July 31, 2014

Warriors and Wolves re-open discussions on Kevin Love trade, reports AP

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Jon Krawczynskiof the Associated Press reports that the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors have restarted trade talks concerning Kevin Love.

“Timberwolves president and coach Flip Saunders was seen talking to Warriors GM Bob Myers at the arena on Sunday as the two sides look to bridge the gaps that caused discussions to stall. The Warriors have been reluctant to include shooting guard Klay Thompson in any package, which has been considered a deal-breaker for the Timberwolves.

It remained unclear if the Warriors have changed their position on Thompson in the new talks.

The Timberwolves also have been talking to the Cavaliers, who so far have been unwilling to include Andrew Wiggins in any offer.”

There were reports that a third team (like Golden State) would be necessary to facilitate any deal not involving Andrew Wiggins, but it seems unlikely that the Warriors are talking with the Wolves about not getting Love.

Could Minnesota be trying to put a little pressure on the Cavaliers to soften their stance on including Wiggins? Certainly.

 [Related: Trade Wiggins for Love? Why I'd do it.]

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

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...]

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

The Finals, Free Agency and Trading Kyrie? While We’re Waiting…

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Happy Monday, kids. Hope you enjoyed your Father’s Day weekend. We’ll have some Tribe talk in just a bit, but for now…

With yet another dominating win, the San Antonio Spurs simultaneously thwarted the hopes of conspiracy theorists and fans of collusion with one fell swoop. Showing that team play will—more often than not—triumph over the sporadic style that comes with clinging to the play of the few (or, in this case, the one), Timmy and Pop and Manu and Tony (and Patty and Tony and Kawhi…) didn’t just win four games. What the Spurs did to the Heat will be talked about for years, an outright clinic that was one two-point game away from being a sweep of the Mighty Heat. What the Spurs did, what with winning their fifth championship in the Tim Duncan era—the star and the coach winning rings 15 years apart—will be talked about as long as the NBA continues to exist.

Say what you want about Bill Simmons, but it was the Grantland.com Editor in Chief who was not only quick to point out the Cleveland corollary that came with LeBron James being forced to step up in the absence of 11 others, but also that there will never be another 15-year stretch for an NBA franchise to accomplish what the small market, whip-smart Spurs have done. The league isn’t set up to reward teams like the San Antionio Spurs thanks to the rules that encourage player movement. Perhaps its this, the total omission of the easy way, that makes this Spurs dynasty that much more special. Perhaps it’s the way that the Pop-led franchise slices and dices the opposition, playing much of their game below the rim. Perhaps it’s the way general manager RC Buford pieced together this unit, focusing on fit more than outright athleticism and star quality—the championship podium had more flags draped over shoulders than an Olympic ceremony—this version of America’s team ironically being the most diverse. Perhaps it’s all of the above.

The next month or so will be filled with discussions over what this means for the two-and-a-half deep Miami Heat. For those hoping for a window of opportunity for LeBron James to return to Cleveland, the 2014 NBA Finals could not have gone any better—that window is as open as it has ever been. For now, however, it’s should undoubtedly be about the San Antonio Spurs and a 15-year run that has come to fruition without any help from the Collective Bargaining Agreement or collusive players looking for an easier route to the Holy Grail. Built, not bought.

Required on-deadline reading:

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Speaking of the Spurs… Veteran big man Boris Diaw is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Diaw and Cavs general manager David Griffin have a lengthy history, dating back to their time spent in Phoenix. I know that the stars are aligned for Griffin to be reunited with Alvin Gentry, but I’d be hard-pressed to not give a look to Diaw who is one of the many heroes to have played a role in the team’s fifth championship. So what if he’s a bit out of shape. Let’s forget that he came into the league as a point guard and realize that those days are well behind him. He’s a savvy passing big man who can only serve to aid in space. It’d be a tough sell to get him to leave an incredible organization for—well—whatever we have in Cleveland, but he’d be one of the first phone calls I make come July.

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If you missed this weekend’s “Hey, Mary,” Cavs beat writer Mary Schmitt Boyer was inundated with some of the most absurd levels of fan questioning in the history of mailbags. The perpetual undervaluing of a 22-year-old two-time All-Star is incredible.

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The Money Phone is the new Bat Phone. Can you hear me now?

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Welcome back, David Chappelle. You’ve been missed.

