As little as one month ago, the Cavaliers, as a representation of Cleveland, were a mess. They missed the playoffs. They were without a head coach and a general manager, and didn’t know if their two-time All-Star point guard would be re-signing for the long run. Their No. 1 pick a season ago, was frequently listed in any discussion surrounding The Worst. Radio call-in shows were debating the draft prospects of Doug McDermott. They then won the 2014 NBA Lottery, only to have their target succumb to a foot injury in the weeks leading up to the NBA Draft. They hired a head coach who has nary a day of NBA coaching experience and promoted their assistant general manager—a move similar to what they did leading up to the free agency period of 2010. Dan Gilbert, the man largely credited with being the biggest roadblock to any type of reunion, was not only still in charge, but was wielding a hammer that would make Thor blush. Their odds, a highly discussed numerical probability of said reunion as derived by record, roster and random hot takes, was said to have decreased mightily. But none of that mattered.
Not only are the Cleveland Cavaliers extremely interested in restricted free agent Gordon Hayward, it appears they could be gearing towards offering the swingman a maximum contract.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Hayward is in Cleveland on Wednesday and that an offer sheet could be forthcoming. ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst followed up this report with additional news of the Cavs potentially offering Hayward a maximum offer sheet which would be roughly $14 million per year for at least three seasons. The Portland Trailblazers famously signed Roy Hibbert to a max four-year, $58 million offer in 2013 before it was matched by the Indiana Pacers.
Despite his efficiency being down due to a lack of help, Hayward averaged a solid 16.2 points, 1.1 threes, 5.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.4 steals last season. The Suns have also been eager to give him an offer sheet, and the Celtics had expressed interest before agreeing to terms with Avery Bradley. The Jazz, however, have vowed to match offers for their 24-year-old restricted free agent.
The Cleveland Indians took to Dodger Stadium hoping to avenge their history-making back-to-back nights of amassing just one hit—and did they ever. While starting pitcher Justin Masterson was yanked after three-plus (wildly lucky) innings and the Dodgers had runners on base throughout the night, the Tribe bats logged 13 hits on the night, finishing with a score of 10-3.
Here are some of the highlights:
In case you’re wondering what agreeing to a $90 million contract feels like, here’s Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving five hours into the NBA’s free agency period.
Kyrie Irving walked the walk. After what seemed like an eternity of rumor and innuendo surrounding his disdain for Cleveland and the drain-circling direction of the Cavaliers, all of which were verbally rebuffed by the point guard, Irving took minutes—not days, or weeks, or even months—to provide the handshake that will keep him draped in wine and gold through 2020. For months, Irving was the subject of boundless speculation. For months, fans demanded a sign that he was, to borrow a phrase, “all in” on Cleveland. He could say whatever he liked—it was what he did that mattered.
Well, at the first chance he was given, Irving put his money where is mouth was. And so did the Cavs—$90 million worth.
Andrew Wiggins already has world-class athleticism—he hit the jackpot of all genetic lotteries. The anticipation surrounding his ascension and arrival to the NBA rivals few others. But he also carries with him the one device that others who have come before him did not have—his father’s past.
Lucky’s Café in Tremont is so damn good that it’s all Chris Perez misses about his time in Cleveland. In an interview with Cleveland.com’s Zach Meisel, Perez, the former Tribe closer, discusses his life with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the way his much-discussed tenure ended with the Cleveland Indians.
It ended a lot better than it started, team-wise. What we were able to do last year was great. Personally, I didn’t pitch the way I wanted to the last two months of my time there, but overall, I gave it everything I had almost every time I went out there and for the most part, I did my job. I had a good time doing it. I have a couple good memories, but at the same time, there was a lot of turnover with coaches, pitching coaches, managers. It wasn’t really stable. I think for the most part, I had a good time there, but it ended on a bad note for me, but overall for the team, it was great. So, it was fine. Things worked out for me. I had a couple good years there. They gave me the chance to close and I established myself. Hopefully it’ll keep me in the league longer because of that.
