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While the Cleveland Cavaliers are already early into their NBA grind, the Cleveland Charge, the Cavaliers’ G League affiliate, opens up their season soon. Last season, Charge general manager Brendon Yu shared with Right Down Euclid that while the team is focused on winning any night, the long-term goal is to develop rotation players and quality depth for the leading club. During the team’s media day on Thursday, Yu reaffirmed with Right Down Euclid that is still a core value of the team going forward. Given some of the new faces on the roster for the Charge, it makes sense why Yu and the Charge organization feel that way.
The Cavaliers have Isaiah Mobley, the older brother of star big man Evan Mobley, as well as Mamadi Diakite signed to two-way deals. There’s also Sam Merrill, who the Charge took first overall in the 2022 NBA G League Draft. Ideally, Mobley, Diakite and Merrill will all use part or nearly all of this upcoming NBA G League season to further hone their craft and break through to the NBA with the main club.
There are also prospects like Chandler Vaudrin on the roster as well that could stick long-term with the Charge and the Cavaliers. Vaudrin first played for the Cavaliers on the team’s 2021 Las Vegas Summer League squad. Unfortunately, Vaudrin suffered a torn ACL against the summertime New Orleans Pelicans, putting his basketball career on hold.
Vaudrin shared with Right Down Euclid that the Cavaliers took care of him during his surgery and rehabilitation process. Cleveland kept constant tabs on him and even brought him to several games and practices last season to make sure he still felt like he was part of the Cavaliers’ future plans. It’s been a long road to recovery, but, Vaudrin could fit in nicely as a very lanky, backup point guard for the Cavaliers long-term. It’s just going to take some time with the Charge in order to make that vision a reality.
If any of the aforementioned players join the Cavaliers down the line, they’d all join Dean Wade and Lamar Stevens, recent examples of two-way signings made by the Cavaliers that have leveled up to mainstays in the NBA. But, similarly to Wade’s case, it’ll require some time for the latest batch of NBA hopefuls to further develop. Thankfully, with new Charge head coach Mike Gerrity heading the operation, player development will be at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Cleveland Cavaliers Summer League standout Chandler Vaudrin is back again with the organization as a point guard for the Charge. Vaudrin shared that the Cavaliers have been a staple in his road back to the hardwood. Photo credit: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images
This will be the first time that Gerrity, who has largely worked as a player development coach with the Cavaliers and was a lead assistant for J.B. Bickerstaff last season, is a head coach. Technically, Gerrity got his first trial run over the summer coaching the Summer League Cavaliers. But, for all intents and purposes, this is Gerrity’s first time as a head coach at the professional level.
Gerrity will be taking over for Dan Geriot, who, in turn, rejoined the Cavaliers under Bickerstaff. Sources shared with Right Down Euclid that the Cavaliers want to utilize the Charge as not only an opportunity to develop players but to allow their assistants to grow and develop with valuable head coaching experience. For Gerrity, having a leg up with Summer League experience is a good start. But, going from an assistant to a head coach is going to be an adjustment, no matter who you are. Thankfully, Gerrity has a lot of believers within the Cavaliers organization.
“I told him to just breathe and take it day by day,” said Geriot to Right Down Euclid prior to Cleveland’s home opener against the Washington Wizards. “The G League is unique where there are days you may not know your entire roster if a lot of your guys may get called up to the NBA. So, that’s what I mean by taking it day by day. You can only control what you can control and, thankfully, Mike is the right guy to be in control. He’s going to be great with the Charge.”
“In order for Mike to be successful, Mike’s got to be himself,” said Bickerstaff to Right Down Euclid on Wednesday. “He can’t try to be me and coach my style. You have to be yourself because that’s the one thing you have to do to win guys. And these guys smell bullshit faster than anybody.
“So, if you’re pretending to be somebody you’re not, they’ll smell that out and you won’t have the chance to be successful. So, you know, just continue to be himself and be truthful.”
Gerrity has the right disposition, which Vaudrin shared with Right Down Euclid during Charge media day is more of a traditional, hands-on approach with a focus on maximizing everyone’s potential. Vaudrin also shared that Gerrity passes the smell test that Bickerstaff had mentioned as well and even went on to say that his new head coach is the right guy to lead this new era of Charge basketball.
According to Gerrity, along with the Charge players and staffers that spoke with Right Down Euclid, the vision still is to become something that runs parallel to the Cavaliers. Yes, the focus is and always will be on player development. But, the Charge wants to utilize Mobley similarly to his younger brother. They want to run similar looks with Sharife Cooper like the main club does with Darius Garland. They want Diakite to be able to defend all over the court and also become a reliable three-point shooter, like Wade. The vision is there and now, with training camp now underway, the Charge can try and execute it.
It’s going to take time for everything to come to fruition but this upcoming season for the Charge is bound to be exciting. There are tons of interesting players on this roster, including numerous others who weren’t mentioned in this story. A lot of them could be members of the Cavaliers next season as well so it’s best to start following their careers more closely. The Charge open up their season on November 4 at home against the Motor City Cruise.
Featured image credit: Cleveland Charge
Evan Dammarell is a sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can also email him at [email protected] He can also be found three to five times a week on Locked On Cavs, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network.
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