April 24, 2014

Shaq to Have Surgery Tomorrow In Baltimore: Most Likely Out for Remainder of Regular Season

Brian Windhorst tweeted tonight that Cavaliers center Shaquille O’ Neal will have surgery on his injured right thumb tomorrow with a hand specialist in Baltimore.  Windhorst inferred that the recovery time will most likely be 6-8 weeks for O’Neal which would effectively end his regular season.  Shaq would most likely be back in time for a playoff series against the Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard – a primary reason for his addition to this Cavaliers squad.  Windhorst tweeted that Shaq had been in excellent shape and that conditioning would most likely be the primary concern upon his return in the middle of the postseason.  A postseason return is not guaranteed as the Cavaliers have not set an official timetable for his return.  While there have been numerous reports since Friday that Zydrunas Ilgauskas intends to return to the Cavaliers, we still await official word from Z and his agent announcing this to be the case.  In the interim, the Cavs will be without a true center for the foreseeable future.

Cavs Enter March with Easy Schedule Ahead

Cleveland Cavaliers wastelandAs the calendar turns to March and we await word on Shaq’s injury and Z’s potential return, let’s look at the upcoming schedule as the Cavs try to deal with their shorthanded frontcourt and fully incorporate Antawn Jamison into the rotation. It has been well documented that the first half of the season challenged the Cavs with one of the toughest schedules in the league. It included their two West Coast trips within one month and more road games than any other team in the league.

As a result, in February the team did not have to leave Cleveland or the Q for an amazing 20 day stretch. While February provided the Cavaliers with a comfortable home schedule, as this new month begins, the March slate of opponents provide little resistance on paper. Here are some quick notes and facts about the next 31 days for the Cavs as they battle shorthanded.

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Browns’ Brass Take the Podium at the Combine

Mike Holmgren Tom Heckert Eric ManginiThe NFL Scouting Combine is one of the highlights of the NFL offseason. Many experts and draftniks have the Browns zeroing in on a defensive back – either Florida CB Joe Haden or Tennessee S Eric Berry. The DBs arrived yesterday and are going through measurements and interviews but will not workout until Tuesday. Off the “field,” however, the combine provided a platform for the Browns brass – Holmgren, Heckert, Mangini – to get in front of a microphone and address the league wide assembled media for the first time. Between the three of them, the Browns have made some of the more notable statements coming out of the NFL weekend in Indy. Let’s take a look at what each has addressed over the past two days.

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While We’re Waiting…Phil Jackson on Z, Antawn’s Integration into the Offense, Combine Fallacies, Branyan Deal

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Phil Jackson

Phil rips the NBA rules and the Z trade: “It’s something that’s going to have to be addressed in the next (collective bargaining agreement)…It’s a sham of sorts to make that kind of trade. You’re not really trading a player. You’re just trading a money situation. It’s a sham, and I think it’s a disrespect for the league and the players to be involved in this type of a thing…They got a real good player and [have] not lost a thing.” [Chris Tomasson/Fanhouse]

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OSU Beats Michigan & Continues Impressive Play as March Approaches

Evan TurnerOhio State finished off an impressive month of February with a home win over rival Michigan on Saturday afternoon. The Buckeyes are playing their best basketball of the season as the most important month in college basketball approaches. With a number of top 15 teams having lost already or squaring off against each other later today, the Buckeyes can continue a push for a 2 seed and potential placement at the Buffalo 1st-2nd Round site (the only site reasonably close to Cbus). With only one game remaining (home Tuesday vs. Illinois), the Buckeyes needed to take care of business against a below average Michigan team as they head into the Big Ten tournament as the potential favorite after this week’s season ending injury to Purdue’s Robbie Hummel.

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Did Glen “Big Baby” Davis Cross the Line and Purposefully Try to Injure Shaq?

big-babyAs we await word on the MRI of Shaquille O’Neal’s severe thumb sprain (aka torn ligament), there still remain questions and controversy over how he was injured and what transpired shortly thereafter when he initially tried to play before being taken to the locker room. Shaq was injured when Glen “Big Baby” Davis came down hard across his arm and hand as Shaq attacked the rim. A foul was not called on the play but Shaq was clearly banged up and grabbed his hand while grimacing. On a subsequent possession before he exited to the locker room, TNT cameras showed Davis trying to grab at Shaq’s damaged hand as O’Neal posted up on Davis in the block.