Perez added that he’s grateful for getting to the postseason in 2013—waving towels, an amped crowd, a culture change—and was glad that his mechanics didn’t cost the Tribe any crucial wins during that final 10-game stretch. In a bit of a weird move, Perez mentioned that the only players he cares to see are Josh Tomlin, Justin Masterson and “maybe” Cody Allen—he has nothing to say to the coaching staff.
The entire interview is well worth the read. The Tribe visits the Dodgers for a three-game series, set to kick off on Monday night. With the Dodgers, Perez is 0-3 with one save and 26 strikeouts over 27 innings.
(AP Photo/Jim Mone)
While the Cleveland Browns are still looking to lock up their No. 1 draft selection in cornerback Justin Gilbert, all eyes will be aimed directly at tight end Jordan Cameron who will reportedly “drive a hard bargain” when it comes time to ink an extension.
Cameron is coming off of a season where he hauled in 80 passes for 917 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s also coming into a season where he’s hired super agent Tom Condon (his third agent this offseason) and will be the focal point of an offense that will be without Pro Bowl receiver Josh Gordon for an undefined amount of time. He’ll be leaving a system that was extremely friendly to tight ends (thanks, Norv Turner!) and entering one that is predicated upon the run game. This said, Kyle Shanahan has molded career years out of tight ends like Owen Daniels, Chris Cooley, Fred Davis and Jordan Reed—the most recent finishing with 45 catches, 499 yards, and three touchdowns despite missing the final six games of the season.
Sure, Cameron could be tagged in 2015 rather than going through all of the bound-to-be-painful extension talks. But it goes without saying that Cameron, who lined up in the slot many times this past season, will keep an eye on the ruling over New Orleans and their tight end Jimmy Graham. The Saints tagged Graham as a tight end, but the NFLPA is arguing he should be paid as a wide receiver after lining up in the slot or outside on 67 percent of his 2013 snaps. The tight end tag is worth $5.3 million less than the wideout tag.
Cameron will likely look to better the deal signed by Jared Cook a little over a year ago, as the tight end inked a deal with the Rams for four year and $35 million, with $19 million guaranteed. He is set to make just $645,000 as he enters the final season of his rookie contract.
(Photo: Pioneer Press/Sherri LaRose-Chiglo)
Griff dropping subtle hints? In the 24 hours immediately following the NBA Draft, Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin was carefully selecting his words, seen by many to be verbal warning shots. When the Cavs used the No. 1 pick on Andrew Wiggins, Griffin—in what was a change from previous years—immediately addressed the pick via conference call. During said address, he made sure to mention that Wiggins wanted to be in Cleveland, which was seen by many to be a jab at Jabari Parker, the player taken with the No. 2 pick, who allegedly tanked his workout with the team.
But was this a shot at a player he didn’t draft? A day later, Griffin used the term “all in on Cleveland” to describe Wiggins, a descriptor he used to describe himself just weeks earlier when he won the team’s general manager job. In his Sunday column, Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto iterated that Griffin’s word choice may in fact be aimed in the direction of one of his current players in Kyrie Irving.
Irving is reportedly on board with the selecting of Wiggins. He was one of the first to usher in David Blatt as the team’s new head coach. The Cavs will offer him the maximum contract extension allowable by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. If Irving is “all in,” he’ll accept the deal. If he tries to be cute, Pluto believes the team will try to trade him. This leads to an intriguing, if not potentially agonizing, topic that has gone a bit under-discussed: The extensions signed by John Wall and Paul George last season were not inked until July 31 and September 22, respectively. Just because Irving doesn’t sign on July 1 doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want to be in Cleveland.
The two-time All-Star has a crazy summer ahead of him—Team USA responsibilities will keep him in Las Vegas (OMG LAS VEGAS!?) in late July, Chicago and New York (OMG NEW YORK!?) in mid-August, Spain in late August through the middle of September. Sure, Jeff Wechsler (his agent) will be the one doing the bulk of the work, but it’s not like Irving will be sitting in Independence deliberating until a decision is made. These things take time—just enough for the rumors to swirl in countless directions, whether he’s “all in” or not.
