At the team's morning shootaround in Atlanta on Friday, James says it's his job to integrate them as fast as possible. "The front office made changes that they felt best fit this franchise". That means Hood could start alongside Smith at times, or Cleveland could go bigger, presumably with Nance or Jeff Green, when the opponent calls for it.
Struggling for form and consistency in the National Basketball Association this season, the Cavs made a splash on trade deadline day, bringing in George Hill, Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood and Larry Nance Jr as the likes of Isaiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade made way on Thursday. He also held spot-up shooters to less than a point per attempt and would immediately become the best defender on the Cavs against this play type.
On paper, the Cavs look better. "It was good to see", Lue said.
Teams already are lining up for an audience with The King should he turn down $36.5 million and opt out of his contract.
Just last week James expressed doubts about the Cavs' commitment to fixing their roster. None of the new acquisitions were in uniform against the Hawks, but James and Korver were more than enough.
Coach Brad Stevens and guard Kyrie Irving were more than willing to praise the Cavaliers - clearly a quicker supporting cast for James with athletic additions like Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood and George Hill. Crowder was also traded Thursday to Utah. Since he was drafted in 2011, Thomas has now been dealt four times: From Sacramento to Phoenix in July, 2014, from Phoenix to Boston in February, 2015, from Boston to Cleveland and from Cleveland to the Lakers. Their weakest areas are offensive rebounds per game (#28), blocks per game (#27) and steals per game (#24).
Thomas, 29, said he didn't want to be traded after Wednesday night's home victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. "I look up to him". I feel like they made some good moves. James got the last laugh however, with an easy win ending the game sitting on the bench as the Hawk's misery continued.
"I gave him a hard time for that because that's not true", Nance Jr. retorted.
While Altman's main objective was to fix Cleveland's culture, he also wanted to spark James, who hasn't been himself in recent weeks.
Though James is having yet another MVP worthy season, averaging 26.5 points, 8.7 assists, and 8.0 rebounds per game, his team is not following suit.
"I had a lot of really good years here", Korver said.
Celtics Doc Rivers on whether Kevin Garnett's No. 5 should go up in rafters next: I hope so.
The Cavs, who had a full 15-man roster, were down to just 13 active players, along with their two-way players from the Canton Charge.