July 24, 2014

Bulls offer Gibson, McDermott and Mirotic for Love?

kevin love cavs

The Cavaliers may have a lot stronger competition in Kevin Love sweepstakes then previously thought. According to Chris Sheridan, The Chicago Bulls offered Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love.  He states that the the Timberwolves are very intrigued by the package.  Taj Gibson is a 5-year veteran who averaged 13 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks last season for the Bulls.  He plays well on defense and can score in the post and in the mid range.  Doug McDermott is a rookie from Creighton University.  In his senior season, he averaged 26.7 points and 7 rebounds.  He is a lethal shooter who can shoot from any spot on the court.  The Bulls signed Nikola Mirotic this offseason from Real Madrid in Spain.  He is a young sharp shooter who has really intrigued NBA teams over the past few years.

The Cavs have reportedly offered Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and a first round pick for Love. Andrew Wiggins was the number one pick in this past draft from the University of Kansas.  He is an athletic player with a huge upside.  Anthony Bennett was selected number one overall in the 2013 NBA Draft from UNLV.  He had a subpar year last season averaging only 4.2 points and 3 rebounds last season.  The Cavs own three first round picks next season including a Miami and Memphis’s picks.

The race to get Kevin Love is in full gear and it may not be decided for quite a while.  The Cavs made a trade yesterday to better their offer by getting three non-guaranteed contracts from the Utah Jazz.  The Bulls and Cavs seems to be the leaders in the clubhouse for Kevin Love, but anything can happen in the NBA.

(Photo by: AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Cavaliers trade Carrick Felix, other assets to Utah for non-guaranteed contracts

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers-Press ConfereceYahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting Monday night that the Cavaliers have agreed to trade Carrick Felix, plus other assets to the Utah Jazz for three players with non-guaranteed contracts.

This trade would seem to indicate that a move for Kevin Love would be closer to completion. Stay tuned folks.

[Related: All you need to know about trading for Kevin Love]

Mike Krzyzewski would trade Wiggins for Love “without hesitancy”

kevin love cavs

Coach K was on CBS Sports Radio and talked about the Cavaliers and trading for Kevin Love.

“I think there’s absolutely not one second of hesitancy,” Krzyzewski said on The John Feinstein Show. “I’d trade for Kevin Love. That’s not saying anything about any of the other (players involved in the deal). Love’s an All-Star.”

Krzyzewski mentioned the window of opportunity that the Cavaliers are looking at with the addition of LeBron James, which is something I alluded to last week when writing about the potential trade.

“You look at LeBron and you have the best player in the world,” Krzyzewski said. “He’s 29. I’m not saying he’s at the end of his career, but he’s in the second half of his career, let’s put it that way. And in the first half of his career, he was becoming a great player. He was a great talent becoming a great player. That takes time – just like if Wiggins or Bennett are going to be great, it’s not going to happen right now. They’re great talents. LeBron is a great player right now. You do not want to waste any year of a great player’s career.”

Coach K also talked a little about LeBron’s decision, plus coaching the US National Team.

In addition he mentioned how quickly he believes Kyrie Irving would develop surrounded by LeBron James and Kevin Love.

(H/T For the Win)

[Related: Cavaliers planning to sign Wiggins this week?]

Kyle Shanahan, Miracle Worker? While We’re Waiting…

WFNYBanner www

It’s Monday, Monday, gotta get down on Monday….

I’m trying to not get excited. Last year at this time, we were discussing the merits of Norv Turner’s offense and how it was going to be night-and-day compared to that of Pat Shurmur. Gone was the West Coast; here was the vertical game that included the tight end to a larger degree. And while Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon were undoubtedly superb, the Browns’ offense was excruciating to watch—save for the few moments we got to see Brian Hoyer. This, however, is all a long way of leading into Terry Pluto’s latest that discusses the merits of the team’s new offensive coordinator, the 34-year-old Kyle Shanahan.

The pieces all appear to be in place. The strong running game. The mobile quarterbacks. The offensive line. Will it bear fruit? I want to get excited. I want to see Ben Tate rack up 1,000 yards. I want to watch Terrence West truck over would-be tacklers. I want to slice and dice defenses with the zone read. But will these happen?

It has to at least be better than last season. Right?

***

Speaking of the Browns, I thoroughly enjoyed this piece from Tom Reed on linebacker Craig Robertson. By all accounts, Robertson came into last season as a Secret Weapon and left it as one of the worst starting inside linebackers in the game. He was the subject of a Training Camp piece here at WFNY. His defensive coordinator went on to call him the Ace in the Hole. He then went on to get abused in the passing game, putting up marks that were ranked dead last by Pro Football Focus.