Bringing back the ground and pound? The writing is on the wall for the Cleveland Browns to pull a 180 this season and become a run-first team. Several local papers focused an ample amount of coverage on Ben Tate and what he brings to the fold (we’ll throw the ABJ a bone here) as the team reverts away from being one that led the entire NFL in passing attempts a season ago. Browns OC Kyle Shanahan’s offense will reportedly be “predicated on being able to run effectively while mixing in the pass,” which means that Tate and his colleagues (Terrence West, for starters) will be seeing plenty of work while Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel will be asked to keep the defenses honest. After a season of having nary a run game, the zone-blocking scheme mixed with talented running backs could make for an interesting season on the lakefront.
The Browns’ offense will never be confused for the Broncos or Saints, but if things go according to plan, there will be some methodical movements of the ball as they wear down the opposition and strike when the time is right.
These photos of this weekend’s Rock Hall yoga event from Ariel Agents over at Cleveland Scene are worth your time.
So remember that “fan advisory board” the Browns were putting together? Apparently they sounded off during their first meeting. Topics of disdain? The lack of care for season-ticket holders (compared to the Cavs and Indians, the Browns are AWFUL when it comes to taking care of their top clients), the constant turnover within the franchise, and the way FirstEnergy Stadium is constantly overrun with opposing fans. There are some interesting tidbits that err on the side of vague regarding the Dawg Pound—a concept that it appears the team would like to have transcend just one section of the stadium. The Browns appear to be “all in” on modeling themselves after the Seattle Seawhawks and their incredible fan base. We’ll see if this initiative helps.
Flush those listicles, folks. Here’s this week’s edition of #ActualSportsWriting:
“How Scott Kazmir came back” by Tim Keown (ESPN The Magazine): “He needed silence as an asylum from judgment and expectation. He needed to be alone with his doubts and embarrassment and confusion, to retreat from the well-meaning cacophony of advice, away from the Angels’ stadium parking attendant who told him he needed to keep his front side closed a bit longer, away from the usher who thought his stride was too short, away from even his father, who said he’d be every bit as proud of his son if he never threw a baseball again. Yes, Scott Kazmir needed the noise — the infinite chirping of an infinite number of birds — to cease. He needed the only voice in his head to be his own.”
“From St. Louis to Recife in search of “the spot” by Chris Jones (ESPNFC blog): “A man called simply The Mustache unlocked the gate for Steven Lange, and he took his first few steps onto the grass, still wet from Thursday’s calamitous rain. By Friday morning there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the high sun lit every quiet corner of Estadio Ilha do Retiro, the storied home of Sport Recife, a local first-division side.”
“Astro-Matic Baseball” by Ben Reiter (Sports Illustrated, with bonus points for production): “It is one thing to commit to only making decisions that will lead to a long-term goal, and another to figure out how to make those decisions. Blackjack is an exercise in hard probabilities. Evaluating baseball players is something else. Some information you can gather about a baseball player is hard: how fast he can throw a fastball, how quickly he can reach first base. But much of it is soft: how diligently he will work, how his power stroke might develop, how likely he is to become injured.”
“A century of American Soccer anxiety” by Ian Crouch (The New Yorker): “Haven’t we reached a point where it is enough simply to watch the games? Millions of people do, taking pleasure in seeing top-flight soccer and in the tournament’s distinctive global drama. For newcomers, it can be met with curiosity, even wonder, rather than contempt dressed up as national pride. We can be shy about soccer, but we don’t need to be afraid.”
And just because: Bartolo being Bartolo…
In the second inning of Josh Tomlin’s masterful one-hitter against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night, right fielder Ryan Raburn helped the cause with a full-extension, diving catch to rob the hot-hitting Kyle Siegler of extra bases.
The play made MLB.com’s “outstandings” lists and is sure to be all over SportsCenter if you are patient enough to wait for Indians-Mariners highlights amidst the weekend’s World Cup play.
All in all, the play was very Tomliny. Josh Tomlin approves.