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And just because: Celebrating prolonged greatness.

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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

Cavs already receiving calls for No. 1 pick

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While he was kissing babies and shaking hands, Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin was already receiving inquiries regarding the potential trade of his team’s No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

“I actually got calls right afterward, while I was standing there doing media,” Griffin said Wednesday during an interview on ESPN Cleveland’s “The Really Big Show.” “Teams were already reaching out and texting, so I think it will be an active period of time.”

Griffin reiterated that he will make a deal if he feels that it will make the Cavaliers better, but will have no issue holding on to the pick and selecting from three of the best prospects to be available over the last several years—Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid of Kansas, and Jabari Parker of Duke. One report, also from ESPN, stated that Embiid is the “front-runner” to be selected, but multiple outlets are pointing in a variety of directions.

In 2013, then-Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant had reportedly tried to deal the No. 1 pick, but received little in the way of substantial offers. It appears that general managers throughout the rest of the league value this year’s draft on a wholly different level.

Photograph by Kathy Willens/AP Photo

Could Tristan Thompson be dealt?

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While everyone awaits the opening of the NBA’s contract extension window with regard to Cleveland and Kyrie Irving, the All-Star point guard’s teammate—and “buddy ball” partner—Tristan Thompson may very well find himself on the opposite end of that discussion.

In a recent chat on FOX Sports Ohio, NBA writer Sam Amico wrote that he believes Thompson will be dealt before the team would give him a contract extension.

Since we don’t know who the GM is yet, it’s tough to make an accurate call. To be quite honest, from everything I’m hearing, Tristan will get traded before he gets an extension with the Cavs.

Thompson, who was selected three picks after Irving in 2011, has played all 82 games in each of the last two seasons. While he experienced solid growth between his rookie and sophomore season, Thompson averaged a near-identical 11.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per contest in 2013-14. Switching his shooting hand, Thompson did see an 85-point increase in his free throw shooting, but he took a hit from the field where he shot just 47.7 percent. By all accounts, Thompson is a great teammate and a high-quality individual, but the 6-foot-9-inch power forward blocked just 0.4 shots per game and continues to hover around 108 in defensive rating.

Given how much frontcourt bodies make in today’s NBA, it can be reasonably expected that Thompson’s camp (he’s represented by LeBron James’ friend and agent Rich Paul) will be commanding a number that the team may not be willing to match. Given that the Cavaliers invested the first-overall pick a year ago in power forward Anthony Bennett, there is undoubtedly a safety net from a roster standpoint.

When the new CBA was inked, it was only a matter of time before the Cavaleirs’ lottery talent was going to be due for extensions. Hopes were, obviously, that the Cavs would be in a much better place when these decisions would have to be made. If anything, this all just adds another fold into what is looking to be a crazy summer for the Wine and Gold.

(Photo: Scott Sargent/WFNY)

Cavs and Clippers talking Zeller-Bullock swap

(4pm EST Update: This didn’t happen.)

As the Cavaliers look to get something of substance for Luol Deng, they appear to be also discussing back-up plans at the small forward spot. ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst, who continues to crush the Cavs beat from 500 miles away, reports that David Griffin’s team is exploring a deal that would net them Reggie Bullock in return for center Tyler Zeller.

Bullock, a 6-foot-7-inch swingman out of UNC, has all of the tools required for a small forward in the Cavaliers offense, excelling in catch-and-shoot situations as well as in transition. He has unlimited range on his jumper, has good size for his position and is a solid wing defender thanks to a 6-9 wingspan, but is very raw from an NBA standpoint. Selected 25th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, Bullock has been relatively buried on the Clippers’ bench, but has averaged 10 points and five rebounds on a per-36-minute basis.

Interestingly enough, ESPN.com’s Chad Ford pegged Bullock to the Cavs with the 19th-overall pick this past summer, the one that was eventually used on Sergey Karasev.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers reportedly liked Zeller back when he was the coach of the Celtics and the Clippers have no depth behind DeAndre Jordan at center (Sorry, Ryan Hollins.) The Cavs, as you may have heard, recently acquired Spencer Hawes from the Philadelphia 76ers. Moving Zeller would seem to infer that Anderson Varejao’s wonky back is not as bad as it may seem. What this would mean for next season, when Hawes is a free agent and Varejao is one year older, remains to be seen.