But kudos to Robertson for not only knowing how awful his season was, but being willing to discuss it and the challenges that exist ahead with the team adding Christian Kirksey.

***

If you haven’s read enough debates surrounding Kevin Love and Andrew Wiggins, here’s a recent 5-on-5 from the folks over at ESPN.com which discusses that very matter!

***

Heave those Hot Takes, here’s this week’s edition of #ActualSportswriting:

Awakening the Giant” by Seth Wickersham (ESPN The Magazine): “You remember the picture. Y.A. Tittle is on his knees in the end zone after throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Swollen hands on his thigh pads, eyes fixed on the grass, he is helmetless and bleeding from the head, one dark stream snaking down his face, another curling near his ear. His shoulder pads make him seem hunched over, resigned, broken down. The black-and-white photo was taken in 1964, the final year of Tittle’s career. It hangs in a silver frame at his home in Atherton, California, not with the prominence befitting one of the most iconic pictures in sports history but lost among many mementos from a Hall of Fame career.”

Pitchman: How Tom Emansky changed the sport of baseball—and then disappeared” by Erik Malinowski (FOX Sports): “Tens of thousands of times over a decade, people watching any number of sports on TV could usually expect to see one name pop up during a given commercial break: Emanski. A sweetheart deal kept the commercials on the air and the orders rolling in, thereby ensuring that an entire generation of ballplayers grew up with Tom Emanski as the coach they never met.”

…Dan Jenkins deserves some barbecue” by Sally Jenkins (Washington Post): The British Open is better in Texas because you can watch it with barbecue. This is how my father has consoled himself while missing his first golf major championship in 45 years. It seems his doctor felt the bracing air of northwest England might not be good for him, but the medical community said nothing about smokehouse ribs. The fact that Dan Jenkins, 84, stayed home from the British constitutes not just a concession, but some kind of historical event, because the last time he was absent from a major the club heads were made of persimmon, and not every Tour wife was a blonde.”

I got gored in Pamplona. But I will run with the bulls again.” by Bill Hillman (Washington Post): “It was raining off and on that morning. The cobblestones were extra slick. First-time runners were everywhere, and the crowd was roaring. I saw the long willow canes of the pastores, the official herdsmen of the run, poking out above tourists’ heads. Suddenly, a suelto, a lone bull, appeared ahead of me. When a bull has separated from the pack, he loses his herding instinct and sees all runners as predators. That’s exactly what this one did — throwing his horns at the dozens of scattering runners.”

***

A quick note about that Dan Jenkins story. First, I may have been the only sportswriting fan alive who didn’t put two and two together to realize that Sally Jenkins was the daughter of Dan. Talk about bloodlines. Second, think about this for a minute: Dan Jenkins covered every single major golf championship for 45 years. He’s unquestionably the best when it comes to covering the game of golf, but regardless of sport—forty-five years is one hell of a run to have not missed a single major event. No wonder he’s already in the Hall of Fame despite still practicing his craft.

***

These wouldn’t qualify as #ActualSportsWriting, but I wanted to share a couple other links. The first comes in the way of the New York Times where a long-time pickpocket details his life. Stories like these always captivate me. Who would’ve guessed that, amidst all of the technological progress out there, that it would be pickpockets who are being left in the cold? The second link comes from BusinessWeek, and it’s about everyone’s favorite club-thumping shill: Pitbull. BusinessWeek features are terrific on their own. This one, however, detailing  guy who wants a meeting with BitCoin only to later ask “I still want to know, what exactly is Bitcoin?” is next level. And who knew he had ties to Uncle Luke? Anyway…These are both well worth your time.

***

And just because: You nasty, Trevor.

Cavaliers planning to sign Wiggins next week?

photo3

The Cleveland Cavaliers are close to signing first-round pick Andrew Wiggins, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. This is a complete turnaround from all the talk about Wiggins being in trade discussions for Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love. Once a rookie signs, the team cannot trade him until 30 days after he signs the contract. Windhorst reports that the Cavs are waiting to sign Wiggins in order to have more flexibility in their cap space. Most believed the Cavs were waiting to sign Wiggins because they were looking to trade him for Love. This report will shut the door on the Wiggins for Love trade talk for at least 30 days.

