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Cavs Notes

Cavs notes: Nik Stauskas happy he's back with Cavs

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    The Cavaliers' Nik Stauskas guards the Knicks' Dennis Smith Jr. on Monday in Cleveland.

    AP

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CLEVELAND — In a span of eight days, Nik Stauskas was traded three times, waived once and signed for the rest of the season.

The latter occurred Monday when the 6-foot-6 guard inked a deal with the Cavaliers, who had an open roster spot.

Stauskas originally was acquired by the Cavs from Portland on Feb. 4 in the trade that sent Rodney Hood to the Trail Blazers, but then was traded to Houston as part of the Alec Burks deal.

The Rockets traded him to Indiana, which waived him Friday, paving the way for the fifth-year pro to sign with Cleveland.

“It was crazy,” Stauskas said prior to a game against the New York Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena. “I haven’t left Cleveland. ... I’m glad it all worked out.

“I’m very excited. When I got traded here initially, I knew it was going to be a good opportunity. I was bummed when I was traded to Houston initially because I wanted to be here.”

Cleveland coach Larry Drew was glad to have Stauskas back.

“I had a sitdown with him (the first time he was acquired), then he was gone,” he said. “I called him into my office this morning and told him I was happy he’s back.”

As a kid growing up in Toronto, Stauskas always asked his parents for tickets to a Cavs game at The Q as a Christmas present so he could watch LeBron James.

“I was a huge fan,” the 25-year-old said. “It was cool being here. The Q was always rocking.”

The last game Stauskas attended was as a 15-year-old on Dec. 30, 2009, when James celebrated his 25th birthday with 48 points and Anderson Varejao hit a late 3-pointer — it was the first of his career — as the Cavs beat Atlanta 106-101.

“He was like a superhero,” Stauskas said of James. “You don’t necessarily even look at him as a human being. It’s almost like a god.”

Stauskas, who played collegiately at Michigan, was chosen by Sacramento with the No. 8 pick in the 2014 draft. Not counting his recent brief stints with Houston and Indiana, where he never suited up, the Cavs are his fifth NBA team.

“I’m used to being in new environments with new coaches, new players,” he said. “For me, it doesn’t take long (to adjust).”

Nicknamed “Sauce Castillo” when a closed-caption broadcast incorrectly transcribed his last name early in his pro career, Stauskas played in 44 games for the Trail Blazers this season, averaging 6.1 points in 15.3 minutes and scoring in double figures on eight occasions, including a career-high-tying 24 vs. the Lakers on Oct. 18.

For his career, Stauskas had appeared in 311 games (63 starts) prior to Monday for Sacramento, Philadelphia, Brooklyn and Portland, averaging 6.9 points in 20.3 minutes.

“This is home for me,” he said of being with the Cavs. “That’s what I’m hoping, (that) this is not a two-month thing.”

Though often referred to as a very good 3-point shooter — “Every time he shoots the ball, you think it’s going in,” Drew said — Stauskus entered Monday hitting .344 from beyond the arc this season and .349 for his career.

“He’s driven,” Drew said. “He wants to be out on the floor.”

Love note

Cavs power forward Kevin Love, who started and played the first 6:29 Friday in Washington in his first appearance since the fourth game of the season, was back on the floor against the Knicks.

Drew said a decision on whether Love will play Wednesday vs. Brooklyn won’t be made until the team evaluates how his toe and foot responded to playing against New York.

“The last thing we want at this point is any type of setback,” Drew said.

Sixth man

Cavs guard Jordan Clarkson was third among NBA bench players with a career-best 16.8 scoring average prior to Monday. His 48 double-figure scoring games tied the Clippers’ Lou Williams for the most in the league off the bench.

Over his last six games, Clarkson was averaging 19.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 28.6 minutes.

Double-double

Cavs forward/center Larry Nance Jr. had posted a career-high five straight double-doubles prior to Monday. No other Cleveland player has had five straight this season, as currently injured center Tristan Thompson’s best stretch was four.

In those five games, Nance averaged 12.2 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals in 30.7 minutes.

Tip-ins

  • Cavs point guard Collin Sexton entered Monday ranked first among rookies in free throw percentage (.856), tied for first with 48 double-figure scoring games, second in 3-point percentage (.400) and fourth in scoring average (14.8).
  • Thompson (foot), Cedi Osman (ankle), Ante Zizic (back) and John Henson (wrist) were out for the Cavs, while the Knicks were minus Emmanuel Mudiay (shoulder) and Frank Ntilikina  (groin).
Contact Rick Noland at rnoland@medina-gazette.com.


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