July 31, 2014

Unassuming yet impressive: David Blatt arrives in Cleveland as the next man up

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David Blatt strolled in to the crowded media room within Cleveland Clinic Courts, led to the dais by Cavaliers general manager David Griffin. Festooned in a press conference-ready navy blue suit, the 55-year-old Blatt carried with him the Trojan Horse of all media maneuvers—a self-written yet typed out statement from which he would read as his opening remarks. His accent, a mix of east coast and Middle East, permeated into recording devices which surrounded him as words like “Cleveland” came out more like “Cleevlinn.” As cameras clicked around him and members of the Cavs ownership team stood off stage right, Blatt would stare down at the paper, looking up just enough to qualify as token eye contact. It was as if he were the valedictorian speaking at a local high school commencement.

Blatt’s remarks were endearing, if not an outright campaign for acceptance and support. He intertwined thank yous with key lines for those seeking filler quotes for their impending deadlines—”Make no mistake: I’ve won everywhere I’ve been…and I plan on doing the same here,” and “I’m not an offensive coach or a defensive coach—I’m a basketball coach” being two of the many that would undoubtedly litter recaps of the day’s events. But it wasn’t until the speech ended, until that piece of nine-by-eleven paper was flipped over to Blatt’s right, that the Cavs’ new head coach arrived, delivering more personality and panache than anyone could have foreseen—save for the few who traveled just to see the man who meant so much to them in a former life take the first step of what would serve to be his dream come true.

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The best CB tandem, coaching flowcharts and like father like daughter …While We’re Waiting

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Another week gone by and it is my turn in the rotation for www. Let’s kick things off with some Browns optimism.

I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of NFL.com’s Adam Schein before. But if the Browns’ defense comes close to what he thinks it will be, I’ll be pretty happy. There is no doubt that the Browns upgraded at cornerback in the offseason, and as much as I respect D’Qwell Jackson as a person, I think Karlos Dansby will be a bit of an upgrade in the middle. I’m not sure that Pettine will turn Paul Kruger into the sack specialist that Schein thinks he will be, but I’d love to be wrong.

This line was interesting to me- “And it should surprise nobody that Pettine plucked Justin Gilbert, the elite corner in the 2014 draft class, with his first selection as Browns coach. I think Cleveland could have the best cornerback combo in the NFL this year. Seriously.”

The best CB combo in the NFL this year? Sign me up for that one. I’m in. Take it. A definite defensive identity? Take that as well. I love me some great defense. The video in that piece is just kind of a silly Q&A with Joe Haden, but has an interesting factoid or two.

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The amount of truth in this statement by ESPN’s Chad Ford may be an overlooked part of why Mike Brown was fired after just one year-

“Just because Griffin wants to take Embiid No. 1 doesn’t mean he’ll get his wish. Two years ago, Gilbert and head coach Byron Scott overruled Grant on draft night and selected Dion Waiters over Grant’s choice, Harrison Barnes. Last year, it was Mike Brown who helped push Bennett to the top of the Cavs’ draft board.”

Here’s the deal, we know that Mike Brown watched a lot of Bennett while he was out west and Bennett played for UNLV. We were told by Chris Grant last year that Mike Brown had seen him play a lot and really liked what he could do. If Bennett was more Brown’s pick than anyone else, AND he failed to coach him to an acceptable level of play for a first rounder, let alone the top pick overall….

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My tweet of the night comes from one of my favorite musicians David Crowder. He was answering some questions from fans when he got this Harry Potter related question and gave his response. If you aren’t familiar with the series, well just move on to the next item.

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I’m a father who has only a daughter. As such, I can relate to this story even if I’m not a major league ball player. Kudos to Marla Ridenour for this one. And honestly, I can’t believe it took this long for someone to think of this.

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We’ve heard about coaching trees before, but a coaching flowchart? Only four steps to go from Naismith to Popovich? Well, makes sense why his team is fundamentally sound I guess.

