August 26, 2014

The team that Cavs fans deserve, While We’re Waiting

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Happy Tuesday WFNY!

A couple weeks ago, I talked about how I often seem to catch part of Two Broke Girls whenever I start to write my weekly edition of WWW. But not this week. Thanks to the Every Simpsons Ever marathon, my TV has been firmly fixated on FXX.

I often watch syndicated episodes of The Simpsons, so I’ve seen many of the older episodes multiple times, but there’s just been something really enjoyable about going back and watching these classic episodes again, only this time in chronological order. Whether it be the Pinchy the lobster episode, Blinky the three-eyed fish episode, the putt putt golf tournament episode, the Hullabalooza episode, or Maggie’s first word episode, it’s been a never ending string of classics.

I don’t watch new episodes of The Simpsons anymore. I’m not sure why not, I just sort of fell out of it. For a very long time my DVR would still record the episodes every week, but I would just never feel like watching them, and I would inevitable have to delete them all at some point to free up space. But it’s funny, despite not watching the new shows, I’m never the less quite glad that the show is still on the air. There’s something comforting and reassuring that one last piece of my childhood is still hanging in there.

And I think that’s a big part of why the Simpsons has endured. The show is frozen in time at a point in a family’s life that we all love. While everything else around us has changed so much over the last 25 years, the Simpsons family has mostly stayed the same. And at the core of the show, family is what it is all about. Sure, everyone in the family has their own selfish moments and quirks, but when all is said and done, The Simpsons are one of the most tight-knit families on television.

And speaking of families…

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Kevin Love is a big deal for Cavaliers fans

Yes, of course I’m going to talk about Kevin Love here today. The trade is finally final and we can officially refer to Love as a Cleveland Cavalier. A lot has already been said and written about Love’s impact on the court, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about this event from the fans’ perspective.

When LeBron James left, we all know what that moment represented. I’ve often said that people outside of Ohio and the Cavs family couldn’t possibly totally comprehend the gravity and weight of that moment. It was much more than just a basketball thing. It was more than a regional thing. It was more than an economic thing. It was an unraveling of the fabric that tied all of us together as fans.

I remember something I wrote after LeBron left.

So please, please, please don’t take the easy way out and just give up on this franchise. Take heart in what Dan Gilbert said last night. He is going to fight for us in a way that LeBron never did. We held our tongue on a lot of things with LeBron over the years because we wanted to show him the same support and loyalty we thought he was going to give us, and so did Dan Gilbert. So no, I’m not going to sit here and blame him for firing off that letter last night. I’m a little worried about the impact it could have on signing free agents in the future because LeBron is a very popular player with a ton of friends in the league and none of them probably thought it was too cool. But this was personal for Gilbert. It had to be. It may have “just been business” to LeBron, but it wasn’t business for us in Ohio. This was about as personal as it gets.

Setting aside anyone’s feelings today about Dan Gilbert, positive or negative, I was terrified that LeBron’s departure was going to put an end to the community of Cavs fans that I had grown so fond of. I knew things would never be the same, but I so desperately wanted fans to not give up, to continue to fight to show support for this franchise that we all loved so dearly.

It wasn’t always easy, and there were so many trying moments over the last four years of darkness. All of us were tested to varying degrees, and while not everyone maintained the same level of passion throughout, for the most part, the Cavs family survived. And that’s something we should take a second to reflect on and be really proud of. Because everything is about to change.

Yes, this Kevin Love thing is a big deal. After suffering through long, dark, bitter cold winter nights watching this franchise falter in different ways over and over again, we are about to have one of the most fun teams to watch in the NBA. I don’t know how long it will take for everything to gel. I don’t know how many games this team will win this year. I don’t know if a Big Three who has two of the three without any prior playoff experience can make a Championship run in year one. The only thing I know about this team is that they have the pieces in place to be an incredibly fun team to watch with one of the most potent offenses the NBA has ever seen.

I’ve been reflecting a lot about how I feel about all of this. About LeBron returning after so publicly turning his back on all of us. About this franchise that has been a nightmare for four years suddenly being considered one of the favorites to win the Championship just one year after the Season of Huh. About reconciling my feelings about “Super Teams” in the NBA with my desire to see the Cleveland Cavaliers be relevant again. There has been so much to take in and it has been overwhelming at times. Yet the one thing I keep coming back to is that this is the team that the Cavs family deserves.

I get a little tired of people always pitting the Cleveland franchises against one another, as if we have to rank our loyalties. I’m a fan of all three franchises. Yes, basketball is my favorite sport and I feel the strongest about the Cavaliers, but I want to see success for all three of the city’s teams. Obviously the Browns push the needle in Cleveland, but after what I’ve seen the last eleven years has shown me that Cleveland is an awesome basketball city as well.

Actually, forget just the last eleven years. With the exception of the dead period post-Mike Fratello and pre-LeBron, the Cavaliers have generally been a playoff team or at least a playoff contender. The franchise has been in the playoffs fifteen times in my life. It’s easy to be a fan when things are going well. And I know many will write off those Fratello teams because they weren’t Championship contenders. They were just a team that made the playoffs as a low seed who lost in the first round every year. But I loved watching Mike Fratello get the most out of those low talent teams, finding a way to win games against all odds.

But it’s much harder to be a fan when the team is losing. And breaking records for losing. It’s ugly. It feels pointless at times. It’s trying in every way. Yet over the last four years, I could pop on Twitter for every game and partake in quality discussions and debates with a multitude of like-minded Cavs fans. The wins may have left, but the passion of the fans didn’t.

