April 23, 2014

Browns show interest in DL Alex Carrington, another former Pettine player

Carrington

The Browns once again are showing interest in another one of new head coach Mike Pettine’s former players, this time Bills’ defensive lineman Alex Carrington. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com is reporting both the Browns and the Rams have shown interest in the former third round pick.

Carrington averaged 52 snaps a game in just three games for the Bills last season before suffering a season ending injury to his quad. The 26 year old product of Arkansas State was just starting to find his legs in Mike Pettine’s defense before having his season ended. The Bills valued both Carrington’s ability to play defensive end in their base defense as well as get after the passer in nickel and sub packages.

Many around Buffalo believed the Bills would try to resign Carrington this off season, an idea that seemed to fit well with Carrington himself.

Describing his situation in Buffalo, Carrington told Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News, “It’s the perfect defense for me and everything. I love the community.”

With the Browns hiring of Mike Pettine, the defense Carrington felt was perfect for him has now relocated a few hours west in a community very similar to the one Carrington loved in Buffalo.

[Related: NFL Free Agency Notebook: First Impressions]

MLB Rumors: Indians possible destination for Joaquin Benoit and Shawn Marcum

As MLB’s Winter Meetings wind down, the Indians have been mentioned as possible landing spots for two free agent pitchers. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Cleveland is one of five teams likely to land reliever Joaquin Benoit, whose closer role in Detroit will likely be subsumed by Joe Nathan in 2014.

Meanwhile, Jasyon Stark of ESPN notes that the Indians are one of three teams showing particular interest in starter Shawn Marcum.

Marcum is coming off a rather severe injury that significantly limited his performance in 2013 with the New York Mets, but could represent the sort of “bounce back” rotation role that Scott Kazmir personified last season.

More if/when/as this develops.

[Related: Francona on Masterson: “He’s not going anywhere”]

NBA Draft News: Russian Sergey Karasev not holding workouts for NBA teams

Yesterday ESPN’s Chad Ford released his NBA Mock Draft 4.0. In it, he had the Cleveland Cavaliers drafting Nerlens Noel with the #1 overall pick. For the Cavaliers’ 2nd first-round pick at #19 overall, he had the Cavaliers looking to Russia for their pick, in the form of the 19 year old international sensation Sergey Karasev, writing:

If the Cavs grab Noel at No. 1, look for them to add a small forward or shooter with their second first-round pick. Karasev is interesting. His performance in Vegas on Friday wasn’t stellar thanks to some jet lag, but scouts are very high on him at the moment.

He has the size to play both wing positions, is a terrific shooter, has a high basketball IQ, and at 19, already has significant professional experience averaging 18.4 PPG in the Russian League. A few scouts compare him to smaller version of Toni Kukoc. Karasev could go as high at No. 9 to the Wolves but would be a great get here by the Cavs.

While a lot of teams are rumored to have serious interest in Karasev, the expectation was that he would be making the rounds and holding private workouts with many of the interested teams. However, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowksi is now reporting that Karasev is going back to Russia and will not return for workouts with any team prior to the draft:

Sergey Karasev has returned to Moscow until the NBA draft in late June, fueling speculation among front-office executives that a team has given the Russian teen star a strong first-round guarantee, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Karasev’s representatives, Andy Miller and Justin Zanik, began to inform teams on Tuesday that Karasev, a sharp-shooting 6-foot-7 forward, will not be made available for any private workouts prior to the June 27 draft, league sources said.

Most NBA teams wanted to get Karasev into their facilities for closer inspection, but none will get the opportunity.

So are the Cavaliers the team who gave the guarantee? There are no indications who the team is that gave Karasev the guarantee, and certainly no clues or signs that point to Cleveland. However, using history as a guide, a move like this wouldn’t be out of character for the Cavaliers.

Cavalier GM Chris Grant was on Danny Ferry’s staff back in 2006 when Ferry masterfully got Daniel Gibson to cancel workouts in an effort to get him to slide to the team with their first pick in the 2nd round. Mike Brown was also the coach at the time, so the team certainly has experience using the pre-draft guarantee to try to get what they want. Furthermore, we know that Chris Grant is comfortable drafting players without holding workouts for them. Last season he drafted Dion Waiters despite the fact the Cavaliers never once had Dion in for workouts.

