July 30, 2014

Cavs “firmly in lead” to acquire Kevin Love

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Andrew Wiggins is one step closer to being an official member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Whether or not he ultimately reaches that destination remains to be seen.

The Golden State Warriors were long considered to be the Cavs’ lone rival in obtaining Love as they refuse to include swingman Klay Thompson in discussions given Love’s potential to leave after one season. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst report that the Chicago Bulls—one of the choice destinations for Love—have also entered into the fray1, but the Cavs remain “firmly in the lead” in a deal that would center around Wiggins. The Cavs are reportedly increasingly optimistic that they are progressing toward a trade framework that the Minnesota Timberwolves will accept in exchange for Love to pair him with his Team USA teammate LeBron James.

The Associated Press has confirmed an earlier report from Windhorst that states the Cavs’ No. 1 overall pick will sign his rookie contract with the team. Wiggins has been the topic of trade talks since being selected this past summer, the 6-foot-8-inch shooting guard being the top target of the Minnesota Timberwolves as they look to deal power forward Kevin Love before he reaches free agency. Last week, the AP cited two people familiar with the discussions in saying that the Cavs were still not willing to include Wiggins in a deal despite previous reports to the contrary.

Once the deal (said to be worth roughly $5.5 million in 2014) is inked, the Cavs would be prohibited from dealing the rookie for 30 days. Prior to being signed, Wiggins’ value in a trade was zero. If the Cavaliers do decide to part ways with the highly touted swingman, they would be $5.5 million closer to the required $12.56 million needed to acquire Love. Other players rumored to be involved include Dion Waiters ($4.06 million) and last year’s No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett ($5.56 million).

[Related: Mike Krzyzewski would trade Wiggins for Love “without hesitancy”]

(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Footnotes:

  1. Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler appear to be their starting point. []

Top Ten Most Popular Posts of the Last 30 Days on WFNY

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As we embark on the July 4th holiday, the WFNY crew is taking some time off to be with their families like the rest of you. I thought I’d schedule this post to let those of you who need something to read on the web see if you missed anything. Here are the most popular posts from a traffic standpoint of the last 30 days.

10. Cleveland Browns Film Room: A look at Joel Bitonio

Comment via mgbode: I was a huge Bitonio fan before the draft and am extremely happy that I get to cheer him on wearing the Orange hats for us. I fully expect him to man an OG spot for the Browns for the next 10+ years.

9. No, it’s not that difficult for the Cavs to have max contract space

Comment via Ezzie Goldish: Nobody really seems to suggest this so perhaps I’m missing something, but what about picking up Bosh?

8. NBA Trade Rumors: Cavs and Nets looking to swap guards

Comment via BenRM: I am Jarrett Jack’s dying career.

7. VIDEO: LeBron James harassed by Heat fan about free agency, with an interesting guest

Comment via boomhauertjs: Welcome to our world, Heat fans.

6. NBA Free Agency: Analyzing stats of top available wings for the Cavs

Comment via WFNYBen: Good stuff, Jacob. I rescind my booing.

5. Joel Embiid’s physical did not go well according Tony Rizzo’s sources

Comment via Harv21: Embarrassed for Rizzo. Either a willing shill or a guy too stupidly pompous to wonder why it would be in the Cavs’ interest to share their evaluation with talk show guy. Or he’s just making this up to goose ratings.

4. Nate Burleson on Browns-Lions preseason game: “I’m going to get a fine.”

Comment via Hopwin: I like the humorous swagger, especially in a meaningless contest. Don’t do that crap in a regular season game though.

3. Listen: Tom Hamilton’s call of Nick Swisher’s Walk-off Grand Slam

Comment via HeySwanSong: I was craving Hammy’s call as soon as I heard about this, thanks for posting!