So sure, LeBron returning is the biggest Cleveland sports story of my life. That along would have made this an amazing offseason. But adding Kevin Love is the biggest cherry on top. And I’m just so happy for the fans. Forget about how this team was constructed or how much luck was required to get here. For once, we can just live in the moment and enjoy this ride we’re about to embark on, wherever it takes us.

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Is LeBron’s weight actually a problem?

This article is a couple weeks old, but I just stumbled on it. It comes from the Toronto Star and it questions whether LeBron’s weight loss is a good thing or not.

“It’s unhealthy for athletes,” said Guest, a Toronto-based sport dietitian and PhD candidate studying genetics and high-performance athletes at the University of Toronto.

“There are some proponents out there that feel that if you stay on a high-fat diet long enough, that you can adapt to using fat as a primary fuel. It’s extremely risky, and more often than not, we see fatigue, we see a decrease in performance, immunity issues. Carbohydrates are an athlete’s best friend,” said Guest.

I don’t know how LeBron lost all his weight or whether or not he is consuming any carbs or not. I think it’s risky whenever any medical professional tries to diagnose someone without actually talking to them or examining them. But never the less, I did find this article at least interesting.

Is LeBron’s weight going to be a problem? Can he still play in the post with this frame? Will he fatigue as the season goes along? Who knows. I’m sure LeBron is working with professionals who are considering all of this and more. His diet now may not be the same as his diet once the season starts. Maybe he’s losing weight now, but will be consuming carbs once the season starts.

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Sure, lets talk about the Browns a little bit

I’ll admit, four years of Cavalier ineptitude wasn’t enough to dampen my spirit. However, fifteen years of it from the Browns is starting to get the job done. As I watched the Browns take the field Saturday night and then proceed to look exactly like the Cleveland Browns on the field, I found myself questioning myself, asking why I was even watching.

It feels like nothing matters. The Browns have tried EVERYTHING. They’ve changed every aspect of the franchise, even the owner. Nothing matters. This franchise fails over and over again on every level in every aspect. It’s frustrating and I’m getting tired of caring about them and wasting my Sundays watching the same team do the same things and make the same mistakes over and over again.

But hey, who knows. Maybe this is all just a preseason mirage and the real Browns will be a good football team. Maybe for once things will just kind of work out.

But as frustrating as all the losing and ineptitude has been, the thing that is frustrating me the most today is the Josh Gordon situation. As Mike Pettine has said, he’s “fairly certain” Gordon is going to miss time. But how much time? Yeah, wouldn’t we all like to know.

This suspension and appeal has been dragging out since night two of the draft. That was May 9, almost four months ago. And we still have no answers, no idea of what is going to happen with Josh. This whole situation seems entirely unfair to The Browns, to Gordon, to the fans, to everyone. And the longer this drags out, the longer Gordon will have to wait to apply for reinstatement if his one year suspension is upheld. What a mess.

I don’t know what kind of politics are going into a decision like this. I don’t know if a compromise is being negotiated or if one or both sides are playing some kind of hardball with the other. I just want this to be over so we can have some kind of closure on this and can move forward appropriately.

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New music of the week

What a week for new music! So much good stuff to consider. My pick for album of the week came down to J Mascis and Ty Segall. It was really hard to pick between the two, but I’m going with Ty Segall by a narrow margin.

I’ve talked before about Jersey bands wearing Jersey on their sleeve. Well, Ty Segall is not from Jersey. He is from San Francisco and boy does he ever wear that city’s style in his music. He encapsulates all of that weirdness, all of that psychedelic weirdness, and channels it into his own unique brand of garage rock.

Ty Segall has been around for a while, and he is one of the most prolific song writers in the indie music world. In 2013 he released three albums. One was a solo album, one with Ty Segall Band, and one with his other band Fuzz. Now in 2014, he’s back with a solo album and, in my opinion, it’s his best one yet.

Sometimes his brand of garage rock can be a bit trying. His albums aren’t always consistent. But this one is by far his most consistent and most accessible album yet. His songwriting is more focused and he allows the hooks to surface easier. But he does all this without giving up the extraordinary guitar playing. He still absolutely shreds on this album. So give it a shot, and see what you think:

Other albums to consider this week include:

  • J Mascis – “Tied to a Star”
  • Merchandise – “After the End”
  • The Rentals – “Lost in Alphaville”
  • Cymbals Eat Guitars – “Lose”

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That’s it for me this week. I hope everyone has a great and safe Labor Day Weekend, and I’ll see you guys back here next Tuesday when we will have a major change at WFNY for you guys. I look forward to it!

LeBron James hints at bringing powder toss back to Cleveland

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Largely abandoning his pre-game powder tossing ritual since leaving Cleveland, LeBron James has hinted toward bringing it back for his second stint with the Cavaliers.

James, signing with the Cavaliers in July, is already bringing back his jersey No. 23 so the powder toss seems like an easy addition. If you want to see the first toss live, secondary market prices for the Cavs’ opening night tilt start at $575. No word on if The Q will be pumping Kevin Rudolf’s “Let it Rock” so we can all party like it’s 2009 once again, but it’s shaping up to be one hell of a night.

Kevin Love billboard unveiled downtown

Well, that didn’t take long. A Kevin Love “Welcome to Cleveland” billboard went up this morning in downtown Cleveland. The billboard is from Starter and features Kevin Love in an old school Cavs jacket.

Here’s another angle:

The introductory press conference is scheduled for Tuesday at 3 p.m. at Cleveland Clinic Courts.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas considering a return?

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Could the No. 11 jersey be coming down from the rafters? Tony Rizzo of ESPN Cleveland (WKNR/850 AM) reports that long-time center Zydrunas Ilgauskas is considering a return to the Cavaliers, eying up a role for “10-to-15 minutes per night.”