None of this is to say the Cavaliers are the team who is trying to get Karasev. Instead, this is just pointing out that it falls within their method of operations, and so they certainly have to be considered as one of the teams who would more realistically be inclined to make this kind of move. We’ll have to wait until draft night to see how everything plays out.

[Related: DeMarcus Cousins rumors fading, so what's next for Cavs?]

When it Comes to NBA Trades It’s Not What You Ask For That Matters, It’s What You Get

Chris Grant“It was much pleasanter at home, when one wasn’t always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and rabbits. I almost wish I hadn’t gone down the rabbit-hole – and yet – and yet – it’s rather curious, you know, this sort of life!”
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Following NBA trade rumors often feels like a journey down Alice’s infamous rabbit-hole. We talk about this every season, but rumors are ubiquitous to NBA life. Agents and GMs leak information to trusted sources, often with an agenda in mind. What this means to the casual NBA fan sitting at home is that they are usually reading half truths that border on propaganda. Well intentioned beat writers and national scribes are frequently used as a medium to send a message to the other party in negotiations as well as to try to control the message that is being sent to the fans.

This isn’t to say NBA writers do a bad job or are somehow unaware of the game that’s being played. Far from it. It’s a give and take relationship in which a lot of good, solid, quality information is given to reporters to build rapport and trust. It’s just that every now and then a slight half truth might get slipped in there and nobody knows the difference. [Read more...]

Report: Browns targeting John Pagano for DC

Looks possible that Norv Turner may not be the only former Chargers coach joining Rod Chudzinski in Cleveland. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports:

Ohio.com’s Nate Ulrich adds:

Pagano was a defensive coordinator for the first time during the 2012 season. The Chargers ranked 24th with 326.4 yards allowed per game and 17th with 21.9 points allowed per game.

On Friday, Chudzinski, an offensive coach, and CEO Joe Banner indicated they like hybrid defenses that use 3-4 and 4-3 alignments, but the defensive coordinator will ultimately decide the type of scheme the Browns use. The Browns have used a 4-3 system for the past two seasons under defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, who’s not expected to return.

Pagano ran a 3-4 base defense in San Diego, but the Chargers also used multiple looks. Outside linebackers would often move up to the line and get into a three-point stance to create a four-man front.

Pagano is the younger brother of Colts coach Chuck Pagano.

[Related: WFNY Debate: Do NFL coaches even matter?]

Rumor: Browns could bring back Derek Anderson

Browns fans, you might have to un-burn your Derek Anderson jerseys, WEWS Mike Cairns reporting that new head coach Rod Chudzinski may bring Derek Anderson back to Cleveland. From late Friday:

and from Saturday afternoon:

But it’s not just Cairns. ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi tweeted:

Anderson, 29 (the same age as Brandon Weeden. YAY), played for Chudzinki in Carolina last season, appearing in two games and completing all four of his pass attempts. Anderson’s last season as a starter was in 2010, when he threw for 2,065 yards with seven TDs and ten interceptions for the Arizona Cardinals.

[Related: Derek Anderson Still Doesn't Think It's Funny on Twitter

 

 

Trading Anderson Varejao Still Doesn’t Make Sense for the Cavaliers

So here we are again. Another season, another never ending stream of talk about the Cleveland Cavaliers trading Anderson Varejao.

It’s not surprising. Exhausting? Sure. But not surprising. Any time you’re a young, rebuilding team and you have a top level player in his prime, it’s only natural that there will be speculation about trading him. To many, Anderson Varejao is nothing more than an asset. That’s an unfortunate way of looking at one of the most valuable players in the NBA.

Look, I get it. We all know top free agents don’t sign in Cleveland. The Cavaliers can’t keep drafting in the top 5. Eventually they have to start getting better. And when that happens, the draft will become much more difficult to add difference making talent to the team. That will leave trades as the primary way of improving the roster. So the thought is, why not trade Anderson Varejao while he’s still in his prime. He’ll never get more on the market than he will today.

That’s true. All of it. Good, sound reasons for trading Varejao. The problem is, there’s absolutely no return on investment in trading Varejao now. The Cavaliers will never, ever replace Varejao’s value to the team because players like Varejao are extraordinarily rare. [Read more...]

Acquiring Andrew Bynum Might be Cavaliers’ One Shot at Building a Title Contender

An actual young All-Star could be Kyrie Irving’s teammate for the future.

