August 26, 2014

NBA Rumors: Suns make late push for Kevin Love trade

kevin love cavsAccording to a report by Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com the Phoenix Suns reached out to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday regarding a trade for Kevin Love.

The report once again comes from an anonymous source and states the Suns’ proposed offer is centered around a sign and trade for restricted free agent guard Eric Bledsoe.

The Suns and Bledsoe are currently in a stalemate over contract talks. Bledsoe’s camp is wanting a max contract for the fifth year guard while the Suns are believed to be offering a deal similar to that of Kyle Lowry’s four-year, $48 million contract signed earlier this summer with Toronto.

The ESPN.com report says the “hand shake” deal between Cleveland and Minnesota is still in tact despite the Suns late push.

Cleveland’s proposed package to Minnesota includes Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and a future first round pick. The proposed deal between Cleveland and Minnesota would not be able to be executed until tomorrow, August 23, due to league restrictions on trading draft picks after they have signed.

Let the silly season continue.

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

[Related: Trusting and Believing in Kevin Love]

Johnny Manziel can’t call a play?

Manziel Pass 140726

Johnny Manziel joined Jon Gruden for ESPN’s Sunday Conversation leading up to the Browns clash with the Redskins on Monday. The interview followed the normal Gruden interview trajectory with the Super Bowl winning coach asking Johnny some generic questions, followed by a Gruden favorite, having Manziel call a play from his new offense.

Manziel bashfully, muttered out a bunch of verbiage which on the surface seemed to suffice Gruden’s request, but did the play Johnny call make any football sense?

Chris Cooley, former Redskins tight end who played in Kyle Shanahan’s offense in Washington, wasn’t buying it. In a guest hosting spot on ESPN Radio’s SVP and Russilo on Thursday afternoon, Cooley exposed Manziel’s “play call” to Gruden as a bunch of nonsensical words strung together without any real meaning.

“Jibber jabber. It means nothing. He used all lingo from that offense but it does’t form a sentence. If offense is a language that is supposed to tie together, that doesn’t fit. You’re bootlegging right with your tight end on the left, running a corner route while also sifting across the line. You’re tight end is doing two things. Your Z is supposed to slide across with your bootleg but he is split all the way outside the numbers. He just made up words […] none of it made any sense.”

Mastering the offense is one of the most critical aspects to being a successful quarterback in the NFL, while it also one of the greatest challenges. Cooley went on to speak with Van Pelt about the difficulty quarterbacks have coming from the college game where offenses are simplified to the pro’s where they reach a whole new level of complexity.

In the college game, coaches have a limited amount of time for implementation and defenses have limited amounts of time to dissect those offenses. That’s why you’ve seen the popularity of the giant play cards made famous at Oregon and Auburn, but in the pro’s these guys have all the time in the world to work which leads to more complex offenses and defenses.

Cooley elaborated on the expectations people have for quarterbacks from Manziel’s offensive background coming into an NFL pro-style offense.

“I don’t think you can expect him to understand it. You could give him a wristband. In the game he gets a speaker into his helmet and the offensive coordinator would repeat it and it would be up to him to thus repeat it into the huddle. But without a good grasp of the moving parts going in the right places, that’s an issue. You’re just out there flim flaming.”

An NFL playbook is no doubt a place of complexity, but that doesn’t mean simple concepts can’t work in the league as well. Bill Bellicek famously sought Chip Kelly’s help while still at Oregon to install a hurry up offense in which saying one word would let the whole offense know which assignment to run. Kelly has since brought some of these concepts to Philadelphia where his Eagles had the second most yards in the league last year behind Peyton Manning’s Broncos.

Cooley also clued Van Pelt in on some of the success they had in Washington during Robert Griffin’s rookie season. The former Redskins’ tight end claimed they completed 82 passes for over 1000 yards all off of the same play action pass. With Griffin a threat to run on every play it engaged the 11th defender on the field who is otherwise unaccounted for and opened up running lanes for Alfred Morris and then room over the top on play action.

As for the offense in Cleveland, schemed by Kyle Shanahan, Cooley added,

“I betcha Rex Grossman could call a play. He’s awesome to hang out with, he’s smart, he’s a dude.