Windhorst says the team is still deciding on what to do with their remaining $1.4 million of cap space. The Cavs are considering long-term contracts for second-round picks Joe Harris and Dwight Powell as well as the possibility of bringing in Ray Allen. Windhorst says that once the Cavs use up the remaining cap space, they will use the $2.7 million “room” exception to sign Mike Miller. This report clearly shows the Cavs are focused on keeping Wiggins for at least the near future. It is a completely different tune from the one heard last week that they were willing to trade Wiggins.

(Photo by: AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Conflicting reports surrounding Wiggins, Love

kevin-love

Welcome to last week! While it’s not the constant refreshing of LeBron James dot com, the news surrounding a potential acquisition of Minnesota power forward Kevin Love is reaching new levels. In response to Thursdays reports that had the Cavaliers being willing to include No. 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins in a deal for the All-Star, multiple reports are now being filed in the contrary.

The latest from Withers is noteworthy as the veteran AP scribe tends to only report concrete, multiple-sourced information, refuses to report on things coming from player representatives and has had direct lines of contact with team owner Dan Gilbert.

In an interview 850AM/WKNR, Withers told Tony Rizzo’s “The Really Big Show” that there have been multiple discussions between both teams, but Wiggins has not been mentioned as being available. (Withers also hinted that it may have been the Timberwolves who leaked this news in attempt to get Golden State to increase their offer.) Discussions are wildly different than negotiations and that could obviously change. For now, however, it appears that the teams are in a staring contest.

Wiggins, despite swirling rumors, tallied 21 points (3-5 FG, 15-20 FT), five rebounds and a block in Thursday night’s loss to the Houston Rockets in the Las Vegas Summer League

[Related: All you need to know about trading for Kevin Love: WFNY FAQs]

All you need to know about trading for Kevin Love: WFNY FAQs

kevin love cavs

So the Cavs are willing to trade Andrew Wiggins now for Kevin Love. Maybe. LeBron wants Love on this Cavs roster. But even that’s easier said than done.

Why would they make the deal now? Why wouldn’t they just wait? Who counts as what? Is Wiggins even signed? How is the Collective Bargaining Agreement involved?

As the questions pile up, we here at WFNY have compiled a bit of an FAQ of sorts to help guide you through the process. Enjoy.

[Read more...]

Andrew Wiggins, Kevin Love, Snowpiercer, and Sunday Ticket… While We’re Waiting

WFNYBanner www

The last time I wrote a WWW it was the night before LeBron made his decision at noon. It became completely dated by lunch time. Wonder what I can write about this week to make it dated again…

*****

We’ve officially exhausted the Wiggins for Love trade debate, but it rages on. I’m always looking for agreement across the board between we fans. We’re supposed to be on the same team, so I figured I would just attempt to summarize our position.

1. It would be much more preferable to keep Andrew Wiggins while also acquiring Kevin Love. That way the Cavaliers would have Kyrie Irving on a max deal, Kevin Love on some kind of max deal, LeBron on a year-to-year max deal and a rookie contract under control for five years with Wiggins. That’s the goal. Everything else can be traded.

2. If you need (like really need) to trade Wiggins for Kevin Love, then you do it because you have the best player on the planet and you wouldn’t want to waste any years waiting for players around him. It would be so very Cleveland to wait and then have LeBron start to fade as a player by the time some lesser players are ready.

3. But really if you can do it without trading Wiggins… (go back to #1.)

So that’s our position. Got it? Cool. See how easy that was?

But how about this chase-down?

*****

And seriously let’s just forget about Andrew Wiggins. He’s got an unfair advantage because he’s tall. I’d much rather watch highlights of a 5’7″ Japanese player named Yuki Togashi playing for Dallas and bombing threes.

I could do without bad jokes about “toga parties” but that’s alright.

*****

Big news for you out of towners and cord cutters. NFL Sunday Ticket might soon be available to you without a DirecTV subscription.

This changes the whole world for me. I really do like DirecTV and my service, but it’s undeniably expensive compared to bundling cable TV and Internet. Sports is the last hurdle to jump over in order to really stop paying for the hundreds of channels that I really never watch. I’m thinking really really hard about this now.

Sunday Ticket

Last but not least, I recommend everyone rent Snowpiercer. I really liked the movie starring Captain America. It’s available in theaters and on demand in your house. It has a similar tone to Pacific Rim, has some really amazing action sequences and is actually pretty suspenseful and fun. It’s a little weird, I’m not going to lie, but I really liked it.

Have a great weekend everyone!

LeBron has talked to Kevin Love about playing in Cleveland

The murmurs continue: LeBron James has reportedly talked to Kevin Love about the possibility of playing together with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears reported the news on Thursday evening.

