July 22, 2014

Conflicting reports surrounding Wiggins, Love

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Welcome to last week! While it’s not the constant refreshing of LeBron James dot com, the news surrounding a potential acquisition of Minnesota power forward Kevin Love is reaching new levels. In response to Thursdays reports that had the Cavaliers being willing to include No. 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins in a deal for the All-Star, multiple reports are now being filed in the contrary.

The latest from Withers is noteworthy as the veteran AP scribe tends to only report concrete, multiple-sourced information, refuses to report on things coming from player representatives and has had direct lines of contact with team owner Dan Gilbert.

In an interview 850AM/WKNR, Withers told Tony Rizzo’s “The Really Big Show” that there have been multiple discussions between both teams, but Wiggins has not been mentioned as being available. (Withers also hinted that it may have been the Timberwolves who leaked this news in attempt to get Golden State to increase their offer.) Discussions are wildly different than negotiations and that could obviously change. For now, however, it appears that the teams are in a staring contest.

Wiggins, despite swirling rumors, tallied 21 points (3-5 FG, 15-20 FT), five rebounds and a block in Thursday night’s loss to the Houston Rockets in the Las Vegas Summer League

[Related: All you need to know about trading for Kevin Love: WFNY FAQs]

LeBron has talked to Kevin Love about playing in Cleveland

The murmurs continue: LeBron James has reportedly talked to Kevin Love about the possibility of playing together with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears reported the news on Thursday evening.

Love is enthusiastic about the idea of teaming with James on the Cleveland Cavaliers, sources said. James’ decision to sign only a two-year contract that affords him the option of again becoming a free agent at the end of next season has not tempered Love’s interest in joining James on the roster.

The report stated that a deal is still not imminent, but again cited sources on the topic of the Cavs’ willingness to include Andrew Wiggins. An interesting new caveat: A third team would indeed be likely for the deal to make plausible sense. Otherwise, the Cavs would likely be depleting their roster too much.

Golden State remains reluctant to include Klay Thompson in a potential trade for Love. Such a deal with the Warriors — including forward David Lee — would perhaps be a bit more logical. But with LeBron’s persistence, anything can change in a hurry.

We’ll keep you posted on anything new. Although a deal might not happen by the weekend, there’s certain to be continued buzz and updates.

Cavs now willing to deal Andrew Wiggins?

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So about all that ‘untouchable’ talk… It has taken a little over one week for the Cleveland Cavaliers to loosen their grip on No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins if in fact it were to net them Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love. Bob Finnan of The Morning Journal reports, citing a league source, that the Cavs are now willing to trade the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft.

Up until this point, it was assumed the Cavs wanted to hang onto Wiggins, largely because of comments made by Coach David Blatt in Las Vegas. Finnan’s source, however, said that the recently signed LeBron James wants the 6-10, 250-pound Love on the Cavaliers’ roster. James’ pull has also netted the Cavs swingmen Mike Miller and James Jones, two former teammates of James during his time with the Miami Heat. (Miller recently told ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd that he’s attempting to lure fellow shooting guard and former teammate Ray Allen to Cleveland as well.)

Finnan reports that the latest offer could include Wiggins, last years’ No. 1 pick in power forward Anthony Bennett and an additional first-round pick. Center Brendan Haywood, who was acquired on draft night, might be included in the deal to make it work contractually. USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt corroborates Finnan’s report regarding Wiggins being available.

This deal, if transacted, would be the exact opposite of what Grantland’s Bill Simmons recently coined “Don’t Do The Wrong Thing Every Time Anymore” movement.

[Related: WFNY Roundtable: Should the Cavs trade for Kevin Love?]

Cavs in talks with Larry Drew to join coaching staff

Former Atlanta and Milwaukee head coach Larry Drew has chatted with the Cleveland Cavaliers about joining the team’s coaching staff. The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn reported the news late Tuesday evening.

Drew was awkwardly fired two weeks ago as Milwaukee’s head coach. He was only 15-67 in his lone season with the Bucks, then the team went out and recruited the unhappy Jason Kidd away from Brooklyn to take Drew’s job. It was a pretty messy situation.

He coached the previous three seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, bringing them to the playoffs each year. But then the team went in a new direction as well, bringing in Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer to work under Danny Ferry.

It’s possible that Drew has received a tad bit of bad luck in both draws. Milwaukee had a bunch of injuries last season amid their overall suckiness. Atlanta’s been a perennial playoff team that has never seemed to have enough talent to make any significant playoff noise. It’s possible Drew wasn’t too much to blame.

