Deng not expected to play vs. Sixers; Cavs want him for “long term”
Cleveland Cavaliers (11-23) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (12-22)
Venue: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland
Tip-off: 7 p.m., FOX Sports Ohio (Cavaliers Live pre-game at 6:30)
*UPDATE: Mike Brown has said that Kyrie Irving will play tonight for the Cavaliers after missing games with a knee injury.
* New Cavs F Luol Deng is not likely to play. Deng, who arrives in the Andrew Bynum trade with Chicago, wasn’t notified of the deal until nearly 1 a.m. EST. The Cavs are also trying to be respectful of the fact Deng was with the Bulls for nearly 10 years. So there are quite a few wrinkles involved. The Cavs leave for a West Coast swing Friday, and he should be with the team before then.
* Deng, 28, is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Cavs GM Chris Grant said the team’s goal is to keep him "long term." Deng can only be signed to a three-year extension prior to July 1, per league rules. He can receive a five-year deal after that. The Cavs own his Larry Bird rights, meaning they can give him a more lucrative offer than any other team, once the time comes.
* Grant on Deng’s potential arrival: "We did this call after midnight last night so we’re working on those details now. The weather hasn’t helped with the high winds and cancelled flights and everything. So we’ve got a group of people working on it so hopefully today. If not, tomorrow at the latest."
* Cavs coach Mike Brown rattled off a laundry list of Deng’s positives at shootaround: "Length, veteran leadership, a guy who has won and won deep in the playoffs, the ability to score, defend, moves well without the basketball, knows how to play offense very well, can post up, score off the screens, versatile, can play the 3, play the 4. He brings a lot of everything."
* The Bulls are considerably less excited about the trade. Coach Tom Thibodeau told Chicago reporters he discussed things with the front office, "and I’ll leave it at that." Bulls F Joakim Noah refused to comment. Things are not well in Chi-town.
* Cavs G Kyrie Irving participated in shootaround, and even stuck around to shoot after the others had left. Still, Brown said Irving’s status is up in the air for tonight. Irving has missed the previous three games with a left knee bruise.
* Cavs G Jarrett Jack (back spasms) is likely out, Brown indicated. If neither Jack nor Irving play, the starting nod will again likely go to rookie G Matthew Dellavedova.
* The Sixers arrive with their own set of swirling trade rumors. Most surround F Thaddeus Young, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
* Sixers G Tony Wroten, who has played well lately, is doubtful with flu-like symptoms. Rookie F/C Nerlens Noel (knee) and F Arnett Moultrie (ankle) are out.
* The Cavs have lost 10 of 12. The Sixers are returning from an ultra-successful Western trip in which they won at Denver, at Sacramento and at Portland. Yes, at Portland. Then the Sixers got back home and lost to Minnesota by 31. How’s that for consistency?
* Bynum also did not work out for the Sixers.
* Grant on Bynum: "I thought Andrew did a tremendous job when we signed him. I think he was 308 pounds and got down to 282. I think he got on the court sooner than we all thought. We were, I think, fairly lucky to sign a contract that probably hasn’t been signed or negotiated at that level in a long time, which gave us this opportunity here today, a month and a half before the trade deadline. Some people might say we created two trade deadlines and a lot of sleepless nights. But it created a unique opportunity for us and the new collective bargaining agreement, where teams are financially. So for us I’d say it worked out well. We wish nothing but the best for Andrew."
Philadelphia: C Spencer Hawes; PF Thaddeus Young; SF Evan Turner; SG Hollis Thompson; PG Michael Carter-Williams.
Cleveland: C Anderson Varejao; PF Tristan Thompson; SF Earl Clark; SG C.J. Miles; PG Kyrie Irving (game-time decision).