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!

OJ the Musical plus LeBron James and Kevin Love! – WFNY Podcast – 2014-08-25

I had Jeff Rosenberg from OJ the Musical on once before to promote his movie. I’ve been trying to get the Cleveland native back since it’s been released on iTunes and other VOD places. To my benefit this time he brought the movie’s star, Jordan Kenneth Kamp.

We talked about the movie, what it was like to take it to festivals, and what it was like to be a comedy at the festivals.

We talked a lot about the Cleveland Cavaliers and how crazy an off-season it has been. Jordan tells us about how he attended the draft, bought an Andrew Wiggins jersey and either introduces to or reminds me of the nickname Hot-Wad Williams.

Check out this episode!

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.

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?

**

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]

Anthony Bennett isn’t being traded to Philadelphia after all

Anthony Bennett

As we await the final few days of the Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins trade saga, word coming out of Philadelphia is that Anthony Bennett isn’t being sent to the City of Brotherly Love after all.

As Wiggins, this year’s No. 1 pick, and Love continue to be the focal points of what will easily be this year’s (decade’s?) biggest trade in the NBA, it was believed that Bennett, last year’s No. 1 pick, would be sent to the 76ers for forward Thaddeus Young. Bennett was atrocious during his first year in the league, averaging a meager 4.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, on 35.6 percent shooting from the field, but has since lost weight and appeared to be vastly improved during the recent Las Vegas Summer League.

Multiple other reports have since followed Zgoda’s, corroborating reports that the former UNLV star is going to be sticking in Minnesota. If he were to stay with the Wolves as a part of the Love deal, he would be heading to a team without a real power forward.

“I’m just a young man just ready to work,” Bennett recently told the Toronto Sun. “Wherever I end up, doesn’t really matter to me. I just want to play the game of basketball.”

The proposed (and allegedly accepted) trade is expected to be announced on August 23.

 

#ESPNForecast thinks highly of LeBron James, Cavs

Kyrie LeBron Love Cavs Photoshop

This may come as a shock, but the folks at ESPN.com continue to think highly of Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James. Garnering 230 votes, James tops Kevin Durant and (a bit of a surprise) Derrick Rose in ESPN’s poll to predict the 2014-15 MVP.

The “yawn” bit, while harmless at this stage, can be a bit worrisome for those who care about the MVP award and it’s potential to reward storylines over season-long output. This said, is there any bigger storyline than James, Cleveland and the potential swing in win-loss fortune?

Not if you ask ESPNForecast, who gave 215 votes to the Cavs as “Team Turnaround” for the upcoming season. And it wasn’t even close—the New Orleans Pelicans were second with just 47 votes. The Wine and Gold are currently expected to win the East with a record of 56-26 (Note: This is pre-Kevin Love).

And if this wasn’t enough, James and Love are ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, when it comes to the league’s “Best Newcomers.”

Cedar Point, Johnny Manziel, LeBron James, and the Indians playoff chances with TD – WFNY Podcast – 2014-08-14

WFNY Podcast LogoI got a chance to talk to TD about all three Cleveland teams. That’s always a blast for me. Today we spent a good amount of time talking about the Tribe and the season they’ve put together.

We also talked about LeBron coming home and what that means for a sports family like TD’s that is baseball, and football first.

Lastly we talked about Johnny Manziel, the Browns and what it must be like for Brian Hoyer to try and win the starting job. We talked about how even as we expected hype around Manziel that it’s surprising just how crazy things are around him.

Oh, and we led off talking about Cedar Point, which rules.

Check out this episode!

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

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“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...]

It’s Here! The much anticipated Cavaliers schedule

new Cavaliers Primary Logo

Are you ready? The NBA has just released the entire 2014-15 NBA season schedule. We now know who LeBron James and company will play throughout the season. The excitement for the season started with the return of James back to Cleveland. He has allowed Cavs fans to realistically dream of an NBA championship. This excitement seems to have only escalated since the news of the impending Kevin Love trade. The team is close to building their own “Big Three” of Kyrie Irving, James, and Love. This could be one of the most anticipated seasons in Cleveland sports history.