Ilgauskas, 39, has not played in the NBA since the 2010-2011 season. His jersey was famously retired by the Cavs last season in a ceremony that included his friend LeBron James, who was still a member of the Miami Heat at the time.

The Cavs continue to be in need of a center; speculation is swirling that the newly acquired Kevin Love could see time at the five in the event head coach David Blatt runs with a small lineup. Rizzo claims that Ilgauskas has been medically cleared and has been working out in hopes of a comeback that (finally) results in an NBA Championship.

ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst believes that Ilgauskas is in shape to still play, but his immobility on defense would be one that would not satisfy the team’s need for rim protection. Windhorst also believes that while Big Z may be in play, it would not be a signing that would happen before the start of the 2014-15 regular season. It is also believed that the all-time leader in games played as a Cavalier is content with his current situation.

Image: NBATV

 

And so the Kevin Love era begins: While We’re Waiting…

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It’s Monday Funday, you guys!

Kevin Love Kevin Love Kevin Love Kevin Love. First order of business on this lovely Monday is to point you in the direction of Brian Windhorst’s latest on the Cleveland Cavaliers and their pursuit of one Kevin Love. It’s a fascinating look at the way the dominoes slowly lined up over the course of the last year and how much luck—in addition to shrewd draft pick accumulation—played such a huge role in tipping the first one over.

Twelve teams had reached out to the Timberwolves in attempt to discuss the acquisition of Love. The Cavaliers were the ones to pull it off. It’s interesting how much of a role Dan Gilbert played in all of this, and what was known when the team’s majority owner met with LeBron James before The Decision 2.0. It’s also interesting that LeBron’s decision to go with a shorter contract put a bit of a crimp in the team’s original plans—ones that involved waiting until 2015 and utilizing free agency. That said, it was also James who proved to be the ultimate recruiter—”James’ strong statement with his contract and private talks to win over Love proved to be the final grease to the skids.”—bringing two of the top 12 players in the league to Cleveland for the long haul.

This all still seems so surreal.1

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Talk about a quick turnaround. The Browns only had a few days to prepare for the St. Louis Rams, but the ultimate efficiency comes from the Cleveland street vendors who were able to churn out a slew of this shiny new take on the Johnny Manziel money gesture. Perfect timing for that back-to-school shopping!

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It’s officially fall. School’s back in, football has started and the award show floodgates have opened. Last night’s VMA’s, while not exactly The Academy Awards, were a bit of a mess, but there will certainly be plenty of headlines in the pop culture world. Front-loading the performances seems like a weird move, but when in doubt, put Beyonce on stage.

In the very least, Miley Cyrus winning Video of the Year allows me to repost this gem:

BejOqJMCUAAyFky

Monday night brings us the Emmy Awards, shining light on all of the amazing television shows over the last year. Breaking Bad cleans up, right?

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What does the future hold for Time Inc? NYMag’s Gabriel Sherman penned an in-depth profile of the country’s most storied magazine company as it operates amidst budget cuts and a murky landscape. Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, People, InStyle, and Real ­Simple are just a handful of the titles owned and printed by Time Inc. While they’re all still making money, earnings have fallen by nearly 65 percent since 2006.

The main misstep? Failing to implement a coherent strategy to adapt to the web, a gaffe that was only compounded by cost cuts rather than a reallocation of efforts. It’s shaping up to either be a turnaround story for the ages or a case study for media students of the next generation.

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“You can never have enough unreported opinions.” — No one, ever. Here’s this week’s edition of #ActualSportswriting

You can’t quit cold turkey” by Tommy Tomlinson (ESPN The Magazine): “Early in the second quarter of the River Monsters’ next game, Lorenzen was scrambling when a defender came at him head-on. Lorenzen got low. The defender got lower. The hit broke Lorenzen’s tibia and ruptured ankle ligaments. Now he’s got six screws and a plate in his lower leg and a long scar running down the outside. He says he’s finished, for good. He’s 33 years old, and for the first time since he was 5, Lorenzen has no plans to play football.”

How Felix Hernandez has so far survived baseball’s arm injury epidemic” by Jeff Passan (Yahoo! Sports): “His corners are his binky, especially on his arm side. Hernandez peppers the outside corner with his fastball against left-handers only to work back over the plate and bury the changeup that has become his trustiest pitch. Hernandez loves his change, which he picked up in 2009 fiddling around with grips. He made his index finger and thumb into a circle, squeezed his middle finger between the two seams and saw the ball come out of his hand and do unsavory things.”

30 Yards and a Cloud of Dust” by Seth Wickersham (ESPN The Magazine): “>Nobody has ever run a team quite the way Chip Kelly runs one. And [LeSean] McCoy is about to learn what it means to live and work in Kelly’s new system. During practice, players wear mandated heart monitors and GPS devices. Trainers carry water bottles labeled with each player’s name and after practice ask the players to pee into a cup, part of Kelly’s plan to track hydration. A monitor on a wall in the facility ranks the most hydrated players. Drinking water is now a drinking game.”

Twilight The Saga: The Final Fascinating Days of a Legend” by Chris Ballard (Sports Illustrated): “The thick-armed man moves quickly, establishing a perimeter and securing the entryway. This is his seventh year on Kobe Bryant’s overseas security team, and he knows how quickly things can go sideways, especially in China. Once, four years ago in Shandong Province, a guy slept overnight on the roof of a gym, curled in the darkness, and then, when Kobe approached, leaped from a low overhang, yelling, “Kohhhh-beeee!” In one fluid motion Attila Portik—for that is the muscle-bound man’s name, of Hungarian origin—intercepted the crazed fan and hurled him aside, as if bailing out a boat.”