2. Did Jabari Parker “tank” his Cleveland workout?

Comment via maxfmnloans: I’m going the other way with this…he showed up as a fat, out of shape tweener forward with breathing issues? And the Cavs have recently drafted a fat, out of shape tweener forward with breathing issues at #1? Well played, Jabari. Well played indeed

1. Gordon Hayward is not a fan of Cleveland

Comment via Harv21: Like TJ Ward, like all athletes: just shut your mouth or go all Crash Davis cliche. So idiotic to burn potential bridges with cities.

So now go out and enjoy some BBQ and fireworks. And do me a favor? Leave the fireworks to the professionals. :-)

The Heir Up There: Can Andrew Wiggins pick up where his father abruptly left off?

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Andrew Wiggins already has world-class athleticism—he hit the jackpot of all genetic lotteries. The anticipation surrounding his ascension and arrival to the NBA rivals few others. But he also carries with him the one device that others who have come before him did not have—his father’s past.

[Read more...]

Cleveland Twitter welcomes Andrew Wiggins

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Say what you want about Andrew Wiggins and his question marks—the other athletes (and various owner types) in the city of Cleveland appear to be fully on board with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ selection of the Kansas product with the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Any surprise that Manziel’s was the most re-tweeted? Wiggins will embark upon Cleveland on Friday afternoon and give his introductory press conference, likely the first of many addresses given as the newest member of the Wine and Gold.

Cavs draft sharp-shooting Joe Harris with No. 33 pick

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Having already added Andrew Wiggins to the fold with the No. 1 pick, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Joe Harris, the sharp-shooting swingman out of Virginia with their first pick in the second round (No. 33 overall).

Harris, who had a first-round grade by ESPN.com’s Jay Bilas, is a 6-foot-6-inch efficient scorer with a quick release and excellent range. On the defensive end, he’s a solid defender despite lacking top end athleticism and sizable wingspan. Had he come out last season (instead of returning for his senior season), Harris would have been a lock to be selected within the first 30 picks.

Harris ended his collegiate career at the University of Virginia by leading the team to an ACC regular season title and conference title while earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. His biggest asset is undeniably his shooting. At the combine, he made 16 of 25 NBA spot up three-pointers. He complemented this by shooting 40% on three pointers in his senior season—his third collegiate season shooting at least 40% from long distance—while posting an overall effective field goal percentage of 54.7%.

Given Cavaliers’ general manager David Griffin’s desire to increase spacing and add solid shooting, Harris’ selection makes sense. He will likely compete with the bevy of shooting guards on the Cleveland roster, including last year’s selections of Sergey Karasev and Carrick Felix.

2014 NBA Draft: Cavs select Andrew Wiggins with No. 1 pick

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Oklahoma

Had he been able to come out a year earlier, Andrew Wiggins may have been added with the selection that ultimately went to Anthony Bennett. One GM was on record saying that Wiggins was so good, he would’ve been the first pick in the last seven NBA Drafts. Maybe it was fate? Maybe it was just luck. Either way, Wiggins, the Brampton, Ontario native, is the newest addition to the Cleveland Cavaliers having been selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. nba-draft-news-cavs-andrew-wiggins

Though the hype train was full steam ahead, Wiggins underwhelmed a bit during his lone season at Kansas, averaging 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year and a consensus second-team All-America pick. He is a prototypical wing athlete, providing a jaw-dropping marriage of grace and power in a long, lean frame. With a seven-foot wing span and the ability to guard a variety of positions, Wiggins will be able to step in and immediately contribute on the defensive end.

Wiggins is an out-of-this-world athlete who can score in myriad ways, but will have to refine his offensive game to truly be a superstar at the NBA level. Neither Wiggins or Parker will step in and produce All-World numbers, but if any player has the chance to, it’s the kid from Kansas. The trendy comparison for Wiggins at this stage is Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, who averaged 14.3 points and 6.2 rebounds as a freshman against WAC competition. His floor, at this point, appears to be that of cup-of-coffee Cavalier forward Luol Deng.