The Sacramento Kings are also interested in Jarrett Jack

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The Brooklyn Nets may have some competition in the suddenly hot race to acquire Cavs guard Jarrett Jack. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that the Sacramento Kings—yes, those Sacramento Kings—have expressed interest in Cleveland’s veteran shooting guard.

The Nets’ reported talks center around a Jack-for-Jason Terry swap, while it’s unclear what the Kings are offering in return for the veteran combo guard. Jack has played just 18.0 minutes per game over his last five (including a woeful, stat-free 12 minutes against the Washington Wizards on February 7) as the team has largely used CJ Miles, Dion Waiters and Matthew Dellavedova as the rotational guards alongside—and behind—Kyrie Irving.

The deal-happy Kings have already made one of the biggest trades of the season by acquiring Rudy Gay and this was in addition to dealing for former No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams from the Minnesota Timberwolves. They’re rumored to be shopping shooting guard Marcus Thornton who is locked into a position battle with rookie guard Ben McLemore. The 26-year-old Thornton is due roughly $4 million for the duration of this season in addition to $8.5 million in 2014-15.

(Image via Scott Sargent/WFNY)

NBA Trade Rumors: Luol Deng and Dion Waiters for Harrison Barnes and David Lee?

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The trade deadline is fast approaching and although the Cavs’ fired their GM, speculation surrounding possible deadline deals continues to fly.

The latest comes from Tim Kawakami, Warriors’ beat writer for the Mercury News. In his evaluation of where the Warriors stand at this point in the season, Kawakami suggests multiple scenarios in which Golden State makes a move at the deadline to go after the services of Cleveland’s Luol Deng.

-Lee and Barnes TO CLEVELAND FOR Deng and Waiters. (Because Deng was already traded once this season, he can’t be traded with another player, so these would have to be split into two separate trades.)

-Why Cleveland might consider this: Deng is a pending free agent and I highly doubt he’d want to return to the Cleveland craziness and lousiness; also, Waiters is in the middle of a second bad season after the Cavaliers drafted him 4th overall in 2012 and he reportedly is at odds with star point guard Kyrie Irving.

Also Lee and Barnes might fit that roster better than Deng and Waiters–certainly personality-wise they’d be better than having Waiters brawl with Irving.

I know that Cleveland is probably trying to do what it can to lure LeBron James back as a free agent and that adding Lee’s money won’t help that… but you won’t draw LBJ if there’s nobody any good on the team, and Cleveland probably has to get what it can for Deng right now because if he hits free agency he’s out the door and they get nothing back.

Lee is something. Barnes is something.

Despite the reported chemistry issues that surround Dion Waiters, the Cavs may not want to give up on the 22-year old just yet. If that’s the case, Kawakami outlines a Waiters-less trade, inserting former Warrior, Jarrett Jack, into the deal in Dion’s place.

An alternative deal would be Lee, Barnes, Ezeli and Nedovic TO CLEVELAND FOR Deng and Jack. The Warriors would need to add more money into this one because Jack makes more than Waiters.

Why the Warriors should try to do this: While Deng isn’t a natural PF, is a little duplicative of Iguodala, and isn’t the kind of low-post scorer the Warriors badly need, he’s an excellent all-around player who can score in multiple ways and maybe take some of the load off of Curry and the three-point bombing.

Deng, 28, can’t match-up with the great Western PFs… but Lee (who is 30) doesn’t really, either… and in the toughest situations it’s always Bogut guarding the rough PFs, anyway.

And while Waiters doesn’t have the greatest locker-room reputation, he’s a tough-guy scorer and that’s something the Warriors could use coming off the bench–somebody who is ferocious about getting buckets and not afraid to bark while he’s doing it.

By the way, the Warriors were very high on Waiters in that 2012 draft; West loved Waiters’ toughness–if Waiters got to their 7th spot, I believe the GSWs would’ve taken him over Barnes, though it was a close call. Things have not worked out for Waiters in Cleveland, but I would imagine the Warriors still like him a little bit.

If the Cavs were to make the Waiters/Deng swap for Lee and Barnes it would be a swap of draft picks from two years ago as well as the Cavs landing an All-Star power forward in Lee for, in essence, the King’s protected future first round pick and the two Portland second-rounders that the Cavs’ sent to Chicago in exchange for Deng.

