July 22, 2014

Dion Waiters added to US Men’s Select Team

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Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters is one of 13 NBA players named to USA Basketball’s Men’s Select Team. The Select Team is essentially a practice squad for the Men’s National Team. Kyrie Irving was on the Men’s Select Team prior to the last Olympics.

“USA Basketball’s Select Teams are critical for getting some of the game’s brightest and most promising young players experience at the USA National Team level, and getting them into our pipeline,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball National Team managing director.

Both the National team and the Select Team will train in Las Vegas July 28-31, in preparation for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

In addition to Waiters, the Men’s Select Team is comprised of Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors), Trey Burke (Utah Jazz), Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Tim Hardaway Jr. (New York Knicks), Tobias Harris (Orlando Magic), Doug McDermott (Chicago Bulls), Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic), Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets), Miles Plumlee (Phoenix Suns), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics) and Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets)

Kyrie Irving is the lone Cavalier on the Men’s National Team this year. LeBron James will not be participating in the FIBA tournament.

[Related: Whitlock says Canadian players "don't want it as much"]

 

Les Levine talks about LeBron James, Johnny Manziel and local sports media – WFNY Podcast – 2014-07-22

WFNY Podcast LogoI haven’t had Les Levine on in a while, but it’s always great to catch up. Here are some of the topics we discussed.

  • Reporting in the modern world
  • Chris Broussard and needing to be right a minute ahead of the next guy
  • Les’ history of reporting things and “being wrong”
  • LeBron James coming home
  • Johnny Manziel’s partying lifestyle and social media
  • Not living dangerously
  • Joe Lull’s report on Dan Gilbert’s plane

Check out this episode!

Jason Whitlock says Canadian players “don’t want it as much” as other players

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Last night on Keith Olbermann’s show, Jason Whitlock was discussing his recent podcast with LeBron James’ partner Maverick Carter. He and Olbermann got to talking about – what else – Andrew Wiggins and Kevin Love. That’s when Jason Whitlock made some pretty wide sweeping generalizations while vaguely applying it to “smart basketball people,” while also specifically not attaching it to “LeBron’s people.”

“Andrew Wiggins is from Canada. And Canadian athletes among NBA players and NBA people perhaps don’t want it as much as even some of the Europeans and certainly the American players. I think they’re going all out for Kevin Love. I think that’s what LeBron James wants. I think that’s what they believe in. I think they will move Andrew Wiggins at all costs.”

Now, I’m not offended per se because I find the statement to be pretty ludicrous. A wide-sweeping generalization that the characteristic that defines Andrew Wiggins is his nationality and that that subsequently defines his fire and competitiveness is ridiculous. Jason Whitlock should know better and while Keith Olbermann challenged him and made a joke about Whitlock’s generalization, I’m a bit surprised he didn’t challenge him even more. I’m sure Olbermann was taken a bit by surprise though.

See the clip below.

Whitlock also follows it up with some talk about Maverick Carter’s client Johnny Manziel. Keith Olbermann circles back on the Canadian thing kind of mocking Whitlock and giving him a chance to get out of it. Of course Whitlock says he hopes he doesn’t get in trouble and then doubles down on the Canadian generalization.

Mike Krzyzewski would trade Wiggins for Love “without hesitancy”

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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?]

Watch Dan Patrick discuss LeBron James’ return and Wahoo with Scott Raab

Scott Raab joined us on the WFNY podcast to talk about the return of LeBron James. He also sat down and talked to arguably the best sports talk radio host in the country when he went on The Dan Patrick Show recently.

In addition to discussing LeBron James’ return, Patrick got into the Cleveland Indians and Chief Wahoo.

Video: LeBron James watching his son’s basketball team

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He may not be a typical dad in that he’s also the best basketball player in the world, but he is still a dad.

LeBron was in Lexington, Kentucky for the game. What I want to know is if that counts as a recruiting visit for John Calipari?

 

LeBron asks fans if he should wear No. 23 or 6?

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LeBron James took to Instagram to ask his fans what number he should wear in his return to Cleveland.

6 or 23?......

James famously retired the No. 23 after the 2009-10 season, stating that it should be retired across the NBA in honor of Michael Jordan. He then, in his move to Miami, chose No. 6. (Bill Russell, interestingly, wore No. 6 while amassing his 11 championship rings.)

There are a slew of photoshops out there with James in a Cavs jersey with the No. 6, but many fans think that should be left in South Beach. What say you?

LeBron James, Johnny Manziel, Cleveland and the concept of home – Casual Friday – WFNY Podcast – 2014-07-18

It’s been a while since I chatted with Denny, but he had some time this evening so we did it up on the following.

  • LeBron James coming back to Cleveland impacting Denny
  • The vague, but unmistakable feelings of “home”
  • Cleveland and the generational preference for city living
  • athletics impact on cities
  • Raising a family in a city
  • Johnny Manziel and the negative obsession with his partying

Check out this episode!