At the very least, the analytics were in his favor. Now the fun begins.

[Related: WFNY Film Room: A look at Andrew Wiggins]

Photo Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Draft Rumors: Cavs shopping Orlando’s draft picks?

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With the NBA Draft less than 24 hours away, the Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly hitting the phones with ferocity in attempt to gauge value within the trade market. The latest comes from ESPN.com’s Chad Ford who says that the Cavs have been shopping Orlando’s draft picks—picks 4 and 12—in attempt to see what players they could obtain.

The Cavaliers have been rumored in concert with the Magic who would send their two first-round selections and swingman Aaron Afflalo to Cleveland for the No. 1 pick. Ford follows this up with the report that Orlando would use the first-overall pick to select Duke’s Jabari Parker. Given the picks and caliber of player involved, it is believed that this is forcing the Philadelphia 76ers—who also covet Cleveland’s No. 1 pick—to increase their initial offer of the No. 3 pick and an overpaid, inefficient Thaddeus Young. It is believed that the Sixers would move up to select Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins.

[Related: Trade Down For What?! Embiid, Exum, and Extra Assets Are Too Risky]

Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Cavs still split on No. 1 pick per ESPN

 

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Oklahoma

It’s not quite Nerlens Noel versus Alex Len, but the Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly undecided on who they will be taking with the No. 1 pick during this Thursday’s NBA Draft. ESPN.com is citing multiple sources who say that the team is split as to who—either Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins or Duke’s Jabari Parker—will be the next player added to their roster. “They met for three hours, and all they talked about was those two guys,” said one source.

The Cavaliers, as led by general manger David Griffin, were reportedly set on drafting Kansas center Joel Embiid with the first-overall pick, but the 7-footer was found to have a stress fracture in his foot that will require four-to-six months of rehabilitation.

[Related: 2014 NBA Draft: Joe Gilbert’s Top Five Small Forwards]

Parker, by all accounts, is the most NBA-ready player from an offensive standpoint, a kid who can be added to any NBA roster and provide 15-20 points on a given evening. He is thought to be a better fit for head coach David Blatt’s offense due to his high IQ and ability to convert catch-and-shoot scenarios. Unfortunately, the Duke product arrived to Cleveland last week tipping the scales at 20 pounds larger than his typical playing weight and was thought by at least one source to have “tanked” his workout. Defensively, he is thought by some to be a risk at the small forward position—his physical condition will only serve to hinder this even further.

Wiggins, conversely, came into Cleveland last Wednesday and reportedly shot the ball extremely well despite this being labeled as a weakness. Wiggins also reportedly wowed ownership in the workout due to his athleticism and the way he conducted himself within his interview.

“You can’t base everything on one one-on-none workout,” a source said. “But Wiggins was great and Jabari wasn’t. It makes an impact. It makes you go back and reassess everything you saw during the year.”

Photo: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NBA Draft: Joe Gilbert’s Top Five Shooting Guards

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| Also See: Point Guards |

Shooting guards are often asked to be the scorers for their team at the NBA level. The 2014 class of two-guards is very good with a lot of potential. The group could be deeper if a team believes one of the small forwards or point guards would be better suited for the shooting guard spot—Andrew Wiggins and Dante Exum could classify a shooting guard at the next level, but many believe they will better placed in the other positions.

This group has a wide variety of talents: There are athletic slashers, who can get to the basket at will; there are shooters who can spot up from anywhere. The 2014 NBA Draft has a lot of talented shooting guards who could make an impact in the NBA. Let’s take a look at my top five shooting guards in the 2014 NBA Draft. [Read more...]

Did Jabari Parker “tank” his Cleveland workout?

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With the NBA Draft just three days away, speculation will only increase as all eyes turn to the Cleveland Cavaliers and their No. 1 pick. In his latest mock draft, ESPN.com’s Chad Ford reports that Duke’s Jabari Parker’s workout with the Cavs on Friday was nothing short of a disaster.