There’s a story I remember from my childhood. It involves a man who is living in his house on the bank of a river. One day, a storm begins to build up strength and the rains begin to pour down. The newscaster on TV interrupts programming to warn those living on the river to evacuate because of the risk of flood. The man thought to himself, “God will surely deliver me from this flood.”

The rain continued to pour down and the water began to rise. The man had to move to his 2nd floor balcony as the first floor was now completely submerged. A neighbor who happened to have a boat was driving through the area looking for people who were stranded. He saw the man on his balcony and brought the boat over to offer him help escaping. “Thank you, but I don’t need your help,” said the man. “God will surely deliver me from this flood.”

The rain continued to fall and the water continued to rise. By now, the man had moved to his roof as the water had overtaken the 2nd floor of his house. A rescue helicopter was flying over the houses looking for people to rescue. Seeing the man on his roof, the helicopter sent a rescue diver down to get the man. “Thank you for offering, but I don’t need your help,” the man told the diver. “God will surely deliver me from this flood.” [Read more...]

Rumors of Cavaliers Involvement in Dwight Howard Trade Heat Up Again

According to NBA sources, the Cleveland Cavaliers are once again thought to be involved in a potential Dwight Howard trade. This time, the Cavaliers would theoretically be landing Lakers big man Andrew Bynum.

According to ESPN.com’s Ric Bucher:

The Cavaliers would land Lakers center Andrew Bynum for a package of draft picks and veteran power forward Anderson Varejao, according to one league source. The Lakers would receive Howard for Bynum. Orlando would get Varejao and draft picks. The source said this was merely the framework of a deal being discussed.

Obviously we’ve heard rumors like this before, so this isn’t exactly new territory being covered. But for what it’s worth, it sounds like there’s some smoke to this fire. Which, of course, means nothing is probably going to happen.

For the Cavaliers, though, it’s a chance to pair a top 5 PG in Kyrie with a top 2 center in Bynum. It’s a core that you have to believe you can build around and, frankly, gives you 2/3s of your own Big 3. It’s a risky trade for Cleveland and it throws a wrench in the rebuilding plan, but it’s probably a risk that makes too much sense to pass on for Cleveland.

Again, assuming these rumors are true.

[Related: Summer League Thoughts: On Dion Waiters, His Struggles, and More]

Wojnarowski: Cavaliers Out of the Dwight Howard Trade Situation

Much of the past couple days have been spent focusing on the potential 3-4 team trade to get Dwight Howard from Orlando to Brooklyn. The Cleveland Cavaliers were expected to be the 3rd team involved in the trade, looking to acquire Kris Humphries and a first round pick for their troubles.

According to Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski, though, the Cavaliers are no longer involved in the trade discussions:

Not only is Cleveland out, but it sounds as if the trade itself seems to be falling apart, with the Magic and Nets now trying to focus on a deal just between the two teams:

As always, the Cavaliers have not and will not comment on this trade. Despite some ridiculous speculation that the Cavaliers were looking to facilitate this trade to “stick it” to LeBron by creating another Eastern Conference power, the reality of the situation is the Cavaliers were merely looking to add assets for nothing. When it became clear, though, that Kris Humphries wanted a longer deal than the Cavaliers were comfortable giving him, the Cavaliers walked away from the table.

[Related: Irving, Waiters, Thompson and Zeller Headline Cavs’ Summer League Roster]

Morosi: Cleveland Indians Scouting Matt Garza

There’s still time before the Major League Baseball trade deadline comes, but that’s not stopping teams from trying to make impact moves prior to the All-Star Break. While there’s no doubt the Cleveland Indians could really use a right handed bat, they’ve already seen potential targets such as Kevin Youkilis and Carlose Lee traded to contenders. Does this mean the Indians might turn their focus instead to bolstering the pitching staff?

Perhaps. According to Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi, the Indians were among a handful of teams scouting the Chicago Cubs’ Matt Garza during his last start.

Morosi would go on to tweet that the Tigers have also had discussions with the Cubs and that the Cubs have been seen scouting the Tigers’ AA team for prospects.

For the season, Garza is 4-7 with a 4.32 ERA with an 86/29 K/BB ratio.

[Related: Indians 3, Rays 1: Tomlin Steps Up]

 

NBA Draft Rumors: Dion Waiters Might be a Target at No. 4

The NBA Draft is officially less than 18 hours away, which means the crazy back-and-forth rumors are only now just kicking into hyperspeed. Late Wednesday night, we got the latest of murmurs possibly affecting the Cavaliers’ plans at the No. 4 pick, courtesy of ESPN’s Andy Katz:

Syracuse’s Dion Waiters could be in play at No. 4 to Cleveland, according to those close to Waiters. That would shake up lottery a bit.

