CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – With the NBA trade deadline a week away, the rumor mill starts to heat up.
The Cavaliers are firmly in the No. 5 position in the Eastern Conference standings – a full game behind Brooklyn and 1.5 games ahead of Miami.
“[I] Think that we in a really good spot, maybe just still continuing to grow,” guard Darius Garland said at shootaround Thursday morning. “It's a new team. I think we had a healthy team three times this year or something like that. So I mean we're still learning the process. We're still trying to get a feel for each other. We're in a good spot.”
Although the roster is not a finished product, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff doesn’t feel they are in a position where they have to make a move next week.
“To be honest with you, I'm happy with the group that we have,” Bickerstaff said prior to Thursday night’s game with Memphis. “I don't feel as if we're desperate to go and do something just for the sake of doing something. The guys in that locker room have enough to get it done.”
Cavs president of basketball operations Koby Altman has been aggressive on the trade front in recent years to build the current team including megadeals for Jarrett Allen and Donovan Mitchell but there might not be much help to be had with the limited assets they possess.
Standing pat would also give the Cavs front office the opportunity to test and gather an honest evaluation of their roster’s ceiling.
“It just takes the time to see how quickly we can learn lessons and how far we'll go,” Bickerstaff said. “But there's no nothing that I'm sitting here and I'm just like, we have to do this. Or if we ride with this group, we got a chance to be a really good team and we got a chance to beat anybody.”
Garland snub – All-Star reserves were announced Thursday evening and Garland of the Cavs was not among them.
Joel Embiid, Jaylen Brown, Bam Adebayo, Julius Randle, DeMar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday and Tyrese Haliburton were selected for the Eastern Conference. Damian Lillard, Ja Morant, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lauri Markkanen, Domantas Sabonis, Paul George and Jaren Jackson Jr. were named to the Western Conference team.
Garland is averaging 21.8 points, 8.1 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game this season.
LeVert out – Cavs guard Caris LeVert did not play and was downgraded to out with right hamstring soreness prior to tip off.
Steven Adams and Jaren Jackson did not play for Memphis.
Fly Eagles Fly – Bickerstaff, who was born in Columbia, Missouri while his father worked for the Washington Bullets explained how he became such a big Eagles fan.
“You move around enough where it's hard to just pick teams so you find players that you really like,” Bickerstaff said. “And I love Randall Cunningham growing up, and it was the Randall Cunningham, Reggie White, Ernest Byner, that group that I fell in love with. And then Donovan McNabb and on and on and on.”
Philadelphia will play in their fourth Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs in search of their second Vince Lombardi trophy.