[Related: Brian Hoyer, Johnny Manziel and the undelivered quarterback mandate]

(Photo: Scott Sargent/WFNY)

Trusting and believing in Kevin Love

Kyrie LeBron Love Cavs Photoshop

The Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly agreed to send two former No. 1 overall picks and a protected, future first-rounder for one guaranteed year of the best power forward in the NBA along with his word that he will re-up for five more years next summer. In the deal, Minnesota gets Andrew Wiggins, a much hyped and once thought of as a LeBronesque rookie, along with an in-shape and a steady breathing Anthony Bennett. Throw in a future Heat first-round pick and Flip Saunders and the T-Wolves faithful got a sizable haul compared to superstar trades of years past.1 Still, despite Minnesota inheriting some hope for the future, the value which the T-Wolves got back is nowhere close to comparable to what Cleveland brings in with Love. Love’s numbers and skills speak for themselves, but the most intriguing piece of this deal—one that won’t be measured until next summer—is Kevin Love’s word. [Read more...]

___________________________________________________

Footnotes:

  1. The best of recent history is the Nuggets sending Carmelo Anthony to New York in exchange for Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov and a future first rounder which ended up being the eleventh pick in the 2014 draft. Over the next three full seasons the Nuggets would win four more games than the Knicks. []

What’s it like to play for new Cavs’ coach David Blatt?

628x471-2

David Blatt is still largely an unknown commodity to NBA fans, but in the past week the mainstream media can’t seem to get enough of this mystery man. The story that everyone seems to know regarding the Framingham, Massachusetts native is one of success in stops all across club basketball in Europe, in addition to a 2007 EuroBasket title with the Russian National Team, and a Bronze medal with the Russians at the 2012 Olympics in London.

The word around Blatt is that he is an offensive savant, rooted in the ideals he learned as a player/English major at Princeton, and then fostered during his playing and coaching careers in Europe. But outside of his ability for offensive innovation, what makes Blatt tick is still a mystery.

[Read more...]

Cavs linked to European shooting forward Damjan Rudez

Damjan-Rudez-10-09-2013The Cavaliers are one of four franchises showing interest in European forward Damjan Rudez according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Rudez, a Croatian, playing in the Spanish ACB has made his way onto NBA radars this summer after a hot shooting season in Europe.

The 27 year old shot 47 percent from downtown through the ACB season, and 52 percent (28-for-54) over 16-games in the Euro Cup. Rudez went undrafted back in 2008 which leaves him free to sign with the NBA team of his choosing this summer. Cleveland, Indiana, Utah, and Toronto are all said to be taking looks at the long range bombing big man.

Rudez’s height is reported to be anywhere from 6 feet 8 inches to 6 feet 10 inches, making him a “stretch four”, a position highly coveted in today’s NBA. More and more teams are finding the value in a big man that can step out to the three point line, space the floor, and pop off the pick and roll — areas the Cavs are in desperate need of improving.

In addition to his club basketball, Rudez represnted Croatia in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as well as in EuroBasket 2011 and EuroBasket 2013.

Check out Rudez hit this game winner from the Chris Bosh spot on the floor back in a Euroleague game from January.

 

 [Related:NBA Free Agency: Analyzing stats of top available wings for the Cavs]

 

Cut by the Tribe, Aaron Harang is dominating for Atlanta

Aaron HarangRemember Aaron Harang? One of the journeymen starters the Tribe signed to a minor league deal this spring? After being told he would not start the season in the majors with Cleveland, Harang signed with Atlanta, jumping at a chance to round out a big league rotation. Not only has Harang filled out he Braves’ rotation in the early goings this season, the 35 year old right hander has been nothing short of dominant.

In his latest start, Harang struck out 11 and gave up just one run in over six innings of work — just another gem in a string of beautiful starts for the man who was passed over for the Indians’ rotation in favor of the struggling Carlos Carrasco. The six hits given up in Harang’s last start were the most given up in any of his five starts to begin the 2014 season. In just over 31 innings across 5 starts, the veteran has struck out just over a batter an inning and boasts an ERA nearing Blutarski territory of 0.85.

The crown jewel of Harang’s hot start came just over a week ago when the long time Cincinnati Red tossed seven no hit innings before being replaced for the 8th. Harang’s fastball still touches north of 90, which proved to be one of the Braves’ deciding factors in opting for him over Freddy Garcia to be their over the hill veteran of choice. As chronicled by Cory McCartney of Fox Sports, this is the first time since the 2010 season in which Harang has had his fastball working at that velocity, a necessity for the man who led the national league in strikeouts back in 2006 with Cincinnati.

In his time with the Tribe this spring Harang looked good throwing the ball, posting a 2.00 ERA in two starts, and picking up the win in each outing. At the time Harang’s fate with the Indians was sealed, Tribe General Manager Chris Antonetti praised the veteran for how he’d looked so far during the spring.