Love is enthusiastic about the idea of teaming with James on the Cleveland Cavaliers, sources said. James’ decision to sign only a two-year contract that affords him the option of again becoming a free agent at the end of next season has not tempered Love’s interest in joining James on the roster.

The report stated that a deal is still not imminent, but again cited sources on the topic of the Cavs’ willingness to include Andrew Wiggins. An interesting new caveat: A third team would indeed be likely for the deal to make plausible sense. Otherwise, the Cavs would likely be depleting their roster too much.

Golden State remains reluctant to include Klay Thompson in a potential trade for Love. Such a deal with the Warriors — including forward David Lee — would perhaps be a bit more logical. But with LeBron’s persistence, anything can change in a hurry.

We’ll keep you posted on anything new. Although a deal might not happen by the weekend, there’s certain to be continued buzz and updates.

Cavs now willing to deal Andrew Wiggins?

Photo1

So about all that ‘untouchable’ talk… It has taken a little over one week for the Cleveland Cavaliers to loosen their grip on No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins if in fact it were to net them Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love. Bob Finnan of The Morning Journal reports, citing a league source, that the Cavs are now willing to trade the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft.

Up until this point, it was assumed the Cavs wanted to hang onto Wiggins, largely because of comments made by Coach David Blatt in Las Vegas. Finnan’s source, however, said that the recently signed LeBron James wants the 6-10, 250-pound Love on the Cavaliers’ roster. James’ pull has also netted the Cavs swingmen Mike Miller and James Jones, two former teammates of James during his time with the Miami Heat. (Miller recently told ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd that he’s attempting to lure fellow shooting guard and former teammate Ray Allen to Cleveland as well.)

Finnan reports that the latest offer could include Wiggins, last years’ No. 1 pick in power forward Anthony Bennett and an additional first-round pick. Center Brendan Haywood, who was acquired on draft night, might be included in the deal to make it work contractually. USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt corroborates Finnan’s report regarding Wiggins being available.

This deal, if transacted, would be the exact opposite of what Grantland’s Bill Simmons recently coined “Don’t Do The Wrong Thing Every Time Anymore” movement.

[Related: WFNY Roundtable: Should the Cavs trade for Kevin Love?]

Wolves’ owner wants to keep Kevin Love

kevin-love

As Cavalier fans debate the merits of a trade that could bring All-Star power forward Kevin Love to Cleveland, Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is doing all he can to make the disgruntled Olympian feel wanted by the team that is bordering on becoming an afterthought.

“My preference is that Kevin will come to (training) camp — and I’m sure he will — and play with the team,” Taylor said in an interview with NBATV.

When asked about dealing Love in a trade that did not involve the Cavs’ No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins, Taylor stated that the team was going to look at everything that makes sense that would make our team better, “but we are not going to move a superb player like that without getting equal or more value back.”

Since drafting the 6-foot-10-inch Love with the fifth pick in 2008, the Timberwolves have yet to make the playoffs, finishing with 40 wins in 2013-14. Love, who has iterated that he wants to win, is matched by Taylor who believes Minnesota is right on the cusp of doing so.

“I think our team is just on the border,” Taylor said. “We lost too many close games last year, and having Kevin Love there as, right now, the heart of our team … I would like to have Kevin back and play under Flip (Saunders) and see how the coaches will utilize him with the other players.”

Taylor can offer Love a new contract worth $26 million more than any other team can offer, but if he is not dealt by the 2014-15 trade deadline, it is expected that Love will test free agency. The Cavs maintain that they will not discuss trade packages that involve Wiggins who has averaged 14 points per game (37.8 percent shooting) for the team during their Summer League play.

[Related: Trade Wiggins for Love? Why I’d do it.]

Warriors and Wolves re-open discussions on Kevin Love trade, reports AP

kevin love cavs

Jon Krawczynskiof the Associated Press reports that the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors have restarted trade talks concerning Kevin Love.

“Timberwolves president and coach Flip Saunders was seen talking to Warriors GM Bob Myers at the arena on Sunday as the two sides look to bridge the gaps that caused discussions to stall. The Warriors have been reluctant to include shooting guard Klay Thompson in any package, which has been considered a deal-breaker for the Timberwolves.

It remained unclear if the Warriors have changed their position on Thompson in the new talks.

The Timberwolves also have been talking to the Cavaliers, who so far have been unwilling to include Andrew Wiggins in any offer.”

