Hoping to recapture some of the magic of 2016, the Cavs have reportedly brought back PF Channing Frye on a one year, $2.4 veteran’s minimum contract with the team.
Frye hasn’t been away from the Cavs for very long, having been shipped away with Isaiah Thomas and the team’s 2018 first rounder (which eventually became Moritz Wagner) to the Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance at this year’s trade deadline.
Frye had become somewhat of a fan favorite in Cleveland before his departure, not only for the steady hand he provided off the bench during his 2.5 seasons with the team, but for his accolades and behavior off the court as well.
He was the host of the “Road Trippin’” podcast with teammate Richard Jefferson until Jefferson’s departure in October 2017 and was almost as well-known for his steadying presence in the locker room as his three-point shooting.
While many Cavs fans will welcome his return, this signing does come as somewhat of a surprise.
Given his championship experience and fantastic reputation around the NBA, there had been some speculation that he would look to sign for a contender, whether that was a return to Los Angeles to reunite with Lebron James or another team with similar aspirations.
This is yet another signal from the Cavs that they do not intend on simply tanking in the second post-Lebron era.
With Frye, other veterans such as Kyle Korver, George Hill, J.R. Smith and Kevin Love and a plethora of young talent led by Collin Sexton, the team is in a good position to contend for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference,
However, this runs contrary to many reports that have surfaced out recently which state that Sexton is the team’s only untouchable player and that they are actively seeking out trades for several veterans, including Korver.
Regardless of the direction the team goes in, Frye shouldn’t expect much playing time. He projects to be behind Love, Larry Nance Jr. and Tristan Thompson in the big man rotation, with Ante Zizic and former Kansas forward Billy Preston angling for minutes as well.
However, as noted previously, he will definitely be a valuable locker room presence.
Young players such as Sexton, Jordan Clarkson and Cedi Osman can lean on him for guidance, something that may prove to be very valuable going forward to these inexperienced members of the team.
This signing also allowed the Cavs to maintain their $8.6 million mid-level exception, which the team could use to bring in another useful role player if they attempt to contend this year.
Overall, signing Frye will bring a positive demeanor and a veteran presence to the Wine & Gold, two things they are in desperate need of given the uncertainty of this second post-Lebron era.