“Aaron has pitched really well in camp, but as we looked through how we’d configure our rotation, we’ll likely go in a another direction,” said Antonetti. “A lot can change in the next several days, but we had a decision to make on Aaron and we made it.”

Hind sight is 20/20 and small sample sizes in baseball are a big no-no, but it’s still hard to ignore the early season success of Harang. Compound Harang’s success with the dismal start of Carlos Carrasco (7.31 ERA) and Danny Salazar (7.85 ERA) and one can’t help second guess if Antonetti and Francona made the wrong decision.

[Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]

[Related: Bourn, Bullpen, and Bitter Cold: Tribe edge Royals late]

Browns show interest in DL Alex Carrington, another former Pettine player

Carrington

The Browns once again are showing interest in another one of new head coach Mike Pettine’s former players, this time Bills’ defensive lineman Alex Carrington. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com is reporting both the Browns and the Rams have shown interest in the former third round pick.

Carrington averaged 52 snaps a game in just three games for the Bills last season before suffering a season ending injury to his quad. The 26 year old product of Arkansas State was just starting to find his legs in Mike Pettine’s defense before having his season ended. The Bills valued both Carrington’s ability to play defensive end in their base defense as well as get after the passer in nickel and sub packages.

Many around Buffalo believed the Bills would try to resign Carrington this off season, an idea that seemed to fit well with Carrington himself.

Describing his situation in Buffalo, Carrington told Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News, “It’s the perfect defense for me and everything. I love the community.”

With the Browns hiring of Mike Pettine, the defense Carrington felt was perfect for him has now relocated a few hours west in a community very similar to the one Carrington loved in Buffalo.

[Related: NFL Free Agency Notebook: First Impressions]

Grantland continues to hype up the 2014 Indians

Nick Swisher

We’re less than a month away from opening day, the sun is shining, the ground is thawing, and the buzz for the Cleveland Indians continues to grow. The excitement for the Wahoos isn’t confined to Cleveland, where the team sold out the home opener in just 15 minutes, but nationally the hype for the Braves of the Cuyahoga is growing as well.

For the fourth time this spring, Grantland’s lead MLB writer Jonah Keri featured the Indians in one of his MLB previews, this time predicting the team wins more than the 80.5 games Las Vegas has set as their over/under.

Cleveland Indians: OVER 80.5 wins

That number looks … off, doesn’t it? The Indians surged to 92 wins last year behind one of the most powerful offenses in the league and a young, effective starting rotation. Very little has changed for the worse. While losing Ubaldo Jimenez’s impressive 2013 numbers will hurt, getting a full season from Official 2013 Grantland Crush Danny Salazar and a breakout campaign from fellow right-handed starter Corey Kluber could mitigate that loss. With none of Cleveland’s five projected starters older than 28, there’s upside across the board here.

If you’re looking for an X factor, though, consider something for which the typical projection systems and even Vegas likely won’t properly account: This season, Carlos Santana will no longer be Cleveland’s primary catcher. Whether you’re examining multiyear or single-year numbers, Santana consistently grades out as one of the worst pitch framers in the game. And while analysts are just beginning to quantify the effects of pitch blocking and other defensive skills for catchers, the industry consensus has long been that Santana is a designated hitter who happens to wear a mask. Assuming the Tribe do the right thing by making Santana the everyday DH while handing primary backstop duties to Yan Gomes, who was one of the best receivers in the league last year according to the above metrics, it wouldn’t be a stretch to project something like a two- or three-win improvement based on that move alone. And that might even be understating it. If Gomes’s defensive skills are allowed to flourish over 120-plus starts, it could help push Cleveland’s young staff to elite status this season.

Combine all that with a balanced lineup that will get even better when top shortstop prospect Francisco Lindor reaches the big leagues — and frees up the Indians to consider trading Asdrubal Cabrera to address whatever weaknesses might arise — and it’s really tough to imagine the Indians finishing below .500 … which is what would have to happen to lose this bet. This is my highest-confidence wager for 2014.

Keri’s optimism for the 2014 Tribe has been on display all spring, starting with mentioning Danny Salazar as a prime candidate for a breakout season.