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alhambraI will end with another mini-game review. The latest added to the collection is a game called Alhambra. It is a game that we’ve had our eye on as a family for a while now, but just never pulled the trigger. I’m glad we did.

In Alhambra, you are adding buildings and gardens to your palace/complex/Alhambra. (Hence the name.) You collect different currencies in order to pay for these buildings, as each builder wants to be paid in their native currency. Once the group has the hang of the different types of things you can do on your turn, it moves pretty quick.

It has an element of luck to it, but it is also very strategic and somewhat puzzle-y. The game is for 2-8 players, and is one of the rare games that actually works well with two players. A lot of games designed for more than two are kind of awful to play with just a pair, but this one works. It works well with 3 or 4 as well. Haven’t played or watched with more than that many yet.

It is designed for ages 8 and up. I think that is a good age limit. Obviously the more a child can handle some abstract thinking , the better off they will likely be.

If you have a family and like some of the more family friendly games I’ve suggested before, I think you’ll like Alhambra as well.

Cavs have contacted Billy Donovan about coaching vacancy

donovan joakimThere haven’t been enough Cavs head coach rumors over the last few days, ya know. That’s why our good friend Brian Windhorst is back with the scoop du jour: The Cavaliers have reportedly contacted Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan.

That’s the report per Windhorst’s sources. Donovan admitted that some NBA teams have called him about their vacancies, but he didn’t specify any of them.

“I have spoken to a couple NBA teams, and that’s all I’m going to say,” Donovan said in the ESPN.com, article. “It’s always flattering, but at the same time, I’ve always said that I’m very happy here and like it here.”

As many will recall, Donovan flirted with the NBA in 2007 when he briefly held the coaching job with the Orlando Magic. Within six days however, he had changed his mind and returned to the college game.

His 18-year Florida career his highlighted by the back-to-back NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007. More recently, his Gators have made the Elite Eight in four consecutive seasons. They lost in the Final Four this year to red-hot UCONN, the eventual champions.

Windhorst’s article also mentions that the Cavs have “tested the interest” of Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg. The Cavs “made inquiries” about UCONN’s Kevin Ollie as well, but he recently signed an extended $2.8 million annual deal to stay at the school.

Donovan undoubtedly has been one of the college game’s most successful coaches for the last decade, but his name isn’t the sexiest nor does he have such a great history with the NBA. It’s not a surprise, perhaps, to always see his name pop up with any opening. But it does appear the Cavs are doing a bit more research this time around compared to the 2013 “search.”

Photo: Jeff Roberson / AP

Who’s Next? Breaking down the Cavaliers’ head coach candidates

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Earlier this week, I shared my thoughts on Mike Brown’s termination after just one season. While I understood the statement the franchise was making after all of the declared playoff expectations pre-season, I couldn’t help but feeling that Mike Brown was a scapegoat for a lot of other problems with this front office and the roster as currently constructed. However, that’s in the past now, and what the Cavaliers need to do, in my opinion, is go through an incredibly exhaustive search of the college ranks as well as top assistants throughout the league and former head coaches. In that search, they must determine who can install a system that players can buy into and aligns properly with the front office’s vision for the roster.

Here’s a rundown of where I’m at with some of the discussed candidates.

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Report: Lionel Hollins in running for Cleveland job, Karl remains interested

We’ve heard a lot of names tossed around as potential replacements for Mike Brown as we inch closer to the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night and the NBA Draft next month. Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) reports some interesting bits of information regarding the Cavaliers’ opening alongside his Timberwolves updates. Among them, Zgoda says that Lionel Hollins was interviewed by Minnesota three weeks ago but it has not progressed any furthered. He mentions that Hollins is in the running for the Cleveland job.