There were reports that a third team (like Golden State) would be necessary to facilitate any deal not involving Andrew Wiggins, but it seems unlikely that the Warriors are talking with the Wolves about not getting Love.

Could Minnesota be trying to put a little pressure on the Cavaliers to soften their stance on including Wiggins? Certainly.

 [Related: Trade Wiggins for Love? Why I'd do it.]

[Related: WFNY Roundtable: Should the Cavs trade for Love?]

Trade Wiggins for Love? Why I’d do it.

“I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010.”

kevin-love

Barring a major injury to LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be back in the playoffs next season. They will be a contender, although a title — with the current roster– seems like a stretch. There is a lot of youth. There is a serious lack of playoff experience outside of James and Varejao. The team needs shooting, and after missing out on a couple of veteran centers, they have to find another big.

One solution to the biggest X’s and O’s problem facing the Cavaliers would be to acquire Minnesota All-Star Kevin Love.

The new big three of Kyrie, LeBron and Love would be formidable. The Cavaliers have reportedly been trying to get a third team involved in order to acquire Love without having to part with top pick Andrew Wiggins. Obviously that would be the ideal situation. James, Irving, Love, Wiggins, Varejao and whatever is left on the roster is a team that as Charles Barkley said would have the Eastern Conference wrapped up.

But what if Wiggins has to be included? [Read more...]

WFNY Roundtable: Should the Cavs trade for Kevin Love?

WFNY_roundtable

And you thought that the Cleveland Cavaliers were done with lightning-rod debates for the summer? No, my friend, they are just getting started.

During the four days since LeBron James’ letter, Twitter has been on fire with all sorts of takes on the potential for a trade for Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love. To get a sense of where we all stand, I asked my Waiting For Next Year colleagues for their brief responses to the current rumors. Stay tuned for more posts to come soon and share your thoughts in the comments.

Scott Sargent (@WFNYScott): This won’t make for great debate, but I somewhat feel that the Cavaliers—especially David Griffin—will be in a no-lose situation. The decision, reduced to its most simplest terms, comes down to winning more games sooner, or delaying potential dominance, but with the window open a bit longer. [Read more...]

LeBron, Wiggins, Love, While We’re Waiting

WFNYBanner www

Happy Tuesday WFNY!!!

I hope everyone had a great weekend. If you’re anything like me, it would have been awfully hard not to. I had some things not go as planned over the weekend, and had it been any other weekend, it might have been a fairly miserable one. But just the knowledge that LeBron James was coming back to Cleveland carried me through. I can’t recall the last time I watched as much ESPN as I did over the weekend. I just couldn’t seem to get enough of watching people talk about the Cavaliers and the return of Mr LeBron.

In so many ways, it still doesn’t feel real. I remember feeling the same way when he left. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that my favorite basketball player ever wouldn’t be playing for my team anymore. Like an idiot, I watched the Heat celebration live when they introduced LeBron and Chris Bosh. It wasn’t so much like watching a car wreck, but it was more of just trying to affirm that I wasn’t dreaming and that this was real. But when I saw him turn around on the stage in the Heat uniform, it became real. It was over.

Over the last four years, I probably only watched LeBron play in the regular season less than five times, outside of when he was playing against the Cavaliers. It never got any easier. I wasn’t angry these last couple years anymore, but I still just didn’t enjoy watching him play for another team. But I watched almost all of his playoff games, and while I rooted against his teams from afar, I was constantly reminded of what it was the Cavs had lost and just how far they had to go to get back to that kind of level of play.

Now, he’s back. And this time the thought of seeing him play in a Cavs uniform again doesn’t seem real. In many ways, because I avoided watching the Heat play so much, it feels a bit like a long lost best friend moving back into the neighborhood. Sure, you saw each other a couple times over the years, and you saw the Facebook photos through the years, but you had mostly lost touch. Now you’re back to seeing each other all the time again. In so many ways you’re excited to resume your friendship, but things are a little different. Your friend has changed a bit, and you’ve changed a bit as well through the years. You’ll always share a common nostalgia and you’ll both want things to be like they once were, but the truth is time moves on and nothing stays the same. It’s going to be different this time. It has to be. I just hope things can be even better than they were the first time.

*****

So how did this happen?

I’m fascinated by the Butterfly Effect. Not the movie, but the theory. Well, actually, I kind of thought the movie was sort of interesting, too, I’m ashamed to admit. But I love contemplating how the smallest things can set a course of events into motion. I love reading about American History, in particular, the American Revolution. There are so many things that happened just right to allow the colonies to outlast the mighty British military and secure freedom from the crown.

