CLEVELAND — Coach Mike Brown said he will have a “better feel” as to whether Sasha Pavlovic will play Sunday in Phoenix after he watches the swingman practice today.
Small forward LeBron James already knows how he feels about the training camp holdout trying to suit up against the Suns after just one workout.
“If he tried to come back for Phoenix, that wouldn’t be smart,” James said Friday prior to a game against the New York Knicks. “We all know why. You don’t want to have your first game back be against a team that runs up and down the court.”
James has a hard time picturing Kobe Bryant playing for any team other than the Los Angeles Lakers, but realizes why the club may have to trade the disgruntled guard.
“Something has to be done,” James said. “It’s a distraction to the team.”
Most rumors have Bryant headed to the Eastern Conference, which James wouldn’t mind one bit.
“As a competitor, I would love to play against Kobe Bryant four times a year,” he said. “As a fan, it’s almost like when Mike (Jordan) was a (Washington) Wizard. You couldn’t see him playing for anybody but the (Chicago) Bulls. You can’t see Kobe playing for anybody but the Lakers.”
Girardi or not?
With the Knicks in town, the first question James was asked during his pregame session with the media was his reaction to his favorite team, the Yankees, hiring Joe Girardi as manager.
“We’ll find out how guys respond to him,” James said. “We’ll find out real soon.”
James is taking the New England Patriots to beat the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in a battle of undefeated teams. When asked why, he said “because Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the world.”
James was actually asked a couple questions about the Cavaliers, with one about his scoreless first half and 10-point outing against Dallas in the season opener.
“I know my performance wasn’t the best,” he said. “I’ll try to make up for it.”
Brown vs. Brown
Mike Brown said he would understand if Shannon Brown was a little shaken because the team did not pick up the third-year option on his contract, which will make him an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
“It’s human nature,” Mike Brown said. “It may have some effect on him.”
Knicks coach Isiah Thomas is not surprised the Cavaliers struggled in the preseason without Pavlovic and Anderson Varejao, who is still holding out.
“Clearly those two guys were a big part of what they did last year,” he said. “Any time you’re missing two guys like that, it definitely makes a difference on your team.”
The Knicks were one of six teams that did not open the season until Friday. The league’s first games were held Tuesday.
“I’ve had a good vibe about our team since the first day of training camp,” Thomas said. “I like our mindset.”
With almost every game a sellout, the team made 500 to 1,000 more tickets available for most remaining home games. The seats were previously held for season ticket and group ticket sales.
• The Cavaliers will play at Phoenix at 8 p.m. Sunday. Cleveland has dropped eight straight to the Suns on the road.
• The Knicks were without forward Jared Jeffries, who has a sprained right knee, and center Jerome James, who has tendinitis in his left knee.
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.