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Cavs “Big 3″ Beat Toronto in Overtime

Cavaliers vs RaptorsThe Cavs escaped Toronto with an overtime win on the second night of a back-to-back that will hopefully kick start a new long winning streak. The trade of Z and injury to Shaq forced the Cavs to play without a true center but the Raptors were also without their dynamic young center Chris Bosh. Cleveland’s depth was on full display, however, as 6 players hit double figures led by, what will be during this shorthanded stretch of games, the Cavs version of “the big 3.”

LeBron went for 36-6-9 and was his usual spectacular self. He varied from attacking on the offensive end solo to getting all of his teammates involved leading to those 6 players in double figures. A perfect example of this varied approach was the contrast between the 4th quarter and overtime. LeBron took over in the final minutes of regulation scoring the final 6 points and tying the game after the Cavs lost the lead in the final minute for the first time in the quarter. The Cavs dominated overtime when LeBron changed his approach and scored only 2 points on a pair of free throws but registered 3 assists on the Cavs 5 field goals in OT.

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While We’re Waiting…Holmgren on Peppers, Z’s Tenure, Tait critiques Cavs routine, Bradford Impresses

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

nfl_g_peppers_580

Mike Holmgren admits the Browns are interested in Julius Peppers but the current price may be too high: “Certainly Julius is one of the guys we talk about, but then I have to put on my other hat a little bit, because there are some financial ramifications there…I’d be reluctant, as great a player as Julius is, to compare anybody with Reggie White. We did it for Reggie. If you remember at the time, we bonused Reggie, I think we bonused him for $8 million…Everyone thought we were nuts. It was numbers off the charts, and think of that today. You toss around stuff like it’s nothing. If I thought there was a Reggie White out there, or if I thought there was a Brett Favre out there I could trade for, I’d be seriously interested.” [Aaron Wilson/National Football Post]

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Cavaliers Open Thread Game #60: Cavs at Raptors

Cavaliers vs RaptorsCleveland Cavaliers (45-14) vs
Toronto Raptors (31-25)
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON
Friday, February 26, 2010
7:00 PM EST
FSOhio/WTAM

The Cavaliers travel to Toronto on the second leg of a back-to-back to take on a Raptors team that has been playing good basketball since Christmas.  Their prospects for this evening, however, took a major hit when franchise forward Chris Bosh was ruled doubtful for tonight’s game.  The Cavaliers will be without Shaquille O’Neal who hurt his thumb last night in Boston and is still awaiting an MRI to determine the seriousness of the “sprain.”  The Cavs will utilize the same small lineup that had so much success last night in the second half in Boston.  LeBron, Antawn, and Andy will most likely be the starting frontcourt for the Cavaliers with JJ (and perhaps Leon Powe) seeing significant minutes off the bench.  Toronto, however, has the ability to stretch the floor at the frontcourt positions as well countering with Andrea Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu.

This game closes out the month of February for the Cavs as they are off all weekend before a home date Monday night with the Knicks.  The Cavs lost in Toronto on the second night of the season back in October when they were still trying to figure out the new lineup and rotations.  They will be experimenting with a new rotation tonight due to trades and injuries but they seem to succeed against certain opponents when playing small ball as we witnessed last night.  Going small tonight is certainly aided by the fact that Toronto should be without their all star interior threat in Bosh.

Grady Sizemore to Bat Second in 2010

Picture 009_medIn a recent interview from Goodyear, Arizona, Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore said that head coach Manny Acta plans to place him second in the batting order behind Asdrubal Cabrera. 

A heavy portion of Sizemore’s home run total over the last two seasons have come with the bases empty.  As stated by Sizemore, Acta estimates that the lead-off man receives approximately 150 at-bats with no one on base.  Moving Sizemore’s power potential behind a solid contact hitter like Cabrera would help maximize run scoring potential. [Read more...]

Kenny Smith is a Genius

14971_422.CR2TNT’s Inside the NBA studio show is hands down the best in the business. Ernie Johnson has played the role of straight man with Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith to rave reviews. Throw in the occasional appearances from the made for TV Chris Webber and Kevin McHale and you have a tasty recipe.

