The Cavaliers could reportedly have a near-year layoff

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr. handles the ball. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr. handles the ball. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers and non-Orlando teams could reportedly have a near-year layoff.

For now, the Cleveland Cavaliers have not played a competitive game since March 10, which was their last game of the 2019-20 campaign.

The NBA season would go into a novel coronavirus-induced hiatus shortly thereafter, and with the Cavs being one of the league’s bottom eight teams not invited to Orlando, they are missing out on valuable player development opportunities for young pieces.

Recently, it was reported by The Athletic‘s Sam Amick and Shams Charania (also of Stadium and subscription required) that there was a “growing belief” among non-Orlando teams about potential for a second bubble and team regional mini-camps as not being likely.

Then on Friday, though, Amick reported how the NBA is “exploring” the possibility of non-Orlando teams possibly going to the Orlando bubble after some teams are eliminated from contention.

Amick did not suggest the potential for games or scrimmages among those squads, but teams being able to conduct workouts, perhaps in the team sense, could be productive. That’d be even more so the case for pieces such as Darius Garland, Collin Sexton and Kevin Porter Jr., in particular.

That said, per a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Saturday, the NBA “has no interest in that idea,” and that the given concern from non-Orlando clubs about reps, the “inevitable solution” will be the “NBA and NBPA agreeing upon voluntary workouts in the team facilities,” so alright then.

So looking at next season, which is currently set to begin on December 1, it appears, though, per Wojnarowski, that the next season could potentially start not until March.

That would mean nearly a year layoff for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

A key part of Wojnarowski’s report from Saturday was this bit about the next season upcoming.

"“The NBA has told teams that the plan remains to start on Dec. 1, but pushing back that date would require a level of confidence that a delay would ultimately result in the reopening of arenas to the public.If so, the NBA would be willing to hold back the start — perhaps even months. An opening night of Martin Luther King Jr. Day — Jan. 18 — is a consideration. February and March are realistic, too, if a combination of vaccines, therapeutics and rapid-response testing for COVID-19 could contribute to the possibility of public gatherings.There’s hope for vaccines, but the league has prepared teams for the reality that mass distribution would be unlikely for a full year, sources said. For now, too, there’s a skepticism about the reliability of rapid-response testing. They’re hopeful that advances in the technology could facilitate ways to get fans into arenas — even if it means less than capacity. Teams are already modeling options that include a few thousand fans to buildings filled closer to capacity.”"

Wojnarowski would then touch on how the possibility could be there for practice facilities to have games, or perhaps a few, even more likely, non-NBA markets that could house “neutral-site games.”

From there, Woj would note how teams could very well play pods of teams at host locations, then move to different ones periodically after training periods at their their home locations “perhaps for two weeks,” and then keep move to another “regional bubble.”

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He would also hit on per previous comments from NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and via ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, that starting next season in the Orlando bubble would be realistic to her, if the landscape involving COVID-19 is still similar to how things are currently.

Wojnarowski then noted how the NBA next season has “brainstormed” a possible month off for the Tokyo Olympics next July, similar to a practice the NHL does during the Winter Olympics, but that during “a pandemic, the Olympics mean even less to owners, team executives and the NBPA.”

We’ll have to see what ultimately does play out in regards to next season for the Cavaliers, but considering the league would ideally probably want fans to attend games, at least in some capacity early on, a season delay seems realistic.

From a revenue generation perspective, I can’t blame them and owners from that standpoint, either, and I would imagine players would want fan attendance, too, if possible.

Albeit swinging back again, a potential near-year layoff for the Cleveland Cavaliers between competitive games could be really tough from a player standpoint. The Wine and Gold were seemingly heading in the right direction leading into the hiatus, as they were a more respectable 5-6 after J.B. Bickerstaff took over the head coaching reigns post-All-Star.

The squad was sixth in assist rate and 10th in effective field goal percentage, too, and even while a mid-season head coaching change could’ve played into it, even Kevin Love seemed much more engaged game-to-game.

Larry Nance Jr., who is fresh off having a career-high with 10.1 points per game and hit a career-best 35.2 percent of his three-point attempts in 2019-20, looked like a solid 3 option at times, too, as Bickerstaff had him there in some lineups.

Nonetheless, it still would be tough for the Cavs and other non-Orlando teams to potentially have a near-year layoff if the next season were to begin in March, especially when it comes to young pieces.

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We’ll have to see what eventually plays out, again, though, but either way, fan attendance is obviously huge for the league from a financial standpoint.