If the Cavs are not going to re-sign Deng they have to trade him before the deadline. As Gilbert has spoken about before, if a high caliber player is not going to re-sign, you can’t let him walk out the door without getting something in return. The second deal outlined by Kawakami would be much more optimal for Cleveland. They could hold on to Waiters and unload Jarrett Jack, giving them a “re-do” on last summer’s signing on top of a “re-do” for the Deng trade.

Lee, while among the worst big men from a defensive standpoint, would give the Cavs a long needed scoring option in the paint. The 29-year-old is having one of his typical seasons, averaging 18.9 points and 9.7 rebounds on 51% shooting.

Exchanging Deng for Barnes in the Cavs’ starting lineup would make the Cavs younger, finally give them some more outside shooting, and make their salary cap flexibility even greater with Barnes under his rookie contract for two more seasons. Barnes is averaging 10 points per game on 39% shooting from behind the arc in his 29 minutes a night for the Warriors. He is also, reportedly, good friends with Kyrie Irving, something that we may not be able to say about others on the Cavaliers’ roster.

The NBA trade deadline rumors are just getting started, be sure to check back at WFNY for all your up to date Cavs’ chatter. 

[Related: New Cavs' GM will have tools in place to rebuild properly]

CJ Miles drawing interest from other teams

CJ Miles vs 76ersAs the real NBA trade deadline nears, impending Cavaliers free agent CJ Miles is reportedly drawing interest from clubs throughout the league. In a line item surrounding Indians Pacers small forward Danny Granger, FOX Sports Ohio’s Sam Amico mentions that Miles, who is currently Cleveland’s starting shooting guard, is on the radar of a few teams, though to a lesser extent than Granger.

The 26-year-old Miles is easily one of the biggest vocal leaders on the Cavaliers, blending his lead-by-example style with veteran experience gained under former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. It was Miles who worked out with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters this past summer, and provided some words during the team’s now-infamous ‘players only’ meeting which occurred earlier this season. He’s a cerebral player who can provide offense from outside, but one who has also been sporatic as of late, following up a 19-point effort in a win over the Denver Nuggets with a six-point outing in the loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

His numbers this season are almost in lockstep with those of 2012-13, averaging just over 10 points per game on 43 percent shooting. It was Miles who, earlier this year, set the Cavaliers’ record for most three-point field goals made in a game, hitting 10 in a win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Miles is in the final year of a contract with the Cavs that pays him $2.2 million this season. He will be an unrestricted free agent this coming summer.

It is unclear what Miles would garner in a deal, but it would be far-fetched to assume much more than a conditional, future draft selection.

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

Cavs “seeking other options” in potential Andrew Bynum deal

DSC_0396It appears that the potential Andrew Bynum-to-Los Angeles deal that was reported this week is on life support. ESPN.com’s resident Cavaliers beat NBA writer reports that while the deal which would send Pau Gasol to Cleveland in exchange for the cap space which would be cleared by waiving center Andrew Bynum is no longer progressing and that Chris Grant and the Cavs are looking elsewhere.

The major issue, sources said, involves the Lakers’ desire to get an additional asset from the Cavs beyond Bynum’s team-friendly contract, which could save the Lakers more than $20 million in salary and luxury taxes. The Lakers are interested in also getting a young prospect or first-round draft pick as part of the deal. The Cavs have been reluctant to part with either.

It was reported earlier this week that the Lakers had coveted a first-round pick in the deal which could also included small forward Alonzo Gee. Talks between the Cavaliers and Lakers hit a bit of a speed bump over the New Year’s holiday as All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving had a scare when he suffered what looked to have been a threatening knee injury. The Cavaliers, potentially without Irving, did not want to add Gasol and his $19.3 million contract if playoff hopes had quickly transitioned from remote to no chance in hell.

There is obvious history with the two teams as they engaged in a similar deal in 2012 when they acquired Luke Walton and a first-round draft selection for the expiring contract of Ramon Sessions. Due to the new CBA, there is some pressure for the Lakers to get out of the luxury tax to help with future flexibility. As Windhorst stated, if the Lakers remain in the tax this season, going into the tax in either of the next two seasons would trigger a “repeater tax.” The Lakers are planning to be major free-agent players the next two summers, similar to the cap-space-hording Cavaliers. Alas, any deal consummated between the two teams would not only aid the Cavaliers’ playoff chances this season, but would also add a potential rival to the mix in what is shaping to be a fairly active 2014 free agency period.