For example, in 1777 the British were advancing to Philadelphia. They sent a group of sharp shooters to hide in the woods outside Philadelphia in an attempt to take down George Washington’s unit. Eventually a couple American officers came riding through the woods. The British sharpshooters were led by Captain Patrick Ferguson, one of the best marksmen in the British army. Ferguson had one of the officers in his sights, but couldn’t bring himself to shoot an unsuspecting officer in the back without warning. He called out to the officer, who just looked back quickly and then rode away. That officer was none other than George Washington. Had Ferguson just taken the shot, who knows how history would have been changed. But he let Washington ride away, and it was George Washington who did his best to keep the American army together and who kept forcing the British to chase them throughout the rough terrain of the American wilderness.

So what’s the point? I keep going back to that 1.7% chance the Cavaliers had to win the lottery. By all reason and logic, the Cavaliers shouldn’t have won the lottery. 1.7%! Are you kidding me? How does that happen? For a rough approximation, imagine putting the numbers one through fifty into a hat. How many times do you think it would take for you to pull, say, the number 21 (Wiggins’ number) out of the hat? Probably a lot. But what if you could only pull numbers once. Just think about how crazy it would be to pull the number 21. That’s what the Cavaliers did.

What if a different number was pulled out of the hat. Any of the other 49 numbers. Would LeBron still be a Cavalier? Would David Blatt still be the Cavaliers’ coach? I just keep going back to an alternate timeline, the darkest timeline, where the Cavaliers had the ninth pick in the draft, Alvin Gentry was the coach, Kyrie Irving was refusing to sign a full extension, and LeBron just didn’t feel the Cavs roster and situation was compelling enough to return to.

Maybe it wouldn’t matter. Maybe this solely was an emotional decision to come home. But I can’t fully believe that. I think this was a long term basketball decision as well. But again, going back to Butterfly Effects, what if Ray Allen misses that three pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 Finals and the Spurs win the Championship? What if that fuels the Heat to come back and beat the Spurs instead of the other way around? Would LeBron still be leaving the Heat.

I just can’t shake the feeling that literally every single thing that had to happen for LeBron to come home did happen. Call it luck, fate, karma, serendipity, coincidence, whatever you want. When the Cavaliers’ ridiculous Season of Huh came to an end back in April, there was no chance LeBron was returning. None. But so many things fell into place, and now LeBron is back.

Make no mistake, nobody on the Cavaliers’ side deserves any credit for this. Not Dan Gilbert, not Chris Grant, not David Griffin, not Kyrie Irving. The only person who gets credit is LeBron. He’s the one who made the unprecedented decision to return to his roots. I said in last Friday’s podcast that in so many ways his decision was a validation of home. If him leaving was a reflection of Cleveland’s deepest insecurities, his return is a tip of the hat to the fact that there really is power in the idea of the hometown hero and prodigal son coming back to reclaim his birthright. This is truly one of the most remarkable sports stories to happen in my lifetime, and I can’t wait to get the next phase of this journey started.

*****

A quick thought on that two-year deal

I realized immediately when LeBron’s two-year contract was announced that all he was doing was making sure he maximized his earning potential. I read LeBron’s letter, of course. I believe him when he wrote “I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there.” After crafting such a beautiful letter with SI’s Lee Jenkins, it’s hard to imagine LeBron leaving Cleveland again.

But this is Cleveland. Strange things happen in Cleveland sports. Unimaginable things. The future is bright now, but what if Kyrie doesn’t mesh with LeBron and regresses? What if the Cavaliers decide not to trade for Kevin Love and Andrew Wiggins turns into a bust? What if LeBron and David Blatt don’t get along? What if Dan Gilbert and LeBron find it too hard to coexist? What if all of those things happen and a situation presents itself where LeBron and Kevin Durant can go play for the Lakers together?

We hope LeBron never leaves again, and I’d say the smart money is on LeBron retiring as a Cavalier. But I’m not willing to say there is zero chance he ever leaves again. There’s a bit of an unknown to all of this because we are in some seriously uncharted waters here. I thought ESPN’s Bomani Jones made some great points on this subject on Twitter over the weekend:

I think it’s easy to say “Hey, LeBron and Dan talked it out and they’re all good now and everything is going to be ‘happily ever after’ in the end!” But we don’t know that. The odds of LeBron leaving in a year or two are slim, but it is a possibility. This isn’t anything we should be freaking out over, we just have to hope the Cavaliers’ front office can make the right moves to keep the team competitive moving forward and that Dan Gilbert can mostly stay out of LeBron’s way.