But on Twitter, many Milwaukee fans chastised Cleveland’s interest. And it’s important to note that we’re also talking about Gary Washburn here. Washburn, if you recall, was lambasted by the national media — including Deadspin — for voting for Carmelo Anthony over LeBron James for the 2013 MVP award. So take this report with a mild grain of salt, although he is a veteran reporter.

The Cavs have David Blatt as their new head coach and Tyronn Lue as their new associate head coach. The Cavs made Lue one of the highest-paid assistants in league history. On the team’s website, Bernie Bickerstaff, Jim Boylan, Igor Kokoskov and Bret Brielmaier are still listed as holdovers from the previous regime. It’s uncertain how many more assistants Blatt might be looking to still add.

Keep ‘em coming: James Jones signs with Cavs

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

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

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

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

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

Ray Allen deciding between Cavs, Rockets and Retirement

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

WFNY Roundtable: Should the Cavs trade for Kevin Love?

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And you thought that the Cleveland Cavaliers were done with lightning-rod debates for the summer? No, my friend, they are just getting started.

During the four days since LeBron James’ letter, Twitter has been on fire with all sorts of takes on the potential for a trade for Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love. To get a sense of where we all stand, I asked my Waiting For Next Year colleagues for their brief responses to the current rumors. Stay tuned for more posts to come soon and share your thoughts in the comments.

Scott Sargent (@WFNYScott): This won’t make for great debate, but I somewhat feel that the Cavaliers—especially David Griffin—will be in a no-lose situation. The decision, reduced to its most simplest terms, comes down to winning more games sooner, or delaying potential dominance, but with the window open a bit longer. [Read more...]

LeBron did attempt to recruit players to Cleveland prior to The Decision

LeBron James Carmelo Anthony Amare Stoudemire Dwyane Wade

So, remember all of that “LeBron didn’t try to recruit” talk that swirled shortly after July 8, 2010? Turns out that may have been rooted entirely in inaccuracies.

In a story from Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne (who is quietly becoming one of the best NBA reporters in the world), James attempted to recruit Ray Allen, Chris Bosh, Trevor Ariza and Dwyane Wade as potential members of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Sure, they wanted to play with him. Who wouldn’t? But not in Cleveland. James was the one with a connection to the place, not them. If he wanted to win, he would have to sever those ties and go somewhere where other stars would join him.

The entire story is a must-read and features former Cavs guard Damon Jones who remains close to James, as well as current Cavs center Anderson Varejao. Every sentence is reported. You see just how important relationships are to the four-time MVP.

The waters continue to clear up. Some of it may already under the bridge, meaning little outside of the loose ends that get tied tight. Much of it, however, exists ahead.

Chris Trotman/Getty Images For Nike

 

How the CBA incentivizes LeBron to opt out next summer

lebron james cavsWhen news emerged of LeBron James’ contract details, most of Northeast Ohio was likely surprised and caught off guard. “He just committed to a long-term future in Cleveland, why only two years? Why an opt-out?” The clear-cut answer lies within the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, signed back in 2011.

LeBron is dead-on with his Cavaliers contract. If he truly wants to maximize his earnings – and as the best player in the league, he certainly deserves to – then he absolutely set up the right deal and his management team did a great job. Let’s start with the basics, all found via the fantastic Larry Coon CBA FAQ website.

Cleveland signed LeBron to the maximum possible salary for two years with a one-year opt out. They signed him as a free agent to their available cap space from the Miami Heat, meaning they signed him without owning his Bird rights. This is important when it comes to future raises.

Max deals signed without Bird rights carry only 4.5% annual raises from the first year’s salary. When signed with Bird rights, the annual raise is much higher at 7.5% (and contracts can include a fifth year, hence why players turn down money when signing away from their team). However, as a free agent, LeBron would guarantee himself at least a 105% increase on his previous year’s salary. Huh? Check out the math below.

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By opting out, LeBron guarantees a minimum 5% raise, not the set 4.5% raise for max deals signed without Bird rights. The added 0.5% of his salary guarantees him of at least $100K more for the 2015-16 season. But that’s not the only reason why this is advantageous for LeBron. He’s thinking bigger.

The NBA salary cap actually increased by 7.5% this summer to approximately $63.065 million for the 2014-15 season. If the cap increases by more than just 5% for next year, LeBron would be advised to re-work his deal in summer 2015 and make more money with a new maximum contract based on that year’s cap number.