The Cavs have until Jan. 7 to trade Bynum before his contract becomes fully guaranteed for the year.

[Related: WFNY Stats & Info: Notes on Pau Gasol’s decline]

(Image: Scott Sargent/WFNY)

WFNY Stats & Info: Notes on Pau Gasol’s decline

the-lakers-want-to-blow-up-their-roster-and-trade-pau-gasol-to-the-wizards-for-the-3-pickPau Gasol is the latest rumored trade candidate for the Cavaliers, according to Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne at ESPN.com. The 33-year-old is a three-time All-Star but his best days are clearly behind him as shown in advanced statistics.

Although he’s averaging 14.7 points and 9.4 rebounds in 30 minutes per game this season — fairly solid production on the surface — those numbers don’t tell the exact story about his last few seasons. Here are two specific stats that more accurately depict his changing game:

FG% on non-restricted area two-pointers
From 2008-09 to 11-12: 45.1% (2,321 shots; 59% of FGA)
From 2012-13 to 13-14: 38.1% (635 shots; 66% of FGA)

Offensive Rebounding%
From 2008-09 to 10-11: 10.5%
From 2011-12 to 13-14: 8.0%

This season, when he was playing, Gasol was shooting more than ever: his 16.4 FGA/36 is a career high and his 25.5% usage rate is his highest in seven years. On this very poor Lakers roster, he’s being called upon offensively quite a bit. But his offensive style has changed, perhaps as limited by his several foot injuries, and he’s shooting more often and less efficiently from mid-range.

It’s understandable that Gasol’s offensive rebounding percentage dropped when Dwight Howard was around in 2012-13. But a healthy Andrew Bynum also was there previously. And Gasol’s numbers dropped to a new career low (6.2%) this season as he’s playing further away from the basket. His defensive rebounding numbers have slightly improved to make up a difference in his total rebounding rates.

In each of the past two seasons, the 7-foot Spaniard has had an even 16.7 PER. He was never lower than 19.5 in PER in any other season of his career. That’s a very troubling fact when also addressed with his increased usage and similar overall rebounding. There’s possible reason to expect some improvement based on his known frustration this year in Los Angeles. Gasol also would likely provide a boost with his noted passing skills.

While Gasol might not be the same All-Star he was several years ago, he’s still a solid contributor. His shooting zone ratios slightly mirror those of Anderson Varejao, who has refined his game to become a very good mid-range shooter this year at 31 years old. He would likely take away minutes, however, from soon-to-be 24-year-old Tyler Zeller who has impressed of late.

In the end, the biggest benefit with a Gasol-Bynum swap with possibly other moving pieces could just be one last hope at contending for a playoff spot this year and maintaining financial flexibility with an expiring contract. Alone, the Pau Gasol of 2013 or even of 2014 won’t likely be enough to make this Cavs roster that much better.

[Related: Cavs at NBA’s one-third mark: How much patience is left?]

(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

Cavs could be sending Andrew Bynum back to LA for Pau Gasol

DSC_0475Could the Cavaliers be adding yet another power forward to the mix?

In one of his recent Below the Rim podcasts, there was a passing moment where the host, ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst, and his guest, Grantland.com’s Chuck Klosterman, had tossed around a trade that was on the table between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers that would have sent All-Star power forward Pau Gasol to Cleveland and allow the Lakers to save a boat load of money in attempt to ultimately sign impending free agent Dwight Howard. It got little in the way of traction—likely for a few reasons—but it was one that raised a few eyebrows as the Cavaliers continue their disappointing play during the 2013-14 season.

Whatever happened to that deal, it appears that the lines of communication between Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant and the Lakers remains intact. Windhorst, with the help of ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne, reports that there is a deal in place, while not imminent, that would send Gasol to Cleveland, but for the expiring contract and wonky knees of the “excused” Andrew Bynum.

No deal is believed to be imminent, but both sides are mulling it over ahead of a Jan. 7 deadline when the second half of Bynum’s $12.25 million salary would be guaranteed. By trading Gasol in a package for Bynum and then waiving him, the injury-ravaged Lakers could save more than $20 million in salaries and luxury taxes, which could help them maintain financial flexibility heading into the next few summers. […]

The Lakers are reluctant to part with the four-time All-Star in any trade without receiving assets of some value in return, sources said.

