At the halfway point of Cleveland Cavaliers’ training camp, the bulk of the team roster is pretty well set, given the two key components at forward that have been added over the summer, and the slew of veterans that followed in their wake. However, the last few spots are still up for grabs, and are therefore, worthy of a closer look.
Overall, 17 players are competing for 15 opportunities to don the Wine & Gold. Three of those players: Stephen Holt and A.J. Price, along with forward Shane Edwards do not have guaranteed contracts, which almost assuredly means that the trio of cuts will come from this group.
While the Cavaliers have only played a pair of exhibition games thus far, the minutes allotted to players on the bubble appears to be a fairly decent way to assess their shaky status with the team.
The fluid situation at center also means that undrafted rookie Alex Kirk may be kept in order to provide some level of depth to the position. In the first two contests, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao started in that role, with veteran Brendan Haywood also helping contribute.
Looking at those first two games, Holt is likely to be released, given his scant two minutes of action, including a DNP against Maccabi Tel Aviv. That leaves the choice between Price and Edwards. Against Miami, Price saw 20 minutes of action, though the gaping hole caused by Kyrie Irving’s absence helped create that lineup maneuver. Meanwhile, Edwards has the personal misfortune to be looking for playing time amid the strongest area on the team.
In addition, Price has five years of NBA experience, the vast majority of it coming off the bench. The added facts that Irving’s shaky medical history could take him out of the lineup again at some point, along with Price’s point guard slot likely solidifies his final status.
There’s always the chance that one of the players on the bubble who ends up making the team will be abruptly cut. That scenario may develop if veteran guard Ray Allen finally decides on to play one more season and sign with the Cavaliers.
In either case, Cleveland’s season will be not determined by that final decision, but rather, how quickly their now-potent starting lineup meshes together.
The Cavaliers’ schedule pace picks up this week with two home preseason clashes sandwiched around a game against the Indiana Pacers on the campus of Xavier University on Wednesday night. Tonight, they host the Milwaukee Bucks, followed three nights later by a visit from the Dallas Mavericks. The latter game tips off at 7:30 Eastern, while the other two are set for 7 p.m.