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And just because… A Tyler Holt web gem to start your day.

Tyler Holt webgem 140824

Happy Monday, kids.

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Footnotes:

  1. An aside: Chris Grant won’t get much credit in what transpired over the last two months, but he certainly should. []

Kevin Love is a Cleveland Cavalier

lovecavsThrough several reports (including Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN, and Sam Amico, among many others) and now confirmed by the Cavaliers themselves, the Cleveland Cavaliers officially acquired Kevin Love today in exchange for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and Miami’s 2015 first round pick (which comes with top ten protection for this year and heads to Philadelphia in this three-team deal). The Philadelphia 76ers will send Thaddeus Young to Minnesota in exchange for the draft pick, Alexey Shved, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

Kevin Love will wear No. 0 with the wine and gold as Nate Thurmond’s No. 42 hangs in the Quicken Loans Arena rafters.

With the offseason acquisitions of LeBron James, Mike Miller, James Jones, Shawn Marion (not official), and now Love officially, the Cavaliers have underwent an unbelievable and transcendent overhaul from the group that last hit the floor in mid-April. Of that unit, only five Cavaliers remain (Irving, Waiters, Thompson, Varejao, Dellavedova).

Love cannot sign an extension with the Cavaliers until early January when the third anniversary of the last contract that he signed passes. However, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! has reported that the Wolves and the NBA granted Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert permission to speak to Love at the Las Vegas Summer League in July. One would reasonably believe that those talks centered around the prospect of Love staying long-term in Cleveland.

The trade has been widely considered a done deal for weeks, the only thing holding up execution was Andrew Wiggins being unable to be traded for 30 days following the signing of his rookie contract. One late-breaking development was Bennett heading to Minnesota rather than Philadelphia.

Love, a 6-10 three-time All-Star, averaged 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 77 games last season while shooting .457/.376/.821 and  playing 36 minutes per night. Love also posted a 26.9 PER, .591 TS%, .524 eFG%, 14.3 win shares, 120 ORtg, and 104 DRtg.

For those fans (including this writer) that purchased Wiggins jerseys following the draft, the Cavs are giving three options as to what to do with your No. 21 Wiggins jersey.

cavswigginsemail

For now, though, Cleveland fans can rejoice and embrace a new era of Cavaliers basketball. LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving. Together. In Cleveland. Now, think back to mid-April. Even if we don’t know for how long this will last and what heights it will take us fans to, let that thought sink in for a moment.

Related: All the numbers on new Cleveland star Kevin Love

Photo: Cleveland Cavaliers

Report: Timberwolves publish newspaper ad with Wiggins, Bennett

We’re all anticipating some sort of announcement today regarding Kevin Love being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. With that expectation, the Minnesota Timberwolves have taken out an ad in the early Sunday edition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, according to John Shipley.shipleytweet

The ad has pictures of the last two number one picks in the draft, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins, both currently Cavaliers. It also features current Philadelphia 76er Thaddeus Young, who is headed to Minnesota as part of the three-team deal.

According to the Pioneer Press’s website:

“A half-page ad in the early Sunday edition of the Pioneer Press has Wiggins, Bennett, Young and 2014 first-round pick Zach LaVine soaring to baskets.

“Fierce. Focused. And ready to pounce,” the ad said. “Meet the next generation of Wolves basketball.””

Today is the first day that Wiggins is eligible to be traded following the signing of his rookie contract 30 days ago. The Cavaliers will be sending Wiggins, Bennett, and Miami’s 2015 first round pick (top ten protected) in order to acquire the All-Star power forward Love.twolvessite

The picture to the top- right is straight from the Minnesota Timberwolves website. They’re clearly trying to not waste any time when it comes to the damage control of trading a player of Love’s caliber. Then again, the number one pick in this draft is a pretty good place to start.

 

 

 

 

Related: All the numbers on new Cleveland star Kevin Love

Photo: Minnesota Timberwolves

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]

Nick Swisher doing a Hafner impression and the Foo Fighters on TV… While We’re Waiting

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As you all are reading this, I’m likely in the middle of driving to Indianapolis for the weekend. Just so you know I’m not typing and driving. More on Indianapolis later in this post. For now, let’s get started, shall we?

Nick Swisher is the Travis Hafner sequel nobody wanted

Hafner SwisherI might feel sorry for Nick Swisher if I wasn’t too busy feeling sorry for my fellow Tribe fans. Indians fans had enough heartache with the trades of Cy Youngs, Victor Martinez and having to ride out the Travis Hafner contract. To think that the Indians would sign someone like Swisher, even with largely modest fan expectations for the guy, and have him turn into another Travis Hafner is just crushing. The news that he not only has aging, achy shoulders, but now needed double arthroscopic knee surgery to clean things out is hair-pullery that Indians fans had hoped was long-gone.

I don’t have a point here. I was in favor of signing Swisher or a guy like Swisher. I know that he’s a great teammate and a good person who wants nothing more than to make Indians fans happy by producing above his contract. Travis Hafner was the same way. I couldn’t hate him for all his struggles either. It’s just the unlucky roll of the free agent dice, I guess. It’s just too much. And there’s still two years and $30 million left to go before the Indians are free.

For reference, when the Indians had two years left to go with Hafner, he’d played 57, 84 and 118 games before finishing his Tribe career with 94 games in 2011 and 66 in 2012. Hopefully the Indians can get more than 160 quality games from Nick Swisher over the next two years.

