August 15, 2014

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.

Cavaliers to host Knicks in season opener, play in Miami on Christmas Day

Cavaliers vs KnicksThe 2014-15 NBA schedule hasn’t been officially released yet, but reports have slowly been leaking out with information about some of the league’s marquee matchups. After initial reports that the Cavaliers were going to have to open the season in San Antonio to face the Spurs, Yahoo’s Marc Spears is now reporting that the Cavaliers will actually host the Carmelo Anthony and the Phil Jackson-led Knicks on opening night.

We also have word that the Cavaliers will be playing on Christmas Day for the first time in five years when they travel to Miami where LeBron will square off with former teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

The full schedule is expected to be released Wednesday at 6:00 pm.

[Related: LeBron makes first comments at his Welcome Home Party in Akron]

LeBron James Homecoming Party in Akron (8/8)

lebron welcome home

The city of Akron held a homecoming party for LeBron James at the University of Akron’s InfoCision Stadium on Friday. Around 25,000 fans attended the festivities. It celebrated the contributions of the LeBron James Family Foundation and LeBron James to the city of Akron and Northeast Ohio. Below is the video of the party and the major points throughout the event.

 

Key Moments in the Event

          • Ahmaad Crump is the MC for the event
          • 12:11- Coach Dru Joyce II
          • 20:31- Austin Carr
          • 23:19- LeBron James Cavs Highlight Video
          • 44:33- General Manager David Griffin
          • 47:16- Akron Mayor Donald Plusquellic
          • 53:22- Skylar Grey performance
          • 57:22- LeBron James and family walks out to stage
          • 58:53- LeBron arrives on stage and begins speech
          • 1:16:35- LeBron finishes speech and fireworks start

(Photo by: Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer)

LeBron makes first comments at his Welcome Home Party in Akron

lebron welcome home

LeBron James made his first comments since coming back to the Cavaliers at his Welcome Home party last night in Akron. The festivities began with James meeting with the media for the first time. He commented on his decision to come back, his future with the team, and a whole lot more.

LeBron James commented on when he realized he had a deep connection to Northeast Ohio as he stated in his letter. James responded, “It just hit me. Sometimes you just have a feeling. Sometimes you kind of just realize what’s going on and what’s happening. It just hit me. That’s how I was able to kind of‑‑ through the letter, I was just able to speak through the heart, and it came off pretty well, I guess.”

James said he started considering coming back after he returned home from his family vacation. He narrowed down the teams when he arrived in Las Vegas for his basketball camp. He finally made his decision to come back during the last 48 hours in Vegas after going over the pros and cons of each team with his agent, Rich Paul. James talked about what he hopes to accomplish as a Cavalier. “But my number one goal is to win a championship here,” James said. “I think it will be the greatest achievement in my life, as far as on the court. Hopefully, I‑‑ that’s my goal. I’ve been back in the lab. So when I get focused, I really go in. So I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

James quieted fears about his short-term contract saying, “Yeah, at the end of the day, I’m a businessman as well, and I know what’s going on in our league. I don’t plan on going nowhere. No, I don’t have‑ I don’t have the energy to do it again.” He talked about his teammates and also his potential teammate Kevin Love. James was very open about his desire to play with Love and how excited he would be to play with him. “I can tell you I’m going to be very excited, very excited to have him. He’s one of those guys‑‑ I don’t even care about the 26 and 12. I care about the basketball IQ. His basketball IQ is very, very high.” He went on to say, “I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully, it happens, and everything is done right from a league rule and standard. But he’s a great piece.”

He noted that he had talked with Cavaliers’ coach David Blatt in New York two weeks ago when he was filming his new movie. They talked about the team amongst other things including James’ movie.

LeBron James addressed many other topics including his outlook on next season and his opinion of his new teammates. The event that followed the press conference celebrated the LeBron James Family Foundation, his impact on the Akron community, and his return home to Northeast Ohio. InfoCision Stadium on the campus of the University of Akron held around 25,000 fans for the LeBron James Welcome Home Rally. It was a great event that showed what the King truly means to Akron and Northeast Ohio.

(Photo by: Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer)

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?

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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)

Home improvements, ultrarunning with booze, Zillow and Sports on Earth – WFNY Podcast – 2014-08-08

WFNY Podcast LogoDenny texted me to podcast last minute and despite my beverages, we did it. Great time talking about a whole host of topics including…

  • Home improvements and Denny’s new kitchen
  • Babies and missing them
  • Ultrarunning with alcohol
  • Running 5Ks and shorter runs
  • Trulia, Zillow
  • Sports on Earth

Check out this episode!

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

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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.

ESPN suspends Dan Le Batard for LeBron billboards

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What started out as a fun, attention-grabbing prank has apparently gotten Miami’s Dan Le Batard into some hot water. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that Le Batard, host of a nationally aired radio show and ESPN’s Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable, has been suspended from the air for two days. The four-letter network is reportedly none too pleased with the long-time columnist spearheading the “You’re Welcome, LeBron” billboards that have been popping up around Akron, Ohio in advance of LeBron James’ “Homecoming” which is planned for Friday.

Per Jackson:

An ESPN statement says Le Batard’s recent stunt does not reflect ESPN’s standards and brand Additionally, we were not made aware of his plans in advance.

As The Big Lead points out, Part of LeBatard’s rise at ESPN over the last few years is precisely because of bits like this—more intelligent and clever than a trolling hot take—so the suspension comes as a bit of a surprise considering all of the other items (countless ones, in fact) the company could hand pick out the grab bag of could-be punishable offenses.

Le Batard is scheduled to return to television and his (very entertaining) radio show on Monday. No word on if he plans to make use of his free time by heading north for the weekend.

