Hollinger: Cavs Destined For 13th Place In East

The Cavaliers will finish with the 13th-best record of the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference and don’t have much cap space for a team that is undergoing a rebuild, The Athletic’s John Hollinger wrote in his season preview.Collin Sexton

Cleveland is just $3 million below the luxury tax threshold, partially because of power forward Kevin Love‘s large contract, Hollinger noted. The Cavs have been unsuccessful in attempts to trade Love, who is due around $60 million over the next two seasons.

Love and his agent have both said Love is not open to a contract buyout. For now, it seems, the Cavs are planning to use Love in a reserve role.

“The Cavs are hoping Kevin Love can thrive playing 20 to 25 minutes off the bench with veteran point guard Ricky Rubio,” wrote Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. “They have looked good at times in the preseason. They played together in Minnesota from 2011-16. Rubio has the skills and knowledge to be the excellent backup point guard the team needs.”

As Hollinger wrote, the Cavs’ salary situation should improve after the season — though much of that depends on the possible extension for guard Collin Sexton.

The Cavs are coming off a 22-50 season in which they placed 13th in the East. They ranked 25th in defense and 28th in offense, and returning largely the same core — with rookie forward/center Evan Mobley, forward Lauri Markkanen and Rubio being notable newcomers.

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  1. They’d never do it. But Cavs starting Rubio, with Garland at the 2-guard spot would be a whole different story than when they tried Sexton as the point, and Garland was just getting his feet wet in the league.

    Garland might reach new heights playing with a point like Rubio. Really catch a rhythm.

    Everybody else looks better with Rubio on the floor. Would love to see him start every game, and lead this team forward.

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