Incommunicado during a very big sports day

I won’t pretend to be a big Gladiators fan, but they’re playing in the Arena Bowl on Saturday. The Browns are playing their most important pre-season game at the same time. The Indians will be live and in person at Progressive Field. All the while, the dormant Cavaliers might have a Kevin Love trade to announce. As one of the resident Browns guys, you’d think I’d be tuned in and writing furiously about the Browns as they’re making news on the field. Alas, I’ll be in Indianapolis at my wife’s1 high school reunion, DVR’ing the Browns, likely not glued to my phone for news.

And even if I could steal away for some TV time, how would I ever find the Browns pre-season game without Johnny Football scheduled to take starter snaps? I often say that given technology it’s the best possible time to be a sports fan. Even the wonderful advent of technology won’t save me this weekend. We’ll have to talk about it all after it’s already gotten stale by Monday morning.

Following up on the Ferguson chat on the podcast…

I had a great time talking to WayneEmbrysKids on the WFNY podcast and it was mere moments before he was driving to Ferguson to help out. Once he got back, he wrote about his trip on the pages of Scene Magazine’s website. It’s well worth a read.

As I enter the room, I am monitored by a camera and listened to by microphones. A booming police officer voice addresses me over a speaker and I respond while looking around at the ceiling as if I am talking to Jesus Christ himself floating in a cloud over my head. I am struck by the positive reaction to my very frank explanation that I am here to get arrested people out, and also to my request that I be permitted to wait in this three-chair fluorescent light lobby rather than be outside and myself be subject to arrest for a curfew violation.

There’s no good way to segue out of Ferguson talk, but I’ll do it anyway.  Here’s my pop culture / entertainment tidbit for the week…

This. Show. Looks. Cool.

Let’s be honest, music-themed TV shows aren’t usually all that great. Most music TV is reality-based singing competitions where in the end the audience choices end up not doing all that well artistically or commercially. Musical documentaries are better for art of course, but for every good one, there are 100 bad or boring ones. If I have to bet on one based on a trailer, I’m going to bet on the Foo Fighters doing a show for HBO about making their latest album with different musicians at different studios all over the country.

Sonic Highways is a bit of a cheesy title, but Dave Grohl and his band are consistently consistent and always have their heart in the right place. When you see guys going about their thing the right way, you just have to support it. Once I saw the opening to the Foos video for the Skin and Bones album where Dave Grohl walks around an arena with an acoustic guitar, I knew that I could trust the band with more than just music. Here’s the trailer for their new HBO show.

Have a great weekend everybody! Listen to a WFNY Podcast.

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Footnotes:

  1. cough 20th []

David Blatt won’t commit to starting Dion Waiters

dion_winner

Flexibility is typically a benefit, but the Cleveland Cavaliers’ current options could prove to make Dion Waiters’ goal of being the team’s starting shooting guard a bit difficult. Waiters’ desires are well known by this point, and while Andrew Wiggins may very well be on his way out, but Cavs have added Mike Miller and could very well be in the mix for Ray Allen—both players who are taller than Waiters and could instantly add flexibility and floor spacing. With options abound, during a recent interview constructed with the help of David Pick, Cavs head coach David Blatt would not commit to Waiters as a member of the team’s starting five.

Dion is a lot of things to this team. I’ve never seen any particular importance to the emphasis of starting or not, I see an emphasis on playing and helping the team win. That’s not to say he will or won’t start, that’s not the point. I think his and every player’s motto and desire needs to be to help the team win. That’s what’s important.

Waiters, who averaged over 18 points per game as a starter for the Cavs in 2013-14, has lost approximately 10 pounds since the start of the offseason.

If Waiters has anything going for him, it’s the fact that Blatt referred to Kyrie Irving as the team’s “multifaceted point guard” and, as a coach, is a fan of small lineups. If the first-year head coach opts to run with Kevin Love (who is expected to be announced as a member of the Cavs on Saturday) at the center and LeBron James at power forward, it would be expected that Miller, Allen or Shawn Marion (the shortest being 6-foot-5) would play small forward with the 6-foot-4-inch Waiters getting plenty of run at the shooting guard spot. Whether or not this has implication on who starts, however, remains to be seen.

(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Woe are quarterbacks for Ohio teams: While We’re Waiting…

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Happy Tuesday WFNY!

Why did the Browns even have a QB competition? I found myself thinking about that question this morning. Perhaps a good deal of it is hindsight, in having seen a couple of preseason games now, but Johnny Manziel doesn’t look like a QB who is ready for the NFL right now.

Which of course doesn’t mean he won’t eventually be ready. Or that he won’t eventually be a star for his on-field performance and not just his off-field antics. But when the Cleveland Browns selected Manziel in the draft, why did that entitle him to compete for the starting job day one?

It’s not even that Brian Hoyer is an established starting NFL quarterback. He is anything but that, with only three career starts to his name. But Hoyer has been around the NFL for a few years. He’s at least used to the speed of the game, the routine of weekly preparation, and understanding what needs to go into pre-snap reads at this level.

I think above anything else this morning, I find myself mostly disappointed in how poorly Hoyer has looked this preseason. I’m disheartened in general with the offense. But last season, in his limited sample size, Hoyer at least made good, decisive reads and got the ball out of the pocket in a timely manner and showed pretty decent accuracy. So far this preseason, he has looked so much more unsure of himself. It seems, from the outside looking in, like the competition with Manziel has really affected Hoyer. I know a lot of people wanted Manziel to be the starter, but I wanted Hoyer to grab ahold of the starting job and hang onto it for most, if not all, of this season. Unfortunately for both Hoyer and the Browns, that hasn’t happened at all.