*****

What is Love worth?

Because it’s so important for the Cavaliers not to squander this second-chance opportunity with LeBron, it makes the Kevin Love trade situation so fascinating. The Cavaliers must do the right thing here. But what is the right thing? Some would say the Kevin Love is a known quantity and the Cavaliers should just trade Andrew Wiggins for him right away rather than risk Wiggins being a bust. Others point to the salary difference between Love and Wiggins and the potential for a long term title run with a young potential superstar like Wiggins.

The truth is, there is no obvious right or wrong answer here at this point. The only certainty is that at this point in time, right now, the Cavaliers absolutely should not trade Wiggins for Love. There’s no reason to even entertain the idea. The Wolves don’t have a quality offer on the table from another team that the Cavaliers need to be worried about. The Cavaliers can be patient, wait until the trade deadline, see what other players that we’re not even thinking about right now become available, and then decide based on seeing Wiggins play a couple months whether or not they want to trade him.

Make no mistake, though. Kevin Love is an incredible basketball player. Very few bigs are as skilled as Love. He can shoot, pass, rebound, handle the basketball, etc. He’s been an All-Star in three of his six seasons. He has won a three-point shootout. The Cavaliers are always said to have failed to deliver a Pippen to LeBron’s Jordan, well, on Basketball-Reference’s ’Similarity Scores’, the second comparison to Love is Pippen. You put Love on a team with Kyrie and LeBron and you would like to think the Cavaliers are absolutely the favorites to win the East and compete for an NBA Championship. And that’s what this is all about.

But you had better be sure about that. You have to be absolutely certain that Love’s defense won’t be too much to overcome, especially when you also have Kyrie on the floor at the same time. You have to be certain Love won’t fracture either of his hands again (he has fractured his left hand once and his right hand twice already in his brief career). You have to be certain that Kyrie, LeBron, and Love are good enough to win a Championship.

Why? Because the moment the Cavaliers trade Wiggins for Love, that’s it for the team building exercise. With the contracts of Kyrie, LeBron, and Love the team will basically be in the same situation the Heat were in, being able to only sign players using Mid-Level and Bi-Annual exceptions and veteran minimums. There’s something scary about just jumping into the deep end like that.

If it were up to me, I would do exactly what the Cavaliers are doing right now. I would be patient and wait. I would tell the media every day that Wiggins is going nowhere. I would keep the pressure on the Wolves. Because the Cavaliers are in the better position here. If no trade happens, the Wolves lose Love and get absolutely nothing back in return. But for the Cavaliers? Life goes on with Kyrie, LeBron, and a bunch of really young, developing players. And like I said earlier, the Cavaliers can still make another trade. It’s not Love or bust. Other really good players will become available at some point in the trade market.

If the Cavaliers traded Wiggins for Love today, yes, they would be a better team this season. But they would lose all flexibility. Keeping Wiggins for now not only keeps the team’s salary more flexible, but it gives the Cavaliers four (FOUR!) young, developing players who should benefit from playing with LeBron and Kyrie and can eventually be used in trade offers. Wiggins, Waiters, Bennett, and Thompson can all grow into nice looking trade pieces if needed. Or maybe they develop into a young core of supporting players on a dynastic run of NBA Finals appearances.

The point is, there’s a fine line between going for a title now and maintaining flexibility. You can’t have flexibility forever. At some point you have to strike and maximize assets to go after the title. There’s plenty of time for the Cavaliers to figure this stuff out. There’s no reason to do anything right now. The longer the Cavs wait, the more pressure there will be on Minnesota to get a deal done. If the Cavaliers can eventually make a deal where they get Love and also keep Wiggins, well, the future will look brighter than it ever has for any Cleveland sports team in my life. If they trade Wiggins for Love, this upcoming season has potential to be special and the future will still be pretty exciting. If they make no trade at all, the future looks good to me, as the team still has young players, flexibility, and the tools to make other trades. It’s a pretty nice position to be in.

*****

That’s it for me this week. No new music to really talk about as we’re still stuck in the annual July rut for new releases. I’m enjoying The Leftovers still, but I don’t have much to say about it right now. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly is all going on. In truth, the LeBron news pretty much put me into a pop culture hiatus for a few days.

I hope everyone has a great week, and maybe next week I’ll have a more diverse set of topics to discuss.

 

 

Cavaliers reportedly have no interest in trading Andrew Wiggins

 

andrew wiggins_draftJust as I was tweeting about how my newfound strength as a Cavs fan had me balking at the idea of trading Andrew Wiggins for anyone, Chris Broussard has sourced a report that the Cavaliers might feel strong today too.

