June 25, 2016

Mostly sunny

Cavaliers notes: Harris knows challenge

INDEPENDENCE — Joe Harris won’t have to worry about a nickname change, but he knows the level of competition is about to increase.

The 6-foot-6, 225-pound shooting guard went from the Virginia Cavaliers to the Cleveland Cavaliers after being taken with the 33rd pick in the NBA Draft.

“I have a lot of confidence in my game,” Harris said Friday in a conference call with local media members. “You don’t know until you get into that situation where you’re actually practicing against that caliber of player day in and day out. … It will be an adjustment, but I’m really looking forward to trying to prove as much as possible.”

Harris averaged 16.3 points and earned first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors as a junior, but that fell to 12.0 points and second-team honors as a senior. However, Virginia’s record improved from 23-12 to 30-7.

“My statistics went down a little bit my last year, but the most important thing is the wins went up,” the 22-year-old said. “We had an unselfish, team-oriented attitude. … We all kind of bought into what our roles were.”

Harris was a career .407 shooter from 3-point range and finished with 263 makes from behind the arc. That total ranks second in school history.

“I don’t think too highly of myself, but I certainly don’t think too lowly of myself,” Harris said. “With me, you know exactly what you’re going to get.”

Trade talk

Cavs general manager David Griffin fielded numerous trade offers for the No. 1 pick, but didn’t come close to making a deal that would have prevented Cleveland from taking Kansas swingman Andrew Wiggins. Griffin added that most of the rumored offers were completely inaccurate and “asinine.”

“I don’t know what close (to making a deal) is,” he said. “There were deals we were conversational with at times, but there was nothing that I felt was really actionable. … It was going to have to knock me over with a feather for it to even be considered.”

Oh, Gee

As part of the deal with Charlotte that allowed Cleveland to acquire No. 45 pick Dwight Powell, a power forward/center from Stanford, the Cavs sent small forward Alonzo Gee to the Bobcats.

The Cavs also took on the $2.2 million guaranteed contract of veteran center Brendan Haywood, who was originally taken by Cleveland with the No. 20 pick in 2001 and traded to Orlando for center Michael Doleac. Haywood’s contract is non-guaranteed beyond that. Gee’s $3 million deal for next season is not guaranteed.

The Cavs are not expected to officially announce the trade until July 10, when the NBA’s moratorium period ends.

Summer league

The Cavs will be among 24 teams participating in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas from July 11-21. Games will be held at the Thomas & Mack Center and COX Pavilion on the UNLV campus. One of the squads will be made up of select NBA Development League players. Each team will play at least five games. NBA TV will televise some of the games.


Griffin pointed out Wiggins was “all in on the city of Cleveland.” That didn’t appear to be the case with Duke forward Jabari Parker, a Chicago native who went No. 2 to Milwaukee.

l Wiggins will wear No. 21 with the Cavs. The No. 22 he wore at Kansas has been retired by Cleveland in honor of Larry Nance.

l After wearing a wild jacket to the draft Thursday in New York, Wiggins donned a traditional gray suit Friday at Cleveland Clinic Courts.

l Harris and Cavs center Spencer Hawes, who will become an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday, are both from the state of Washington and played in the same AAU program.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com.

Rick Noland About Rick Noland

Rick Noland is the Cavs beat writer for The Gazette and the author of "Over Time," a compilation of stories he's written in more than 30 years as a journalist. He can be reached at 330-721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.