Luke Travers explains why there’s ‘no point’ in joining Cavs this season, details development plan

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Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Travers played a key role in helping the Cleveland Cavaliers win the NBA Summer League championship this offseason, but the 21-year-old said there is “no point” in staying to play for Cleveland during the regular season and will instead return to his native Australia to continue his development.

“I feel like it was more there was no point signing for a two-way (NBA contract) because the NBL’s just as good (as the G League) so they were happy to keep me over here (in Australia),” Travers said.

“The talk is just one more year (in the NBL) and hopefully it’s a good one.

“To be able to come back, it’s what I wanted to do to continue to develop my game in Melbourne and I’m coming here to win.

“Coming over here, there’s a lot of clarity. They (Cleveland and Melbourne United) have been awesome about it, so getting that (uncertainty) out of the way makes everything else easier.”

It seems all sides are on the same page about Travers, who was a second-round pick (No. 56 overall) by the Cavs in the 2022 NBA Draft. He averaged about 10 points per game playing in Australia during the 2022-23 season before averaging 7.5 points per game during his six Summer League appearances in Las Vegas this month.

Cleveland won the Summer League championship by defeating the Houston Rockets 99-78. Travers scored six points in the title game, with Isaiah Mobley scoring 28 points and Sam Merrill adding 27.

Travers was tasked with guarding heralded Rockets rookie Cam Whitmore and held him to 14 points on 6-for-17 shooting from the field.

“I wanted to come over here and show a little bit more offense, but that doesn’t always happen,” Travers said. “Today, I got the assignment of guarding Cam Whitmore. So, get down in a stance, space the floor, cut off the ball and stuff. So, to be able to go out there and put together that performance and help the team win in that way, it’s something that I enjoy doing. So, to see it come through is pretty cool.”

The 6-foot-7 player will suit up for Melbourne United in the Australian NBL this season, and the team is expected to use him at various positions.

“Luke may be one of the only people in the league who can actually play one-through-five, whatever position’s needed,” Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman said.

“We want to specialize him at the four to start with and then adjust and move around and do things that we see an advantage with him on the floor.”

Travers was not the only player to boost the Cavaliers’ optimism about their young talent at Summer League. Craig Porter Jr. reportedly impressed scouts with his two-way play and seems like another player the Cavs can develop to help them in the future.

The Cavs won all six of their Summer League games and captured the championship for the first time. It was another highlight during what has been a very successful offseason for the Cavaliers, who are creating some momentum coming off their first playoff appearance since 2018.

Cleveland bolstered its offense by acquiring Max Strus and George Niang and re-signing Caris LeVert, and their plan and path reportedly have impressed at least one NBA executive. ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins also recently said that the Cavaliers are too talented not to make the Eastern Conference Finals this season.

With Evan Mobley among the betting favorites to win Defensive Player of the Year, Donovan Mitchell coming off an excellent first season in Cleveland and the continued emergence of Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen, the Cavs can be confident in their future. Continued development from players like Travers could make it even brighter.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. One of his favorite sports memories is the Cavaliers-Nets playoff series from 1993.