Sources close to the Cavs told ESPN.com this weekend that the Cavs are now leaning toward taking Parker with the No. 1 pick. However, it’s far from a lock. Parker came in to work out on Friday in front of the Cavs front office and ownership. Parker wasn’t great. He was a bit heavy (he weighed in at 255 pounds), didn’t shoot the ball well and got winded at times. Furthermore, two different sources told ESPN.com that Parker seemed a bit indifferent. One source said he thought Parker “tanked” the workout.

Why? A source says he strongly prefers to play in Milwaukee. The Cavs appear to be aware of this. “Jabari wasn’t himself,” one source said. “It was clear we weren’t his first option.”

Ford, it should be said, has the Cavaliers taking Parker with their first pick, but it appears that Andrew Wiggins is picking up steam despite his present day offensive limitations. Wiggins came in and nailed his workout on Wednesday. Per Ford, he shot the ball well, showed off tremendous athleticism and had a good interview. Perhaps most importantly, he apparently made it aware that he wants to play in Cleveland.

It appears that the decision will come down to what the team needs (or desires) in the short term versus their patience. Parker offers immediate returns, but somehow weighs 55 pounds more than Wiggins who also stands at 6-feet-8. Ownership wants to get back into the playoffs, but that same group reportedly grew concerned after Friday’s horrid workout.

To be continued…

NBA Draft, David Blatt and Baby Got Back: While We’re Waiting…

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Happy NBA Draft week, you guys! With Joel Embiid almost a lock to slide down the lottery, all eyes will be on David Griffin and the Cavs as they navigate through questionable terrain. It seems like just yesterday that this draft class was the one everyone was gunning for. And sure, while there is undeniable depth, who the Wine and Gold take at the top will be praised my many, but panned by others.

Chad Ford’s latest has Jabari Parker as the name at the top of the team’s draft board, but cites a source who says that Andrew Wiggins will find his name in the mix before Thursday night. The Kansas product had a good workout for the team on Wednesday and Parker is reportedly tipping scales north of 240 pounds—with 11 percent body fat. For comparison purposes, Carrick Felix’ body fat before the draft was 3.3 percent. Parker’s offense is NBA ready, but I can’t think of a worse defensive unit than one led by Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and the Simeon Academy product.

Of course, a trade can always go down, but I can’t think of a move that would be panned more than a trade down given the sudden two-player tier that comprises the top of this year’s class.

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Speaking of, while I can obviously be a bit biased due to my fandom, I’m not sure I’m on board with this “worst drafting team” rhetoric. Sure, the numbers are there—whatever they mean—but several variables play into who is selected and when. The fact that Tristan Thompson is one of two players to have outplayed his draft slot speaks volumes to the criteria. (Two-time All-Star Kyrie Irving has somehow underperformed his draft position.)

I’d be curious to see how much the Cavs average is dragged down by last season’s freshman campaign for Anthony Bennett. If there were some factor adjustment made for quality of draft class, maybe I’d listen—especially since the piece in question decided to start after Cleveland drafted the best player in the world. And most importantly, that Jim Paxson drafted Lucious Jackson in 2004 does not imply that David Griffin will draft the next big bust 10 years later.

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Looking for some David Blatt to tide you over? We got you covered.

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Browns offensive lineman Joel Bitonio signed his contract over the weekend. I’ll use this space to not only remind you all to check out Colin’s excellent film study of the gargantuan second-round pick, but give a shout out to the new CBA that has allowed so many of these rookies to not only get into camp on time, but do so in a financial way that does not cripple a franchise in the event a player does not pan out as planned. Once Justin Gilbert’s slot is determined, he’ll be locked and loaded, and he’ll likely cost the Browns around $8 million in guarantees—not to bad for the eighth-overall pick.