Say what you want about Andrew Wiggins and his question marks—the other athletes (and various owner types) in the city of Cleveland appear to be fully on board with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ selection of the Kansas product with the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Welcome to the Cleveland @22wiggins! The sky is the limit for you, this franchise and this city…Let’s go!
— Dan Gilbert (@cavsdan) June 26, 2014
— Anderson Varejão (@VAREJAOANDERSON) June 27, 2014
Draft day A.wiggins congratz!!!!
— Dion Waiters (@dionwaiters3) June 26, 2014
— Usher Raymond IV (@Usher) June 27, 2014
— DJ Steph Floss (@djstephfloss) June 26, 2014
— Matthew Dellavedova (@matthewdelly) June 26, 2014
The 6 really in the building now @22wiggins Welcome to the 216 bro!!
— Tristan Thompson (@RealTristan13) June 27, 2014
Welcome to Cleveland fellas, A.Wiggins J.Harris and D.Powell. #youvearrived congrats!!
— Kyrie Irving (@KyrieIrving) June 27, 2014
— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) June 27, 2014
Any surprise that Manziel’s was the most re-tweeted? Wiggins will embark upon Cleveland on Friday afternoon and give his introductory press conference, likely the first of many addresses given as the newest member of the Wine and Gold.
Having already added Andrew Wiggins to the fold with the No. 1 pick, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Joe Harris, the sharp-shooting swingman out of Virginia with their first pick in the second round (No. 33 overall).
Harris, who had a first-round grade by ESPN.com’s Jay Bilas, is a 6-foot-6-inch efficient scorer with a quick release and excellent range. On the defensive end, he’s a solid defender despite lacking top end athleticism and sizable wingspan. Had he come out last season (instead of returning for his senior season), Harris would have been a lock to be selected within the first 30 picks.
Harris ended his collegiate career at the University of Virginia by leading the team to an ACC regular season title and conference title while earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. His biggest asset is undeniably his shooting. At the combine, he made 16 of 25 NBA spot up three-pointers. He complemented this by shooting 40% on three pointers in his senior season—his third collegiate season shooting at least 40% from long distance—while posting an overall effective field goal percentage of 54.7%.
Given Cavaliers’ general manager David Griffin’s desire to increase spacing and add solid shooting, Harris’ selection makes sense. He will likely compete with the bevy of shooting guards on the Cleveland roster, including last year’s selections of Sergey Karasev and Carrick Felix.
Had he been able to come out a year earlier, Andrew Wiggins may have been added with the selection that ultimately went to Anthony Bennett. One GM was on record saying that Wiggins was so good, he would’ve been the first pick in the last seven NBA Drafts. Maybe it was fate? Maybe it was just luck. Either way, Wiggins, the Brampton, Ontario native, is the newest addition to the Cleveland Cavaliers having been selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. nba-draft-news-cavs-andrew-wiggins
Though the hype train was full steam ahead, Wiggins underwhelmed a bit during his lone season at Kansas, averaging 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year and a consensus second-team All-America pick. He is a prototypical wing athlete, providing a jaw-dropping marriage of grace and power in a long, lean frame. With a seven-foot wing span and the ability to guard a variety of positions, Wiggins will be able to step in and immediately contribute on the defensive end.
Wiggins is an out-of-this-world athlete who can score in myriad ways, but will have to refine his offensive game to truly be a superstar at the NBA level. Neither Wiggins or Parker will step in and produce All-World numbers, but if any player has the chance to, it’s the kid from Kansas. The trendy comparison for Wiggins at this stage is Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, who averaged 14.3 points and 6.2 rebounds as a freshman against WAC competition. His floor, at this point, appears to be that of cup-of-coffee Cavalier forward Luol Deng.
At the very least, the analytics were in his favor. Now the fun begins.
