Evan Mobley appears to be the best candidate to start at power forward when the Cavaliers open their season, writes Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. The No. 3 pick in this year’s draft showed during Summer League that he’s mobile enough to handle the power forward duties. The coaching staff is reluctant to use Mobley extensively at center until he adds more muscle, so he’ll probably play alongside Jarrett Allen, giving the team two 7-foot rim protectors on defense.
If Mobley is named the starter, that will mean bench roles for veterans Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. The Cavaliers have already spoken to Love about reducing his time on the court, and he talked last month about no longer being the No. 1 option and playing 35 minutes per night. Russo notes that Love, who still has two years and more than $60MM left on his contract, can still be valuable as a floor spacer and rebounder.
Nance is coming off an injury-plagued season, but he started 27 of the 35 games he appeared in and averaged a career-high 31.2 minutes per night. He’s useful as a big man who can pass and defend, and he provides a veteran on-court presence for a very young team. Nance is also under contract for two more seasons, but only at a total of a little more than $20MM.
There’s more from Cleveland:
- Newly acquired Ricky Rubio will probably be used off the bench, as the starting backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland remains together, Russo adds. Rubio is expected to run the offense with the second unit and can defend either guard position.
- Allen left a contending team when the Nets traded him to Cleveland in January, but he didn’t hesitate to re-sign with the Cavs this summer, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Allen’s new five-year, $100MM contract means he will be a long-term part of the rebuilding process. “Seeing a team like this, knowing what it takes, we have all the right guys and the right mindsets to do it,” he said. “So, I thought, ‘Hey, I’m willing to be part of this again, especially with these guys.’ I see a bright future here that I fit in perfectly.”
- The new schedule that was announced Friday includes a tough early stretch that could set the tone for the Cavs’ entire season, Fedor notes in a separate story. Cleveland has one of the most difficult starts in the league, with eight of its first 11 games on the road and 11 of the first 12 against teams that were in the playoffs last season.