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I often use Twitter to share links to some of the better sports writing I stumble upon over the course of the week. Given that Twitter is essentially ephemeral to the eyes, I figured it would be beneficial to share a select few here every Monday as I spearhead WWW. That said, here are some of the best pieces of #ActualSportswriting I read last week.

Train in Vain” by Brian Phillips (Grantland): “There is no time in Rio. Hours fall away in tracts, like trees disappearing in the Amazon. They fall away when you are lying on the beach at Ipanema, eating doce you bought from a shirtless little boy with a cigar box. They fall away when you are standing on the beach at Copacabana, in the purple glow of the FIFA Fan Fest, watching drunk fans slow-motion zip-line toward the blinding yellow figure of Fuleco, the cartoon armadillo who is the World Cup’s official mascot.”

The sad last chapter of Sterling’s life” by Ramona Shelburne (ESPN): “There weren’t many ways to reach him, even if the business were urgent. An executive tells stories from over the years about walking the strand of beach in front of Sterling’s Malibu place, waiting until he came outside on the deck in the afternoon. If you were lucky, he came out wearing clothes.”

A Place that God Forgot” by Wright Thompson (ESPN FC): “Nobody told them how long the autopsy would take. The mechanism of death in the murder capital of the world runs at its own pace — neither rushed nor ruffled — because the bodies don’t ever stop coming.”

The Essence of Velocity” by Jason Turbow (SB Nation): “He was certain in the strength of his model. If somebody in baseball was willing to take a chance, Husband was convinced that the ensuing payday would be huge for everybody concerned.That was nine years ago. He is still waiting.”

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And finally, Baby Got Back, as performed by Brian Williams:

 

 

2014 NBA Draft: Joe Gilbert’s Top Five Point Guards

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Over the next few days leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft, I will take a look at the five players at each position I feel represent the best of their peers. The first group I will examine is the point guard crop. The point guard position is a loaded position in the NBA. The league has had an influx of talented point guards from Kyrie Irving to Derrick Rose. It is a position with growing importance for teams, but one that has not necessarily led to a championship. The 2014 NBA Draft does not have a deep group of point guards, but it does have great talent on the top. Marcus Smart and Dante Exum are the top point guards in the draft and they have quite a distance between the next point guards on the list. Let’s take a look at my top five point guards in the 2014 NBA Draft! [Read more...]

Joel Embiid tops Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins on analytics front

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While he may not lead the pack, Kansas center Joel Embiid comes in ahead of Duke’s Jabari Parker and Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins when it comes to ESPN.com’s annual analytic projections of NBA Draft prospects.

Led by Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart and three foreign-born players, ESPN.com’s Kevin Pelton’s list breaks down 14 core statistics along the lines of two-point percentage and rebound percentage to their NBA equivalents. Interestingly, despite all of the hype surrounding this year’s draft class, none of the players scored higher than last season’s top-ranked player in Kentucky center Nerlens Noel. Though widely considered to be the consensus top three, Embiid, Parker and Wiggins come in sixth, seventh and nineteenth, respectively.

Some highlights on the top three players:

[Joel] Embiid drops a bit because his statistics are regressed more than other top NCAA prospects, as he played relatively few minutes due to his back injury and foul trouble. Those factors are concerns, but Embiid’s projected true shooting percentage ranks fourth among players in Ford’s top 30, and he projects in the top 25 percent of past center prospects in rebound, steal and block rate, highlighting his defensive potential.

Among likely NCAA first-round picks, only Doug McDermott has a higher projected usage rate than [Jabari] Parker, who should be able to create his own shot immediately. In time, he should also become an efficient scorer, and he’s a good enough rebounder to handle either forward spot. The questions about Parker almost entirely center around his defense.

A possible No. 1 pick, [Andrew] Wiggins didn’t perform like one during his lone NCAA season. Wiggins is better than his projection because of his potential as an on-ball defender, but nothing in his stat line suggests likely superstardom. In particular, his projected usage rate (18.8 percent) is unspectacular for an NBA-bound wing, highlighting the improvement Wiggins needs to make handling the basketball.

