Cavs: Channing Frye was invaluable, as recent pod appearance shows

Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /

Channing Frye was an integral piece for the Cleveland Cavaliers during his time with the Wine and Gold, and off the floor, he was truly invaluable, as a recent podcast appearance by him shows.

Fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers love former Cavs bench big man Channing Frye, and for good reason. Frye was an integral part of two runs to the NBA Finals in 2016 and 2017 as a rotational spot-up shooter, and he made his presence felt right away for Cleveland.

Frye was a 2016 trade deadline acquisition for Cleveland via three-team trade involving the Orlando Magic (his prior squad before here), and Portland Trail Blazers.

Again, though, Frye made an impact early on, and playing alongside LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Matthew Dellavedova, Frye’s shooting off-the-catch and in pick-and-pops gave the Cavs easy offense.

In the 2016 postseason and ultimately, in a thrilling championship run, Frye had 6.7 points per game on a ridiculously efficient 78.3 percent effective field goal shooting clip, according to Basketball Reference.

In that postseason run, Frye was a role player that only played 13.9 minutes per game, but he made those minutes count, as he hit 56.5 percent of his three-point attempts.

Where Frye was truly invaluable, though, of which Kevin Love, James and others can attest to, was Channing’s impact off the floor.

Recently, in an appearance on “The Steam Room Podcast” with NBA TV’s Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley, Frye touched on how he loosened up the Cavs’ locker room, which was anything but that way when he arrived. Excuse the language, but this sort of team bonding/camaraderie element is the key reason why Cleveland Cavaliers fans love Frye so much.

Team camaraderie is such a key part of making a championship push, as we all know.

Plus, on that Cavs team, which had all kinds of pressure on them, especially after previous head coach David Blatt was fired and prior lead assistant Tyronn Lue took the reigns midseason, Frye I’m sure was even more appreciated from a locker room stand point.

Channing initiating the team hanging out then, having wine wherever and essentially “breaking bread,” as Love often talks about, clearly had a lasting impact.

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That Cavs team ended up, as Channing basically highlighted, becoming the only team in league history to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, and they did so against Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors, the squad that broke the league record for victories in a single regular season (73).

From there, Frye would go on to make another run to the NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017, this time, losing to Golden State in five games.

In that postseason, though, he again was terrific when given spot minutes, as he had 7.3 points per game on 68.3 percent effective field goal shooting, including a three-point hit rate of 51.3 percent, per Basketball Reference.

While Frye would eventually be traded by the Cavaliers near the 2018 deadline to the Los Angeles Lakers, he then returned on a one-year, minimum deal that ensuing offseason, and served as mostly a locker room/mentor for the squad.

Though the Cavs would go on to fire Lue after an 0-6 start to the season and quickly shifted to a rebuilding focus predicated on getting key young pieces such as then-rookie Collin Sexton and young wing Cedi Osman big minutes, Frye’s easygoing personality and glass half-full mindset led to him seeming to take things right in stride.

He didn’t play much, but when he was given chances, Channing was still able to give then-interim head coach Larry Drew and the Cleveland Cavaliers a lift in spot minutes as a spot-up man.

Frye then retired after the 2018-19 season, and can now be seen at various times on NBA TV, where he’s the co-host of “Handles” with Tas Melas, and makes appearances often on other TNT shows. He also is a part of the “Talkin’ Blazers” podcast affiliated with NBC Sports Northwest, and he still is a crucial member of the podcast he, Richard Jefferson and prior Cavs/Fox Sports Ohio sideline reporter, Allie Clifton, founded, called “Road Trippin.'”

Anyhow, if it weren’t for Channing lightening up the Cavs’ locker room shortly after he was traded to Cleveland, there’s a good chance that squad would’ve never won the team’s only championship with the constant pressure they were under.

Frye did tie that team together, though, and the Cavaliers made history, and myself and Cavs fans everywhere are ever-grateful for Channing and what he did for James, Love and Tristan Thompson (who all seem really close with Frye) and that locker room. Plus, I’m sure Sexton, Osman, and others, such as Ante Zizic, love Channing, and catch up with him, too.

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Us Cavs fans will always love you, Channing, and I hope you and your family are doing amazing. Please, never change.