It’s no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers have had an exciting offseason and created quite a buzz around the league going into the upcoming season. Reports from the Cavs golf outing on Monday at Akron’s Firestone Country Club have now reaffirmed fans of just how exciting this season could be.
According to Fox Sports Ohio’s Sam Amico, number one overall pick Anthony Bennett will be on the floor for the Cavs when they begin training camp next week. Bennett spent the majority of the offseason recovering from shoulder surgery and was unable to participate in the Las Vegas summer league in July.
Bennett just recently resumed workouts and was cleared to participate in five-on-five games. He told Fox Sports Ohio on Monday that he has even been throwing down some dunks lately.
“He’s starting to do some five-on-five, some full-court, and his shoulder is fine,” said Cavs general manager Chris Grant. “He still hasn’t played basketball in a long time, so there’s going to be some rust. He’s in a good spot, he’s healthy. But once again, he hasn’t played basketball in a long time.”
This is encouraging news for Cavs fans. The fact that Bennett’s shoulder appears to be “fine” and it sounds like he’s completely healthy is great news. He now has a full month to get back into playing shape and work off the rust before the season starts. It is most likely going to take him a bit into the season to get there while also adjusting to the NBA style of play and playing with a new team/players, but as a Cavs fan, “healthy” is a great word to hear this season. This writer is excited to see Bennett on the court for preseason games in two weeks.
As for Andrew Bynum, Grant also spoke to the media on Monday about where he is in regards to being able to play and commented on his work ethic as well.
“He’s not there yet, where he’s playing, but he’s starting to participate and do things where we’re cautiously optimistic,” Grant said. “It’s a day-to-by and week-by-week process.”
Amico went on to report how Grant and the Cavs are optimistic that Bynum will be able to play at some point this season and don’t expect the same thing to happen this season that happened last year in Philadelphia.
“When we signed him to the contract, we knew there was some risk from an injury standpoint,” Grant said. “We’re positive and excited because of just (how much) the kid works. He’s gonna turn over ever stone to get as healthy as possible. He’s done some stuff on the court, not a lot. Most has been in the training room and weight room. We’ve seen significant progress so far.”
Cautiously optimistic is a great phrase to use to describe how to feel about Bynum at this point. Any fans expecting Bynum to be a presence on opening night or even a huge factor in the first part of the season should really temper their expectations. Is it possible that he ramps up his basketball activities over the next month and plays some effective minutes for the Cavs throughout the first half of the season? Sure. I wouldn’t bank on it though.
It’s obvious that Bynum has quite a ways to go before playing a serious role for the Cavs this season. Everyone knew – or at least should have known – this since the Cavs decided to sign him in mid-July. It’s very likely that he never returns to the player he was for the Lakers two years ago. It’s possible he never returns to anything close to that player. Still, with a month to go before the season begins, these reports from Grant are quite encouraging.
The fact that Bynum is reportedly working hard in Cleveland every day to get healthy and back into playing shape is encouraging in itself. It seems, at least from reports out of Cleveland, that Bynum is taking his return this season very seriously. So far he has said all the right things, and if he truly is working as hard as the reports have said he is, then he might just be maturing before our very eyes.
Of course, even if Bynum is 100 percent mentally focused on returning this season in Cleveland, his body still has to cooperate. At this point, we will just have to wait and see where he is by October 30th.
Kyrie Irving also briefly addressed the media on Monday, and reportedly said “the playoffs” is his personal goal this season. It’s great to hear Irving taking more of a leadership role with this young Cavs team and realizing that this squad should have playoff aspirations this season.
Everything reported from the golf outing on Monday was positive news for the Cavs and hopefully that will continue to be the case leading up to the home opener against the Brooklyn Nets on October 30th. Cavs fans have a lot to be excited about leading up to a season for the first time in awhile.
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