April 17, 2014

Game Preview: Cavs finish first half with pivotal road game in Detroit

Cavaliers vs PistonsAfter yet another surprising victory, the Cleveland Cavaliers have just one game left before the All-Star Break. And it’s against a familiar and troublesome opponent.

Tonight, the Cavs (19-33) will look to achieve their first four-game winning streak since LeBron James played in Cleveland. They’ll attempt to do so in Detroit against the Pistons, who have won seven straight contests against their Central Division rivals.

Not to be out-done by last week’s firing of Cavs GM Chris Grant, the Pistons factually fired their head coach Maurice Cheeks on Monday. They’ve actually been playing better ball of late, however, and beat the San Antonio Spurs later Monday night.

Can the Cavaliers somehow pull off another surprise? What have the Pistons been up to this year? How do the two franchises compare overall? Let’s explore all that in a game preview. [Read more...]

NBA News: Omri Casspi signs with Houston; Josh Smith with Detroit

Former Cleveland Cavalier forward Omri Casspi has signed a free agent contract with the Houston Rockets according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski-

Casspi will join Dwight Howard who agreed to join the Rockets Friday night.

Also from Wojnarowski, former Atlanta Hawk Josh Smith has agreed to a deal with the Detroit Pistons-

[Related: Dwight signs with Houston; Asik on the market?]

Josh Smith: Shaun Livingston a great addition for Cavs

[Shaun Livingston] had a horrific injury. I tip my hat off to him, the hard work that he put in just to get back into the NBA let alone play. He’s still a great talent in this league. I think that if that injury wouldn’t have happened, no doubt in my mind that he’d be a max player. But, you know, things happen in life. I don’t think he’s hanging his head from it — I think he’s just continuing to try and play while being humble as he’s always been. I think he’s a great pick-up for the Cavs.

– Atlanta Hawks power forward Josh Smith on Cavs guard Shaun Livingston. Smith and Livingston were two of the eight players selected in the first round of the 2004 NBA Draft who opted to skip playing at the collegiate level. Smith has gone on to play at a very high level and will likely sign a max deal this coming offseason. The Cavaliers recently claimed Livingston off of waivers (Washington).

[Related: Win in Washington shows young Cavaliers what it takes]

Simmons: Cavs Linked to Potential Swap for Josh Smith

In his latest piece regarding the trade value of NBA players, ESPN/Grantland’s Bill Simmons discussed a potential trade, likely in Simmons-esque jest, involving the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Atlanta Hawks.

While discussing Atlanta’s should’ve-been All-Star forward  Josh Smith, a player who is on the outs with his current team, Simmons had the following:

Josh Smith trades never seem to work. [...] Who says no to Atlanta saving $20 million next season by dealing Smith and Marvin Williams to Cleveland for Antawn Jamison’s expiring contract? (Answer: The Hawks. But they definitely had a two-hour meeting about it.)

Jamison is the owner of a well-documented $15 million expiring contract, but also one who wishes to stay in Cleveland through the March 15 trade deadline. The Hawks, since signing Joe Johnson to the NBA maximum contract, are looking to part ways with overpriced (or soon-to-be well-paid) athletes.

Marvin Williams has long been rumored to be linked to Cleveland, but the addition of Smith, averaging 17.1 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots per game, certainly adds a new element to the mix. The athletic Smith has told the Hawks that he would like to be moved prior to March 15. He is due the remaining portion of his $12.4 million salary for this season as well as the $13.2 million for 2012-13. He would be a free agent heading into the 2013-14 season.

In the same published piece, Anderson Varejao slots in 40th with one of the league’s best trade values, one spot ahead of New York’s Tyson Chandler and several ahead of Indiana’s Roy Hibbert who represented the East in the most recent All-Star contest.

[Related: The Cavaliers and Cleveland Fans Very Familiar With NBA’s Trade ]Deadline

Cavs 93, Hawks 88: Cleveland Clinches #1 Seed and Home Court in the East

Add yet another milestone to the record books. The Cavaliers secured the Eastern Conference regular season title for a second straight season last night while becoming the 18th occurrence (and 9th different franchise) of a team winning 60 games in back-to-back years.

It was a meaningful night in Cleveland but one that was definitely contested throughout. After being swept by the Cavs in the post-season last year, the Hawks put up yet another solid fight during the 2009-2010 season. Unfortunately, it resulted in an all-too-familiar result as Atlanta fell to 0-3 in the season series with the finale coming at Phillips Arena for game #82.

