July 28, 2014

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Cavaliers notes: Pavlovic is back, but Gibson is still starter for now

CLEVELAND — One down, one to go.
Swingman Sasha Pavlovic, who agreed to contract terms on Tuesday, arrived at Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday for the Cavaliers’ season opener against the Dallas Mavericks.
That leaves power forward Anderson Varejao as the team’s lone remaining holdout.
“It’s good we got something done with one guy,” Cavaliers small forward LeBron James said. “Hopefully we can get something done with the other guy.”
To make room for Pavlovic, who agreed to a three-year deal that will pay him more than $12 million, the Cavaliers cut Anthony Tolliver.
“It’s a good thing that it happened,” James said of adding Pavlovic. “I’m excited for him that he was able to get something done and get some security.”
The 6-foot-7, 239-pound Pavlovic started all 20 playoff games a year ago, but second-year man Daniel Gibson, who exploded onto the scene late in the postseason, has moved into the lineup in the Montenegro native’s absence. Who will start when Pavlovic is 100 percent in shape remains to be seen.
“Boobie’s the starter now,” Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said of Gibson. “I have no clue where Sasha is (physically). He’s got a ways to go to catch up to where everybody is.”
Pavlovic will take his physical this morning and is expected to work out with the team at Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence.

No respect

Not many media outlets around the country are predicting big things for the Cavaliers this season despite their trip to the NBA Finals last spring. Included among those people is TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley, who has gone on record as saying Cleveland won’t even make the playoffs.
“I don’t respond to Barkley,” James said prior to the season opener.
The small forward said the Cavaliers weren’t getting more credit because the team “doesn’t look good on paper,” but the fifth-year pro is growing accustomed to that dreary outlook.
“That happens every year,” the 22-year-old said. “It’s nothing new to us that we’re the underdog or no one gives us any credit.”

Tightening up

Brown’s offensive play calls were so long last year the Cavaliers might have been whistled for delay of game if they were a football team.
“They were football calls,” the coach acknowledged. “I knew what the play was, but a lot of times I didn’t have time to get the call out.”
A year ago, Brown had a play for the small forward and power forward called Thumb Up, 34 Slash C. This year, that same play is called Slash 4C.
“I’m trying to be more efficient,” Brown said. “That’s one of the things I worked on in the offseason.”
Inactives
The Mavericks were without starting small forward Josh Howard, suspended for the first two games of the season due to a fight during the exhibition season. Center Erick Dampier (right shoulder surgery) and swingman Devean George (foot injury) were also sidelined. The Cavaliers’ inactives were Eric Snow (knee surgery) and Demetris Nichols, who was signed Monday.

Tip-ins

Zydrunas Ilgauskas became the first player in Cleveland history to start eight season openers.
The Cavs (100) and Mavs (127) are among five teams that have won at least 50 games each of the last two seasons. Phoenix (115), Detroit (117) and San Antonio (121) are the others.
A noticeably slimmer Mark Cuban was at The Q and chatted with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert prior to the game. The Mavs owner was recently eliminated from “Dancing with the Stars.”
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rickn@ohio.net.