Cavs immediately.
In the second round, Cleveland selected center Khalifa Diop with the 39th pick out of Senegal, forward Isaiah Mobley with the 49th pick out of USC, and forward Luke Travers with the 56th pick out of Australia.
Diop (7-1, 240) appeared in 49 games for Gran Canaria in Spain, averaging 6.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in 15.7 minutes. Diop was the winner of the 2021-22 EuroCup Rising Star Trophy, which honors the best under-22 player in the EuroCup. The Senegalese center also represented Senegal at the 2021 FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup, averaging 14.0 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks.
Mobley (6-10, 240) appeared in 32 games (all starts) as a sophomore for USC this past season, averaging team-highs in points (14.2) and rebounds (8.3) in 34.0 minutes. Mobley started in all 64 of his career games for the Trojans and held career averages of 12.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. His brother Evan Mobley was an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection for the Cavaliers this past season and was selected with the 3rd pick by the Cavaliers in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Travers (6-7, 208) played in 27 games (six starts) for the Perth Wildcats in the Australian NBL, averaging 7.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 22.0 minutes. Travers appeared in 71 NBL games for Perth over three seasons with the club.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have hired Luke Walton as an Assistant Coach, the team announced Tuesday.
The 42-year-old Walton coached the Kings for three seasons before getting fired last November. Before that, he was the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers from 2016 to 2019.
“We are very excited to add someone of Luke’s caliber and championship DNA to our coaching staff,” said Altman via team statement. “His on-court experiences as a head coach, assistant coach and player in this league fit seamlessly into J.B.’s existing coaching staff. Luke is someone who truly embraces player development, a team-first mentality, and a history of creating winning basketball habits. We welcome Luke, his wife Bre and the entire Walton family back to Northeast Ohio.”
Additionally, Walton was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors for two campaigns (2014-15, 2015-16), reaching the NBA Finals both years and winning the NBA Championship in 2015. Walton also received Western Conference Coach of the Month honors (October/November 2015) while serving as interim head coach in Steve Kerr’s absence and leading Golden State to a 39-4 start in 2015-16, including winning the first 24 games, an NBA record.
“It’s rare when you can strengthen your staff with someone of similar experiences and a passion for the game of basketball,” said Bickerstaff said via team statement. “Luke is someone who identifies with our five core values as a coach, but also traits he was recognized for as a player, both in college and the NBA. I’m excited for our players to have another valuable resource to work with on the court, as we continue doing things the right way for sustainable success.”
Walton enjoyed a 10-year NBA playing career, including his final season in 2012-13 and part of 2011-12 as a member of the Cavaliers. He finished his career appearing in 564 games (138 starts) with the Lakers and Cavaliers while averaging 4.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 17.2 minutes per contest.
On Tuesday, Cleveland Cavaliers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman addressed the media at Cleveland Clinic Courts. The Cavs’ season ended at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Friday night as they fell to the Hawks in the Play-In Tournament.
“I’m still a little heartsick, to be honest with you,” Altman said about not making the playoffs. “It’s hard to process the season ending the way it did.”
J.B. Bickerstaff helped Cleveland improve by 22 wins from a year ago and finished the season 44-38, but despite the success, they fell short of the playoffs.
However, according to Atman, the Cavs have caught the attention of teams around the league.
“They captivated the city and put the league on notice, forced the league to put us on a national TV game because they had to, and more of that will come.”
Altman felt this season was a success, but Cleveland does have some questions, and one of the biggest questions is what will happen with Collin Sexton, who missed 71 games with a torn meniscus and can become a restricted free agent at season’s end if the Cavs extend a qualifying offer of $7.2 million.
The 23-year-old Sexton will probably be back in Cleveland next season based on what Altman said today.
“He, in a lot of ways, was the start of not only the rebuild, but the culture that we have in place now,” Altman said. “He’s enormously important to us. He’s been enormously important to us. To lose him, you can see throughout the year why we missed him, how we missed him, so we owe Collin a great deal of gratitude for the work he’s put in and continues to put in, (he) an important part of this team.”