[Related: WFNY Film Room: A look at Andrew Wiggins]
Photo Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
David Blatt strolled in to the crowded media room within Cleveland Clinic Courts, led to the dais by Cavaliers general manager David Griffin. Festooned in a press conference-ready navy blue suit, the 55-year-old Blatt carried with him the Trojan Horse of all media maneuvers—a self-written yet typed out statement from which he would read as his opening remarks. His accent, a mix of east coast and Middle East, permeated into recording devices which surrounded him as words like “Cleveland” came out more like “Cleevlinn.” As cameras clicked around him and members of the Cavs ownership team stood off stage right, Blatt would stare down at the paper, looking up just enough to qualify as token eye contact. It was as if he were the valedictorian speaking at a local high school commencement.
Blatt’s remarks were endearing, if not an outright campaign for acceptance and support. He intertwined thank yous with key lines for those seeking filler quotes for their impending deadlines—”Make no mistake: I’ve won everywhere I’ve been…and I plan on doing the same here,” and “I’m not an offensive coach or a defensive coach—I’m a basketball coach” being two of the many that would undoubtedly litter recaps of the day’s events. But it wasn’t until the speech ended, until that piece of nine-by-eleven paper was flipped over to Blatt’s right, that the Cavs’ new head coach arrived, delivering more personality and panache than anyone could have foreseen—save for the few who traveled just to see the man who meant so much to them in a former life take the first step of what would serve to be his dream come true.
With the NBA Draft less than 24 hours away, the Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly hitting the phones with ferocity in attempt to gauge value within the trade market. The latest comes from ESPN.com’s Chad Ford who says that the Cavs have been shopping Orlando’s draft picks—picks 4 and 12—in attempt to see what players they could obtain.
Sources: Cavs were calling around offering teams Orlando's picks at 4 & 12 for players last night. Interesting
— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 26, 2014
The Cavaliers have been rumored in concert with the Magic who would send their two first-round selections and swingman Aaron Afflalo to Cleveland for the No. 1 pick. Ford follows this up with the report that Orlando would use the first-overall pick to select Duke’s Jabari Parker. Given the picks and caliber of player involved, it is believed that this is forcing the Philadelphia 76ers—who also covet Cleveland’s No. 1 pick—to increase their initial offer of the No. 3 pick and an overpaid, inefficient Thaddeus Young. It is believed that the Sixers would move up to select Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins.
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Looking for Love? The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly tried to acquire Kevin Love in a deal centered around the Cavs’ No. 1 pick, but Love’s refusal to re-sign with the Wine and Gold has “killed talks.”
Cleveland pushed on deal centered on No. 1 pick for Kevin Love, but his refusal to re-sign w/ Cavs has killed talks, sources tell Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 25, 2014
The Cavs’ No. 1 pick has been the subject of endless trade speculation. In addition to their reportedly failed attempt at acquiring Love, they’ve allegedly fielded offers from the Magic (Arron Afflalo and picks Nos. 4 and 12), the 76ers (Thaddeus Young and No. 3), and the Jazz (Derrick Favors and No. 5). Additional reports on Wednesday suggest that the Wolves may wait until LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony—both players recently opting out of their respective deals—are signed as free agents before aggressively pursuing a trade involving Love.
The Cavs, meanwhile, have reportedly remained undecided on the top selection as ESPN’s Chad Ford reports that the front office and ownership team are each pulling for different players, the former wanting Jabari Parker while the latter is yearning for Andrew Wiggins.
It’s not quite Nerlens Noel versus Alex Len, but the Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly undecided on who they will be taking with the No. 1 pick during this Thursday’s NBA Draft. ESPN.com is citing multiple sources who say that the team is split as to who—either Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins or Duke’s Jabari Parker—will be the next player added to their roster. “They met for three hours, and all they talked about was those two guys,” said one source.
The Cavaliers, as led by general manger David Griffin, were reportedly set on drafting Kansas center Joel Embiid with the first-overall pick, but the 7-footer was found to have a stress fracture in his foot that will require four-to-six months of rehabilitation.
Parker, by all accounts, is the most NBA-ready player from an offensive standpoint, a kid who can be added to any NBA roster and provide 15-20 points on a given evening. He is thought to be a better fit for head coach David Blatt’s offense due to his high IQ and ability to convert catch-and-shoot scenarios. Unfortunately, the Duke product arrived to Cleveland last week tipping the scales at 20 pounds larger than his typical playing weight and was thought by at least one source to have “tanked” his workout. Defensively, he is thought by some to be a risk at the small forward position—his physical condition will only serve to hinder this even further.