Danny Salazar, SP, Cleveland Indians: Salazar’s inclusion shouldn’t be a surprise after last week’s offseason edition of The 30, in which I drooled over his filthy fastball-slider-changeup arsenal and the 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk rate he posted last season in his first 10 major league starts. He’s talented enough to make a Cy Young run, maybe even as soon as this year. And while individual talent is more important than teammate contributions, Carlos Santana’s move from catcher to third base could have a hugely positive impact on Salazar and the rest of Cleveland’s pitchers. Santana is an excellent hitter who could himself see a bump in production now that he’s freed from the rigors of catching, but he was a terrible receiver behind the plate last season. New starter Yan Gomes, conversely, gets high marks for pitch framing and other catching skills.

Hey, who knows: Between that defensive upgrade, the all-around youth on this 28-and-under rotation, and the sheer talent that Salazar, Corey Kluber, and others possess, a staffwide breakout might be imminent.

Keri’s crushing on Salazar took a break for a few days so Jason Kipnis could be given his due in “MLB 32-Day Warning: Jason Kipnis Is Ready to Take the Second-Base Belt“. In the article, Keri makes the case for Kipnis to take his throne as MLB’s best second baseman.

Over the past two years, 13 second basemen have batted 800 total times with a league-average or better OPS+. Among those, Kipnis ranks fourth in WAR, sixth in OPS+, first in stolen bases, and second in walks. He’s also the only player on the list born after 1985. Utley is on his way out, Matt Carpenter is moving to third base, and Cano, Pedroia, Kinsler, and Ben Zobrist are all 30 or older at a position that isn’t kind to aging players.

Kipnis is already a top-flight second baseman. He’s also the only one in that tier whose best days are still to come.

After devoting 700 words to Kipnis, Keri went back to drooling over Salazar, this time in his fantasy baseball preview.

Looking for the steal of the season in your fantasy baseball draft? Stay far away from Salazar.

Why? In fantasy baseball, it’s all about value. And while there can certainly be overlap between real-life value and fantasy value, you don’t want to get stuck paying more when the former corrupts the latter. When a young player starts his career with big results, we slap sky-high projections on him almost immediately. That’s happened with Salazar, a 24-year-old flamethrower with three plus pitches who dazzled in his first stint in the big leagues. Salazar’s made only 10 MLB starts, but if a rival general manager approached Indians GM Chris Antonetti about him, that other GM would be laughed out of the room or asked to sacrifice 19 prospects and his firstborn child. Salazar’s late-2013 emergence means he’s also demanding a similar price in the fantasy realm, and it’s simply too much, too soon.

It’s been a long, frigid Cleveland winter. One that has been filled with front office upheavals, thoughts of tanking, and of course multiple stooges, opening day can’t come soon enough. Until then, enjoy the hype.

(Photo: Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer)

MLS says no to expansion in Cleveland, suggests supporting Columbus

Clevelanders rejoice following a USMNT goal against Belgium on May 29, 2013.  Photo: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Clevelanders rejoice following a USMNT goal against Belgium on May 29, 2013. Photo courtesy of David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday Major League Soccer will kick off it’s 19th season, but the major story lines approaching opening day do not surround the defending champions Sporting Kansas City nor the arrival of U.S. Men’s National Team Star Michael Bradley to Toronto, but instead all attention is on MLS’s future.

Major League Soccer will have 19 teams in 2014, but the plan is to get to 24 by 2020. New York City FC (backed by Manchester City FC and the New York Yankees) and Orlando FC (defending NASL champions) will bring the tally to 21 teams when MLS kicks off it’s 20th season next year, and the inclusion of the already announced David Beckham Miami franchise will bring the league to 22 by 2017. That leaves two more spots up for grabs for the league who has grown from it’s infancy in 1995 to now having the third highest average attendance of any sport in America.

MLS commisioner Don Garber addressed the final two expansion slots in a Q&A session with media and fans earlier this week, even answering a question about the potential future of soccer in Cleveland.

Question: Will there ever be MLS in Cleveland?

Garber: Ever is a long time [...] What I would say to folks that are living in Cincinnati, the folks that are living in Dayton, folks that are living in Cleveland: Support the [Columbus] Crew.

It is widely believed that Atlanta Falcons’ owner Arthur Blanc will bring team 23 in MLS to Atlanta, furthering the league’s fast growing footprint in the Southeast (Atlanta, Miami, Orlando), but the location of team 24 is still a wild card. Cities like Minneapolis, St. Louis, and San Antonio have been linked the unofficial final MLS expansion slot, but any slight hope for a soccer team in Cleveland went down the drain with Garber’s latest comments.