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

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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.

LeBron James and the moral dilemma of free agency

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Obviously, most everyone in Cleveland is elated with the return of Lebron James. Equally obviously Heat fans are bummed and feel let down. LeBron didn’t have another “The Decision” and he didn’t have a pep rally to tally up expected championships in front of Cavs fans in The Q. Both of these things are massive improvements since 2010, but did LeBron James still cause some unnecessary injury to the Miami Heat? Are Heat fans justified in feeling upset at all with how LeBron handled his business this time? One half of Dan LeBatard’s show in Miami, Stugotz, does think so. He wrote an interesting perspective on it and I felt it was a worthwhile discussion for the WFNY crew. [Read more...]

Indians playoff odds, Craiglist, stats and Byron Scott… While We’re Waiting

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Holding out hope: The Cleveland Indians are 47-47 at the All-Star Break. There are only 68 games left to play in the regular season. In order to make the playoffs again, the Indians will likely have to go on a torrid second-half run yet again Last year, you might recall how I often updated the team’s playoff odds from three different outlets. Today, as we begin the second half, I’ll take a look at where those odds stand: [Read more...]

The Heat fans are mad, express it via t-shirt

Here in Cleveland we know all about expressing ourselves on t-shirts. We have a few very good designers including our personal favorites at GV Art. So, it’s not totally shocking that some of Miami’s talents would be used to make statements against LeBron James’ departure from the city. This one in particular came to my attention via @WayneEmbrysKids on Twitter.

I don’t know about polishing any crowns, but if a ring happens to show up in Cleveland at any point in the near future…

 

Heat Fans are Mad

 

Originally via @Novaburn on Twitter.

David Blatt didn’t know LeBron was coming until it was official

628x471-2Zach Lowe has a really great interview with David Blatt over at Grantland. It’s well worth your time to read the whole thing, but I was pretty surprised to hear just how little Blatt knew about the LeBron James situation before it became official in Lee Jenkins’ post at SI’s website.

For one thing, Blatt tells Lowe that they didn’t even use LeBron’s name when discussing him internally, instead referring to him as “the guy.” I guess if treating LeBron James like Beetlejuice resulted in him coming then it was a good strategy.

The most interesting part of the interview to me was when Blatt was talking about his coaching style.

There are two schools of thought in coaching, and neither one is more right than the other. There are coaches that have their system, and they are gonna use that regardless of what the team makeup is. And there are coaches that are adaptive, and take their roster, and play according to their skill set.

I’m more from the adaptive school, with a few principles that are consistent throughout my career. But we have to see what the team looks like before I can tell you exactly how we’re gonna play.

This is good to hear. Across all sports, I’ve grown to despise “system” guys that aren’t adaptable. Whether we’re talking about the NBA or even former Browns honchos like Mike Holmgren with their “West Coast Offense,” I’m sick to death of talking about systems. Even if the Cavaliers run some form of the “Princeton” offense, I hope they don’t actually call it that. Call it “The Offense.” Just please keep the memories of Byron Scott’s statuesque arms-folded sideline stance out of my brain.

When pressed for details about how Blatt would run his version of the system, he answered in a way that got me really psyched. It really gave me insight as to why a super-positive, philosophical guy like David Griffin would want to hire him. Blatt said, “I got hired to find solutions. You know what I mean? I’ve been finding solutions my whole life. We’ll figure it out.”

That’d be so much more refreshing than leaving fans to wonder where the next fatal flaw in the roster might be. It’s nice to know that the new head coach of the Cavaliers will attempt to be at least as adaptable as Cavs fans have had to be over the last two coaches.

Keep ‘em coming: James Jones signs with Cavs

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While Ray Allen deliberates his future, James Jones has reportedly jumped ahead of him in former members of the Miami Heat to join LeBron James in Cleveland.

Jones appeared in only 20 games for the Heat last season, averaging 4.9 points in 11.8 minutes of action, but he is a very close friend of James, both players’ respective families vacationing together as recent as this past summer. The 6-foot-8-inch space-creating swingman would likely just provide depth behind James and recent addition Mike Miller, allowing the four-time All-Star to potentially slide to the ‘stretch 4′ position with David Blatt at the helm.

It’s clear that the Cavs are pinpointing players who are not just friends with James, but those who can create the space needed for the Cavs’ offense to thrive. Jones led the NBA lasts season in catch-and-shoot situations, hitting 52 percent of his attempts. This past May, James went to bat for Jones, pleading for the three-point specialist to receive more playing time.

“It’s the space that he provides, and his ability to shoot the ball,” said LeBron. “You can’t do both when he’s out on the floor: You can’t help on my drive and try to contest the threes.”

Jones fielded offers from Golden State, Washington, New Orleans and Miami before choosing Cleveland. Your move, Ray. Everybody’s doing it.