The problem the Browns face is that neither guy looks like they’re ready for Week One. I’ve felt all along that a tie between the two QBs would go to Hoyer. Some of the things I’ve seen and heard over the last few weeks had me questioning that. I’ve felt recently like the Browns were giving Manziel every chance to just take the job. But he’s fallen short, too. So now, who’s the starter? Now I’m leaning toward Hoyer getting the nod. Hopefully that would clear his head and allow him to get back to playing at least at an average level like he was last season. If he doesn’t break out of this funk, though, I think his tenure as starting QB will be a short one and we’ll be seeing Johnny Football before we know it. For better or worse.

*****

A bad night for Ohio QBs

As though sitting through a penalty-riddled preseason game in which your team’s two best hopes at QB completely falter isn’t bad enough, during the game we also got word that Ohio State QB Braxton Miller hurt his already ailing shoulder in practice last evening. Braxton initially hurt his shoulder in the Orange Bowl against Clemson last year, requiring him to have off season surgery. Unfortunately, the repaired shoulder was still bothering Braxton all summer and after throwing a downfield pass in a 7-on-7 drill, the shoulder finally gave out.

This is the ultimate gut punch for the Buckeyes who, with an incredibly weak schedule, were eyeing a run at the new NCAA playoff. Barring a Friday Night Lights-esque miracle run, those hopes are now shattered. JT Barrett will now have to do his best to channel his inner Matt Saracen and lead a team shaken to their core over the loss of the two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year (an award only Braxton and Purdue’s Drew Brees have won multiple times).

Speaking purely as a fan, this is one of toughest things to happen to Ohio State in my lifetime. It really feels like the season is over before it even started. If something like this had to happen, you wish it could have happened last season when Kenny Guiton was still around to take over. This is nothing against JT Barrett (or Cardale Jones, should he wind up the starter at some point this season), but Guiton was incredibly experienced and had a phenomenal grasp on the offense. I don’t know what happens now, but with Carlos Hyde in the NFL and Braxton sidelined, the Buckeyes have to replace like 99% of their offense from last season (that percentage is not the real one, just an exaggeration). There will be growing pains with a Freshman QB. We saw it with Terrelle Pryor and Braxton Miller, and I fully expect we’ll see it with JT Barrett.

The good thing for OSU fans is that thanks to parity-less Big Ten conference, the Buckeyes will still be favored in most of their games and they should have enough talent from top to bottom to win a bunch of games and to go to a bowl game. It’s just a bitter pill when this season had higher hopes. Unless Barrett is better than anyone could imagine, the dream of an undefeated season sure feels like it’s now over.

*****

The most overrated Cavalier?

As always, I feel the need to preface this by saying that I’m glad the Cavaliers signed Shawn Marion. I think he can possibly help this season. However, after reading a few reaction pieces, some of which were particularly inaccurate (Marion a career 49% shooter from three? I think not. Try 33%), I feel like we need to slow down a little bit with Marion.

We saw a similar thing happen last year with Jarrett Jack. Now, Marion is a much better player than Jack, so it’s not apples to apples, but last year the Jack signing was so overhyped by Cavs fans, including yours truly (although I did at least recognize before the season that we were over-hyping him). I hope fans can keep expectations with Marion somewhat tempered.

Marion fits an obvious need for the Cavaliers with his ability to defend wings and to fit in small lineups for the Cavs. He’s been a fairly durable, steady, reliable player for a long time. But that last part is the kicker. For a long time. He’s been around the block a few times and has logged a lot of career minutes.

Marion wasn’t brought here to be a shooter, although he has actually improved his three-point shooting in each of the last three seasons. Instead, he’s always been a guy capable of scoring without being the focal point of an offense, which is ideal in Cleveland. He brings playoff experience and veteran leadership. It’s a good signing for the Cavaliers. But at 35 years old, I just want Cavs fans to be aware that this is not the same Shawn Marion you remember from his days with the “Seven Seconds or Less” Phoenix Suns.

*****

New music Tuesday

Finally, we end this WWW as we do every Tuesday with my selection for best new album of the week.

My choice this week is a no-brainer and one of my more anticipated albums of the month: Benjamin Booker’s self-titled debut album. Booker is a New Orleans-based blues/soul/rock musician.

Modern blues music is a funny thing. For a while, it felt like blues music was a dying art form. When I was in high school, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Johnny Lang were a couple younger musicians playing some decent blues music, but it’s just been hard for me to find blue artists that I can connect with.

Enter Benjamin Booker. His intensity and fire on stage, in his vocal delivery, and in his frantic guitar playing is everything I’ve been looking for in this kind of music. He brings almost a punk rock edge to his New Orleans-style blues.

The whole album is really, really good for people who enjoy an eclectic brand of music that brings in a multitude of styles and genres and blends them seamlessly.

*****

That’s all I have this week. Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their week!

 

Report: Shawn Marion agrees to join Cavaliers

Photo1The Cavaliers’ wild and amazing summer just keeps on rolling. The latest development is that veteran Shawn Marion has agreed to join the wine and gold, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Unless the Mavericks agree to a sign-and-trade deal, Marion will be on board for the veteran minimum.

Marion joins an incredibly deep and talented Cavaliers roster that has come together in a matter of just weeks. Last season in Dallas, the Matrix averaged nearly 32 minutes per game and played in 76 contests. In his 15-year career that has been spent primarily in Phoenix and Dallas with brief stops in Miami and Toronto, he has always been a 30+ minute per night, durable, starting small forward. In many cases, Marion because of his defensive skill and athleticism is asked to play small-ball power forward. Last year, Marion averaged 10.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.5 blocks while shooting 48% overall, 36% from three, and 79% at the free throw line. He’s got a funky shot delivery, but it hasn’t stopped him from being efficient when open around the arc and converting at the line. One of his greatest assets, though, is his ability to defend 2-4 on the opposing side of the ball at 6’7″ and 220 lbs.