Along with market size, MLS values cities with growing counter culture movements that can give a club the organic support needed to sustain a healthy franchise. MLS would LOVE more franchises in cities like Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver. Cleveland is still a few microbreweries away from reaching the hipster status of the Pacific Northwest, but it does possess plenty of crazy, die hard sports fans that fit in so well with soccer culture. And anyone who has been to the Muni Lot for Browns’ tailgates knows this city sure can drink, another large faction of soccer culture. Not to mention a natural geographic rival with Columbus just a two hour drive away.

According to Commissioner Garber, never say never, but for now if Clevelanders want to catch a live game of footy they’ll have to take a short drive down I-71 or wait ’til the next time the national team comes back to the shores of Lake Erie.

Sports Illustrated ranks Browns last in NFL in offseason outlook

photo2While the majority of folks on the shores of Lake Erie seem encouraged by the Browns’ recent shakeup in the front office, nationally, the franchise is still regarded as a joke.

Sports Illustrated released an offseason outlook ranking for the NFL, with the Cleveland Browns checking in dead last at No. 32. The off-beat rankings were calculated based off grading on a scale of 1-5 across four categories: pending free agents, cap space, amount of draft picks, track record of GM/management. They were not necessarily related to success on the field in 2013.

Although the Browns have lost at least 11 games over the last six years, there is still a sense of optimism locally heading into this offseason because of over $45 million in cap space and 10 picks in the upcoming draft, including three in the top 35. In fact, Jacksonville, the No. 1 ranked team, is similar with their $50 million in cap space and 10 picks, although the bulk of those picks are later in the draft.

While one would think those factors would surely have the Browns checking into these offseason outlook rankings somewhere besides the very bottom, the perception of the team’s front office plummet them to No. 32.

In a set of rankings where categories were graded 1-5, the Browns’ front office situation received a grade of -5, thus shooting the Orange and Brown to the bottom of the list.

Here’s what SI had to say about the team’s offseason odds.

32. Cleveland Browns

Breakdown: FAs: 2 | Cap: 4 | Draft: 4 | GM: -5 | TOTAL: 5

The Browns have $45.5 million in cap to spend in the new league year, and two first-round picks after fleecing the Colts in the Trent Richardson trade. There’s a lot of talent on defense, and a few real playmakers on the offensive side of things. In other words, everything needed to build a real NFL powerhouse. Unfortunately, a front office that deserves a far lower rating than the one we were able to give it (heck with it; we’re throwing the lowest grade possible at this mess) will almost unquestionably squander these great gifts. Because when your team owner is under federal investigation, and your organization has changed team presidents, general managers and head coaches at a dizzying rate, it’s hard to take anything you do seriously.

The fact that Sports Illustrated writers went off the scale to bring down the Browns may have Clevelanders discouraged, but the positioning of the rival Steelers may provide a silver lining for Browns fans.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers

Breakdown: FAs: 2 | Cap: 1.5 | Draft: 2 | GM: 2.5 | TOTAL: 8

It’s a known fact that the Steelers would have liked a better yield in their recent drafts. And general manager Kevin Colbert is a man very much in the firing line now as the Steelers try to re-fuel for a new generation of success with the need to pare down nearly $13 million in cap space just to get to zero. The formerly great defense slipped to the middle in 2013, and though protection improved for Ben Roethlisberger in the second half of the season, this was a team out of balance. And with more than a third of the roster lined up for free agency, it may be a while before this most stable of franchises is on top again. — DF

The only reason Pittsburgh comes in ahead of Cleveland on this list is the perception of the general manager’s office. In fact, if the Browns’ front office would have received the minimum grade outlined by the authors of 1, Cleveland shoots up the list to a tie for No. 16, ahead of five 2013 playoff teams.

Browns new front office needs something different to set them apart from past

Hoping that new Browns general manager Ray Farmer finds a way to land the team’s quarterback of the future—Johnny Manziel

As Jimmy Haslam shuffles around the nameplates on the offices in Berea once again, Browns fans are left scratching their heads, arguing with friends, and wondering what all these changes really mean. Some will argue this is exactly the move Haslam needed to make. The coaching search led by Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi turned the franchise into an even bigger laughing stock around the league—more so than it already was. The details are largely unknown, but it sure looked as if the Browns had to hit page down a few times on their list of candidates before inking Mike Pettine to be the third Browns head coach in a little over 365 days. The league-wide sentiment towards the Banner-Lombardi regime was that the duo was “toxic”, which, I suppose, makes Haslam’s urgency to replace two-thirds of the infamous Three Stooges of little surprise.

[Read more...]