Hollins was the Memphis head coach for three different stints, two on an interim basis in 1999-00 and 2004-05. When he was handed the full-time job in mid-season 2009, he started a very successful run of playoff appearances. After a 13-26 finish in 2009 and a 40-42 campaign the following year where the team missed the playoffs, Hollins helped his team become just the fourth eighth seed to upset a top seed in the first run, as the 2011 Grizzlies beat the Spurs in six games, advancing to the semis where they battled the Thunder tooth and nail for seven games before losing the series. In 2012, Memphis won 41 games in the lockout-shortened 66 game regular season, but they lost in the first round in a seven-game series with the Clippers. Last season, the Grizzlies won a franchise-record 56 games, got their revenge on the Clippers with a first round series victory in six, knocked off another top seed in Oklahoma City in five, and then were swept by the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. Hollins was let go following last season.

Zgoda had this to say about two of the more popular college options for head coaching vacancies:

“Izzo was offered the same five-year, $35 million offer to coach and run the Pistons that Van Gundy eventually accepted last week. Izzo also declined when Cleveland fired Mike Brown and called for the second time in four years. Hoiberg, too, appears content to remain in college coaching, at least for now.”

It’s not hard to believe that Izzo declined the Cavaliers’ pursuit for a second time if he wasn’t going to accept the lucrative deal to run the Pistons and stay in the State of Michigan. Given the volatility of NBA head coaching ranks, Izzo has it far too good to consider the jump now. Hoiberg, however, is at a program in Iowa State that is respected but far from a perennial contender. He stands to move up somewhere in a big way, whether that’s at a more highly regarded college program or in the NBA.

George Karl’s name also refuses to go away, and Zgoda says he remains interested in Cleveland or Washington (should Randy Wittman be fired). Karl coached the Cavaliers from 1984-1986 with a 61-68 record and a first round playoff exit in 1985. He went on to win over 1,000 games at stops in Golden State, Seattle, Milwaukee, and Denver, reaching the Conference Finals in 1993 (Seattle), 2001 (Milwaukee), and 2009 (Denver) along with a Finals trip in 1996 in Seattle.

There are currently five head coaching spots open in Cleveland, New York, Minnesota, Los Angeles (Lakers), and Utah. Stan Van Gundy (Detroit) and Steve Kerr (Golden State) have already been hired this offseason.

Related: As head coaches come and go, how much longer will Cavs fans wait?

Brian Spaeth discusses Mike Brown and Seth Rogen’s Neighbors – WFNY Podcast – 2015-05-15

The summer movie podcast is in full swing now. Brian (follow @brianspaeth) and I saw Neighbors starring Zac Efron and Seth Rogen. While there wasn’t a heck of a lot to say about it, we both kind of liked it.

We also talked about the Cavaliers removing Mike Brown and how little there really was to say about that either. Somehow we managed to fill up 30+ minutes just the same.

And don’t miss it. Brian sang a podcast intro for the WFNY podcast that was simply divine.

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History Repeating: Mike Brown takes the Fall…Again

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There was a time, not that long ago, when Mike Brown was being applauded for being one of the game’s bright young defensive minds. His coaching skills had been forged in the crucibles of playoff runs as an assistant in San Antonio and Indiana. His Cleveland teams won ugly but won, and he even managed to have three seasons with a top ten NBA offense in terms of efficiency. Without the summer of 2010 ransom note the Cavaliers had in hand, there is no way Mike Brown would have been dismissed that summer in his first term as head coach. He was quickly swooped up by one of the league’s premier franchise in the Lakers that needed a culture change and identified Brown’s ability to get results. Then, after a shortened stay in L.A., clearer heads had won out, we were led to believe, and the Cleveland front office, led by Dan Gilbert and former-assistant-GM-and-then-general-manager Chris Grant, had realized the error of their ways. The triumvirate would once again provide stability to a franchise that preached it from the top down.

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So, Mike Brown was fired: While We’re Waiting

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Farewell Mike Brown….again – For the second time in his life, Mike Brown has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Acting GM was also given the job on a full time basis, and it appears his first move was to let Coach Brown go.

There are so many ways to look this. It’s deeply nuanced on so many levels. I’ve never held my admiration for Mike Brown a secret. I think he’s a pretty good coach with one of the best defensive schemes I’ve ever seen. With the right kind of players, his coaching style and philosophies can be really successful. However, Mike Brown’s successes and failures in large part depend on him having exactly the right pieces. He’s never been one to adapt his philosophy to the players he has. Rather, he asks his players to bend to his style. Unfortunately for him, that’s not how the NBA works. It is the ultimate players’ league.