With the Cavaliers one of the two marquee draws in the NBA, we are fortunate enough to have many games on national TV. In fact, they are on a run where they have been on TNT’s Thursday night coverage six of out of the past seven weeks. Lucky for us we get to hear the views of some of the NBA’s finest studio analysts. [Read more...]

Guest Post: A Second Look at the Eastern Conference Playoffs

Cavaliers Bobcats BasketballThe Cleveland Cavaliers had another statement victory last night to improve to 45-14 and now own a decent lead in the Eastern Conference as well as the NBA. Last night was fun to see how the new-look Cavs match up against the Celtics, but what about the other Eastern powers? That is the topic for today’s playoff Cavs post, as guest writer Matt Manuszak, returns to WFNY to complete his previews with three more possible playoff opponents.

These teams are currently the #’s 2-4 teams in the Eastern Conference and represent a wide variety of scenarios for the next two months of the regular season. The Cavaliers are in very good position to get the top seed in the conference now but as we learned last season, anything can happen between the top teams in each conference.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @the_real_matt_m. You can also check out his content at The Ram, the newspaper at Fordham University where he writes a regular column titled “The Smush Parker Project.” His analysis is below the jump and hope y’all enjoy:
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What a Difference a Year Makes… February 2009

back-to-the-futureAs my Twitter article proved yesterday, we are in a slow season for sports news.  Yes, the Cavs are trying to play themselves into shape for the playoffs, but trying to draw too many conclusions from individual games proves problematic in the NBA.  The NFL combine is going, but I think we all know pretty much what options the Browns have at #7 this year.  The Indians have pitchers and catchers reporting, but as Andy Baskin told me on Twitter the other day, the Indians have a great chance this year with Russell Branyan and about $100 million in payroll additions.  So, rather than report on any other Twitter news, I thought I would take a look and see what we were talking about last year at this time.  One point twenty-one gigawatts!

The biggest news story was the trade of Kellen Winslow to the Buccaneers.  I know a lot of us were sad to see Winslow go as a playmaker.  That might have also been the first and last actual quote we might have gotten from George Kokinis who thanked Winslow for his contributions.  Of course now with the benefit of hindsight we all know that the trade was a mixed bag.  The Browns lost their most electric playmaker, but also a battered, bruised football player that wanted (and ended up) being the highest paid tight end in the NFL. [Read more...]

Cavs 108, Celtics 88: Shaq Injured, Cavs Dominate Without Him

90043720EG017_Cleveland_CavI have to swallow my pride for a moment. Charles Barkley was absolutely correct. (That really hurts to say.) The Cavaliers were down 8 at the half, and looked to be completely out of sorts. O’Neal had sprained his thumb and was ruled out for the rest of the game. Z is sitting on a couch somewhere. And Charles Barkley guaranteed the Cavs would win the game. It wasn’t so much the prediction of a win that was impressive, but that he called exactly how the game would be won. The comment that got my attention- “the Cavs don’t need Shaq to beat the Celtics.”

He was correct. The Cavaliers completely switched gears in the second half, going with a much more athletic line-up and just pummeled Boston. (Yes, Boston was playing without Paul Pierce, thank you for noticing.) The defense, which was non-existent in the first half clamped down on Boston’s guards and swung the game wide open. At half Boston’s guards held a 33-6 scoring edge. In the second half Delonte West, Jamario Moon and Mo Williams reversed the trend, outscoring Allen, Rondo and Robinson 25-14. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… LeBron’s Pregame, NFL Combine and Stallworth’s Future

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com. (Editor’s Note: Apologies for the delay – blame ODOT)

lebronjameschalk

On LeBron’s pre-game rituals: “I’m not a doctor, though I occasionally play one on FOX’s television medical drama “House,” but from what I know obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder. If you have OCD, you have repeated, upsetting thoughts called obsessions, which in turn can lead to an urgent need to perform certain rituals or routines called compulsions over and over again to alleviate your anxiety.” [Hoop Doctors via JE Skeets/BDL]

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Cavaliers Preview Game #59: Cavs at Celtics

Cavaliers vs CelticsCleveland Cavaliers (44-14) vs
Boston Celtics (36-19)
TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, MA
Thursday, February 25, 2010
8:00 PM EST
TNT/WTAM

After finally snapping that 3 game losing streak, the Cavaliers must now turn their attention to the rival Boston Celtics. Both teams come into this game relatively fresh as each had last night off. This is going to be a great playoff test for the Cavaliers. One of my biggest concerns about this season was that prior to the trade deadline, the only time the Cavaliers played the Celtics was on opening night. I wanted more info on how the Cavs match up with Boston to better know how to proceed at the trade deadline. Now, I realize most Cavs fans don’t take the Celtics seriously, but I refuse to overlook this Boston team. They’re a veteran team that knows how to win big games. This, however, is just a regular season game and the Celtics are without Paul Pierce, so we’ll see how motivated each of these teams really look tonight.   [Read more...]

