First day with the Cavs for the new purchase. Coach Bickerstaff: “We built something special, we took someone special”
All-in. This is the watchword in Cleveland after the trade that brought Caris LeVert as a dowry on Sunday, with Domantas Sabonis one of the sacrificed in the Indiana reconstruction project. Taking a player like this, young and with points in his hands, a perfect fit for a young and ambitious group, is the right piece to climb to the next level for a team that, with its successes, even finds itself in fourth place in the East. the idea of going big for the first time since LeBron James left. “Here we play to win,” LeVert said introducing himself to the Cavs.
Earlier in the season, Cleveland did not expect to buy before the trade deadline. The successes of the revelation of the East, 33 won and 21 lost so far, have made it clear to the management that this was the time to strengthen, because in a season in which everything is possible in the conference, and in which Cleveland “emanates an energy positive that you notice simply by playing against it ”as LeVert said, it was right to aim high. “We have a great group and a great understanding, for us it was essential to get the right person – explained JB Bickerstaff, the architect from the bench of the Cavs masterpiece -. This is why we have taken a lot of information about Caris, which is why who he is as a person is more important than who he is as a player. In terms of basketball, however, he resumes a void that we had: he knows how to make a basket, create for himself and for his teammates, he is one more weapon against which our opponents will have to compete “.
LeVert, born and raised in Ohio, was in Cleveland playing against the Cavs when he learned about the trade on Sunday. “When I entered the arena, coach Carlisle took me aside and told me that there was a strong possibility of a trade and that I could have ended up right at the Cavs,” he said. It was surreal, I went back to the hotel and watched the game on TV. I never left, I didn’t even go back to Indianapolis to pack my bags ”. The smile never disappears from his face when he talks via zoom with reporters, after his first training session with the Cavs. It’s not just the excitement to be back home (or almost) or the adrenaline for the new adventure: it’s that LeVert really believes he can help Cleveland be special. “This is a group that has fun on the pitch, emanating a positive energy that I wanted to be part of: you can feel it immediately, as soon as you step into the training center. Everyone here puts you at ease, makes coming to work fun. I feel lucky to play for a team like that, young and with a lot of potential, with a bright future “.
the next step
Together, LeVert and Cleveland must take the next step. At 27, in a season in which he is averaging 18.7 points, the winger is ready “to take the next step” as coach Bickerstaff said. And he is ready to help the Cavs do it as a team: “They keep telling me that they hired me to be myself, and this takes so much pressure off me, it allows me to focus only on basketball. I want the fans of me to know that I play hard. And what a game to win: that’s what counts and always giving your best “. It is also for purposes like this that Cleveland with LeVert feels it has taken the right player, for which it has sacrificed those choices to the Draft (his own on the first round 2022, that of Houston on the second round) which until the summer were the most precious of a team in constant search of itself. “It took us some time to get to this point, to overcome so many hard moments – explained Bickerstaff -. We have improved, as an individual talent and as a group. But we’re not done and LeVert is a key piece for what we want to do. You can only make exchanges like this if you are convinced that you are going in the right direction ”. Cleveland has been convinced of this for a while now, so he decided to move all-in. And to focus on LeVert to take the next step together: make a difference, play to win.
February 8 – 10:08 pm
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