Former Warrior McCaw excited for fresh start with Cavaliers

Colton Jones

Not many players didn't want to play with the Golden State Warriors, two-time defending champions of the NBA.

However, Patrick McCaw did and Monday, he went through his first practice with his new squad, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Why did the 38th pick of the 2016 NBA draft want out in Oakland?

“That's a tough question," McCaw told reporters in Cleveland after his first practice. "I loved playing in Golden State. My teammates, the coaches, it was nothing really … nothing stands out to me to say I didn’t want to go back.

"Think it was just a personal thing where I was just like, I think it was time for me to move on for a new opportunity within myself. Nothing against Golden State, front office, coaches, players, the environment, it had nothing to do with any of that.

"It’s just a personal thing, and I wanted a new opportunity to move on."

From all accounts, it came down to playing time for McCaw. Stuck behind All-Stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in the Golden State backcourt, He signed a two-year, $6 million offer sheet with the Cavaliers on Friday, which the Warriors opted not to match, sending him to Northeast Ohio.

If Cleveland releases him before Jan. 7, it would not owe him anything.

The 6-foot-7 McCaw, 23, is betting on himself after holding out all season with the Warriors. They reportedly offered him a two-year deal for $5.2 million, which he declined.

“I took a different approach to this whole situation,” McCaw, who will wear No. 3 with the Cavaliers, said. “I was uncertain if I would get an offer sheet or anything. But being positive in myself and knowing something would come.

"I can’t really look back on the last two months and how I handled the whole situation, I can only continue to focus on now and the future. That’s all I’m waiting for.”

McCaw reiterated he has no hard feelings toward Golden State.

“I can’t say anything other than it was all me," he said. "Nothing against Golden State. I just wanted to move on.”

McCaw should get an opportunity to play in Cleveland, which has been hit with injuries all season. The Cavaliers have used 16 different starting lineups with Kevin Love (foot), Tristan Thompson (foot), Rodney Hood (Achilles' tendon), David Nwaba (knee) and Ante Zizic (knee) all still sidelined.

Thompson and Hood both practiced Monday.

"I'm just a basketball player," McCaw said when asked which position he prefers to play. "I feel I can guard multiple positions and handle the ball. I can defend. I can shoot. I don't really look at myself as a 1, 2, or 3, just consider myself a basketball player."

McCaw is in his third season and averaged 4.0 points in each of his first two seasons. The Warriors won the championships each time.

The Cavaliers (8-29) host the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

It has not yet been determined how long it will be before McCaw can return to game action after sitting out the season's first three months, but coach Larry Drew said he expects McCaw to be available.

McCaw said he will be ready to go.

"Yeah, I'm ready," he said. "If I don't play, whenever the coaches feel like I can play, I will be ready whenever.

"Excited for a new opportunity. Excited to meet my teammates, new coaches, get a feel for everything that Cleveland has to offer. A little nervous, but it's basketball at the end of the day."

McCaw has no regrets about leaving the two-time defending champions for the Cavaliers, possessors of the worst record in the NBA.

"I bet on myself and stayed positive," McCaw said. "A lot of guys in my position, being 22 or 23 years old, probably would never take that chance because they don't know what the outcome could possibly be. I know I had injuries and things like that last season and I've just been continuing to work to get better and constantly make strides within myself.

"That's how I've always been. Just focusing on myself, getting better within myself and telling myself I can be great at this game."

Sam Amico contributed to this report.

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