It is expected that the cap number will increase to at least $67 million next season and perhaps skyrocket even further. With the NBA’s new TV deal taking place for the 2016-17 season, the cap could go over $80 million in summer 2016. If the year-over-year cap increase is larger than 7.5% (LeBron’s annual raise with a new max with Bird rights), then again LeBron would be advised to re-work another deal.

So yes, it makes a ton of sense for LeBron James to go year-to-year for now1. It’s not necessarily an indictment on the Cavaliers by any means. It does mean that the circus of LeBron’s future will continue to be a topic and the Cavs will spend more money on his salary than if he had signed for the long term. But this is a pretty clear business decision.

William Perlman/The Star-Ledger

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Footnotes:

  1. It’s possible the cap’s growth will stall somewhat after summer 2016 and thus, LeBron might finally sign a long-term deal. []

Channing Frye to sign four-year $32 million deal with Orlando

Goran Dragic, Channing FryeAnd another free agent announces their decision: Channing Frye will soon sign a higher-than-expected four-year $32 million deal with the Orlando Magic.

The 31-year-old big man sharpshooter had a phenomenal comeback season for the Phoenix Suns last year. After missing all of 2012-13, he averaged 28.2 minutes in starting every single game for the surprise 48-win franchise. He averaged 11.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. His best skill is his three-point shooting: He has shot 38.9% on 6.8 such attempts per 36 minutes in his last four seasons played.

Phoenix was tremendous with Frye on the court last season: They had a 110.4 offensive rating with him on the court, only 102.5 without him. He provided tremendous floor spacing and lineups with him, should-have-been All-Star Goran Dragic and fellow free agent P.J. Tucker were really, really good. Cavs fans likely were scarred by Phoenix after that infamous Sunday night game in late January.

Frye was another potential Cleveland frontcourt target, a logical connection because of his shared time in Phoenix with GM David Griffin. Frye would have been an excellent replacement for the similarly skilled Spencer Hawes. Over the weekend, the 26-year-old Hawes agreed to terms on a four-year $23 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. That deal includes a player option for the fourth season. No word yet on if Frye’s deal might include any options as well.

Orlando might seem to be an odd fit … but after investing heavily in Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon in recent drafts, they need to add complementary scoring. They also drafted Elfrid Payton and surprisingly signed Ben Gordon. Yes, four years is a lot for the 31-year-old Frye, but we knew it would be a very competitive market place for his services.

What’s next for the Cavs? Who knows right now. Their fully guaranteed frontcourt: Brendan Haywood, Tyler Zeller, Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett. Of course, Anderson Varejao has a partially guaranteed deal ($9.7 million total with $4M guaranteed) and they traded for second-rounder Dwight Powell. That’s not a very impactful unit right now. It’s very young and very raw. Everything changes with one certain free agent, but if not him? The secondary options are flying off the market.

Photo: AP Photo/Matt York

LeBron rumors and what’s next for the Cavs… While We’re Waiting

WWW_BulletinBoard_Cavs1A weekend recap and primer for the week ahead.

The LeBron James murmurs are at an all-time high after a crazy, crazy Sunday. While many of us were stuck in traffic driving back home after the holiday weekend, Twitter blew up. It was insane. I felt scared to tweet upon my arrival back in Akron. Nothing was sacred. [Read more...]

On Kyrie and Commitment

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Kyrie Irving walked the walk. After what seemed like an eternity of rumor and innuendo surrounding his disdain for Cleveland and the drain-circling direction of the Cavaliers, all of which were verbally rebuffed by the point guard, Irving took minutes—not days, or weeks, or even months—to provide the handshake that will keep him draped in wine and gold through 2020. For months, Irving was the subject of boundless speculation. For months, fans demanded a sign that he was, to borrow a phrase, “all in” on Cleveland. He could say whatever he liked—it was what he did that mattered.

Well, at the first chance he was given, Irving put his money where is mouth was. And so did the Cavs—$90 million worth.

[Read more...]

C.J. Miles to meet with Pacers, likely to leave Cavs in free agency

miles_mediadaySwingman C.J. Miles will meet with the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, the first day of free agency, reports Fox Sports Ohio’s Sam Amico. The 27-year-old is likely going to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and seek a larger role elsewhere, Amico later added.

Miles was an efficient shooter with the Cavs the past two seasons, averaging 10.6 points in 116 games with 38.8% three-point shooting. He was signed to a very reasonable two-year $4.45 million deal back in 2012. The signing was likely the best contract handed out by the Cleveland organization in the post-LeBron James era.

Throughout the 2013-14 season, the Cavs played very well with Miles’ much-needed floor-spacing. Although he only played 984 minutes, the Cavs were +2.4 per 48 with him on the court. He battled a handful of injuries and played in only three games after the All-Star Break.

