CLEVELAND (AP) – LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers took the court at Quicken Loans Arena on Monday night for the first time since losing Game 6 of the NBA Finals in June.
The Cavs held their annual Wine and Gold scrimmage, and in a callback to the Finals against Golden State, much of James’ supporting cast was missing because of injuries, as well as a contract impasse.
Kyrie Irving, a three-time All-Star team, is still recovering from a fractured left kneecap suffered in Game 1 of the Finals. Kevin Love, the third member of Cleveland’s “Big Three,” dislocated his left shoulder in the first round against Boston.
Iman Shumpert, who started at shooting guard for most of the playoffs, is expected to miss three months with a right wrist injury sustained in an offseason workout.
Tristan Thompson, who played well at power forward in Love’s absence during the playoffs, has not reported to training camp as he remains in a holdout for a long-term contract.
On Sunday, James called Thompson’s situation “a distraction” and urged both sides to reach an agreement.
Anderson Varejao, who missed most of last season with a torn left Achilles, started at center for the Gold team.
James, as he often does, got the crowd of 14,480 going with a trademark dunk. He scored six points in 12 minutes.
“It was a great turnout,” James said. “On a Monday night, we had that many fans, is unbelievable. We accomplished one thing, no one got hurt.”
Cleveland opens the preseason Wednesday night against Atlanta in Cincinnati. Cleveland plays at Philadelphia on Thursday. It’s unlikely James will play in both games.
“It has not been discussed yet, but I probably won’t play in one of the two games,” James said. “I’m not sure if it’s the front side or the back side. It would probably make more sense (to play) in Cincinnati since they don’t get to see us a lot and then we go to Philly, and I’ll probably be there in the regular season.”
The Gold won the scrimmage, which consisted of three quarters, 55-49. Guard Quinn Cook, a rookie from Duke, led all scorers with 13 points.