Holding tight defensively down the stretch yet again provided ample time for LeBron James and the offense to finally get moving. The game had been tight during the entire contest but the Cavs pulled away comfortably in the closing minutes. In fact, the five-point margin was much closer than the way the ending actually played out.
[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Josh Smith and Amare Stoudemire Rumors, and Wedge’s Frustration

While We’re Waiting aims to be the round-up of the recent WFNY-esque information for your morning viewing. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email in the sidebar.

Josh SmithThe other side of the Josh Smith trade: “As a Hawks fan, would I be upset if the Hawks traded Josh Smith? Well, that depends. I like Josh, as a person and as a player, and I’m glad that he’s on my favorite team. But if trading Josh could make the Hawks a better team, then I understand the need to move him. I really don’t care whether or not they trade him, I just care about who or what they would trade him for.  That said, to me it’s going to be tough to find anything resembling equal value for a 23-year-old who averaged 15.6 and 7.2 last season and is under a very reasonable contract for the next five years. More importantly, from what I understand, the Hawks really like Josh Smith.” [Lang Whitaker/SLAMOnline]

[Read more...]

Josh Smith Possibly On The Trade Block?

Josh SmithGenerally I don’t raise my eyebrows at NBA trade rumors too much. This time of the year, you usually get so many names tossed into the ring that after a while, it all becomes a bunch of white noise. It seems like about 75% of the rumors thrown out there are generally unrealistic anyway, so it can sometimes be kind of tough to take them seriously. None the less, it can sometimes be fun to dream.

We’ve already heard the rumors about Rasheed Wallace, Charlie Villanueva, Shaq, Antawn Jamison, and even Carlos Boozer. This morning, it was a new name that really caught my eye and made me sit up a little bit. The name being thrown into the rumor mill this time was the Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith.

ESPN’s Chad Ford first mentioned this rumor in his Draft Buzz column [ESPN Insider link] yesterday afternoon. He wrote,   [Read more...]

Cavaliers vs Hawks: 5 Things From Game 1

How strange was it to see the Cavs actually playing a game last night? All of those nights off made it seem like the Cavs had a first round bye. (Insert Pistons joke here.) Anyway, here’s my five observations good and bad from last night’s game.

Where Amazing Happens

Five good things-

1. LeBron. (I could probably just type that name alone, but I won’t.) With all the hype, all the pomp of his MVP award, the shoes, the trip to Akron yesterday it would have been easy for him to struggle with focus early on. To say he didn’t would be a gross understatement. LeBron demonstrated MVP leadership with his intense focus from the opening tip. He was defending, hustling for every loose ball, and that dunk to start the game didn’t hurt either. He was amazing. And we’ve come to expect the amazing. By the way, I thought LeBron’s most impressive play may have been drawing a charge on the 2-on-1 breakaway. Brilliant. [Read more...]

Round Two Game One Numbers and Words

Cavaliers FansThe Cleveland Cavaliers picked up right where they left off in round one of the 2009 NBA Playoffs and had their way with the Atlanta Hawks in Game One by a final score of 99-72. A good omen for the Cavaliers? It is when you consider that no team has ever come back to win a playoff series after losing Game 1 by 25 or more points since the 1985 Finals. Just something to think about what. What follows, though, is my analysis in numbers and words.

-If there was anything I was worried about coming into this series, it was Game 1. I was a little worried about the Cavaliers being a little slow, sluggish, and off with their shot. I was worried about a slight MVP hangover effect. I was worried about a brash, young Hawks team coming in and using their speed and athleticism to jump out to a quick lead. Well, all of that happened in the first half of the 1st quarter. That’s when the resiliency of this Cavs team kicked in and they quickly jumped on the Hawks to regain control of the game, and by the end of the quarter, the Cavs were actually ahead, despite their slow start. I thought that was huge.   [Read more...]

The Cavaliers’ Free Agency Primer

Baron Davis, Cavalier?  Not Quite.Please note, this article contains content written by both Scott and Rock, with the first half of the story being penned by Scott and the second half by Rock.

As we continue to debate the ever-impressive LeBron going East argument, the list of players that could be leaving their current teams now (as opposed to 2010) has grown considerably over the last 24 hours.

While Baron Davis turned down his $17.8 million offer, the Clippers have also been put on notice for forwards Corey Maggette ($8.4mm) and Elton Brand ($16.4mm).

We all know that Gilbert Arenas opted out of his contract with the Washington Wizards – but there had been speculation that he would be re-signing. He’s been rumored to be willing to accept less-than-max money from the Wizards, assuming the front office were to reallocate his would-be funds to bring in more talent. ‘

Josh Smith, Beno Udrih and James Posey are just a few of the other names you’ll likely hear about over the next few days. But which players could the Cavaliers offer a contract to? [Read more...]