There are plenty of reasons why this is a good move for the Cavaliers. Most importantly, the team massively underperformed to their massive expectations. Mike Brown was charged with getting this team into the playoffs, and he failed on that level. The “offense” was maddening. He was unable to reach these players and get them to buy into his system 100%. The inbounding issues were stunning. Nobody would look at this year’s Cavs team and feel they were seeing a well coached team. [Read more...]

Cavs targeting Bulls’ Adrian Griffin to replace Mike Brown?

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The Cavaliers surely wasted an entire year bringing back Mike Brown to the Cavs bench for the 2013-14 season. How else do you explain his ouster after just one season of his five year $20 million deal? David Griffin has got to be deep into his search for Mike Brown’s replacement already and Sam Amick indicates we might look to Chicago for answers.

Griffin is a 39-year-old retired NBA player who was involved in the Cavaliers blockbuster 11-player deal involving the Bulls and Sonics that brought Ben Wallace, Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak to Cleveland. After playing 13 games with Seattle to finish that year, Griffin retired from playing.

He was an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks from 2008 to 2010 before joining the Bulls where he’s been ever since, save for a brief departure from coaching to spend more time with his family.

“Coaching is a great aspiration,” Griffin said in a phone interview. “But it came down to what is the best thing for me to do as the head of my house and as a husband and a father. I wasn’t there. The NBA is a great industry to be a part of, but it’s demanding. It’s hard to be a full-time husband and father and full-time coach. Something has to give.”

It didn’t sound like he would come back in those comments, but he did return to Tom Thibodeau’s staff a few months later.

Head Coach Mike Brown released by Cavaliers, Griffin named General Manager

PhotoThe Cleveland Cavaliers sent out a release Monday afternoon announcing that David Griffin will have the interim removed from his title and will be the General Manager.

They also have released head coach Mike Brown.

“This is a very tough business. It pains all of us here that we needed to make the difficult decision of releasing Mike Brown. Mike worked hard over this last season to move our team in the right direction. Although, there was some progress from our finish over the few prior seasons, we believe we need to head in a different direction. We wish Mike and his family nothing but the best,” said Gilbert.

“Our ownership support provides the highest level of resources, flexibility and commitment to aggressively do whatever we believe needs to be done in order to win. There is no harder working or better human being in our league than Mike,” Griffin added. “This was not an easy decision. We thank Mike for his efforts and wish him, his wife Carolyn, and their family only the best.”

The Cavaliers will now begin conducting a coaching search.

[Related: Cavaliers close to naming Griffin GM]

Statistical observations following another non-playoffs Cavs season

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Cleveland Cavaliers

Remember how much fun the playoffs were? From 2005-2010, spring time basketball in Cleveland was fun and exciting. If you recall, there were chants of “Eric Snow for MVP” one year – perhaps my favorite sports memory ever – and that’s how in love we once were with playoff basketball.

If the past few days of amazing back-and-forth games showed me anything, it’s that as a fan, I yearn to be back in that position again soon. Very soon.

As a stats-minded individual, I also know that the Cavaliers haven’t had it that bad … yet. Missing the playoffs four straight seasons isn’t that rare in the NBA. Several teams are on longer droughts currently. Heck, imagine how difficult life would be out in the Western Conference.

Continuing with that stats-centric hat, here are six observations I’ve been mulling over from the conclusion of this funky #seasonofhuh. Before we get started, go check out the pieces from my WFNY colleagues Ben Cox and Andrew Schnitkey so far. Both were outstanding.

