Cavs welcome media to kick off what promises to be an exciting 2022-23 season
BY TIM SHIRER
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - Monday afternoon the Cleveland Cavaliers held their annual media. This year for the first time since the team’s practice facility opened in Independence in 2007 the team held Media Day at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
After last season when the team surprised the NBA by nearly making the playoffs before getting eliminated in the play-in tournament and racking up 44 wins with a youthful roster and trading for all-star guard Donovan Mitchell in a blockbuster deal expectations are as high as they have been since LeBron James left in 2018.
Cavs General Manager Koby Altman did not want to put the NBA Finals or bust label on the team as he knows the team still has to grow, but he likes the fact they are on that “runway.”
Head Coach JB Bickerstaff enters his third full season as the Cavaliers court boss after taking over for John Beilein when he resigned on February 25, 2020. Basically, said he has the same expectations for the team as Altman and that they are not feeling any pressure. He also said that with the group of players they have there is not one that he doesn’t enjoy seeing when he comes to work every day.
With each player that spoke with the media that same sentiment was expressed. Kevin Love spoke about the place he is in his career entering his 15th season and that he embraces his role on the team. Love also talked about how happy he is that Ricky Rubio returned to the team this offseason.
Rubio discussed his injury and what it meant to him to come back to Cleveland because it was a place that felt familiar and that there was “Unfinished business” from last season. Rubio a native of Spain is entering his 12th season in the NBA and has played for four different organizations (he didn’t play a game for the Indians Pacers). Rubio was traded to the Pacers by the Cavaliers last season after he tore his ACL in the trade that brought the Cavs Caris LeVert.
LeVert talked about what it’s like to be a member of the Cavs by saying, “It’s amazing to be playing with the talent level we have.” He also expressed the fact that he’s from Ohio and loves Cleveland.
Cavs second year Forward/Center Evan Mobley talked about how he worked on a lot of things this summer and is just trying to get better. Mobley finished second in the 2021-22 NBA Rookie of the Year voting, just behind the Toronto Raptor’s Scottie Barnes. Mobley went onto say “It’s been great” when asked about playing with his brother Isaiah who the Cavaliers selected in the second round (49th overall) of the 2022 NBA Draft. Mobley went on to talk about how Donovan Mitchell fits with the Cavs group by saying, “He fits in with the team really well.”
The group seems to be really happy to be playing with each other and want to continue to build on the success they had from a year ago. Cavs Darius Garland who made his first all-star appearance last season said that he wants to be like Donovan Mitchell and be an all-star and play in the playoffs. Garland signed a five-year extension worth $213 million keeping him in a Cavs uniform through the 2028-29 season. Said that he signed the extension because, “I love Cleveland, Cleveland is home to me.” Garland said when he found out that the team traded for Mitchell he was working out and then he was running around the gym screaming.
Jarrett Allen said that he was asleep when the news broke about the Mitchell trade and he woke up to a text that simply said, “Donovan Mitchell”. When asked what he thought about Garland getting the five-year extension he said his first though was, “free dinner” he said with a laugh.
For fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers this team is very easy to root for because they are not only very talented but good human beings that combination is very rare for an entire team in sports nowadays with free agency and the huge money contracts. But it could be something in the water in the Gateway District as the Cleveland Guardians are built much the same way. Altman began the interview portion of media day by congratulating the Guardians on their American League Central Division title which they clinched on Sunday afternoon.
The Cavs will play four pre-season contests with their first being October 5, against the Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia. The regular season will open on October 19th in Toronto against the Raptors at Scotiabank Arena at 7:30 pm..
POSTED 01/26/2022 15:45