All they want is one more game, or at the very least, an opportunity to practice and maybe scrimmage before the start of next season.
That is something Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love and guard Collin Sexton made clear during a Zoom call with reporters Friday.
“It’s paramount for teams like us that are in the bottom eight to have some good competition,” Love said. “Eight months off from competitive basketball is not conducive to getting better.”
Ah, yes. The bottom eight. That is where the Cavaliers belong today. More specifically, they're one of eight teams that were left behind, as the rest of the NBA intends to resume the season at the end of July.
That's right. Twenty-two teams are heading to Walt Disney World to finish what they started -- to determine seeding, conduct a postseason and crown a champion. Everyone else will have to wait until December, when the 2020-21 NBA calendar is expected to begin. (Training camp is tentatively scheduled for mid-November)
At least, that's the idea for now.
So where does that leave the Cavs? Well, they aren't yet sure.
All we really do know is the league is trying to work out a plan that will allow the Delete Eight to take part in some sort of organized run over the summer -- somehow, someway, somewhere.
Otherwise, as Love mentioned, it will mean eight months of no competitive basketball. Zero, zilch, nada.
As Love also mentioned, that's no way for a team that finished 19-46 to improve. The Cavs' record ended up being the worst in the Eastern Conference and second-worst in the entire league (to Golden State).
But that doesn't tell the whole story.
After all, the Cavs went 5-6 after J.B. Bickerstaff replaced John Beilein as coach in February. They almost immediately looked like a different team. The ball was moving, spirits were high, things looked like they were coming together.
“I was sick,” Sexton said of his feelings about learning the season was over. "I feel like next season, it's going to make us that much more hungry so nothing like this ever happens again.”
Sexton added that he's been so starved for Cavaliers basketball that he watched each of their 65 games this season ... on two occasions.
Toward the end, he liked what he saw.
"We were looking to ruin teams’ hopes for the playoffs and get a few wins here and there and just play it out,” Sexton said. “We weren’t going to make the playoffs, but I felt like us playing those games was definitely going to help.”
Bickerstaff admitted last week that a lot front offices and coaches from those not going to Orlando are pushing for some competition, perhaps a summer-league type of situation featuring mostly younger players.
The Cavs and Detroit Pistons reportedly have even thought about some joint practices and scrimmages.
“Our expectation is that the league is going to let us do something,” Bickerstaff said. “We are fighting, and I know there’s other teams too that are fighting to get something done.”
Also, ESPN reported Friday that the league and players' union are discussing such a proposal.
For now, though, the Cavs are left to sit, wait and wonder. And to use the snub as motivation going forward.
“We’ve been separated for a very long time, and I know it’s kind of tough to wait all the way until November when training camp comes," Sexton said. "So we definitely need to get into the gym at least a couple of times as a team and as a group."