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The transformation of the Cleveland Cavaliers from talented roster to championship outfit has been LeBron James’ goal since returning to Cleveland.
As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst detailed, James wanted to instill the culture he enjoyed with the Miami Heat in Cleveland.
Although he often hit road bumps in the arduous process, the Cavaliers are back in the Finals for the second straight year.
Along the way, James received some help from an unlikely source: Channing Frye. The Cavaliers traded for the sweet-shooting big man at the trade deadline in February, and he reportedly did wonders for team chemistry.
Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson illustrated the point to Windhorst by describing an innocent act by Frye that brought players closer together.
Channing was that new kid in school that doesn’t know that there’s cliques and he just sits at the table with everyone.
He puts random people on text chains. All of a sudden I was just on a text chain with LeBron, Kev[in Love] and [James Jones]. You’re just like, “Why did you include us?” He’s like, “I don’t know, you guys are the ones I wanted to talk to.” All of a sudden the four of us are texting through a game.
Though Frye has been a journeyman in the NBA, he’s always been considered one of the easier players to get along with. Evidently, that didn’t change in Cleveland.
For as much as Frye did for Cleveland’s chemistry, he’ll be just as important in these Finals. The Cavs could use a floor-spacing, mobile big man to spread out the Warriors defense, and he may offer slightly more rim protection and length than Kevin Love.
Frye was considered a solid pick-up by Cleveland when they traded for him, but from the sounds of it, his worth can’t just be measured in points and rebounds.