Marion is likely to see a somewhat reduced role in Cleveland, but his presence will have an incredible impact. While he’ll likely be coming off the bench for the first extended amount of time in his career, one would expect him to still see 20-25 minutes per night. The player most affected by Marion and the pending Love trade will undoubtedly be Tristan Thompson, who will need to play more of his minutes at center now backing up Anderson Varejao. Overall, I’m alright with that situation because of Tristan’s rebounding skill and the ability for Love to stretch the floor beside him. My only concern is how the team will fare against some of the few and far between centers left in the game (Dwight Howard, Roy Hibbert, Pau Gasol, and Brook Lopez, for instance). The Cavaliers are betting that their offensive firepower and athleticism will overshadow any shortcoming there, and I’m inclined to believe them.

LeBron’s recruiting skills have been vital in landing Mike Miller, James Jones, and Marion along with getting Kevin Love interested in coming to Cleveland. David Griffin deserves a bit of credit for this acquisition, however, as Marion reportedly had a good relationship with Griffin during his nine years in Phoenix when Griffin was a part of the front office.

Marion made it clear he wanted to play for a contender, and the Pacers, Heat, and Clippers were among those interested. In Indiana, he would’ve stepped into a starting role with the absence of Paul George, but Indiana was not willing to break the bank and use the entire injury exception of $5.3 million allotted to them for Paul George, as it would have put them into the luxury tax. Marion won his first title with Dallas in 2011 against James and the Heat, and he’ll be looking for number two when the two pair up this season.

The team is looking at its most depth in franchise history with Marion, Mike Miller, and Tristan Thompson all likely coming off the bench, and it’s possible that more is still on the way if Ray Allen agrees to join the Cavs. The team could also be looking to add a veteran third point guard, such as Chauncey Billups, or a bigger body for backup center (Emeka Okafor, Greg Stiemsma, Jermaine O’Neal, and Ekpe Udoh are a few names still out there).

Related: All the numbers on new Cleveland star Kevin Love

(Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)

The NBA’s marketing machine is fantastic … While We’re Waiting

WFNYBanner www

“When’s the schedule coming out?” This was a text I received every few days since LeBron’s return to the Cavaliers. For weeks and weeks, many have been on edge. No official announcement came at first – the NBA had been said to want to delay the release to closer to mid-August.

Finally, there was news. The schedule was set to be released at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13 on NBA TV. The NBA’s marketing was brilliant. They had kept the free agency circuit on edge just enough to then kickstart an entirely new news cycle with the schedule reactions on their own network. [Read more...]

Cavaliers to host Knicks in season opener, play in Miami on Christmas Day

Cavaliers vs KnicksThe 2014-15 NBA schedule hasn’t been officially released yet, but reports have slowly been leaking out with information about some of the league’s marquee matchups. After initial reports that the Cavaliers were going to have to open the season in San Antonio to face the Spurs, Yahoo’s Marc Spears is now reporting that the Cavaliers will actually host the Carmelo Anthony and the Phil Jackson-led Knicks on opening night.

We also have word that the Cavaliers will be playing on Christmas Day for the first time in five years when they travel to Miami where LeBron will square off with former teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

The full schedule is expected to be released Wednesday at 6:00 pm.

[Related: LeBron makes first comments at his Welcome Home Party in Akron]

Report: Former Bucks Coach Larry Drew to Join David Blatt’s Staff

larry drew

With all the excitement over LeBron James’ return to Cleveland, along with all the talk of the impending Kevin Love trade, one of the overlooked stories surrounding the Cavaliers is the makeup of new coach David Blatt’s staff. Tyronn Lue was hired to be Blatt’s Associate Head Coach, but other than rumors of mutual interest in Larry Drew, no word has come down on the rest of the staff.

On Wednesday afternoon, however, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe tweeted that the Cavaliers have indeed hired Larry Drew to be on David Blatt’s staff:

Drew was rather infamously and shamefully replaced as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks as part of the fallout of Jason Kidd’s failed power play in New Jersey, which landed Kidd in Milwaukee and left Drew unemployed. Drew is regarded as a coach who designs playstyle to the talent of his roster, as opposed to forcing his roster to play his preferred style. This mentality should be a good fit with David Blatt who also coaches with this adaptive style.

As for the rest of the staff, Bernie Bickerstaff, Jim Boylan, Igor Kokoskov, and Bret Brielmaier are all still listed on the Cavs’ official website. No further information regarding their future has been reported as of this time.

[Related: Charlotte joins Cleveland in running to host 2017 or 2018 NBA All-Star Game]

Charlotte joins Cleveland in running to host 2017 or 2018 NBA All-Star Game

quicken loans arenaEarlier this week, the Charlotte Hornets threw their hat in the ring for the right to host an upcoming NBA All-Star Game. A joint statement was released by the team and the recently founded non-profit Charlotte Sports Foundation.

Charlotte, which did not have a franchise from 2002-04, last hosted the All-Star Game back in 1991. Of course, if you may have forgotten, the other contender for the 2017 or 2018 game appears to be the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Not many other legitimate competitors are on the horizon. Portland had been a contender, but infrastructure issues derailed their 2017 bid. Orlando, which hosted the 2012 game, hopes to remain a future contender as well. There haven’t been too many other reports of interested host cities.