This list is pertinent if only because of how the Cavaliers implement analytics along with their eyes and ears in addition to how closely their picks seem to have been aligned over the last several seasons.

In 2011, Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson were ranked Nos. 1 and 3, respectively, by John Hollinger. In 2012, Dion Waiters was listed by Hollinger as the highest-rated wing, placed ahead of Bradley Beal—he was moved below Michael Kidd-Gilchrist only due to size—and ultimately ranked fourth ahead of Andre Drummond and Damian Lillard. And in 2013, Pelton dubbed Anthony Bennett as the “only player in the top 30 without a statistical weakness” who was dinged only due to his age.

[Related: Everything we know about the Cavaliers and analytics]

Photo: Greg Nelson/SI

Cavalier NBA Draft Film Room: Andrew Wiggins

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In my second of three NBA Draft options for the Cavaliers with the top pick, I take a look at Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins. Last week, I analyzed film for Duke forward Jabari Parker, who impressed me immensely with his diverse offensive package. Next week, stay tuned for a breakdown of Kansas center Joel Embiid.

Wiggins is an incredibly talented player with plenty of still untapped potential to grow into a perennial All-Star type. When you see him glide around on the basketball court, one can see his ability to effect the game both offensively and defensively, inside and outside, at the line and on the glass. But, is taking him with the top pick a compromise for an all-around player rather than taking a potential game-changing defender (Embiid) or a scoreboard-shattering offensive scorer (Parker)? Does Wiggins’ game potentially gel more with the Kyrie-Dion backcourt? Does position play a role into the selection? We’ll talk about all this and more. [Read more...]

Joel Embiid’s workout with Cavs was “major success”

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Are you warming up to the Jo-Jo era in Cleveland? The Cavaliers were reportedly “blown away” by Joel Embiid’s recent workout in Cleveland, contrary to previous reports.

Just last week, a local radio host cited unnamed sources—who were not affiliated with the team, but were somehow a part of his physical—that Embiid’s workout didn’t go well, turning up a litany of medical issues. ESPN.com’s Chad Ford refutes that version of the story with his latest mock draft, one wherein the Kansas center is pegged as the No. 1 pick.

Embiid’s workout and interview in Cleveland last week were major successes, according to sources close to the Cavs. Embiid did a full workout there in front of the Cavs’ front office and owner Dan Gilbert. Multiple sources said that the team was blown away with the workout. Embiid even ended one session by launching and nailing a series of 3s. Directly after the workout, two different sources told me that Embiid was the strong favorite to be drafted by the Cavs. Even [Dan] Gilbert was on board.

Gilbert has long been reported as being a bit of a hurdle for the draft process due to his desire to make the playoffs this coming season. While Embiid might have the biggest upside of anyone in the draft, he also is the least NBA-ready of the top prospects. “In three years he has the chance to be the best center in the game, but Embiid is a long-term play,” one scout told Ford earlier this month. “It’s going to take him several years to be an impact player on a playoff team.”

The Cavs will play host to Andrew Wiggins (on Wednesday) and Jabari Parker (on Friday) later this week.

Joel Embiid’s physical did not go well according Tony Rizzo’s sources

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Take a step back and erase your head of every other report you’ve heard to this point. ESPNCleveland’s Tony Rizzo cites “sources” that have allegedly told him that the Cleveland Cavaliers’ meeting with draft prospect Joel Embiid did not well.

During the first hour of his show, “The Really Big Show” on WKNR/850 AM, Rizzo, who has long been opposed to drafting the Kansas University center1 stated that the team’s physical “did not go well” and that Embiid has a “number of physical ailments.”

This on-air report doesn’t make sense for the Cavs to leak this information as it would lower the value of having the No. 1 pick. It also flies smack in the face of countless other reports to the contrary. Nevertheless, it can be added to the bubbling caldron of rumors that will continue to swirl heading in to the evening of June 26.

