The Cleveland Cavaliers may have Kyrie Irving out for the start of the season after undergoing knee surgery and he could be out until January and that makes Mo Williams and Matthew Dellavedova starter options for LeBron James until Irving can return and this comes as Tristan Thompson may sign a contract extension with the Cavs soon.
The Cavaliers signed Mo Williams in the offseason for depth behind Irving and brought back Dellavedova on a contract, but now those two players may have to play significant time early in the season. According to Cleveland.com, Chris Haynes reports that while Irving's rehab from surgery from a fractured knee cap has been going well, "chances are slim" that he could be healthy for the first game of the season. Haynes reports that one source speculated that Irving could be out until January.
Haynes writes that while the Cavaliers want Irving on the court, the team is going to be cautious and will "bring him back slowly" so that he does not suffer a "setback." The team knows that they are built for the playoffs and possibly another championship run and keeping Irving out until he is healthy is likely the wisest move. The team is more efficient with Irving on the court, but Mo Williams has starting experience and while he is not nearly the talent that Irving is, he could be suitable for a few months ahead of Dellavedova.
The Cavaliers are also working on bringing back Tristan Thompson on a contract extension, but talks have been slow. According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, Thompson previously turned down a deal for five years and $80 million, as he is looking for more money in his deal. Reports had Thompson considering signing his qualifying offer, but that does not appear to be happening. Thompson is a key piece for the Cavs and LeBron James has said publicly that he wants Thompson back.
The recovery for Irving was expected to be around 3-to-4 months and while that is still on schedule, the Cavaliers want to be careful with the franchise point guard. The Cavaliers can survive without Irving, as they showed last season that a slow start did not mean much by the end of the year. Having Dellavedova back and Williams coming in is a big help and Quinn Cook was signed for a camp deal and could be a third option if he makes the roster.
The team also could look at trades, but that doesn't seem like a realistic option for the team right now. JR Smith has returned along with Kevin Love, James Jones and Iman Shumpert, while players like Richard Jefferson and Williams have added some veteran experience. Williams returned to the team after playing for the Cavs back in 2009 and he comes in after averaging 14 points and 6.2 assists last season. Williams was expected to be the backup for Irving and now he likely will have to start for an extended period of time.