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Numbers Don’t Lie: Cavs took huge steps defensively in 2013-14

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Across from the coach’s office within the Cleveland Cavaliers’ locker room is a poster-sized sheet that serves as a reminder for what this team had set out to accomplish heading into the season. All 30 NBA teams, listed in order by opponent field goal percentage—a widely-used gauge to determine defensive prowess in a game that can vary widely in the way of pace of play. Last season, when Byron Scott took that final walk, the giant metal door clicking behind him, the Cavs were listed 30th. When Mike Brown was reintroduced just days later, the message was clear: If the Wine and Gold were going to improve, it would be through defense. And while they did not make the playoffs, a goal that was clearly disseminated from the top, the team did improve substantially on the defensive end, finishing 12th in the league in opponent field goal percentage with a mark of 45.2.

Other defensive statistics also show marked improvement. After finishing the year 25th in points allowed per game in 2012-13, this year’s unit finished 16th. The Cavs (perhaps surprisingly) had the fifth-lowest average for opponent points in the paint (38.9) and had the seventh-lowest average in fastbreak points (12.1). They finished 2013-14 17th in defensive efficiency (104.8 points allowed per 100 possessions), one year after finishing 26th (106.9). Where they failed, at least in the way of being among the top third of the league, was in three-point percentage, finishing 22nd (.367). 

Offensively, the team was a mixed bag as they ranked 22nd in scoring (98.2) and 27th in field goal percentage (43.7) after ranking 19th (96.5) and 29th (43.4) in 2012-13. The Cavs ranked 17th in pace of play this season—a mark that by no means has a direct correlation with success—after finishing last season 12th. They finished the year 23rd in offensive efficiency (101.3). In 2012-13, they were 23rd as well with a mark of 100.8.

Statistical improvements or regressions, at least when it comes to team-wide output, can rarely be linearly extrapolated into subsequent years. They’re largely a function of the individual players and their fit within the system. Anderson Varejao will be a year older with a partially guaranteed deal. Much will change between this unit and the one which will take the floor this October.

Many of the numbers listed above, while improvements, represent a jump to league average. The LeBron James-led Cavalier units under Brown were frequently among the best in the league. It’s clear that the team made strides defensively as compared to a year ago—a goal of theirs heading into the year—which was the goal in bringing Brown back for his second tour. If he is retained beyond this summer, it will be for these reasons, with the hopes and conviction that that poster across from his office displays something even more favorable come this time in 2015.

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

2013-14 Cleveland Cavaliers and the #seasonofhuh – WFNY Podcast – 2014-04-17

WFNY Podcast LogoI got Ben Cox to come on the podcast to discuss the 2014 Cleveland Cavaliers. He dubbed it the season of huh.

From the Cavaliers drafting Anthony Bennett, to hiring Mike Brown, to firing Chris Grant to Matthew Dellevedova being the Cavs’ best rookie this year.

It was one for the ages.

Make sure you go read Ben’s post at WFNY on the topic.

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Big changes coming to Cavs…Maybe

Dan Gilbert, Mike Brown, Chris Grant

So we know that Dan Gilbert is none too pleased. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ majority owner is reportedly fuming, having set his sights on the Eastern Conference Playoffs this season, only to fall just short in a year when countless teams around him missed the playoffs intentionally. Gilbert has a reputation for being short-sighted and reactionary, supported by recent firings and re-hirings. With the Cavs on the outside looking in, many assume that more of the same will be on the way, but FOX Sports Ohio’s Sam Amico says that while some changes are going to happen, no decisions have been made regarding the front office, head coach or roster.

How displeased is Cavs owner Dan Gilbert that his team missed the playoffs? Well, “enraged” was the word most used by sources to describe Gilbert’s overall feelings. “Inside the organization is like a time-bomb waiting to go off,” said one.

That doesn’t mean Gilbert will overreact and start firing everybody, sources cautioned. It does mean he is expected to strategically (and perhaps slowly) find the best fit for running the basketball side of things this summer.

That could mean keeping interim general manager David Griffin and giving him the job on a full-time basis. Sources said Gilbert has been impressed with the improved culture in the Cavs’ locker room since Griffin took over. However, Griffin landing the gig is still not considered a definite. One source close to the situation described the idea of keeping the current front office entirely intact as “shaky.”