The Lakers have been luxury-tax payers for six straight seasons. While the luxury-tax savings this season — and ability to avoid the repeater tax penalty that kicks in when a team is a taxpayer in four out of five years starting with the 2011-12 season — would undoubtedly help the Lakers’ long-term flexibility, the franchise’s history and organizational culture make that a difficult prospect to consider.

While adding another power forward would seem superfluous, Grant is under immense pressure to get this underachieving Cavaliers team into the post-season given their three-year drought. In addition to keeping his possibilities open with the Lakers, Grant has reportedly been in a wide range of discussions with the Chicago Bulls—a team also dealing with luxury tax issues—for All-Star small forward Luol Deng. Naturally, as with any deal of this nature, the devil is in the details. At least one other player (rumored to be small forward Alonzo Gee) and “assets” are said to be included. The Cavaliers have plenty of future first-round selections at their disposal, some fo which include multiple layers of protection.

Gasol, despite shooting a career-low 45 percent from the floor, would provide an offensive threat from the post, something the Cavaliers are sorely lacking. The 6-foot-9-inch Deng has battled Achilles injuries this season, playing in just 20 games, but is adding 20 points per night when healthy. Both players are impending free agents, so the Cavaliers would have to either be confident that a new contract could be agreed to or that they would be able to make a splash in the 2014 free agency season given the cap flexibility that has been accumulated since July, 2010.

(Image via Scott Sargent/WFNY)

NBA Trade Rumors: Cavs unwilling to part with Varejao, pick for Jeff Green

As the smoke clears from the Omer Asik/Jeff Green rumors this past week, Bob Finnan of the News Herald is reporting the Cavs’ would have had to part ways with Anderson Varejao or a first round pick to acquire the services of the Celtics’ Jeff Green — a price Chris Grant and the Cavs weren’t willing to pay.

If the Cavs had been willing to sacrifice either backup center Anderson Varejao or their 2014 first-round pick, they probably could have been involved in a three-way deal that headlined disgruntled Rockets center Omer Asik this week. They weren’t, so they didn’t.

- Bob Finnan, The News Herald

After initially putting a deadline on trading Asik, the Rockets now have said they are not looking to move the Turkish big man for the time being. The Cavs were rumored to be the third team in deals that would send Asik to either Philadelphia or Boston. Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert is on record of saying he wants the Cavs in the playoffs this spring, but with a loaded 2014 draft and the Cavs getting off to a slow start it remains to be seen what the Cavs plans are for the rest of this season.

Jeff Green would provide the Cavs a much needed upgrade on the wing, and add another scoring option to offense that often times goes stagnant. The 6-foot-9-inch Green is averaging a career-best 16.5 points per game for Boston, but the caveat is Green, 27, is under contract for $8.9 million this season, $9.4 million in 2014-15, and has a player option for $9.4 million in 2014-15.

Varejao is averaging 8.1 points and 8.6 rebounds in a reserve role for the Cavs, and if he can stay healthy through the first week of January he will appear in his 32nd game of the year, which will be the most games the Brazilian has played since 2009-2010.

[Related: Cavs vs. Bulls Behind the Box Score: Cavs offense comes back to reality]

 

While We’re Waiting… Mike Brown leads Cavs turnaround

While We’re Waiting is a space on the WaitingForNextYear website where we share links every day. We’ve been doing it for about four years or so. Denny Mayo used to be much more amusing with his intros, if you recall. You know the drill: Email us with suggestions at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Brown deserves credit for the hot stretch: “But stop and take a breath. Take a really deep breath and you might notice something different. Is that hints of azaleas? Notes of coffee and barnyard? Nope. That’s just new Mike Brown smell you’re smelling. So far, even as the team has gradually improved almost in spite of itself, Brown has done some things to buck what many considered the more troubling trends from his first time around.” [Robert Attenweiler/Cavs: The Blog]

[Read more...]

The Diff: Should Cavs be involved in an Omer Asik trade?

The Diff is your weekly WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week, I wrote about Cleveland basketball’s dominant frontcourt trio. This week, it’s time to talk NBA trade rumors.