There’s a lot going on in that tweet, starting with the fact that the source is Waiters’ camp. I’m not sure exactly how I should respond to that as an informed fan, considering that initially seems like pure posturing on Waiters’ part, and no one elses.

However, Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski added more validity to the report with his post moments ago:

The Cavaliers haven’t been able to get Waiters to visit Cleveland for a workout and meeting with officials, but it hasn’t extinguished management’s ever-evolving fascination with choosing Waiters at No. 4 – especially if the Cavaliers are unable to secure Florida guard Bradley Beal.

Syracuse’s Dion Waiters has quickly climbed into the top half of the draft lottery. (Getty Images)
Cleveland has intensified its background checks on Walters, and sources in direct contact with Cavs officials believe Waiters would be the franchise’s choice over Kansas’ Thomas Robinson should the Charlotte Bobcats select Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at No. 2, and the Washington Wizards take Beal at No. 3.

Twitter has been on fire late at night here with rumors about Cleveland’s possible new interest in the Syracuse scorer. With his name and Washington’s Terrance Ross’ bursting onto the NE Ohio spotlight over the last moments, this likely is just a sign of things to come by the time the draft finally is here at 7 p.m.

[Related: 2012 NBA Draft: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Harrison Barnes and Growing Debates]

Sources: Cavaliers Have Drummond Ranked Higher Than Barnes?

While things have quieted down a bit in recent days with the rumors of the Cavaliers going after Andre Drummond in the draft, it’s possible this could be exactly what the Cavaliers want everyone to think.

The general assumption has been that the Cavaliers are targeting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal, and Harrison Barnes at #4, but according to ProBasketballDraft.com’s Joe Kotoch, that might not be the case. In reality, Drummond might be higher than Barnes. Kotoch writes:

Per sources Cleveland covets Michael Kidd-Gilchrist but seem less inclined to deal with Charlotte to acquire him.  After Kidd-Gilchrist the Cavs brass appears to have it ranked Beal, Drummond, Barnes, and Robinson but that their final draft board will not be set until next week.  The UCONN center arrives in Cleveland this week and it will be an interesting workout as Cleveland has been very hushed about their feelings on him.  Looking historically at Cavs GM Chris Grant he prefers to draft athletic prospects with high upside whenever possible as evidenced by J.J. Hickson, Christian Eyenga, and Tristan Thompson.  Grant was the assistant GM but in charge of the draft and ranking the Cavs board at the time Hickson and Eyenga were selected.  It would not be a shock to see the Cavs pull the trigger on Drummond as the Cavs, who could have as much upside as any player in this draft.  Sources in Cleveland do concede if the Cavs were to select Drummond the rest of the draft would be centered on finding perimeter scoring with their remaining picks.

Kotoch also notes that the Cavaliers have been extremely active in trying to trade with New Orleans, Portland, and Houston to see about getting one of the 10th, 11, 14th, or 16th picks in this draft. If the Cavaliers do take Drummond at #4 and trade back up in the first round, potential targets would likely include Jeremy Lamb, Dion Waiters, Terrence Ross, Austin Rivers, Moe Harkless, and Perry Jones.

The draft is just 10 days away, so expect plenty of rumors like this to be coming fast and furious over the next week and a half.

[Related: Cavaliers' Plans at #4 Need Not Include a Center]

NBA Playoffs Showing Cavaliers How Hard Building a Championship Team Really Is

Even with Kyrie Irving in place, the Cavaliers still have much work to do

With the NBA Finals drawing near, it’s only natural for fans of teams not currently playing basketball to look on from a distance, wondering what it must take to be one of the teams representing their conference in the Finals.

Make no mistake about it, the Cleveland Cavaliers are a very long way away from getting there. The first key component is in place. Kyrie Irving was everything the Cavaliers were hoping for, and more, in his rookie season, but when you consider the 4 Conference Finalists, it’s clear that much work needs to be done.

In the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder have Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden1 as part of their “Big 3”. The San Antonio Spurs featured Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker.

The Eastern Conference Finals have their own clash of “Big 3s”. The Boston Celtics have the original Big 3 in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. Not to mention Rajon Rondo, who is currently better than any of the original Big 3. The Miami Heat have the most infamous Big 3 in the NBA with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. [Read more...]