Amico expands on the status of head coach Mike Brown, which is expected to be determined this summer. The team owes Brown four more years of a five-year, $20 million deal and is less than a year removed from a press conference where the head coach was the definitive man to lead the team for the second time. Apparently, Glbert is very unhappy with the fallout of the Luol Deng deal, especially with the growing belief that the award-winning small forward will be playing elsewhere next season.

And the priority? Make Dion Waiters Waiters and All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving work as the long-term starting backcourt. Just who will be tasked with executing on this plan will apparently be the giant variable.

Vìva uncertainty!

(AP Photo/Jason Miller)

Windhorst: “LeBron and Kyrie have drifted apart”

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving

Brian Windhorst has no shortage of interesting things to say about the Cavaliers. He has so much to say that I had trouble even figuring out just one thing to put here. There’s talk of dinner meetings with Isiah Thomas that has the potential to make Cavs fans hurl. There’s talk about whether it’s worth it to extend Tristan Thompson. Most notably there’s lots and lots of disappointed talk about an “immature” Kyrie Irving. Most notably though, the former Cavs beat writer says that if the Cavs have any designs on LeBron James spending any part of his remaining career in Cleveland that future won’t include Kyrie Irving.

I’m just giving you my feel right now and my feel is that (Kyrie’s) not crazy about [signing the full max extension] unless he gets everything checked off across the board.

And the other thing is: if the Cavs ever dream of having LeBron, it’s not going to be with Kyrie there. LeBron and Kyrie have drifted apart in the last few years, even to the point that if the Cavs wanted to get LeBron they would maybe trade Kyrie for someone who would fit better with LeBron. And I’m not making that up. That line of thinking was not originated by me. That’s just the truth.

And here I think most Cavaliers fans who have ever spent even small moments thinking about the possibility of LeBron returning assumed that it would take a running mate like Kyrie Irving to make the situation more attractive. Granted any dreams of LeBron returning seemed a lot more feasible (even remotely) before the Cavaliers had such a disappointing season this year.

It just gets further and further down a road where it seems like the pain and suffering of Cavaliers over the past few years was all for nothing. Yes, there seems to be some talent on this team, but if that talent doesn’t translate to team success, isn’t it just wasted talent?

Even worse than wasted talent is the by-product for Cavs fans. That’s a whole lot of wasted time.

(Photo: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

Has Dion Waiters (finally) arrived?

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After a season rife with rumors of trades and fistfights, is this—finally—Dion Waiters’ coming out party?

Dion Waiters stood outside of his locker, squinted his eyes and shook his head as a half-smile-half-grimace formed on his face. It was early January, just days after the calendar turned to 2014. The Cleveland Cavaliers had just lost a heartbreaker to the Indiana Pacers, contenders for the NBA title, and he came pretty damn close to pulling off a miracle that would have propelled his name even further up the ranks in the minds of Cavalier fans. The Cavs were playing in their third game without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving who had fallen victim to a bruised knee. In Irving’s absence, Cavs head coach Mike Brown opted to go with Matthew Dellavedova at point guard, an undrafted rookie out of St. Mary’s who had grown a bit of a cult following due to his never-ending hustle, rather than Waiters, who was drafted fourth-overall just a year earlier. [Read more...]

Your 2014 (Offseason) Champion Cleveland Browns: While We’re Waiting

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Tell me how my Ben Tate: So how about these free-spendin’ Browns? While some national types will want to parse apart the $7 million given to Ben Tate this past weekend  (Phil Dawson money!), Cleveland locked up a 25-year-old without much in the way of mileage on his tires. Sure, those tires have had trouble staying affixed for the last few years, but we’re talking about a guy who thrived in a zone blocking scheme in Houston, who will now be given feature-back carries in a similar offense with chip on his shoulder and a chance to prove his worth. Plus, HE’S ONE OF US.

Sign me up.

