August 26, 2014

The Cavaliers are “In a Good Place”

Three days apart and in fairly different context, Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant and head coach Byron Scott discussed their respective optimism. 

Scott, when questioned about his post-mortem outlook on the Cavaliers job last Friday, used words like “interesting,” but also called the bulk of what he endured between the months of October and April “gratifying.”  Specifically, when asked if he regrets taking the position knowing what he knows now, he vehemently denied any uncertainty by saying that he was in a “feel-good place.”

Also sharing thoughts after his first year at the helm, Grant took the podium on Monday afternoon and shared an equally positive outlook, but from his string-pulling post as general manager.  Citing two lottery selections, a still-to-be-used $14 million trade exception and incredible flexibility with regard to current contractual obligations, Grant feels that his team is in “a good position” to regain a competitive, contending roster which the city of Cleveland had become accustomed to over the past seven years.

Keeping the URL both alive and well, the two gentlemen discussed Next Year during their respective commentary; Scott in a “no excuses” fashion, Grant in a manner of controlling what is controllable and maximizing the assets which he’s worked diligently to gather over the course of the last 12 months. 

Scott understands that every player’s learning curve is different and that things started to come together for his young group towards the end of the season.  On multiple occasions, the Cavaliers head coach dictated his wish for a few extra months of play, saying that his team would have continued to elevate their record beyond that of the NBA’s second-worst.  He firmly believes that the foundation is in place and that the team can only build from its current position.

While repeatedly showing appreciation for the financial backing of principle owner Dan Gilbert, Grant has no issues playing the hand which he has been dealt – specifically, multiple potential lottery selections returning to their respective schools for Sophomore campaigns.  Trade exception aside, the team is fully confident that they will be adding at least two good players in the upcoming draft; whether or not both of these players are called upon in Year One remains to be seen.  Factor in the team’s willingness and ability to buy draft picks – speculation is that the price of said picks has declined with current CBA issues as well as the perceived ‘weak’ draft – and the Cavaliers are in a position to essentially do whatever they please under the caveat of any move being better for the long term.

With regard to the traded player exception, the team continues to explore their options, looking for the best possible move that will provide either a star player or a potential lottery selection, not necessarily in the 2011 draft.  What the team is not willing to do is take on a contract that will handcuff them in the future.  The flexibility they have with their current expiring contracts coupled with Antawn Jamison’s $15 million coming off of the books next season is an extremely valuable asset.

How all of the assets mentioned above are put to use remains to be seen.  The certainty lies in the fact that Byron Scott will be determined to make the most of what he’s given.  After all, assuming a new CBA is put in place, the 2011 version of “Camp Scott” is slated to kick off in less four months. 

Amy Sancetta/Associated Press

  • Cooley Ford

    Are there any reliable reports of teams in the 12th-18th pick range looking, or open to, selling their picks? Phoenix is notoriously cheap, so them maybe they’d play ball there. Just throwing stuff at the wall, really.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    Cooley – I haven’t seen any “reports,” and honestly haven’t been looking, but I do know that MEM could be looking to unload given their latest moves. Charlotte may not want to pay two first-rounders either. But as I said, just speculation.

  • mgbode

    @cooley – the Cavs have 4 draft picks already and 13/15 roster spots taken for next season.

    so, we could draft a couple Euro players and stash them or cut and eat the low cost of Harangody/Erden/Samuels/Harris but I don’t think we’re looking at getting a 5th draft pick right now.

  • Cooley Ford

    @mgbode – I’d be fine if we eat Harangody/Samuels and stash 1 or both of our 2nd rounders if we could buy another 1st round pick.

    Also, am I crazy, or is David Lighty just a better version of Manny Harris that can play good defense?

  • Cooley Ford

    Correction, make that eat Harris. I want to keep Sam Sam.

  • mgbode

    @cooley – as long as we all agree that Luke’s the first one to get cut :)

  • Cooley Ford

    I like Luke, but he’s a less athletic (if possible) ’09 Wally Szczerbiak. Is Sasha Kaun ever going to come over here? If not, then I wouldn’t mind exploring the possibility of Kenny Faried or Bismack Biyambo, depending on their availability near the top of the second round.

    My dream scenario is Irving/Kanter; but for that to happen, we’d have to get lucky with the Clips’ pick (which would be oddly fitting, actually).

  • mgbode

    I want Irving/Kanter as well. But, I doubt that will happen unless we win the lotto with the Clips pick (possible pick 1/4 in that scenario).

    Biyambo and Faried will be long gone by the top of the 2nd if you believe the mocks out there.

    I’m 50/50 on them anyway. We have this guy AV locked in longterm and I’d hate to draft someone we can’t put on the floor with him. If we think we are going to trade AV, then fine, get his defensive replacement. But, we can’t run 2 post players who can’t score on the floor at the same time especially if we have Eyenga on the floor too.

  • Cooley Ford

    Therein lies the dilemma of big men. Many of them that can defend well can’t score, and vice versa. Hopefully we can get away with not drafting a project-level big.

    I’d actually be more than happy with Kanter/Knight if we can’t win the lottery. Assuming that Kahn does something stupid with the T-Wolves’ pick (which isn’t that far-fetched), we might have a better hand then it would otherwise appear. Knowing our luck, though, somebody like Milwaukee will win the lottery, and we’ll end up with picks 5 and 9.

    If it looks like Memphis can’t/won’t sign Marc Gasol, I wouldn’t mind tempting them with the TPE.