The upcoming schedule includes New York City in 2015 and Toronto in 2016. This season’s game will be played at Madison Square Garden, with Saturday festivities to be played at the Barclays Center. The Toronto announcement was made with much fanfare and lots and lots of Drake.

Previously, the Cavs had announced their intention to host a future game in spring 2012 and then submitted an official bid in spring 2013. The announcement about Toronto was made last September, but early reports are that the 2017 decision won’t come until later this winter or next spring.

Of course, the 2016 Republican National Convention will take place in Cleveland sometime that summer. Thus, necessary and centrally located infrastructure will likely already be in place for the city by the time of possibly hosting the NBA’s mid-season extravaganza.

Cleveland last hosted the NBA All-Star Game back in 1997, the year of the league’s 50th anniversary celebration. The Indians also hosted the MLB All-Star Game that summer and advanced to the World Series.

[Related from WFNY’s Scott Sargent at the 2014 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans:
On Crescent City, Community and Creation]

Cavaliers sign center Alex Kirk

Alex Kirk

The Cavaliers have been making a splash with free agent signings and visits this summer. This isn’t one of those.

The Cavaliers announced on Monday that they have signed center Alex Kirk to an undisclosed contract. Kirk was with the Cavaliers’ summer league team in Las Vegas averaging 5.2 points on .524 shooting and 3.4 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game.

Kirk went undrafted this year out of New Mexico.

An early entry candidate, the 7-0, 245-pound center went undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft after appearing in 101 games (86 starts) over three seasons at the University of New Mexico. He averaged 10.0 points on .488 shooting, 6.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 25.3 minutes per game over his collegiate career, where he was also a two-time All-MWC Defensive Team selection. Last season, he averaged 13.3 points on .490 shooting from the field, 8.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in 32.0 minutes per game, while receiving his second All-MWC Defensive Team honor.

The Cavaliers list him as 7-0, 245 pounds. If that is the case, he grew over an inch and lost a little weight since the NBA combine.

NBADraft.net listed Kenny Frease as his NBA comparison. Here’s what they had to say about Kirk-

Strengths: A versatile offensive threat, Kirk averaged a solid 16.6 points per 40 minutes this past season at New Mexico … Can score both inside and out; has a soft right-handed hook shot and a very smooth jumper, with range that extends to the NBA three-point line … Most effective inside 18 feet – according to Hoop–Math.com, Kirk made an impressive 70% of his shots at the rim and a respectable 38% of his 2-point jumpers … Not afraid to put a ball on the floor and drive past slower defenders … Can shoot off the dribble … Sets solid screens and effective on the pick and pop … Good size and length – had the 2nd longest standing reach at the NBA combine at 9 feet and 1.5 inches… Solid rebounder and shot blocker – averaged 10.9 and 3.4 per 40 minutes in those respective categories this past season at New Mexico… A coach’s son, Kirk plays within himself, hustles, is alert, and communicates well on the floor… Good stamina for a true center, averaging 32 min. per game this season for the Lobos.

Weaknesses: Not overly physical on either end of the floor, and as a result, struggles to carve out space underneath the basket … Not much lift – relies on his height and length when rebounding and blocking shots… Does not get many rebounds outside his area … Lack of speed greatly hinders his on-the-ball and help defense … He would fit into the NBA 40 years ago, much better than today’s game, as the game has gone to speed over size for bigmen … When defending the pick and roll, he often does not show strong and gets caught in no man’s land… Not shy about shooting, even when well beyond the college 3-point line. This past season, he made just slightly more than 21% of his threes, a number that would likely be significantly higher if he had better shot selection… Prefers to play in space – not afraid of contact, but sometimes struggles in a crowd… Has difficulty with double teams, frequently forcing up wild shots or committing turnovers … Struggled to stay out of foul trouble against athletic big men, including Joel Embiid (KU) and Khem Birch (UNLV) … Though an underclassmen early entrant, he’ll turn 23 at the end of this year, limiting his potential.

So that gives the Cavaliers Andy Varejao, Brendan Haywood and Kirk listed as centers.

[Related: Simmons- Kevin Love is underrated]

 

All the numbers on new Cleveland star Kevin Love

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Minnesota Timberwolves

Analyzing the statistics on the soon-to-be-acquired power forward

Where does Kevin Love rank in the NBA’s elite class?

Confidently, I’d say he’s a top-12 player. In case you haven’t done this exercise in a while, it is indeed very difficult to rank NBA players. We know pretty well that the top three are LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul. From there … there are lots of possible directions one could go, both anecdotally and statistically.

ESPN Insider’s Kevin Pelton ($) recently argued that Love is a current top-five player. For me, that seems a bit too high too soon. Love is only 25 years old, after all1. He’s only a three-time All-Star. He missed most of 2012-13 and was inefficient when he played that season. He’s at best a purely average defensive player. Is he that concretely better and more dominant than Blake Griffin, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Howard AND Anthony Davis? He’s maybe better than some, but not likely all. That’s why I prefer to say top-12 with confidence. And I hope to explain why in this post. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Here’s your scary reminder that Durant is three weeks younger than Love, but we never use age as an excuse for his ranking. []

Watch these Timberwolves fans “burn” Kevin Love’s jersey

Hat tips to Deadspin for posting this, but it’s far too good to not share here as well. Plus, it’s kind of a reaction to the ESPN portrayal of Cleveland fans burning LeBron jerseys en masse on the night of The Decision even if it was a couple of isolated fans. Anyway, it appears that Minnesota fans are far too nice and understanding when it comes to Kevin Love’s predicament to set fire to his jersey.

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...]

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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. []