NBA Trade Rumors: Luol Deng and Dion Waiters for Harrison Barnes and David Lee?

harrison-barnes-golden-state-warriors

The trade deadline is fast approaching and although the Cavs’ fired their GM, speculation surrounding possible deadline deals continues to fly.

The latest comes from Tim Kawakami, Warriors’ beat writer for the Mercury News. In his evaluation of where the Warriors stand at this point in the season, Kawakami suggests multiple scenarios in which Golden State makes a move at the deadline to go after the services of Cleveland’s Luol Deng.

-Lee and Barnes TO CLEVELAND FOR Deng and Waiters. (Because Deng was already traded once this season, he can’t be traded with another player, so these would have to be split into two separate trades.)

-Why Cleveland might consider this: Deng is a pending free agent and I highly doubt he’d want to return to the Cleveland craziness and lousiness; also, Waiters is in the middle of a second bad season after the Cavaliers drafted him 4th overall in 2012 and he reportedly is at odds with star point guard Kyrie Irving.

Also Lee and Barnes might fit that roster better than Deng and Waiters–certainly personality-wise they’d be better than having Waiters brawl with Irving.

I know that Cleveland is probably trying to do what it can to lure LeBron James back as a free agent and that adding Lee’s money won’t help that… but you won’t draw LBJ if there’s nobody any good on the team, and Cleveland probably has to get what it can for Deng right now because if he hits free agency he’s out the door and they get nothing back.

Lee is something. Barnes is something.

Despite the reported chemistry issues that surround Dion Waiters, the Cavs may not want to give up on the 22-year old just yet. If that’s the case, Kawakami outlines a Waiters-less trade, inserting former Warrior, Jarrett Jack, into the deal in Dion’s place.

An alternative deal would be Lee, Barnes, Ezeli and Nedovic TO CLEVELAND FOR Deng and Jack. The Warriors would need to add more money into this one because Jack makes more than Waiters.

Why the Warriors should try to do this: While Deng isn’t a natural PF, is a little duplicative of Iguodala, and isn’t the kind of low-post scorer the Warriors badly need, he’s an excellent all-around player who can score in multiple ways and maybe take some of the load off of Curry and the three-point bombing.

Deng, 28, can’t match-up with the great Western PFs… but Lee (who is 30) doesn’t really, either… and in the toughest situations it’s always Bogut guarding the rough PFs, anyway.

And while Waiters doesn’t have the greatest locker-room reputation, he’s a tough-guy scorer and that’s something the Warriors could use coming off the bench–somebody who is ferocious about getting buckets and not afraid to bark while he’s doing it.

By the way, the Warriors were very high on Waiters in that 2012 draft; West loved Waiters’ toughness–if Waiters got to their 7th spot, I believe the GSWs would’ve taken him over Barnes, though it was a close call. Things have not worked out for Waiters in Cleveland, but I would imagine the Warriors still like him a little bit.

If the Cavs were to make the Waiters/Deng swap for Lee and Barnes it would be a swap of draft picks from two years ago as well as the Cavs landing an All-Star power forward in Lee for, in essence, the King’s protected future first round pick and the two Portland second-rounders that the Cavs’ sent to Chicago in exchange for Deng.

If the Cavs are not going to re-sign Deng they have to trade him before the deadline. As Gilbert has spoken about before, if a high caliber player is not going to re-sign, you can’t let him walk out the door without getting something in return. The second deal outlined by Kawakami would be much more optimal for Cleveland. They could hold on to Waiters and unload Jarrett Jack, giving them a “re-do” on last summer’s signing on top of a “re-do” for the Deng trade.

Lee, while among the worst big men from a defensive standpoint, would give the Cavs a long needed scoring option in the paint. The 29-year-old is having one of his typical seasons, averaging 18.9 points and 9.7 rebounds on 51% shooting.

Exchanging Deng for Barnes in the Cavs’ starting lineup would make the Cavs younger, finally give them some more outside shooting, and make their salary cap flexibility even greater with Barnes under his rookie contract for two more seasons. Barnes is averaging 10 points per game on 39% shooting from behind the arc in his 29 minutes a night for the Warriors. He is also, reportedly, good friends with Kyrie Irving, something that we may not be able to say about others on the Cavaliers’ roster.

The NBA trade deadline rumors are just getting started, be sure to check back at WFNY for all your up to date Cavs’ chatter. 

