In today’s news, a Cleveland beat writer gave insight on the Cavaliers’ 2014 free agency plans, Brad Stevens revealed updates on Rajon Rondo’s recovery timetable, and the Brooklyn Nets got cleared of any wrongdoing in the Andrei Kirilenko free agent signing.
Cavaliers not expecting LeBron James to return
Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Plain Dealer reports that the Cavaliers are not anticipating a reunion with LeBron James next summer in free agency.
Speculation around the league has persisted that James would consider going back to Cleveland. The Cavaliers figure to have enough cap space available to sign a player to a max contract. Moreover, with one of the league’s most promising rosters, chances of landing a star on the open market are as high as ever.
James still owns a home in Akron and has developed a strong relationship with Kyrie Irving over the years. Regardless, the Cavaliers are not counting their eggs before they hatch in the James sweepstakes.
“I guarantee you the Cavs are not counting on building around LeBron again,” wrote Boyer, who covers the Cavaliers. “They have positioned themselves to have money to spend next summer when there’s a huge free-agent class, which happens to include LeBron. But at this point, the Cavs are keeping all their options open.”
Some experts believe the Cavaliers’ rehiring of Mike Brown was inspired as a ploy to lure James back to Cleveland. For more on how Brown’s hiring affects the Cavaliers’ potential pursuit of James, read here.
Rondo to miss preseason, possibly more
According to A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast SportsNet, Rajon Rondo is proceeding well as he rehabilitates a torn ACL. Still, the team does not expect him to play until the regular season.
Rondo worked out in front of Celtics coach Brad Stevens last week in Boston.
“He’s obviously limited in what he can do on the court,” Stevens said. “But he’s a worker. That was one thing that was very noticeable.”
Rondo, who sustained the injury in January and had surgery in February. Celtics president Danny Ainge said shortly after the surgery that Rondo was expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. Now, it looks more likely that Rondo will miss some time to make sure he is fully recovered.
For those wondering how Rondo and Stevens’ first meetings went, the head coach sounds extremely optimistic about the relationship.
“[Rondo's] excited about a new season, a new situation,” Stevens said. “He seems to be excited. Every time we’ve talked, it’s been a really engaging conversation.”
Nets cleared in Kirilenko free agent probe
Fred Kerber of the New York Post reports the NBA questioned several participants involved with Kirilenko’s signing. Nets officials were summoned to answer questions over the summer and have been cleared of any foul play.
Kirilenko, who opted out of a $10 million player option with Minnesota, signed with Brooklyn for the mini-midlevel exception of $3.1 million.
Many around were angered by the signing. Kirilenko reportedly could have signed for twice as much over a longer duration of years elsewhere on the open market.
Furthermore, because Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and Kirilenko maintain Russian ties, several opposers of the deal suspected an under-the-table supplemental agreement had taken place.