  • mgbode

    my list (tried to remove the guys staying, but I might not have gotten them all):

    1. Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke
    2. Derrick Williams, PF, Arizona (if we think he can play SF, he might be our #1 spot. tough call so I’ll go with the more important position)
    3. Enes Kanter, C, Turkey
    4. Jan Vesely, PF, Czech Republic (I prefer athleticism and he should be a SF with height for us)
    5. Jonas Valanciunas, PF, Lithuania
    6. Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky (proved alot in the tourney obviously)
    7. Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego State (tourney hurt, still see a possible Gerald Wallace in him)
    8. Kemba Walker, PG, Connecticut (Jason Terry isn’t a bad comp)
    9. Alec Burks, PG/SG, Colorado (I love how this kid plays)
    10. Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky
    11. Chris Singleton, F, FSU (as long as he checks out medically)
    12. Bismack Boyimba, C, Congo (tough between him and Faried as Kenneth is more proven, I’ll go with height/length for now)
    13. Kenneth Faried, PF Morehead (effort and rebounding will never be a question with this guy. him and AV could never play together)
    14. Marcus or Markieff Morris, F, Kansas
    16. Donatas Motiejunas, FC, Lithuania
    17. Tyler Honeycutt, SG/SF, UCLA (one I really want to drop to #32)
    18. Lucas Nogueira C, Brazil (if he’s in the draft)

    ***dang, the non-declares really hurt this draft class. barnes,sullinger,henson,zeller, and perry jones were all in my initial list.

  • bobby

    Aside from a few players who definitely has a spot? Davis, JJ, AV, and Jamison (tho he can be traded/ mid season traded). Now there are guys like Eyenga and Sessions who probably have a spot. Other then that though I think its anyone’s to win. I think there are a lot of bench players who are very expendable. So, if the Cavs think they can get a guy by “buying” a pick, or whatever it may be that would improve the roster they have to.

  • bobby

    I watched just about every SDSU game in the tourney and I did not come away impressed with Kawhi Leonard. He just seemed to disappear and be taken away by a decent defender. Against UConn he did nothing the first 38 minutes.

  • Colin

    If I’m the Cavs, I’m looking at Tobias Smith, a small foward who went to Tenn. last year. I am extremely intrigued withhim including the fact thate never got into any trouble with all the things that have happened at Tennesse. He also has length and seems he can score at an extremely youn age(he is only a freshman and was one of te top recruits in the nation)

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    Can WFNY take a look at trades for the Clippers’ pick and the 14 million clause? I saw that mentioned somewhere as a possibility, but I dont know who we could get or if thats even allowed. The mention I saw (possibly on this site) insinuated that we could pick up a young player from a team with too much salary on the books. Given the apparently weak status of this draft it might not be the worst idea.

  • mgbode

    @bobby – I seem to be the Kawhi-defender in these here parts, so I am prepared. He had an awful tournament, and the UConn game raised some valid questions about him, but it’s still hard for me to discount the rest of his season (got to watch alot of SD-State games while staying up with a newborn).

    here’s my Kemba vs. Kawhi defense:

    Kawhi had a bad tournament, but watching him in the regular season, he seemed to show up for the big games. He was the only one to show up for the BYU regular season games.

    BYU game1: 22pts, 15reb
    BYU game2: 17pts, 13reb
    BYU game3: 20pts, 8reb

    He was only 7/20 vs. Gonzaga, but he did finish with 18pts,12reb
    He disappeared vs St. Mary’s (6pts,8reb on 3/10 shooting)
    He did well scoring against Cal (20pts,3reb)

    then the tourney:
    NoCol – 21pts,10reb
    Temple – 16pts,9reb (but on 5/14 shooting)
    UConn – 12pts, 9reb (and on 5/12 shooting)

    The problem is SD State didn’t have many big games last season. And the UConn game worried me about him (I definitely have questions). Was the length that the Huskies had too much for him to handle? Can Kawhi handle guarding NBA SF’s? What about SGs?

    The upside I see in Kawhi is a Bruce Bowen / Nicolas Batum style wing that can lock down wing scorers and hit outside shots (he’s only a 30% college 3pt shooter but he has always been good at outside 2′s).

    The upside I see with Kemba is Jason Terry level scoring and unfortunately defense (and Terry definitely does his best on defense but his size/stature limit him).

    Kemba is ‘safer’ but Kawhi is more likely to be a 2-way player/starter in the NBA (IMO). So, that’s why I like him better.

    But, really, I’m good with any number of K-named athletes with the Clippers pick. Kanter, Knight, Kawhi, Kemba. All good in my book.

  • mgbode

    @Colin – do you mean Tobias Harris?

    if so, he’s way too much of a finesse guy to me. i’d be intrigued with pick #32, but no way a top10 pick (IMO).

  • Cooley Ford

    If, somehow, Tyler Honeycutt can drop to us in the high 2nd round, I’ll be a very happy man. Is there a consensus that we take a wing player there?

  • mgbode

    @Cooley – note: I wrote that when Tyler was a mid 20 pick on my board. so many names have dropped off that it’s getting a heck of a lot less likely.

    I think who we take in the 2nd depends on whose available (obviously), but also who we take in the first round.

    If we get Kanter/Irving, then yeah, we need a wing. If we get Irving/Vesely, then I’d say we need a “big” if there’s a decent one available.

  • Chucky Brown

    We cant leave the 2011 lottery without addressing the 3 spot,

    Im jumping on the Vesely bandwagon