ATLANTA — Fresh off a 123-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks with only 10 players in uniform after Thursday’s series of franchise-changing trades, Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James did not want to frame the victory as some sort of celebration because of the six guys they shipped out.
“It’s not about what the other guys didn’t bring or what these guys bring,” James said after putting up 22 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 19 assists to log his second straight triple-double. “We’re all professionals, and we were happy with the guys that we had, and we’re going to [be] happy with the guys that we have now. That’s the way the league is, it’s a business. There’s no shade on anybody.”
Superstar LeBron James told reporters on Friday that he’s pleased with the Cavs’ moves during the trade deadline and that he’s ready to get working with the new group.
While Dwyane Wade played for the Miami Heat on Friday after being sent back to Miami for a heavily protected 2024 second-round draft pick, the Cavs’ new acquisitions — George Hill, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood — watched Cleveland’s game in the visitors locker room at Philips Arena.
Iman Shumpert is expected to complete his physical for the Sacramento Kings on Saturday, as are Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye for the Los Angeles Lakers, according to a Cavs spokesman. Once those are passed, all four new Cavs will be cleared to participate in their first practice with the team Saturday afternoon. Cleveland flew its team doctors to Atlanta in order to administer physicals Friday to its new crew and help expedite the process.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said he will ease in the four players Saturday, even though a big matchup awaits Sunday on national television against Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics.
“More so it’s going to be a walk-through, just trying to teach the new guys the plays and what we’re trying to do defensively,” Lue said. “Then just kind of go from there.”
Lue played only eight of the 10 guys who dressed until the final 1:10 when two-way player London Perrantes and Ante Zizic, who has spent significant time in the G League, entered the game.
Outside of James’ 10th triple-double of the season, Kyle Korver came up big with a season-high 30 points (7-for-13 from 3), Jeff Green scored 24 off the bench, and rookie Cedi Osman scored a career-high 16 points to go with 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.
“I think the guys that were getting an opportunity tonight were very excited with the extra minutes they were going to get,” James said. “I think it was excitement when the four guys showed up as well, just to see some guys and the excitement that they have. They look forward to the opportunity, and I look forward to getting them here and acclimated to what we want to do. It was a business, it was a business approach this morning and a business approach to this game, and it was a good win for us.”
Osman, in particular, was bullish about the team’s direction.
“With the new guys, we’re going to be perfect,” he said. “Younger, more dynamic team with a lot of energy. So I’m really excited.”