[Related: New Cavs' GM will have tools in place to rebuild properly]

New Cavs GM will have the tools in place to rebuild properly

Chris-Grant-4

From the first day Chris Grant took his office as the general manager of the Cavaliers, the buzz word on everybody’s lips was “assets.” As Investopedia describes it, “assets are bought to increase the value of a firm or benefit the firm’s operations.” At the time Grant took over general manager duties for the Cavaliers, the franchise had just lost the biggest asset they’d ever had (or anyone had ever had) in LeBron James. And since there was no other asset attainable on the market of the caliber of LeBron, Chris Grant went into asset collection mode. The notion was the more assets you gather, the more flexibility you have as a franchise. [Read more...]

After an uneven rookie season, the jury is still out on Barkevious Mingo

Barkevious Mingo

The career of Barkevious Mingo has had its handful of ups and down, despite the fact the sixth pick in last year’s draft has played just 15 games. Met with a largely positive reaction, the drafting of Mingo sent a message to the league that the Browns wanted to pressure opposing quarterbacks. Mingo, who became a high profile name during his days at LSU, terrorized would-be passers by way of his track star speed, quicks, and branches for arms. Although his stats dropped off in his final year with the Tigers, the thought was Mingo could be a lightning bolt coming off the edge for the Browns. Adding Mingo to the mix of new additions Paul Kruger and Desmond Bryant, along with proven pass rushers Ahtyba Rubin and Jabaal Sheard, it looked like Mike Lombardi and Joe Banner had built a front that would get up in the faces of opposing quarterbacks.1

[Read more...]

___________________________________________________

Footnotes:

  1. And of course we can’t overlook the benefits of drafting a guy named Barkevious. []

“Hefty Lefty” Jared Lorenzen, now 320 pounds, tells Browns to call him

photo1Jared Lorenzen nearly shut down the Internet this week when pictures and video of the 300-plus pound, former New York Giants’ quarterback surfaced of him playing quarterback for the Northern Kentucky River Monsters of the Continental Indoor Football League. In wake of his recent jolt back into the sports spotlight, the man who embraces nicknames such as the “Round Mound of Touchdown”, “Pillsbury Throwboy” and “Hefty Lefty” joined SVP and Russilo on ESPN Radio.

Along with discussing his weight and love for the game of football, the show’s hosts Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russilo joked with Lorenzen on the possibility that the Cleveland Browns would give him a call due to their dire need for a quarterback and Lorenzen’s return to popularity.

“I would go there in a heartbeat,” said Lorenzen. “Come on Brownies give me a call.”

It’s been six years since Lorenzen last wore an NFL uniform, but it looks like “Feast Mode” can still teach Browns’ quarterbacks a thing or two about pocket presence.

The self described 322-pound (post two burritos from Mo’s Southwest Grill) former Mr. Football in the state of Kentucky looks nimble sliding up in the pocket and finding his receiver for a touchdown.

Sports Illustrated redrafts the 2013 NBA Lottery

Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

With the All-Star break fast approaching Rob Mahoney of the Point Forward on SI.com took a look back at the 2013 NBA draft and redrafted based on what we’ve seen so far this season.

Not surprisingly in Mahoney’s redraft the Cavaliers decided to go a different direction than much maligned Anthony Bennett, opting instead for a player many casual NBA fans are not familiar with. Mahoney doesn’t have Chris Grant selecting Victor Oladipo, Michael Carter-Williams, or Nerlens Noel with the top slot, but instead has the Cavs’ GM going with young and long Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo was selected by Milwaukee with the 15th pick in last year’s draft and has been a rare bright spot for the cellar dwelling Bucks.

Here’s what Mahoney had to say regarding Cleveland’s re-do at the top spot. [Read more...]

Anthony Bennett has one big need

Anthony Bennett

Anthony Bennett has one big need. Minutes. Not just some minutes, but a double-stuffed crust, extra large helping of minutes.  This past Tuesday night, the first-overall pick knocked down open jumpers and corralled in rebounds in route to a 15-and-8 night in what was a career-high 31 minutes. This was the first game all season where Cavs head coach  Mike Brown left the harshly criticized and often booed Bennett on the floor for more than 20 minutes, a number that the last 10 first-overall picks have all at least averaged per night.  

The last month has seen screams for Bennett to be sent down to Canton where he would presumably get regular minutes—a place where he could spread his wings, and where he could (hopefully) grow into at least a shell of the player general manager Chris Grant envisioned last June. However, as the Cavs are clearly not the playoff-caliber team1 everyone had hoped of, there is no need to send Bennett to Canton when he should be seeing plenty of action up in Cleveland.

[Read more...]