In Indiana (or nearly anywhere else), Miles could provide excellent bench scoring. The Pacers offense stagnated throughout the year and he’d play a nice complementary shooting role alongside the scrappy Lance Stephenson, if he re-signs.

There’s no doubt going to be a market for C.J. Miles in the shooting-crazed NBA world of 2014. I’m a bit disheartened that the Cavaliers don’t seem to be that interested just yet. His $2.89 million cap hold is currently on the team’s books. The Cavs have expressed early interest in Washington’s Trevor Ariza, another active shooter who should have a much more expensive price tag.

Cavs show early free agency interest in Trevor Ariza, Spencer Hawes

 David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

NBA free agency officially began at midnight Tuesday. Within the first hour, flurries of rumors hit the Twittersphere. Although no key news has surfaced yet, the Cavaliers have been linked to a few understandable targets.

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Cavs are among those showing “significant interest” in Wizards forward Trevor Ariza. Washington’s brass will be meeting with the 29-year-old Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Ariza just finished up a five-year $33.5 million deal he signed way back in 2009 with the Houston Rockets. The Cavs were one of his suitors back then, right after he had finished up a few nice seasons off the bench for the Lakers. Ariza is one of the top available wings this offseason after averaging 14.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 40.7% three-point shooting.

ESPN’s Marc Stein said the Cavs remain interested in retaining big man Spencer Hawes, who has a host of bidders. The Blazers, Clippers, Rockets and Mavericks were mentioned in Stein’s tweet. Portland could be an intriguing fit as Hawes is from Seattle.

Hawes, who only is 26, just finished a two-year $13 million contract. He averaged 13.5 points and 7.7 rebounds in his 27 games with Cleveland last season after the midseason trade from Philadelphia. A prolific long-distance threat, he shot an incredible 41.6% on 308 threes last year after shooting 31.5% on only 359 attempts in his first six NBA seasons.

We’ll keep you posted on further rumors and developments. Luol Deng, as expected, is a hot target for many other teams besides the Cavaliers.

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

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There appears to be quite a deal of confusion about the Cleveland Cavaliers’ salary cap situation. Let’s try to clear the air with some math, shall we?

Just last week, GM David Griffin said the team could clear space for a max contract “just by waving our hand and making it happen.” Seems simple enough, no?

And then today, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst grouped the Cavs with the Rockets and Bulls that would “need to execute significant shuffling and perhaps even offload star players to clear [the maximum] $22.2 million.” Well that’s a bit of a different picture. [Read more...]

Is Kyrie Irving “all in” on Cleveland? While We’re Waiting…

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Griff dropping subtle hints? In the 24 hours immediately following the NBA Draft, Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin was carefully selecting his words, seen by many to be verbal warning shots. When the Cavs used the No. 1 pick on Andrew Wiggins, Griffin—in what was a change from previous years—immediately addressed the pick via conference call. During said address, he made sure to mention that Wiggins wanted to be in Cleveland, which was seen by many to be a jab at Jabari Parker, the player taken with the No. 2 pick, who allegedly tanked his workout with the team.

But was this a shot at a player he didn’t draft? A day later, Griffin used the term “all in on Cleveland” to describe Wiggins, a descriptor he used to describe himself just weeks earlier when he won the team’s general manager job. In his Sunday column, Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto iterated that Griffin’s word choice may in fact be aimed in the direction of one of his current players in Kyrie Irving.

Irving is reportedly on board with the selecting of Wiggins. He was one of the first to usher in David Blatt as the team’s new head coach. The Cavs will offer him the maximum contract extension allowable by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. If Irving is “all in,” he’ll accept the deal. If he tries to be cute, Pluto believes the team will try to trade him. This leads to an intriguing, if not potentially agonizing, topic that has gone a bit under-discussed: The extensions signed by John Wall and Paul George last season were not inked until July 31 and September 22, respectively. Just because Irving doesn’t sign on July 1 doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want to be in Cleveland.

The two-time All-Star has a crazy summer ahead of him—Team USA responsibilities will keep him in Las Vegas (OMG LAS VEGAS!?) in late July, Chicago and New York (OMG NEW YORK!?) in mid-August, Spain in late August through the middle of September. Sure, Jeff Wechsler (his agent) will be the one doing the bulk of the work, but it’s not like Irving will be sitting in Independence deliberating until a decision is made. These things take time—just enough for the rumors to swirl in countless directions, whether he’s “all in” or not.