The Cavaliers start the season on October 30th at home versus Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks. It will be an electric atmosphere when the Cavs turn the lights down for the first introductions of the new team. James will once again battle his draft classmate in one of the best player matchups in the NBA. The day after the opener, the team heads to Chicago to face Derrick Rose and the Bulls. The Bulls are expected to be Cleveland’s biggest threat to winning the Eastern Conference. Another notable game this coming season is the Christmas Day matchup against the Miami Heat. This will be the first game back in Miami for James after he left in free agency this summer. It is great to be back playing on Christmas and being a part of the great games on that day.

Here are some other notable notes about the 2014-15 Cavaliers season:

  • The Cavs have 29 nationally televised games including 25 games on either ABC, ESPN, or TNT.
  • After the season opener, the team goes on a four game road trip to Chicago, Portland, Utah, and Denver.
  • The Cavs play the defending champions San Antonio Spurs at home on November 19th and at the Spurs on March 12th.
  • After the Christmas game, the Cavs play the Heat at home on April 2nd and February 11th and another at Miami on March 16th.
  • The longest road trip begins on January 9th against the Golden State Warriors. This west coast trip continues on to Sacramento, Phoenix, and end in Los Angeles against both the Lakers and Clippers. It is a five game road trip.
  • The Cavs finish the season on April 15th at home against in Washington Wizards in possible playoff preview.

To view the full Cavaliers schedule Click Here.

Simmons: Kevin Love is Underrated

kevin love cavs

As we tend to do when shiny new toys show up wearing our favorite team’s colors (especially at the cost of other players), many are heading straight to the discussion surrounding value and what fans can expect on a going forward basis. In sports, it’s considerably more nuanced than adding a 2 to a 2 and expecting 4—there’s fit, chemistry, career arcs and all of those pesky human-based elements that we tend to forget when pouring through box scores.

While Clevelanders attempt to wrap their hands around the fact that last year’s All-Star game MVP is suddenly the Cavaliers’ third-best player, Grantland’s Bill Simmons digs deep in to Kevin Love, the Wine and Gold’s alleged newest player, and what he brings in the way of all of the aforementioned. And of course, as we banter about whether or not the three-time All-Star is top-12 or top-5, Simmons gives his opinion on just what Cleveland should expect to see for at least the next season from a player who has put up monster numbers but has yet to get a taste of the postseason. Spoiler alert: It’s all good.

Has Love become this generation’s Jerry Lucas, a gifted power forward who chases his own numbers without making anyone else better? Did he become a not-as-gifted, more depressing version of Barkley in Philly, a statistical marvel who wasted a piece of his prime carrying subpar teammates? Could he become a better version of Bosh, someone who submitted big numbers on bad teams before recalibrating his game to fit in with a champion? Is he doing something wrong? Or has he been wronged? Or both? [...]

When the collective personality of an NBA team is off, you can see it. There isn’t a more naked sport, especially if you’re seeing these games live. We watch the players interact on the court and in the huddles. We study their body language. We come to know their every expression. It’s like going out to a marathon dinner with another couple — you just know them better after the check comes. And anyone who watched the 2014 Timberwolves regularly, or fairly regularly, knew something was amiss. Love has always been a lead-by-example star, not a galvanizing, get-on-my-back guy. [...]

You can pick apart Kevin Love’s first six seasons in a variety of ways … just as long as you admit that he was the league’s secret League Pass MVP last year, as well as someone who needs to be seen in person to be believed. For one thing, he’s a freak rebounder — as gifted as Rodman and Moses at their respective peaks, blessed with magically soft hands and a psychic ability to read where caroms are headed. He’s just inventive enough on the low post that you probably need to send a second guy at him, and he’s good enough from 24 feet that you can never leave him alone. He’s a flat-out weapon and an underrated heat check guy. And whenever he grabs a rebound and flicks a 60-foot outlet in one motion, it’s genuinely breathtaking to watch. [...]

I see Cleveland playing Love as a small-ball 5 much like Coach K did.

I see David Blatt pushing them to run and run and run some more.

