Report: Cavs announce big change to starting lineup ahead of game vs. Blazers

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The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly will start forward Dean Wade in place of Lauri Markkanen on Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Markkanen is out of the lineup due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

“Dean Wade will start at small forward in Lauri Markkanen’s place on Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, sources tell,”’s Chris Fedor wrote.

“It will be Wade’s first start of the season — and 20th of his career.

“Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff contemplated other options. Ultimately he wanted to stay true to the bigger identity they’ve created. At 6-foot-9, Wade, like Markkanen, has spent the bulk of his NBA career at power forward, but will move over one spot, playing alongside (near) 7-footers Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen in Wednesday’s lineup.”

The Cavs have gone to a bigger lineup this season, and it has worked to this point, as the team is 4-4 through its first eight games.

Wade will have some big shoes to fill, as Markkanen is averaging 12.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 36.1 percent from the field.

The efficiency hasn’t been there for Markkanen this season, but he has been a consistent threat for the Cavs, playing 30.8 minutes per game.

This season, Wade is averaging 2.0 points and 2.4 rebounds in 8.2 minutes per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the field. He’s only played in five contests this season, but Bickerstaff clearly trusts him in a starting role.

The Cavs and Trail Blazers are scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. EST tonight in Cleveland.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.