August 16, 2014

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski writes about how the Cavs lost their way

Chris Grant Cavaliers RookiesLiterally minutes after the Cavaliers sealed a rare three-game winning streak on Tuesday night, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski decided to rain on Cleveland’s parade and release an article about what he’d dug on a seemingly dysfunctional Chris Grant regime.

Wojnarowski is the most well connected NBA writer out there and he tends to be the one to break most of the major news that hits The Association. It’s not often though that he decides to expound further on NBA events beyond dropping #WojBombs on Twitter. So when such a well informed writer decides to go more in-depth about your favorite franchise, it’s hard not to pay close attention.

Some of the most interesting claims he makes in the article are:

  • Despite the league-wide acclaim for interim GM David Griffin, owner Dan Gilbert is going to search far and wide for a replacement this summer. That doesn’t mean Griffin is out of the running though.
  • There was belief among the Cavs organization that Grant had not scouted Jonas Valancinunas well enough before the 2011 draft. Though most of the Cavs personnel department wanted Valanciunas, Grant used the fact that the player’s agent, Leon Rose, would not negotiate a buyout agreement with his European club before they knew where he would be drafted. Thus, that was his justification to select the player he wanted in Tristan Thompson.
  • Grant passed on Andre Drummond in the 2012 draft over concerns that a Tristan Thompson-Andre Drummond frontcourt would not be offensively compatible.
  • Kyrie Irving pushed hard to have his “close friend” Harrison Barnes drafted by the Cavs in 2012.
  • Grant had been attempting to trade Dion Waiters before he was fired.
  • Klay Thompson was discussed for the No. 4 pick in the 2011 draft by the Cavs, but Grant believed he could move back into the lottery and snag him later.
  • The No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft was between Ben McLemore and Anthony Bennett.
  • If Bennett had not been selected by the Cavs, then he would have fallen somewhere around the No. 10 spot in the lottery.
  • Bennett loved making late-night pizza runs at UNLV which was a contributing factor to his weight problem.

I take qualms with some of the opinions expressed in the article such as Victor Oladipo being the “perfect two-way player to complement Kyrie” and that Anthony Bennett is a “colossal failure” considering no one in this draft class has colored themselves in glory. Plus, Bennett hasn’t been given a ton of opportunities. Nonetheless, the sourced information is fascinating and a must-read for any Cavs fan.

[Related: David Griffin: Next Man Up]

Photo: Joshua Gunter, The Plain Dealer

NBA Rumor: Cavs wanted Klay Thompson in 2011

PhotoChris Grant and the Cavaliers were reportedly close to adding a third lottery pick in 2011 in shooting guard Klay Thompson. From Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon-Journal, Grant had multiple deals in place but all of them would fall through for a variety of reasons.

Klay Thompson scored 16 points and shot just 5-for-16 Sunday, but how good would he look in a Cavs jersey? It nearly happened on draft night in 2011. One NBA source told me recently the Cavs were trying frantically to add a third top 10 pick in that 2011 draft. Byron Scott told me months later it was the night he really came to believe Chris Grant knew what he was doing and was the right man for the job, watching him work the phones trying to get a third pick.

The Cavs selected Kyrie Irving first overall and Tristan Thompson fourth. Grant wanted one more pick and one of his targets was Klay Thompson. The Cavs talked to the Sacramento Kings about a deal involving J.J. Hickson for the No. 7 pick, but the Kings ultimately dealt the pick in a different deal and the Cavs sent Hickson to the Kings after the draft for Omri Casspi and a future pick. Then the Cavs had a deal in place with the Utah Jazz for the No. 12 pick, but the Warriors snatched Thompson at No. 11. The Jazz ultimately backed out of the deal with the Cavs and selected shooting guard Alec Burks.

A 6-foot-7-inch shooter, Klay Thompson is the quintessential shooting guard for Mike Brown’s preferred offense. The Washington State product has improved year-over-year in the scoring department since entering the league, and is presently averaging just under 20 points per night for the Golden State Warriors.

As a consolation prize, the Cavaliers would ultimately sign (and release) undrafted rookie Mychel Thompson, the older brother of Klay.

[Related: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Andrew Bynum has potential, lacks commitment]

Cavaliers Road Trip Takes Them to Golden State

The Cleveland Cavaliers have played 4 games this season, and sit at 2-2. In 3 of the 4 games, the Cavaliers were able to feel good about the way they played. Only in the Chicago game last week could their effort and desire really be challenged. This is a good sign for the early season.

Tonight, as they continue their road trip by playing against the Golden State Warriors (2-2), the Cavaliers will try to keep the momentum going. One of the biggest positive for the Cavaliers is that 3 of their 4 opponents have been very good defensive teams this season. In terms of defensive efficiency, the Bulls are 1st, the Bucks are 3rd, and the Wizards are 12th. Only the Clippers (19th) fall in the bottom half of the league.

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