Ray Allen deciding between Cavs, Rockets and Retirement

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The Cavs may have signed Mike Miller to a two-year deal, but they may very well find themselves with another former teammate of LeBron James as shooting guard Ray Allen contemplates joining the team versus outright retirement.

Allen is still undecided whether he wants to return for another NBA season, or retire after 18 years in the NBA. He has reportedly been in talks with both the Rockets and Cavaliers, but is yet to speak with his former team. Allen is the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made with 2973, and has shot 40.0 percent from beyond the arc.

As recent as late June, reports swirled that Allen wished to continue playing despite being 39 years of age, hoping to do so alongside LeBron James, with whom he reportedly developed a close relationship with during their two seasons together in Miami, whether it is with the Heat or another team.

“I guess everything [is factored into the decision],” Allen told the Boston Globe during the most recent NBA Playoffs. “You get away from it, you sit down and get an opportunity to think about it. It depends on how my body feels. I love the condition I’ve been in over the last couple of years. It’s just a natural progression.”

With the trading away of Jarrett Jack and the loss of CJ Miles, the Cavs continue to look for floor-spacing shooters who can hit open shots in the event defenses converge upon James or point guard Kyrie Irving. Miller and Allen would both fit this mold, the former recently turning down more money from the Denver Nuggets to join James in Cleveland.

[Related: What’s Next for the Cavs in Free Agency?]

 

Erik Spolestra speaks on LeBron’s return to Cleveland

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[LeBron] seemed at peace with the decision. We don’t have any regrets. He shouldn’t have any regrets. It was a historic four-year run. This league does teach you that it’s inevitable that there’s constant change and you always have to continue to embrace change, adapt with change. This is a big, monumental change that we didn’t necessarily anticipate but you have to respect it because when you’re a free agent in this league you have the right to make a decision that’s best for you and your family. When he made that decision that was best for his family, where his heart is, all you can do from our side is respond with respect and love.

— Miami Heat coach Erik Spolestra in an interview with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, speaking for the first time since LeBron James decided to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers via free agency. In his essay that was posted on SI.com, James attempted to squash any talk of a rift between him and the coach, saying “I’m doing this essay because I want an opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted. I don’t want anyone thinking: He and Erik Spoelstra didn’t get along. … He and [Heat president Pat Riley] didn’t get along. … The Heat couldn’t put the right team together. That’s absolutely not true.”

Drake looking to buy property in Cleveland, insists he’s not a ‘bandwagon fan’

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Who didn’t see this one coming? Hip-hop star and friend of anyone who wins things, Drake, is reportedly looking to lock up some of Cleveland’s incredibly affordable real estate following LeBron James’ decision to return home.

In an interview with Complex Magazine, Drake, whose real name is Aubrey Drake Graham, says that the recent additions of LeBron and (TOPSZN Crew’s own) Johnny Manziel will lead to a new residence with a 216 (or 440) area code.

“Of course, I’m gonna go watch games in Cleveland. If not for LeBron—who I said is a brother to me, we’ve got three kids from Toronto on one team, plus Manziel who is part of our family and our brother,” Drake said “I definitely have to look into some real estate in Cleveland and spend some months of the year out there. Like I said, my teams will always forever be who they are but I will support the group who has shifted to Cleveland.”

Drake hails from Canada, so his affinity for players like Tristan Thompson and Andrew Wiggins makes some sense. But lest you think that Drake is a front-running sports fan, recently claiming he has been a life-long fan of the Kentucky Wildcats following their run in the NCAA Tournament, he would like you to think otherwise.

“I’d like to say that despite what everyone on the Internet thinks, I do not team jump. In the past I’ve always supported the player and not the institution—unless we’re talking about the Kentucky Wildcats and the Toronto Raptors; I will never stray from them. But whether it comes to soccer or football or basketball, I have a lot of friends that play for a lot of teams. I’m not team jumping. I’m a supportive friend.”

Drake already has his Manziel jersey. A new LeBron one—with a rumored new number—shouldn’t be too far behind.

“For Cleveland, a place that I’ve been to time and time again when I’ve been to touring, it’s gonna be great for them,” he said. “I’d love to see them grow.”

 

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.”

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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...]

Brian Windhorst talks about LeBron coming home – WFNY Podcast – 2014-07-15

WFNY Podcast LogoI talked to Brian Windhorst a year ago when the Cavs re-hired Mike Brown and I was taken aback when I started to think about all the things that have changed since then. Brian was gracious enough to join me for about a half hour to talk about LeBron coming back to the Cavaliers. Here are some of the things we discussed.

  • The free agent market shakeout after LeBron signed
  • The Houston Rockets’ bad off-season (so far)
  • LeBron’s relationship to the player’s union and being involved with the CBA
  • The culture of the Miami Heat vs. the culture of the Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Reporting on a story that directly impacts your home town
  • LeBron’s visit to Cleveland for the Zydrunas Ilgauskas number retirement
  • What’s next for Brian


Check out this episode!