Caris LeVert came over from the Pacers in a trade back in February. Altman believes both LeVert and Sexton, who have a similar skillset and play the same position, can thrive together in Cleveland.
“Yes, there’s a place for that level of talent, especially with the character that they bring and the fact that both really love it here,” Altman said.
It’s one thing to be a surprise team, but it’s another thing to win when the expectations are high, so the challenge for Altman and the players is to be even better next season.
“We’re not going to surprise teams next year,” Altman said. “I think we were two games out of being in sixth place. So like, it’s that close. We don’t want to lose grasp of what got us here, which is the hard work in the summer. We haven’t accomplished anything yet, so how do we keep that hunger, that humbleness, and attack this offseason?”
From top to bottom, the Eastern Conference will be tough next season, and Cleveland could be better next season and still be fighting to make the playoffs. They have a young, talented core.Obviously, they have three guys they can build around in All-Stars, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley.
In addition, they will have a lottery pick, so the future is very bright. However, sometimes that next step is the hardest step, and the Cavs are hoping to take that next step next season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers promoted Assistant General Manager Mike Gansey to General Manager, the team announced Wednesday.
According to the Cavs, Gansey, who became Assistant General Manager in 2017, will continue assisting Altman in scouting and personnel decisions while increasing his role in the Cavaliers’ draft preparations and logistics.
In January, Altman was given an extension and promoted from GM to President of Basketball Operations.
“Mike has been an incredible resource to me, and this organization and his work behind the scenes gives me great confidence that he is ready to take on more of a leadership role,” Altman said via a statement from the team. “His community roots provides a unique perspective when evaluating players and the type of commitment needed to make a positive impact in Cleveland. I could not think of a better person to work alongside as we continue building this team toward sustainable success.”
The 39-year-old Gansey has been part of the Cavaliers organization since 2011. Before his role as assistant GM, he was previously General Manager for the Cleveland Charge, the Cavaliers’ exclusively-owned NBA G League team, where he earned the 2016-17 NBA G League Executive of the Year award.
In addition to Gansey, the team announced the promotion of Brandon Weems, who was LeBron James high school teammate, to Assistant General Manager from his previous title as Sr. Director of Player Personnel.
Also, Jason Hillman was promoted to Vice President of Basketball Operations from his previous title as Basketball Chief of Staff/Team Counsel, and Jon Nichols to Vice President of Basketball Strategy and Personnel from his previous title of Sr. Director of Strategy & Research.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and GM Koby Altman have agreed on a new long-term contract extension, the team announced Wednesday.
Altman, 39, will also take on the title of President of Basketball Operations effective immediately.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the extension runs through the 2027-2028 season.
Last month, the Cavaliers signed head coach J.B. Bickerstaff to a multi-year extension that will reportedly run through the 2026-2027 season, and now they’ve locked up Altman.
Cleveland (23-18) is off to a great start, and with lottery picks Darius Garland (No. 5 in 2019) and Evan Mobley (No. 3 in 2021), Altman has built a solid young core. In addition, Altman, who was named Cavs general manager in 2017, acquired 23-year-old center Jarrett Allen, who is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and field goal percentage, and signed him to a five-year contract extension this past offseason. Altman also traded for NBA veteransRicky Rubio and 24-year-old Lauri Markkanen.
Altman has the Cavs going in the right direction post-LeBron James, and it appears this team has the potential to do big things going forward.
“I will forever be grateful for this continued opportunity. With Dan setting the example and providing us with amazing resources, we are building something truly special here in Northeast Ohio,” said Altman via a press release from the team. “We remain committed to our player development program, and our players have shown incredible growth and improvement this season. Our evolving culture is driven by our players, coaches, and staff, who all play a significant role in defining what it truly means to be a Cavalier, and we are very excited for our future.”
Before being named GM, Altman had been a part of the Cavaliers’ basketball staff for five years, including being promoted to assistant general manager in September 2016. As a member of Cleveland’s front office, Altman has been an integral part of a team that reached four straight NBA Finals (2015-2018) and won an NBA Championship in 2016.