Along with the Cavs new threads, fans will also have to get used to some new faces coming off Cleveland’s bench this season.
With the recent offseason still in its quiet, early days, the Cavaliers made a pair of under-the-radar acquisitions – bringing in veterans Jose Calderon and Jeff Green. They weren’t the sexiest free agent signings of the summer, but they did bolster Cleveland’s bench in a pair of areas in desperate need of improvement.
Through the first few months of last season, the Wine & Gold struggled to find Kyrie Irving’s backup – going with a point-guard-by-committee scenario that saw Iman Shumpert, Jordan McRae, Kay Felder and DeAndre Liggins rehearsing for the role. With Calderon, they get a steady veteran presence, a pure point with Playoff experience who rarely turns the ball over.
Green, a 10-year vet who’s played in 38 postseason contests himself, is a rock-solid backup to both LeBron James and Jae Crowder. The Maryland native, who spent all of last season with Orlando, is a career 43 percent shooter from the floor, a solid rebounder (4.7 rpg) and decent assist man (1.7 apg).
Calderon – who Koby Altman said, at last week’s presser, has been in the gym every day since being signed – will begin the year as Derrick Rose’s backup while Isaiah Thomas continues to rehab from a hip injury.
After battling the injury bug for years following his MVP season in 2012, Rose is coming off a solid campaign, averaging 18.0 points in 64 starts for a bad Knicks team. It’ll be good for Rose to start the season running Cleveland’s first unit, making for a more seamless transition when he’s mixed and matched in different lineups when Isaiah Thomas returns.
Aside from the seasoned veterans, the Cavaliers did bring in a couple younger players to strengthen the end of their bench.
Cedi Osman, the 31st pick of the 2015 Draft, who the Cavs acquired from Minnesota will finally make his NBA debut this fall. Last season, the 22-year-old swingman played in 35 games with Anadolu Efes in the Turkish Basketball League – averaging 13.2 points on .496 shooting, to go with 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals per.
Late last week, the Cavaliers also inked forward John Holland to a two-way contract. Holland, who appeared in the Playoffs with Boston in 2016, nearly made Cleveland’s roster after being invited to Camp last September. The 6-5, 205-pounder – who was named last year’s G League Impact Player of the Year – averaged 22.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals in a league-high 38.9 minutes per game.
It’ll be an interesting task for Tyronn Lue and his staff to meld some of the Cavs new moving parts in with a rotation that’s tasted great success over the past three years.