Wiggins, conversely, came into Cleveland last Wednesday and reportedly shot the ball extremely well despite this being labeled as a weakness. Wiggins also reportedly wowed ownership in the workout due to his athleticism and the way he conducted himself within his interview.
“You can’t base everything on one one-on-none workout,” a source said. “But Wiggins was great and Jabari wasn’t. It makes an impact. It makes you go back and reassess everything you saw during the year.”
Photo: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
In a bit of a shock—the timing, if not the context of the actual news—Miami Heat forward LeBron James will exercise his Early Termination Option and become an unrestricted free agent this July. This news was first reported by ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard.
James was thought to be one of the few players to opt in for his final year where he was due to earn $20.3 million. Opting out allows him to re-sign with the Heat on a multi-year basis in addition to exploring his options to sign elsewhere. If James were to re-sign with the Heat, it is believed that he would have to take less money in order for the Miami front office to have more flexibility in building out a more complete roster.
James has been relatively mum on his future, stating that he had not given it much thought upon the completion of the 2013-14 season where his team fell to the San Antonio Spurs for the NBA Championship, four games to one. It was believed that the four-time MVP would push his free agency off one more year, allowing the Heat more time to steer toward their future.
“I don’t think we’ve got to recruit Chris, Dwyane or LeBron,” Heat president Pat Riley said on Thursday. “I’m not dropping rings on the table for those guys. They could drop their own.”
Teams are thought to be making a big push to sign James include the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets.
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
With the NBA Draft just three days away, speculation will only increase as all eyes turn to the Cleveland Cavaliers and their No. 1 pick. In his latest mock draft, ESPN.com’s Chad Ford reports that Duke’s Jabari Parker’s workout with the Cavs on Friday was nothing short of a disaster.
Sources close to the Cavs told ESPN.com this weekend that the Cavs are now leaning toward taking Parker with the No. 1 pick. However, it’s far from a lock. Parker came in to work out on Friday in front of the Cavs front office and ownership. Parker wasn’t great. He was a bit heavy (he weighed in at 255 pounds), didn’t shoot the ball well and got winded at times. Furthermore, two different sources told ESPN.com that Parker seemed a bit indifferent. One source said he thought Parker “tanked” the workout.
Why? A source says he strongly prefers to play in Milwaukee. The Cavs appear to be aware of this. “Jabari wasn’t himself,” one source said. “It was clear we weren’t his first option.”
Ford, it should be said, has the Cavaliers taking Parker with their first pick, but it appears that Andrew Wiggins is picking up steam despite his present day offensive limitations. Wiggins came in and nailed his workout on Wednesday. Per Ford, he shot the ball well, showed off tremendous athleticism and had a good interview. Perhaps most importantly, he apparently made it aware that he wants to play in Cleveland.
It appears that the decision will come down to what the team needs (or desires) in the short term versus their patience. Parker offers immediate returns, but somehow weighs 55 pounds more than Wiggins who also stands at 6-feet-8. Ownership wants to get back into the playoffs, but that same group reportedly grew concerned after Friday’s horrid workout.
To be continued…
Not to be confused with Charlie, the Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly have interest in veteran big man Channing Frye.
As stretch four with big role in Suns' surprising season, Frye said to be on radar of both Warriors & Cavs if he indeed opts for free agency
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 22, 2014
Frye would have to decline his $6.8 million player option for next season. Earlier this offseason, he said that he had hopes of negotiating a contract extension with Phoenix, where he averaged 11.1 points and shot 37.0 percent from downtown last season.
Frye played in all 82 games, just a year after heart surgery caused him to miss the entire 2012-13 season. While Spencer Hawes could conceivably remain a member of the Cavs, Frye’s space-friendly skill set would be perfect for David Blatt’s offense. It appears that the Suns have a leg up on Cleveland at this stage, but crazier things have happened.