Speaking of, this may deserve more in the way of an in-depth discussion, but there’s something to be said about the front-loaded nature of these Browns free agent deals. The bulk of Karlos Dansby’s money is up front; Donte Whitner’s appears to be relatively similar. Same can be said for the two-year deal given to Isaiah Trufant and the four-year deal offered to Andrew Hawkins where $10.8 million (of the $13.6 million) will be provided to him in the first two seasons. I don’t have the energy or desire to analyze what the Browns’ situation looks like beyond 2016, but things appear to be mighty flexible. I would imagine this means good things for the Josh Gordons and Joe Haden’s of the world.

Ouch: Talk about a bi-polar road trip. While you were counting sheep, the Cavaliers were shocking the world on a West Coast swing, coming up with wins against the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors. Unfortunately for Cleveland and any remote playoff hopes, not only did they fall victim to the always dangerous Los Angeles Clippers, Kyrie Irving may be done for the season with a biceps injury. Brother left Staples Center on Sunday night with his left arm in a sling. Also not helping matters: This week’s schedule brings both the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder to The Q.1 Enjoy the road show, folks.

Ohio State: I’ll obviously be pulling for the Buckeyes this weekend when they look to escape the first two rounds (Yes, they’re the first two rounds—nothing the NCAA will change what normal—read: non-paid individuals—call them), but it will certainly be a tough road. If they can scrape past the Dayton Flyers, they’ll be forced to tackle the zone defense of Syracuse. They may not score 40 points. Someone has to provide the Scarlet and Grey with a consistent scoring option—you can only live on Aaron Craft’s defense for so long. The missed free throws certainly will not help. Here’s a March Madness prediction: Several shades of red emanating from Thad Matta’s high-definition face this weekend. Book it.

And just because… Cricket: A sport Brandon Weeden could actually be good at.

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Footnotes:

  1. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Tristan Thompson who bottomed out in Sunday’s loss, scoring just two points on 1-of-6 shooting with one rebound and three personal fouls in 20 minutes of action. Over the past four games, shooting 8-of-28 from the field with more fouls (12) than combined assists, steals and blocks (nine). Come celebrate his birthday this Thursday! []

Spencer’s Gifts

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Turmoil often leads to reaction. You can attempt to rectify your prior poor decisions with new ones, but oftentimes this is analogous to doubling down at a blackjack table in hopes of catching a hot hand. We often expect things to simply work out. Our decisions that were, at the time, supported by well-thought and careful analysis are supposed to bear fruit. But when they don’t… Well, that’s when some point fingers and others lose their jobs.

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Your Post-Trade Deadline Cleveland Cavaliers Viewing Guide

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Because masochism isn’t for everyone

I hate winter.

Seriously.

I woke up today at 7:00 a.m., barely able to breath for the fifth straight day. I spent the next two minutes trying to vacate my nasal cavity of what I suspect was approximately a fetrick muckton of the crustiest boogers known to man. I then turned towards the window directly adjacent to my bathroom sink and peeped through the closed blinds to see that once again it had snowed overnight.

[Insert barely coherent mumbled obscenities here]

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Cavs vs Raptors Behind the Box Score: Shooting Blanks

Kyrie RaptorsThe Cavaliers are banged up and it’s showing. They’ve now accumulated three consecutive losses since the trade deadline and there’s still not set date for the return of CJ Miles, Dion Waiters, and Anderson Varejao. Every team the Cavaliers will face in March is either in the playoffs or sitting just barely outside them. These games are only going to get tougher for.

This particular loss to the Raptors at home Tuesday night hurt for a host of reasons. The Cavs came out shooting all sorts of blanks in the opening quarter and it looked as if the offensive woes from the last few games were going to doom the Cavs to a blowout defeat. They managed to minimize the damage of what looked like a poor second quarter and headed into half  shockingly, to anyone watching, only down by six. An 11 point third quarter from Kyrie Irving pushed the Cavs back into the lead to start the fourth, but some questionable calls and sublime shot making from the Raptors proved to be too much for the shorthanded Wine and Gold as they fell 99-93. [Read more...]