The Diff

The Houston Rockets’ self-imposed deadline for trading center Omer Asik is closing in fast. They now have just about 36 hours to make their ideal trade within the NBA’s trading calendar. And, for some unholy and unknown reason, the Cleveland Cavaliers continue to be in the mix of all the Asik rumors. Logically, as many have speculated, the Cavs could be intricately involved solely because they want to be the third team in any such deal. Let’s dive into all the gory details to see what could happen and what should happen. [Read more...]

NBA Trade Rumors: Cavs potential members of a three-team deal for Jeff Green

As the Houston Rockets continue to look for a landing spot for disgruntled center Omer Asik, the Cleveland Cavaliers once again find their name in the mix. The latest, coming from ESPN Boston, has the Cavaliers as a third team in a deal that would ultimately net them forward Jeff Green.

The Celtics now are widely regarded as the strongest rivals to the Philadelphia 76ers in terms of likely destinations for Asik. …

Cleveland is another team that has been frequently linked with Asik the past several days, but sources close to the situation maintain the Cavaliers like the fit of Anderson Varejao in their frontcourt rotation better than Asik and thus are more likely to participate in such a trade as a third-team facilitator rather than as the team that winds up with Asik. …

One possible scenario that has emerged, sources say, is a three-way trade in which Boston lands Asik, Cleveland absorbs the contract of Celtics forward Jeff Green and Houston scores no fewer than one of the future first-round picks it covets for surrendering Asik. Other players would have to be involved in such a trade to make the salary-cap math work, but it’s the sort of trade that would fall in line with Cleveland’s well-known focus on upgrading its options at small forward.

The Cavaliers pursued Green in free agency two summers ago before Green re-signed with Boston and, as ESPN.com reported Sunday , have shown far more interest recently in finding a new small forward than going ahead with the rumored Varejao-for-Asik swap.

The 6-foot-9-inch Green is averaging a career-best 16.5 points per game for Boston, seeing his usage rate climb above 20 for the first time in his career. Green, 27, is under contract for $8.9 million this season, $9.4 million in 2014-15, and has a player option for $9.4 million in 2014-15.

[Related: Cavs vs Blazers Behind The Box Score: Heartbreaker at The Q]

NBA Trade Rumors: Cavs linked to potential deal for Omer Asik

TNT’s David Aldridge states that the Houston Rockets will not only trade center Omer Asik during this coming week, but that the Cleveland Cavaliers could be a potential landing spot.

Asik is disgruntled with his backup role in Houston, one that was created when the team landed Dwight Howard. He’s currently sidelined with what the team is calling a ‘bruised thigh.’ It is believed that the Rockets would prefer to deal Asik, who is due $5.2 million this season and a well-documented $14.9 million in 2014-15, to an Eastern Conference team. The Philadelphia 76ers have also been mentioned as a possible landing spot or as a third team, potentially moving forward Thaddeus Young.

Playing in all 82 games for the Rockets last season, the 27-year-old Asik averaged 10.1 points (54.1 percent), 11.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game.

Varejao, a nine-year veteran and local fan favorite, is currently averaging 8.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. Due $9 million in this season and next, he has been moved to a bench role with the inclusion of center Andrew Bynum in the starting five. It was believed that the Rockets would also like a fist-round draft selection in return for any deal that involves Asik.

[Related: Cavaliers reach the quarter season mark with more questions than answers]

Cavs thoughts on Dion’s success, trades, Kyrie’s struggles and more

Kyrie Irving, Dion WaitersDuring Thanksgiving eve and the actual holiday itself, I got a lot of questions from family and friends about those pesky 4-11 Cleveland Cavaliers. I’m sure you did too. Here are my assorted takes on the hottest of Cavs topics at the moment.

On the Dion Waiters trade options listed so far … meh. That’s what I have to say. The three main options rumored via ESPN’s Chris Broussard: Chicago’s Luol Deng, New York’s Iman Shumpert and Philadelphia’s Evan Turner. Don’t get me wrong; Deng and Turner would be excellent fits on this small forward-lacking roster. But both are free agents on the verge of big paydays in summer 2014.

Deng is an old 28 because he has nearly 25,000 career NBA minutes including playoffs. He never has been a major offensive weapon, but has been a consistent piece for Chicago for the last decade. Turner, on the other hand, is having a breakout season at still only 25. He’s averaging 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the overachieving 76ers. Which means his agents will make some unfortunate team pay massive money for his services next year. [Read more...]