Channing Frye makes Cavs debut with 'thorough' physical complete

CLEVELAND -- Channing Frye suited up for the Cavaliers for the first time Monday. He scored two points and grabbed four rebounds in nine minutes of a 96-88 loss to the Detroit Pistons.

Frye made his debut after a protracted process involving a litany of tests to pass a team physical as part of a three-team trade last week.

The former Orlando Magic forward said he had "no concern at all" as to whether he would eventually join the Cavs, despite being diagnosed with an enlarged heart three years ago.

"I was telling my friends, it's more like I appreciate the team being extremely thorough," Frye said before the game. "How many people get the opportunity to not only go to Johns Hopkins [Hospital] but also come to the Cleveland Clinic? You just get more information."

A trade-deadline deal between the Houston Rockets and Pistons fell through when Donatas Motiejunas failed his physical because of back issues.

"If they had just cleared me, I'd have thought something was up," Frye said. "Them taking extra days is just them being a great organization and making sure they cross their I's and dot their T's."

Frye, a 10-year veteran, missed the 2012-13 season because of a heart condition.

The 6-foot-11, 255-pound big man was able to observe a few Cavs practices while finishing the physical, but he did not participate in any on-court activities with the team.

Despite Frye's limited experience, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue vowed to play him against Detroit and subbed him in to start the second quarter.

"We know what we can get because of his shooting ability, and also being 7-foot, like I talked about before, he's an underrated post defender," Lue said before the game. "But tonight, with the way [the Pistons] play so small, it's going to be kind of difficult for him, but we're going to try to get him in there."

Frye, a 38.7 percent career 3-point shooter, was coveted by the Cavs for his ability to stretch the floor.

"I don't think they need anything," Frye said. "I think I'm just another option. I like to space the floor, I think I can give guys opportunity not to get double-teamed. In today's game, floor spacing is everything. For Coach Lue to have an option of two shooting bigs is pretty good. There are some All-Stars playing ahead of me, so I'm ready to earn my minutes whenever possible and then just be ready."

Frye, who has made the playoffs twice in his career, said Cleveland provides more than just a chance to win. He has been reunited with fellow University of Arizona alum Richard Jefferson, whom he considers a big brother, and will be alongside James Jones and general manager David Griffin, with whom he was on teams in the past.

Frye comes in with the unique perspective, gained from dealing with his health scare, that the Cavs' championship goal is certainly important but takes a backseat to other aspects of life.

"It was probably the best and worst thing that ever happened to me," Frye said. "I think, for me, it made me appreciate every moment I get to play, made me just maybe a little more aware about health issues and how quickly something can be taken away from me. For me, it was the best thing to happen. It made me just enjoy the game more, just to treat it like a game and not worry about the outside influences, and just focus on the team and focus on myself."