Twitter Explodes Between Cleveland and Adam Schefter Over LeBron

Adam Schefter Twitter PicOnce upon a time on a slow slow news day ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski (Gene W because I can’t type that again) decided to suggest that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh could do something historic this upcoming off-season.  He suggested that the three of them split the New York Knicks’ estimated $33 million in salary cap space to create a mega-superstar-triumvirate dynastic superteam in NYC.  When there is no actual news, ESPN sometimes likes to create some with an opinion piece plastered right on the center of the front page.  And I guess it isn’t that bad of an idea because I am sitting here typing about it as we speak.  So, when and how does this involve Adam Schefter?

It all started kind of innocently with ESPN’s NFL Insider.  He retweeted a post by Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell1) that said,

“N.Y.’s gearing up for LeBron. RT @darrenrovell1: Knicks 2010/11 tickets went on presale last Thursday. Sold a record 770 so far.”

As you might guess, that opened up the floodgates of Clevelanders who had probably already gotten riled up by Gene W’s piece on the ESPN front page.  Shortly after the LeBron comment, Schefter followed it up by saying:

“Some VERY sensitive people when it comes to LeBron. RT @ToddCHartman: GET A LIFE! LEBRON IS NOT LEAVING CLEVELAND.”

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SABR-Toothed Triber: You Down with FIP? (And BABIP!)

“A great deal of what is perceived as being pitching is in fact defense.” – Bill James, 1988

Orioles Indians BaseballLast week, we talked about wOBA and how it can help us measure a player’s offensive contributions better than many of the more conventional metrics.  This week, we’ll try to tackle pitching, perhaps in a more roundabout manner.

Let me start with a story.  The story begins in 2000 and involves a paralegal in Chicago with too much time on his hands.  I swear this story has something to do with pitching statistics, and we’ll get to the Cleveland Indians pitching staff in due time.  Bear with me…

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NFL News: New Josh Cribbs Contract Coming Soon

These past few weeks have been like night and day compared to the end of the regular season when it comes to Browns receiver Josh Cribbs.  The media circus that came out of an apparent disagreement between the Browns and Cribbs’ representation has turned into more of a silent film.  And it is the latter that apparently allowed both sides to gain more traction as reports are circulating that a new deal could be in place by this time next week.

The Plain Dealer is reporting that Cribbs’ agents will be in Indianapolis for the start of the NFL combine.  It is here that the representatives hope to complete a deal for their client.

Last reports had the two parties approximately $5 million apart in terms of guaranteed money.  The contract that was discussed was for  considerably more money versus his current deal, with incentives being a large part. 

Hopefully, as the Browns head into the NFL Draft in April, all contractual issues will be rectified and the team can focus solely on adding the pieces needed for the much-needed improvement.

Reviewing Z’s Options

Zydrunas IlgauskasStill getting a lot of questions about Zydrunas Ilgauskas and what will happen next. Here are Z’s options and a timetable according to the best of my knowledge. Hopefully we can put the topic to rest soon.

Zydrunas has been bought out from his contract, and has been waived. He must clear waivers in order to become a free agent. This is not an issue as any team that wants to claim him would have to have $11.5 million dollars of cap room left. You can guess how many teams have that kind of room- none. This means that after the 48 hour window is over Zydrunas would be free to sign a deal with any team he chooses. If Zydrunas chooses to sign with the Cavaliers, he would have to wait until March 21st to join the Cavs. Yes, he would still be eligible for the playoffs.

Zydrunas could choose to sign with any team he wants for a pro-rated portion of the veteran’s minimum salary. Teams can also use whatever amounts they have left under the cap, or use their salary exceptions if they still have them. The Cavaliers will offer Zydrunas their Bi-Annual Exception of around $1.9 million. [Read more...]