He has been part of the Cavaliers' organization for less than four months, but Baron Davis is already emerging as a vocal leader of the franchise. Antawn Jamison was the lone voice in the locker room for most of last season, but Davis proved again last week that Jamison finally has some company.
Davis and Jamison were the veterans who came up with the idea of bringing the players together to work out during an NBA lockout this summer. Davis reiterated last week he is expecting everyone to make a legitimate effort to get there.
"It'll show a commitment, who's committed to this team for next year," he said.
The Cavaliers are following the lead of NFL teams, including the Browns, who have held similar workouts led by the quarterbacks during the football lockout.
Jamison and Davis were the first Cavs to talk about working out as a team this summer, either near Jamison's home in North Carolina or with Davis out west. The workouts initially seemed geared toward the younger players on the roster, but Davis opened the invitation to the entire team last week.
"It's a total secret," Davis joked. "We're not telling you anything about it. We won't tell you after we do it, either."
Davis says he's returning to Cleveland every couple of weeks to work out at the facility. He attended an Indians game last week and said his knee and back are both feeling great.
He said all the right things about the possibility of the Cavs drafting Duke point guard Kyrie Irving and genuinely appears to enjoy the role the team has given him.
They were straight with him when they acquired him, telling him they didn't care about his past reputation, but that they expected him to be in shape and motivated.
To this point, he has responded.
Davis has embraced the fresh start and believes he has plenty of knowledge and experience to pass on to younger players -- such as Irving.
If and when the Cavs draft Irving, the discussion among fans over who starts will begin immediately. Cavs coach Byron Scott, though, said during the season that Davis was his starting point guard next season regardless of whom the Cavs draft.
There is always the possibility Davis and Irving could play together at times during the season, too. But Davis is ready to groom the Cavs' point guard of the future and doesn't feel threatened by the idea of it.
"It would be a great addition if we do get another point guard to be able to be that mentor," Davis said. "Go out with a bang and know I'm leaving the game in good hands."
Off the market?
After fielding offers for the second pick in the draft for the past three weeks, the Minnesota Timberwolves are now saying they intend to keep the pick themselves.
"As of right now, we are quite pleased with our position," Timberwolves Assistant General Manager Tony Ronzone told Fox Sports North. "We believe there is a very good player waiting for us at the two spot and are not looking to trade. That's not to say we won't listen to offers, but as of now we are going to stay put."
That decision is most likely tied to Ricky Rubio's commitment to play for them next season.
The Wolves drafted Rubio three years ago, then watched him remain in Europe while his game went stagnant. But he is still considered the team's point guard of the future.
The Timberwolves don't really have room for forward Derrick Williams in a crowded frontcourt that includes Kevin Love and Michael Beasley, but they sure could use Enes Kanter at center after starting Darko Milicic there much of last season.
If the Timberwolves take Kanter, it ensures the Cavs of either Williams or Jonas Valanciunas at No. 4. The Utah Jazz hold the third pick and would likely take either Williams or a point guard (like Kentucky's Brandon Knight).
Valanciunas hails from Lithuania like former Cav Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Teams are intrigued with his potential, since he's only 19, but he remains under contract for another three years to a European team. That has teams scared of getting into their own Rubio situation of drafting a player high and then waiting years for him to leave Europe.
The Cavs hosted a slew of prospects last week and more are expected this week, including Kanter on Tuesday. Irving is also expected into town within the next week or two, although neither the Cavs nor his agent, Jeff Wechsler, have announced a date.
One of the players the Cavs hosted last week was Marcus Morris, whose twin brother, Markieff, was also a teammate of his at Kansas. The two are ready to separate after a lifetime together.
They both hired the same agent, Tony Dutt, who recommended to them to hold workouts separate of the other. Marcus is considered the better NBA prospect.
"We're not the same player," Marcus said. "At Kansas, it looked that way because the '4' and the '5' are interchangeable. We want teams to evaluate us separately. When we're together, it's almost like we're one."
New Orleans Hornets General Manager Dell Demps laughed at the rumored deal of his All-Star point guard, Chris Paul, for Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook.
Paul has been the subject of trade rumors since last summer, and Westbrook's name has recently surfaced after the Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs.
Demps and Thunder GM Sam Presti worked together with the San Antonio Spurs and remain close, but that doesn't mean a deal is.
"Our offices used to be right next to each other, so we still text each other all the time," Demps said. "I can assure you that has not been a conversation we've had."
Shaquille O'Neal's retirement wasn't all that surprising, but his final remarks on Dwight Howard were.
O'Neal has taken offense to Howard's use of the "Superman" nickname. He has bashed Howard often, even though the Orlando Magic center idolized him growing up and always seemed to want a close relationship with O'Neal.
Howard has been rumored to be interested in leaving the Magic for the Los Angeles Lakers -- just as Shaq did nearly 20 years ago. But O'Neal told him to stay put.
Howard said recently he wants to make his own path, to which O'Neal replied, "I hope he lives up to those words and stays (in Orlando)."
Does that mean in seven years, LeBron James will be encouraging Kyrie Irving to stay with the Cavaliers?