Kyle Korver debuts for Cavaliers

SALT LAKE CITY -- Kyle Korver, officially a member of the Cavaliers, came off the bench in Cleveland's 100-92 loss to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.

Wearing No. 26, the newest Cav scored 2 points on 1-of-5 shooting in 18 minutes of action. He also collected three rebounds.

Korver joined the Cavs earlier in the week in Phoenix as they continue a season-longest six-game road trip but was unable to participate in any game or practice until his former team, the Atlanta Hawks, came to a resolution with Mike Dunleavy, who was sent to Atlanta along with Mo Williams and a future first-round pick in the deal.

Korver was asked to share his initial reaction when he heard that the Hawks, the team he played for over the past 4½ seasons, were preparing to trade him.

"'Really?!'" Korver said to reporters before the Jazz game. "'Interesting.' I was pretty surprised. Said it earlier, but I feel like I've been trying to beat this team or beat Miami for a lot of years, you know? So to be on this team now, I need to play a game with the jersey on before I believe it. But I'm excited, it's a great opportunity. Ready to go."

Korver, a 14-year veteran, is one of the league's best 3-point shooters. He has made 43 percent of his 3-pointers in his career. The Cavs have been looking for depth on the perimeter after the loss of J.R. Smith in December for three months because of a broken thumb. They also lost Chris Andersen for the remainder of the season because of a torn ACL.

"I know this is an incredible opportunity for me," Korver said. "I've always felt like the better the players are around me, the better I can be. And this is the most talented team I've ever been on, for sure. There's a lot of things to figure out. I haven't practiced with the team, I haven't done a shootaround, I don't really know what I'm doing right now tonight. But I'm going to go out there and whatever time I get, do whatever is asked of me."

LeBron James said at Cavs shootaround Tuesday morning that he already gave Korver instructions on how he could best contribute to the defending champs.

"The first thing I told him when he walked into the locker room the other day was, 'If you want to fit in, shoot the ball every time you get it,'" James said. "Shoot the ball as soon as it touches your hands. Shoot it. We don't care. We got about four guys that have the ultra-green light. It's J.R., [Kevin Love], now Kyle, Channing [Frye] and [James Jones]. Then you got a green light in Kyrie [Irving] and a flashing light in myself. I got to make sure I get everybody involved so I can decide if I want to stop at the light or if I can kind of just cruise through there. So, the fluorescent light guys, they can do whatever they want. They have no other responsibilities besides letting it go."

Korver said the message was well received.

"It's great," Korver said. "You know I think that's what you want to hear from the best player, the guy who's got the ball a lot and making a lot of decisions. I'll be ready. Someone asked me earlier, I've usually had to work pretty hard for my shots. Maybe there will be a few easier ones. He said if you catch it and you're open, let it fly. That shouldn't be a problem."

"I've always felt like the better the players are around me, the better I can be. And this is the most talented team I've ever been on, for sure."
Kyle Korver

Even though the regular season is nearly halfway finished, James believes Korver will experience an easy transition.

"When you walk into our locker room, you're pretty much pretty acclimated if you like to have fun and joke and talk basketball," James said. "For me, once he gets on the court, I've watched about 25 minutes of his clips over the last couple days and seeing where he likes the ball, how he likes the ball, if he likes it low, if he likes it high, if he likes the seams, no seams. From my perspective, as far as the quarterback, I see where my receiver likes the ball. So, I see what side that he likes to come off pin-downs and things of that nature. So, I got a good feeling, but it's also going to take some time on the floor, too. But I'll get the ball to him."

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said that some of the Cavs' playbook matches what Korver has already run in the past.

"He wasn't allowed to get on the floor [at shootaround], but we run similar plays," Lue said. "He knows the 'Hawk' action. He knows 'Memphis.' He knows 'Memphis-Twist.' He knows 'Two-Chest.' So plays that he's ran all these years he's been in the league, he knows them. So we run those same plays. When we get him out there, we'll try to run some of those plays, but if not just run regular high pick-and-roll and have him space in the corner until he gets familiar with what we're doing."

Korver joked that he was bummed out to be joining the Cavs on their six-game road trip, having already completed the Hawks' long West Coast trip before being traded. He added that his wife and three children were already in Cleveland exploring housing options.

"Obviously with a midseason trade you kind of learn on the fly," Korver said. "You don't have a training camp, don't have a preseason. So it will probably take a few games before we're totally clicking and I know what's going on all the way, but it's a great opportunity and I'm excited."