The 7-foot Embiid, who has only been playing basketball for a few years, arrived in Cleveland on Tuesday night for his visit and subsequent physical. He averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks this past season, but missed the Big 12 tournament and the NCAA tournament due to a back injury that continues to plague his draft stock. However, he did participate in a private workout for NBA teams in Santa Monica, California, in late May which reportedly wowed those in attendance.

It was believed that Embiid and his agent, Arn Tellem, were in search of a guarantee from the Cavaliers prior to the high-upside big man scheduling visits with any other NBA teams. The team, obviously, has not confirmed any recently released reports.

Photo: Greg Nelson/SI

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Footnotes:

  1. …and pounded the table on Derrick Williams over Kyrie Irving in 2011… []

Are Dan Gilbert and David Griffin on the same page?

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Is the Cavalier coaching search being hindered by the team’s owner? There have already been talks about Dan Gilbert’s impact on the NBA Draft, but making matters (potentially) worse is his impact on the search for a new head coach. On Wednesday morning, ESPN.com basketball scribe Brian Windhorst took to the airwaves of WKNR 850/ESPNCleveland and painted a picture that will do very little for the confidence of Cavalier fans.

In their head coaching search, the former Cavaliers beat writer depicted two separate coaching searches going on—one led by a splash-needy majority owner in Gilbert and his checkbook, ultimately turning up very little; the other led by team general manager David Griffin and a more realistic approach, leading to interviews of individuals like Alvin Gentry and Tyronn Lue among others.

Gilbert was reportedly behind the courting of University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari, who left millions on the table to stay in the NCAA. Gilbert has also been linked to big-name collegiate coaches like Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Florida’s Billy Donovan. Windhorst, however, stated that David Griffin’s process has netted different results. He’s looking at individuals who are interested in being the head coach of this team rather than attempting to sell them on the potential benefits. He also appears to have his sites set on a former colleague, but the road block to anything being finalized could be the man who is set to hold his own interviews later this week.

“From the start, David Griffin’s pick has been Alvin Gentry,” Windhorst said. “I think that will be a hard sell to Dan Gilbert.”

Gilbert, by all accounts, will be holding interviews with Gentry and Lue later this week. Windhorst also added that Mark Price, despite his interview and fan fare, will not be named head coach of this Cavaliers team, but could potentially be considered for an assistant spot. Wrapping things up, the former PD writer said that more important than the coaching search is the selection at the June 26 NBA Draft. “I cannot emphasize enough about the importance of this draft for the Cavs—I don’t care who the coach is.”

Introduced to the media as the general manager of the Cavaliers, Griffin stated that the front office and ownership group would search for the next Cavs head coach as a collective, led by him. ““I will not be making any decision alone. But I will be leading this process,” Griffin said. “This is not about being first, this is about being right.”

 

Philadelphia 76ers inquire about Cavs’ No. 1 pick

 

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Come and get it.

The Philadelphia 76ers have reportedly inquired about trading for the Cavaliers’ No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, with forward Thaddeus Young potentially part of a theoretical deal.

The Sixers hold picks Nos. 3 and 10 in the draft but are reportedly unwilling to trade both selections. They would, however, “possibly” give up the No. 3 pick along with Young, who reportedly was none too pleased about the team’s tanking of the 2013-14 season.

If the Cavaliers acquired Young, it could conceivably fill their void at small forward, but the team would then have to gamble that the player they covet at No. 1 would fall to them at No. 3. Given the Sixers’ picks and the lack of superstars that appear to be on their way to Cleveland in any ancillary deal, they make the most sense out of any logical trade partner—after all, they’d love to acquire the pick for which they spent the entire season tanking. But is what they’re offering enough?