Of course, it hasn’t been the best day of reporting for Chris Broussard, but that doesn’t mean he is off his game here and now. Plus, it makes tons of sense. Assuming we’re talking about Kevin Love, the Cleveland Cavaliers are now talking from strength and the Timberwolves have very little leverage. They can move him now and get something or they can risk losing him to free agency as he walks away.

Given that fact and given that the Cavaliers are sitting on a lot of accumulated assets, it’s probably not a great time to just jump at the first couple of rings on the old telephone.

The Huh Continues: The NBA Draft, Kevin Love and the Quest for LeBron

photo1

NO PRESSURE

The NBA draft is tonight.

It’s finally here. We made it. After months of speculation, the Cavs will actually draft someone with the first overall pick.

Or they’ll be the first team in two decades to trade the first pick.

You know, either or.

[Read more...]

Kevin Love won’t commit to Cleveland; Cavs kill trade talks with Wolves

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.”

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.

[Related: Trade Down for What!? Embiid, Exum and Extra Assets are too Risky]

Kevin Love says trade to Cleveland “not outlandish at all”

Jim Mone, Associated Press

Jim Mone, Associated Press

So you’re saying there’s a chance? In an interview with The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre, Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love referred to rumors of Cleveland Cavalier interest as “not outlandish at all.” Love has reportedly been angling to be traded from the Timberwolves, but had listed potential suitors that did not include Cleveland. ESPN Boston later reported that while Cleveland—owners of the No.1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft—has interest in Love, that the feelings were not mutual.

“I try not to read [the rumors],” said Love. “A lot of it is brought to my attention through outside sources, sometimes Twitter. But like most people, I need to be conscious of my image and try to roll with the punches. I know that’s a generic answer. I don’t think the Cleveland [trade rumors] are outlandish at all. They have a great young foundation.”

It was reported late Tuesday that the Cavs have no desire to trade the No. 1 pick and have honed in on Kansas’ Joel Embiid as the next member of the Wine and Gold. Embiid was in Cleveland earlier this week and all reports are coming out positive.

McIntyre stated that the only stipulation to his interview was that there were to be no questions about the Boston Celtics—one of Love’s reported favored landing spots. The Cavs have plenty of ammunition to acquire Love, but it be a gamble to acquire a player who could leave in just one season—just ask the lottery-selecting Los Angeles Lakers and Dwight Howard. The Celtics, Bulls, Kings, Suns, Lakers, Warriors and Rockets are believed to be the main teams in on the Love sweepstakes. But at least the player admits that Cleveland could get it done if they were willing to roll the dice.

Cavs “have their eye” on Joakim Noah, LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Horford

Joakim+Noah+Assists+Father+Pfleger

As the Kevin Love rumors continue to swirl, some new big men have entered the fold. ESPN’s Chad Ford reports that, while the Cavaliers continue to hide their intentions regarding the No. 1 pick, a slew of high-level veterans could make their way to Cleveland if the team were to move the highly-coveted pick.

We’ve already gone over the cases for Parker and Wiggins and won’t do so here. Parker is the obvious choice if the team wants immediate impact, and he would definitely fit a need if the team is convinced Luol Deng won’t be returning. Wiggins is a compromise: He’s talented enough, especially on the defensive end, to make an immediate impact, but he still has as much upside as anyone in the draft.

I think the Cavs’ preferred route would be a trade that thins out their roster and adds a young veteran who can immediately lift the team’s long-term chances. The Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love has been the most mentioned pickup. But the Cavs also have their eye on other bigs, including the Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah, the Portland Trail Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge and the Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford.

Earlier on Wednesday, the All-NBA teams were released with Noah and Aldridge being on the first and third teams, respectively. Aldridge was rumored to be a potential trade piece last offseason only to put up the best season of his career. Adding Noah to a front court with Anderson Varejao could conceivably lead to the most defensively annoying tandem in the history of the NBA. Of course, it was also Noah who infamously panned Cleveland for not being a vacation destination. Then again, he later defended Anthony Bennett against any naysayers.

Ford’s latest mock draft has the Cavaliers selecting Kansas swingman Andrew Wiggins, but this is likely a result of the scribe being one of the few to not have center Joel Embiid at the top of his big board. Interestingly, the Cavs, at least per these rumors, appear dead set on acquiring a big man. At the end of the day, no one knows what Cleveland is going to do—perhaps even including those in Independence.