___________________________________________________

Footnotes:

  1. Regardless of whether they make it or not []

ESPN names Anthony Bennett and Jarrett Jack among NBA’s least valuable players

anthony-bennett-cavs-483dc12f91151239

Cavs’ rookie Anthony Bennett and free agent addition Jarrett Jack both found their way onto ESPN’s latest list of the league’s least valuable players. The list takes a look at players who are hurting their team’s chances to win the most, excluding players at the end of rosters who rarely see court time.

The duo of Bennett and Jack were supposed to be key addtions to the Cavaliers this offseason, but as the Cavs have disappointed during the ’13-14 season so have Bennett and Jack.

The number one pick in last year’s draft finds himself at number two on ESPN’s list of least valuable players behind the Thunder’s Kendrick Perkins.

Second place: Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers
Please, just send him to the D-League already. This isn’t about pity; it’s about rehabilitation. You know what’s worse for his confidence than a demotion? Sticking with the status quo.
With an obscenely bad 1.1 PER and a subterranean 31.9 percent true shooting percentage, this is the worst rookie season for a top pick by a country mile. The guy is shooting 14-for-78 (18 percent) outside five feet and ranks dead last in win shares (minus-0.9).
For someone with conditioning issues, why nail him to the bench when he could work himself into shape in the D-League without the spotlight? Keeping him on the big-league roster reeks of cognitive dissonance by a desperate organization trying to save face. The sleep apnea, shoulder soreness and asthma issues are real, but so is the potential damage to his career and the Cavs’ chances at relevance. He might not boast the number of minutes as the rest of the names here, but his play is too toxic to leave him off.
While Bennett has garnered the most abuse of any Cavalier for his poor play this season Jack has also drastically disappointed fans of the Wine and Gold. After showing up big in the playoffs last season for Golden State, Jack has struggled to live up to the four year, $25 million deal signed with Cleveland this off season. Jack earned himself a nomination for the league’s least valuable point guard.

,

Kevin Pelton, ESPN Insider: Jarrett Jack. Although some regression from the career year Jack enjoyed in Golden State was to be expected, the Cavaliers couldn’t have realized they’d be getting the worst season he has played when they signed him this past summer. Jack is barely making 40 percent of his 2-pointers; his assists are down; and he hasn’t provided the kind of leadership Cleveland expected for its investment.
Jack was brought in to stabilize an often times up and down, immature backcourt while Bennett was a draft pick who oozed of potential for the future. Over halfway through the season and the Cavs’ inconsistency and immaturity has not gotten any better, and optimism for Anthony Bennet’s future has all but gone out the window.

Cleveland currently sits 2.5 games out of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

[Related: Kyrie Irving is not a superstar]

Kyrie Irving is not a superstar

DSC_0477

A superstar is supposed to be someone transcendent, someone who dominates, someone who makes everyone around them better. LeBron James is a superstar. Chris Paul is a superstar. Kyrie Irving is not.

[Read more...]

Luol Deng fine with waiting ’til summer to talk contract with Cavs

luol_deng_cavsWith the summer of 2014 on the horizon, newly acquired Cavs forward Luol Deng realizes the upcoming offseason is not only pivotal for his career, but looms large for the Cavaliers’ franchise.

Deng’s contract is set to expire on July 1st, but the eighth-year man out of Duke is well aware he’s not the only high-priced small forward who may factor in the Cavaliers plans this summer. Deng spoke with Yahoo! Sports regarding the impending LeBron James free agency saga as well as his own.

“He’s a great player, why wouldn’t you look at him?” Deng told Yahoo Sports. “If he wants to come back home, that’s great for him and great for this organization. He’s a great player. Why not?

Despite never being a free agent, the veteran Deng has a level head on his shoulders regarding his uncertain future.

“I’m all right with that. I’m here to do what I can do and be Luol Deng. I don’t really worry about it. I don’t have the mindset that I can control what everyone else thinks. I just do what I can do and try to be the best at what I do.”

The Cavaliers have until June 30 to sign Deng to an extension, after which Deng will become a free agent.

“I’m very open to sit down to talk,” Deng said. “At the same time, I’m OK with waiting until the summer.”

While it may be advantageous for the Cavaliers to wait until the summer to work with Deng on a new deal, waiting is also in Deng’s best interest financially. If Deng and the Cavaliers reach an agreement on an extension prior to Deng hitting free agency, the maximum length of that contract is three years, but if Deng negotiates a new deal after becoming a free agent he’s eligible to sign a five-year contract.

[Related: Cavalier Film Room: The potential that comes with sharing]

Photo: Mark Duncan, AP