I see Love’s extraordinary outlet passes being celebrated around the globe.

I see him becoming a legitimate threat to be a 22-15-5 guy and maybe even average 16 boards a game (which hasn’t happened since Rodman).

I see my favorite Cavs lineup being their small-ball group with LeBron, Love, Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and a spread-the-floor shooter … and not-so-coincidentally, looking very ’93 Suns-ish.

I see Love thriving on the pick-and-pop with LeBron or Kyrie to frighteningly efficient degrees.

I see anyone who said this week that (a) Cleveland gave up too much, and/or (b) Love isn’t as good as people think, feeling stupid.

Rather than blockquoting all 5,000 words, we highly recommend that you give it a look for yourself. Say what you want about Simmons—the guy knows his hoops.

Don’t forget that the Cavaliers, just last season, were a Kevin Love buzzer-beater away from losing a game they had been winning by more than 20 points with just minutes left, a night where Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic (two well-compensated teammates) combined to go 3-for-19 from the floor. Simmons hammers home the point that Love is exponentially better than LeBron’s former Big 3 power forward in Chris Bosh, ratchets in some very captivating comparisons to a young Charles Barkley, and simultaneously makes me wish I can remember the details of seeing any of those early-90s players in person. He also calls Cleveland the “league’s newest signature team.”

The fact that Kevin Love, a guy coming off of a 26 and 12 season, may very well be underrated—well, that’s all an added bonus.

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

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. []

Are the Sixers involved in the Kevin Love trade?

Photo

The Daily News in Philly is reporting that the Cavaliers’ deal with the Timberwolves might not be exactly as Adrian Wojnarowski reported yesterday.

A source informed the Daily News that the Sixers will be sending veteran forward Thaddeus Young to Minnesota for a package that will include Bennett, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft.

If that’s true, then I guess technically the Sixers are involved in the trade, but from a Cavaliers perspective, not really. The Cavaliers would still seemingly have a discrete deal with the Timberwolves. The Timberwolves would then have a subsequent trade in place with Minnesota sending Thaddeus Young to Minnesota for a package including Anthony Bennett. And even if it’s all technically part of the same deal, assuming what the Daily News is reporting is true, it doesn’t seem to impact the Cavaliers’ portion of the trade.

Breathe a sigh of relief Cavs fans. The Cavaliers are still presumably trading exactly what was reported yesterday for Kevin Love. The only difference being, when the Cavaliers play Philly, they’ll have to face their former No. 1 overall pick, Anthony Bennett, Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel.

(Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

Video: What will the Cavs offense look like with Kyrie, Love and LeBron?

Cavs Offense Video

As if the addition of head coach David Blatt wasn’t enough, the 2014-15 Cleveland Cavaliers will (by all accounts) feature substantial upgrades and small forward and power forward as well. So how will all of this work? Coach Nick from BBALLBREAKDOWN takes a look at the Cavs’ summer league (coached by Blatt) in addition to some of the rookie NBA head coach’s former teams as to how he can best utilize three of the league’s top 30 players.

LeBron at the four? Kevin Love as a shifty, pick-and-pop five? Wide open corner threes? Do enjoy.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have LeBron and Kevin Love, Browns thoughts and Death Cab… While We’re Waiting

WFNYBanner www

Happy Friday folks. Here’re my weekly week-ending sports thoughts. Enjoy the GLC tonight!

Results aren’t guaranteed but…

Last week while on vacation I was a negative Nelly. Coming off what I consider to be a pretty miserable MLB trade deadline, that’s just where my head was. This week, things are very different. I’m still disappointed in the Tribe’s general direction, but I just finished looking at pics of LeBron James at Browns camp while soaking into the Woj bomb that Kevin Love is joining the Cavaliers soon via trade. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but it’s time to really start enjoying these uneniably good things. Say it out loud a few times. “LeBron James and Kevin Love are going to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers this year … with Kyrie Irving.”