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.

Could Kevin Love actually improve with the Cavs?

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Carrying a fledgling team in the Western Conference can be a tough task. Kevin Love, for all of his incredible box scores and proclamations of being the best power forward in the NBA, has yet to yield a playoff appearance. Since being drafted in 2008, Love’s game has not only allowed for year-over-year improvement, but it’s also provided fans of the game with one of the more eye-opening evolutions—from back-to-the-basket rebounder to floor-stretching three-point shooter—over the past few years. But how will this translate to Cleveland, where the wealth will undoubtedly have to be shared?

Grantland.com’s Kirk Goldsberry digs deep into Love’s tendencies within his latest blog entry, discussing the pros and cons of a power forward who tends to drift beyond the arc.

There are reasons why more power forwards don’t shoot nearly as many 3-point shots as Love does. First of all, most can’t hit them. Love deserves credit for developing deep range at such a young age. Even older 4s, like David West and LaMarcus Aldridge — both wonderful jump shooters — have yet to add 3s to their arsenals. Many teams prefer to keep their bigs inside the arc to help set screens and grab rebounds, the idea being that every time a big spots up beyond the arc means one less play in which he’s a factor inside of it, especially on the glass. After all, power forwards are the primary rebounding vultures in the NBA ecosystem — it’s generally their role, whether it’s on offense or defense, to clean up the corpses of failed field goals down by the rim.

The fact that Love is one of the best rebounders in the game only compounds this issue. He’s not just “technically a power forward” like Channing Frye. This guy is way more Barkley than Bargnani. He’s a true interior force, and every time he shoots one of those 3s, one of the league’s top rebounders becomes a rebounding spectator.

Every Kevin Love 3-point attempt introduces a sneaky hidden fee, and when you evaluate his 3-point value using only his shooting percentages, you don’t even see it.

All in, this sounds like Love has grown into a player who has become less efficient. As his box score and per-year averages have climbed, could Kevin Love actually have regressed in terms of economy? In a way, yes. But also, it appears that this transition has largely stemmed from the Timberwolves having to count on him in every facet of the game. Ricky Rubio and Corey Brewer—his starting point guard and small forward, respectively—are not exactly the beacons of offensive prowess. Coming over to Cleveland, thing will change—considerably.

Love’s 3-point shot is impressive, but it’s also fair to ask whether the addition of a mostly average (at this point) long-range game to his shooting repertoire is a smart addition for his team’s overall offensive portfolio. It’s also important to note that on a Minnesota team lacking strong perimeter shooting from its guards and wings, Love naturally assumed a greater perimeter role than he might alongside different teammates, guys like Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Mike Miller. [...]

Alongside James, open shots are easier to come by, there are fewer double teams, and there are more fast-break points. Lastly, and perhaps most relevant to his perimeter habits, a move to Cleveland will also put him alongside Miller, Irving, and Waiters. Relative to Ricky Rubio and Corey Brewer, these guys are all sensational jump shooters, and would likely represent the best 3-point shooting corps that Love has ever played with.

With Love’s move to Ohio, it’s hard to imagine anything but upticks in efficiency and downticks in his perimeter shooting.

The Cavs, as Goldsberry iterated, have added outside shooting to compliment the offensive threats already on the roster. Spacing the floor will be integral for Cleveland’s overall suceess, but it’s It’s scary to think that a guy who averaged 12.5 rebounds per game a season ago could actually see improvement in this category due to less reliance on his seven three-point attempts per night.

LeBron James attends Browns practice, takes photos with Joe Haden, Phil Taylor and Buster Skrine

LeBron picked a day to come to Browns camp when fans wouldn’t be there, but he took some photos with fans, just the same. It turns out that those fans are also professional athletes.

Watch highlights of soon-to-be Cavalier Kevin Love

Now that Woj has dropped his bomb, I finally feel it’s appropriate to see some Kevin Love highlights. I have admitted numerous times that even as I know Kevin Love is good, I haven’t actually watched him play a ton of games. Hopefully his buckets come far easier when he’s playing alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

No Art Modell, LeBron James front-running and sports movies with @dimoko – WFNY Podcast – 2014-08-06

The fine people at the Anything to Add Monty podcast were kind enough to have me on to discuss Draft Day a few months ago. I’m a disorganized fool and never reciprocated, but I was more than happy to have Dave Sterling on. When I did that podcast there was really good chemistry as we went from liking Draft Day to nearly despising it as we talked about it.

Here’s what else we talked about…

  • Dave decides to become an Uber driver
  • Anything to Add Monty and sports movies like Ladybugs and Goon
  • Art Modell doesn’t belong in the hall of fame ever
  • Being a Cavs frontrunner now that LeBron is back
  • How to root between Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer
  • General bitterness from Craig
  • Other Pleasantries

Check out this episode!

The LeBron-trolling ad appears to have found a home

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Remember that Miami-based advertisement that was turned down by The Plain Dealer? It appears to have finally found a home. Courtesy of Twitter user JeremyinAkron, we have a billboard that is allegedly housed on west-bound Tallmadge avenue near Route 8 in Akron, Ohio.

Miami’s Dan Le Batard was reportedly behind the original idea, and based on his Twitter feed, this one as well. LeBron James’ “Homecoming” is set for this Friday in Akron, so this Comic Sans-laced stealth move was well-timed on his part. Per the Miami Herald, this is the first of what will be several billboards to be placed around the city. There are rumors of an additional tier of the ad-assault that remains top secret, perhaps to be revealed on Friday.

“I’m just getting started,” tweeted Le Batard, who is no stranger to otherwise outlandish acts that grab the attention of the media.