The 25-year-old Young is under contract for $9.1 million next season and then has a player option for $9.7 million in 2015-16, so the team’s flexibility would not be impacted beyond repair. Benefitting from fast, shoddy team-wide play, Young averaged career-highs in points (17.9), assists (2.3), steals (2.1) and 3-pointers (1.1) this past season. His 2.11 steals per game ranked third in the NBA and he is the first forward to average over 2.0 per game in a season since 2007-08.

Photograph by Kathy Willens/AP Photo

Chad Ford finally puts Joel Embiid at No. 1

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It only took a few weeks, but ESPN.com’s Chad Ford finally succumbed to the mythical lore known as Joel Hans (Hans!) Embiid. In typical Fordian manner, the long-time NBA Draft expert hedged his bets, but the Kansas University big man presently has his named penciled in next to Cleveland Cavaliers in his latest Mock Draft.

Wiggins, Parker and Embiid all are in the mix here. On lottery night, a Cavs source told me that they had Parker ranked highest on their board all year because of his ability to come in and make an immediate impact and believe Embiid has the most upside of anyone in the draft and fits a long-term need for them. However, the source felt that Wiggins in the end would be the compromise pick — someone who has both elite upside as well as a player who can play (especially defensively) impactful minutes right out of the gate.

That said, if Embiid is cleared by the Cavs’ doctors, and if general manager David Griffin can convince owner Dan Gilbert to be patient and wait on Embiid, I think he gets the nod here. But those are still two big ifs. While Embiid certainly looked healthy enough during a workout in Santa Monica, Calif., a few weeks ago, until the Cavs’ doctors green light him, we just don’t know. And Gilbert is anxious for the Cavs to be a playoff team. Drafting the guy who’s likely to have the least impact next season is going to be a tough sell. At the end of the day I think the Cavs would prefer to trade the pick, but unless they are getting someone like Kevin Love or LaMarcus Aldridge in return, I don’t think they pull the trigger.

Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears refers to Embiid as a “franchise superstar.” Vegas has the Embiid as the odds-on favorite (slightly over Wiggins). DraftExpress, the ever-excellent resource for all things June 26, is also on board.

It’s a bit scary that the lone roadblock could be in the form of the team’s owner, but it appears that the lack of consensus that plagued this draft as little as a week ago is starting to move toward the 7-foot-tall 20-year-old from Yaounde, Cameroon.

Cavalier NBA Draft Film Room: Jabari Parker

jabarifilmroomshotIn the first of a trio of film room breakdowns, I begin my analysis of the most likely selections for the Cavaliers’ top pick on June 26.

Leading off, we will dive into some analysis of Duke forward Jabari Parker. Parker is often hailed as the most offensive-ready talent over Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid. However, concerns over his defensive ability, shot selection, and lack of a true position on the floor raise some concerns. We’ll take a look at all this and more.

What people are saying:

NBADraft.net:

“Parker is already a good physical specimen for either forward position, and has just about all of the size he’ll need to be an NBA wing at nearly 6’9 240 … Plays strong, and has more than adequate length … Very fluid with good athleticism, showing exceptional body control and pretty good speed and leaping ability … More explosive than he appears at 1st glance … Lived up to his lofty expectations after a highly touted HS career … Already has a great arsenal of moves in his repertoire on offense … Has an NBA ready step back jumper and is tough for most matchups to pressure as a ball-handler … Is a threat to slash in either direction … Is able to shoot or drive effectively from the triple threat … Puts the ball on the floor, can score with his feet set, and shows good confidence as a scorer … Mid-range game is pretty polished … Great 1st step, and when operating facing the basket this is where the Carmelo Anthony comparisons are most evident … ”
” Defense is the area of his game that has drawn the greatest amount of criticism. Does not exhibit the same level of intensity and effort on that end, and how much of that was due to playing center or staying out of foul trouble is open to debate … Given his size, there are some concerns about him being in between the SF and PF positions at the next level … Also, will need to find a weight that will allow him to maximize his athleticism …”

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