I was reading an article by Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune in Minnesota where he was talking about all the winners and losers in this Kevin Love situation. He took a small shot at Cleveland sports fans, calling us “whiners,” but that’s not important. The fact is that there’s a perspective out there that Cleveland fans have become giant whiners on the level of pre-World-Series-winning Boston. That perspective exists because at least some outward-projecting version of Cleveland sports fans do come across that way.

In this scenario, fair or not, like the burning of LeBron jerseys back after The Decision, perception is reality. We don’t have a ton of control over that, of course. Except that I think we do have at least a modicum of control. We can keep repeating what we know to be true. Cleveland Cavaliers fans have been absolutely treated in this off-season in a way that is so non-Cleveland that it might be time to start rejoicing in it. I know it’s easy to slip into woe-is-me Cleveland tropes, but what did all that worrying do for the pre-Decision Cavaliers?

In the end, nobody can guarantee results. All anyone can do is guarantee the effort of the attempt. This forthcoming attempt by the Cavaliers is a good one. Don’t be afraid of it. It’s a fact. Go ahead and say it out loud.

“LeBron James and Kevin Love are going to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers this year … with Kyrie Irving.” You’ll feel better.

I was down on the Browns a bit last week too but…

I haven’t been quite this geeked for a Browns pre-season game in quite some time. I’m always a bit geeked because I’m a Browns-first kind of guy, but this year is far more exciting. Here are a couple of reasons.

  • I’m not wishing on a star that Brandon Weeden is better than what I thought he already was. I’m wishing for a new superstar rookie named Johnny Manziel – who unlike Weeden, I actually wanted on the Browns – while also rooting for a potential starter with experience and a decent track record.
  • Instead of hoping for Trent Richardson to not get hurt while also hoping Brandon Jackson still had something left in the tank, I’m rooting for Ben Tate and Terrance West while being cautiously optimistic about Dion Lewis, Edwin Baker and Isaiah Crowell.
  • And those guys will be running behind Joel Bitonio and John Greco at the newly cemented guard spots that were question marks a year ago.

There are plenty of other reasons too, but most of all, I can’t wait to see what the jumping off point is for a Ray Farmer-built team. It’s been a painful time in Browns history, but even before they log a single real NFL play in the pre-season box score, this team has exorcised an awful lot of demons.

I still believe the process might be a bit painful in the W category this season, but my conversation with Zac Jackson this week made me feel safe to believe what my eyes are telling me. The Browns are finally on a realatively healthy organizational path. Just because I feel a residual distrust of anything orange and brown doesn’t mean that my eyes are lying to me when I see a night and day improvement in organizational leadership with Farmer, Scheiner and even Pettine.

I started watching this season of Hard Knocks and Thomas Dimitroff looks like the third Corey

Enjoy the rest of this season of Hard Knocks now that I’ve made this comparison!

Thomas Dimitroff is a Corey

And now a Death Cab for Cutie playlist…

This is “a” playlist. It’s not “the” playlist. It’s not a list of the best DCfC songs ever. It’s simply what I would consider a really cool Death Cab compilation for this fine summer August day. I’ll have to make one this winter too. Anyway, I hand-picked it specifically to be a little bit more upbeat and free from sorrow and angst than the Death Cab possibilities might normally create.

Could the Timberwolves change their mind and ask for more from Cavs?

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at New Orleans Pelicans

NBA trades are complex and so are the league’s rules regarding tampering. Now that Woj has dropped his bomb, more details about how things have been coming together are leaking. Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune indicates that the Cavaliers have been negotiating with Love via a Timberwolves permission slip.

Zgoda goes on to point out that the leaked details put pressure on both teams in a lot of ways to consummate the deal as reported. That pressure aside, the deal might be agreed upon, but it cannot be officially official until August 23. Depending on the public’s reaction or other variables within the league’s trade market, could Minnesota change their mind? Could they demand more from the Cavaliers at the last minute?

You wouldn’t think that’s a good way to do business and that if those are the details that have been agreed upon, that the deal will end up looking almost exactly like the one Wojnarowski has reported. Cavaliers fans know though. The NBA is a wacky platform for transactions. This one won’t be done until the ink dries.

Photo: Crystal LoGiudice/USA TODAY Sports.