LeBron on Cavs: ‘I will lead this team, but I don’t have to carry it’

Even without a healthy roster to start the season, LeBron James sounds confident about the Cavs.

Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports

 

LeBron James acknowledged that the Cleveland Cavaliers won’t be at full strength at the beginning of the season but insisted the team nevertheless will have enough talent on the floor early on that he won’t have to put the squad entirely on his shoulders.

“I will lead this team, but I don’t have to carry it,” James said Wednesday at Cleveland’s shootaround, via ESPN. “We have enough guys until all our guys get here.

“Until Kyrie (Irving) and Tristan (Thompson) and (Iman Shumpert) is ready, we have enough guys that will all help. It’s not about me carrying the team and that nature. We’re all grown men, we’re all professionals and they’re here to do their job.”

Coach David Blatt announced Wednesday that Kevin Love is expected to be a full participant in Saturday’s practice, indicating he’ll be good to go for the season opener later this month.

Regarding the three players James specifically mentioned, though, the prospects of their returns are much less clear.

Blatt indicated Irving will not be ready for the season opener on Oct. 27 against the Chicago Bulls. The Cavaliers are expected to be extremely cautious with their superstar point guard, and reports in the offseason suggested it’s possible he could be out until January.

Shumpert, meanwhile, ruptured the extensor carpi ulnaris sheath in his right wrist that required surgery. He is expected to be out for up to three and a half months.

The Thompson contract situation and subsequent holdout could prove to be the messiest of the bunch. After reports weeks back indicated the parties were millions of dollars apart, Brian Windhorst said in a Grantland podcast Wednesday that he believes Thompson’s holdout “will go well into the regular season.”

Still, James insists the Cavs have what it takes to get things done early on.

“And until we’re whole, we still won’t understand it as a full unit,” he said. “But we’ll approach the game as we should and our coaching staff is going to prepare us the best way every night to be ready for anything, both on and off the floor.”

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