Channing Frye staying patient as Cavs work him in slowly

Channing Frye had 15 points and six rebounds in his second game with the Cavs after being acquired in a deadline deal with the Magic. He has just eight points and 13 rebounds in six game since to the frustration of some Cleveland fans. David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

CLEVELAND -- Channing Frye could use a little more space.

Not only has he been living in a hotel with his wife and two children since being acquired by the Cleveland Cavaliers in a deadline deal with the Orlando Magic nearly three weeks ago ("We're a little cramped," Frye admits), but he's also found himself squeezed out of Cavs coach Tyronn Lue's rotation.

"I think the game's a little fast for him right now because he hasn't quite picked the plays up so we can't call stuff on the fly," Lue said last week after Frye notched his second DNP-CD (Did Not Play, Coach's Decision) in the span of three games. "Which is not fair, because we haven't had a lot of practice days. But my intent is to play him."

Frye played five minutes -- all in the second quarter -- of Cleveland's 106-103 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday and made a positive impact on the game with two points, two rebounds, two assists and one block as the Cavs outscored the Grizzlies by four in that stint. It wasn't much, but it was a step in the right direction.

"Like I said when I came here, I knew I was going to have to earn minutes and we haven't had practice time, which is understandable," Frye told ESPN.com before the Memphis game. "(Lue) doesn't know me. I'm really still getting used to how things run as fast as I can. So, am I ready? Yeah, I'm ready. But at the same time, I'm being patient. I understand. It's not like I'm playing for a contract, our season is not going to be over at the end of April, so for me, I want to play, I want to help the team out, but I also appreciate that he's not just throwing me out there to the wolves.

"Because at the end of the day, if we're patient and we go up 5-6 games before the end of the year, maybe I might play 30-40 minutes at the end of the year when guys rest. So for me, it's just being patient and understanding he's trying to put me in situations where I can succeed. It's a respect thing. But I think he knows that I'm ready. I'm still catching on to some of the plays, some of the rotations and I just want to go out there and help, man, anyway I can. So I'm going to be encouraged and continue to be competitive and stay in shape and enjoy my time."

Fans haven't been quite as patient with Frye's gradual on-board process. He was the team's lone addition at the trade deadline, the only extra piece brought in to help try to secure the city's first championship in professional sports in more than 50 years.

After showing a glimmer of greatness in his second game in Cleveland -- putting up 15 points and six rebounds in a win over Charlotte -- he's become a forgotten man. Not helping things: the Cavs have lost three of their last six games since the Hornets win, making their supporters restless, wondering if their team should have made a more significant upgrade for the stretch run and if Frye was worth what they gave up to get him.

Cleveland parted ways with a fan favorite in Anderson Varejao in the trade and also said goodbye to a future first-round pick.

Varejao was subsequently picked up by the Golden State Warriors. It's not like he's been tearing it up -- averaging 2.6 points on 42.9 percent shooting and 2.8 rebounds in 9.8 minutes per game -- but it still rubbed some fans the wrong way. And first-round picks are always vital for a team to keep in its cupboards.

Even if Frye never finds a niche in the rotation, the Cavs can always defend the move as saving the team more than $10 million in salary and luxury tax fees. However, the plan is to indeed play him. Frye said he has studied film to pick up sets playing both the stretch 4 and small-ball 5 positions that Kevin Love plays.

"I think at the end of the day it's just really going to come down to who is guarding me and who I'm guarding and who is guarding (LeBron James) or Kevin and which matchup is better," Frye said.

Off the court, Frye's already been impressed with Cleveland's restaurant scene (calling it "ridiculous"), but hasn't explored too much because he uses the Cavs' off days to go to the team's practice facility to try to get up to speed.

"I see him being a valuable piece for us," Lue said. It's just a matter of time.

"I'm not bigger than the team," Frye said. "My minutes aren't bigger than winning. There are situations where I'm like, 'OK, maybe I'll go in right now,' but then they go on a run … I mean, I understand the game."

And he understands that even if he's had a slow start with the Cavs, he's in a good place.

"My family loves it here," Frye said. "It feels right. And again, everything comes with a Catch-22. Do you want to win and be on a team contending for a championship or do you want to go and play and make mistakes all day long? For me, I'm like, 'Hey, I want to win.' I like being part of a winning organization. Whether I'm playing or sitting, I'm going to be ready and you're not going to have me have a bad attitude. That's just not who I am. I'm a pro and I'll be ready whenever I get a chance to play."