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Bringing back the ground and pound? The writing is on the wall for the Cleveland Browns to pull a 180 this season and become a run-first team. Several local papers focused an ample amount of coverage on Ben Tate and what he brings to the fold (we’ll throw the ABJ a bone here) as the team reverts away from being one that led the entire NFL in passing attempts a season ago. Browns OC Kyle Shanahan’s offense will reportedly be “predicated on being able to run effectively while mixing in the pass,” which means that Tate and his colleagues (Terrence West, for starters) will be seeing plenty of work while Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel will be asked to keep the defenses honest. After a season of having nary a run game, the zone-blocking scheme mixed with talented running backs could make for an interesting season on the lakefront.

The Browns’ offense will never be confused for the Broncos or Saints, but if things go according to plan, there will be some methodical movements of the ball as they wear down the opposition and strike when the time is right.

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These photos of this weekend’s Rock Hall yoga event from Ariel Agents over at Cleveland Scene are worth your time.

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So remember that “fan advisory board” the Browns were putting together? Apparently they sounded off during their first meeting. Topics of disdain? The lack of care for season-ticket holders (compared to the Cavs and Indians, the Browns are AWFUL when it comes to taking care of their top clients), the constant turnover within the franchise, and the way FirstEnergy Stadium is constantly overrun with opposing fans. There are some interesting tidbits that err on the side of vague regarding the Dawg Pound—a concept that it appears the team would like to have transcend just one section of the stadium. The Browns appear to be “all in” on modeling themselves after the Seattle Seawhawks and their incredible fan base. We’ll see if this initiative helps.

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Flush those listicles, folks. Here’s this week’s edition of #ActualSportsWriting:

How Scott Kazmir came back” by Tim Keown (ESPN The Magazine): “He needed silence as an asylum from judgment and expectation. He needed to be alone with his doubts and embarrassment and confusion, to retreat from the well-meaning cacophony of advice, away from the Angels’ stadium parking attendant who told him he needed to keep his front side closed a bit longer, away from the usher who thought his stride was too short, away from even his father, who said he’d be every bit as proud of his son if he never threw a baseball again. Yes, Scott Kazmir needed the noise — the infinite chirping of an infinite number of birds — to cease. He needed the only voice in his head to be his own.”

From St. Louis to Recife in search of “the spot” by Chris Jones (ESPNFC blog): “A man called simply The Mustache unlocked the gate for Steven Lange, and he took his first few steps onto the grass, still wet from Thursday’s calamitous rain. By Friday morning there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the high sun lit every quiet corner of Estadio Ilha do Retiro, the storied home of Sport Recife, a local first-division side.”

Astro-Matic Baseball” by Ben Reiter (Sports Illustrated, with bonus points for production): “It is one thing to commit to only making decisions that will lead to a long-term goal, and another to figure out how to make those decisions. Blackjack is an exercise in hard probabilities. Evaluating baseball players is something else. Some information you can gather about a baseball player is hard: how fast he can throw a fastball, how quickly he can reach first base. But much of it is soft: how diligently he will work, how his power stroke might develop, how likely he is to become injured.”

A century of American Soccer anxiety” by Ian Crouch (The New Yorker): “Haven’t we reached a point where it is enough simply to watch the games? Millions of people do, taking pleasure in seeing top-flight soccer and in the tournament’s distinctive global drama. For newcomers, it can be met with curiosity, even wonder, rather than contempt dressed up as national pride. We can be shy about soccer, but we don’t need to be afraid.”

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And just because: Bartolo being Bartolo…

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

Kevin Love won’t commit to Cleveland; Cavs kill trade talks with Wolves

Looking for Love? The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly tried to acquire Kevin Love in a deal centered around the Cavs’ No. 1 pick, but Love’s refusal to re-sign with the Wine and Gold has “killed talks.”

The Cavs’ No. 1 pick has been the subject of endless trade speculation. In addition to their reportedly failed attempt at acquiring Love, they’ve allegedly fielded offers from the Magic (Arron Afflalo and picks Nos. 4 and 12), the 76ers (Thaddeus Young and No. 3), and the Jazz (Derrick Favors and No. 5). Additional reports on Wednesday suggest that the Wolves may wait until LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony—both players recently opting out of their respective deals—are signed as free agents before aggressively pursuing a trade involving Love.

The Cavs, meanwhile, have reportedly remained undecided on the top selection as ESPN’s Chad Ford reports that the front office and ownership team are each pulling for different players, the former wanting Jabari Parker while the latter is yearning for Andrew Wiggins.

[Related: Trade Down for What!? Embiid, Exum and Extra Assets are too Risky]

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

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…