Cavs Notes: Thompson, Nance Jr. to alternate at center

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Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue isn't naming a starting center, but not because he is struggling to decide on the best candidate.

Lue has just decided to start two.

Sometimes, it will be Tristan Thompson, the returnee who just happened to be one of two starting center in each of the previous four Finals.

Other times, it will be Larry Nance Jr., another returnee (since February, anyway) who just happened to prove he was starting material in 20 games with the Cavs.

So, how will Lue start both Thompson and Nance?

"With Tristan and Larry, when we play the bigger guys like the (Joel) Embiids and Dwight Howards and Andre Drummonds, Tristan will start," Lue said from practice Saturday. "When play against the smaller (centers), Larry will start."

Lue actually discussed this type of center-by-committee approach with Thompson and Nance before camp even began.

"Last year it kind of wore Larry down trying to guard those bigger centers the whole game," Lue said. "So Larry loved the idea. It was a lot to ask of him to defend those bigger centers."

At some point, Lue may go with one starter at all times, but for now, this is the way it will be in the pivot.

As for all the other positions, well, Lue said that besides All-Star Kevin Love at power forward, everything else is to be determined.

"We've got guys fighting for positions, and other guys trying to fight to show they belong," Lue said. "So it's a different camp. All the positions are battling, except Kevin. I guess Kevin is kind of locked in. Everyone else is battling it out."


* Thompson missed Saturday's practice with knee soreness. Small forward Rodney Hood sat out with an illness. Neither setback is considered serious.

* Newcomer Sam Dekker, perhaps more of a small forward by trade, has been backing up Love in the early days of camp. "Me and Kevin are really the only guys at the four, so that opens up some minutes and opportunity," Dekker said. "When (the Cavs) brought me in they said, 'We just want to let you loose.' That's been so awesome. I've welcomed that."

* The NBA has told Cavs shooting guard J.R. Smith that he'll be fined for a "Supreme" tattoo on his leg for every game the tattoo is not covered, according to The Athletic. "Smith plans to have conversations with the league" about it, The Athletic added.

* The Cavs' annual Wine & Gold intra-squad scrimmage will be held at the Wright-Patterson Air Force base Sunday in Dayton. The game will be played on a portable court installed in a hangar that's designed to house C-17 aircraft. It is open only to the service families on the base. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.