___________________________________________________

Footnotes:

  1. if you count Serge Ibaka in that group, they actually have a “Big 4” []

Buster Olney: Carlos Quentin a “perfect fit” for Indians

The Cleveland Indians offense might best be described as mercurial. Or perhaps unorthodox is a more fitting word. The Indians don’t hit a ton of home runs, they don’t hit well for average,  they’re in the bottom half of the American League in most offensive categories.

Yet they’re 4th in OBP, 1st in walks, and 1st in stolen bases. They’re manufacturing runs and generally trying to get the job done. However, a power right handed bat would seemingly be the perfect pick up for this offense. ESPN’s Buster Olney agrees and says in his latest column that Carlos Quentin would be a great trade deadline pickup for the Tribe:

Cleveland Indians: He would be a perfect fit in so many ways; Quentin is a right-handed hitter, which the Indians need desperately. But it would not be the Indians’ way to give up prospects for a short-term fix.

He’s right about that last point. Sure, the Indians gave up two top level pitching prospects last year for Ubaldo Jimenez, but that was because the Indians were hoping Ubaldo was hitting his prime and would be in Cleveland for several years. Quentin, a free agent at the end of the season, is currently making $7.03 million this season. Giving up prospect(s) for a several month rental is indeed very un-Indians like. However, if the Indians are still battling for first place and Quentin is viewed as a player who can put the team over the top, who knows how desperate the team will get to make the postseason for the first time since 2007.

[Related: Indians 4 Tigers 2: It's a Ubaldo Sighting!]

Cavaliers Shouldn’t Alter Rebuilding Path for the Sake of Making the Playoffs

The Cavaliers still should trade Sessions...for a first round pick

It’s funny to be sitting here a day before the NBA trade deadline and thinking about how a Cleveland trade would impact their own playoff hopes.

It’s true, though. That is the Cleveland Cavaliers’ reality. As of today, Cleveland is 1 game behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference. I don’t think anyone ever thought this would be an issue for Cleveland this soon, yet here we are.

With Anderson Varejao now having been out for a month, how did the Cavaliers get here? It’s really a combination of things. First, getting the 8 seed in the East is nothing special. The Cavaliers are 8 games under .500 and yet are 1 game out of the playoffs. If anything, these playoff aspirations are more about the pathetic nature of the Eastern Conference than about any perceived quality of the Cavaliers.

Were they in the Western Conference, the Cavaliers would be in 14th position, five and a half games behind 8th seed Houston. Rather than talking about how exciting the season is and having all this hyperbole about how incredible it is that Cleveland is in the playoff hunt, the talk instead would be just how far the Cavaliers have to go to be competitive with their Western Conference peers. [Read more...]

It’s a Shame, but the Cavaliers Need to Trade Ramon Sessions

Sessions' time in Cleveland may be ending soon

The first half of the NBA season is now complete for the Cleveland Cavaliers. They now will enjoy a nice 5 day break (except for Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, who will partake in some of the festivities in Orlando) for the All-Star Break. When they come back next Tuesday, they will play two games back to back nights, and then that is it for February.

It’s hard to believe March is right around the corner already, but even more surprising is how quickly the NBA trade deadline will be here. March 15 is just 21 days away, which means Chris Grant and company have just 21 days to decide the future for several players.

We’ve already debated trading Anderson Varejao, and Antawn Jamison is an obvious trade target due to his contract status. But the one player who the Cavaliers absolutely must trade is Ramon Sessions. It’s just too bad they have to do so.

There are actually a few decent reasons not to trade Sessions. The Cavaliers will probably never find a better backup PG than Sessions. You want to know a big reason why the Cavaliers are such a competitive team this year? It’s being able to have a player like Sessions fill in for Kyrie Irving when he goes to the bench. The losses of Anthony Parker and Daniel Gibson would have been much more brutal for the team if they didn’t have a versatile PG who could also coexist in the backcourt with Irving to trade off PG/SG roles. [Read more...]

Report: Former Buckeye Greg Oden Undergoes Additional Microfracture Surgery

Undergoing what was supposed to be a procedure to clear debris resulted in yet another microfracture surgery in the left knee of former Ohio State center Greg Oden.

Reported by the Associated Press, the procedure performed in Vail, Colorado established that there had been additional damage sustained by the 7-footer’s left knee. The first-overall selection in the 2007 NBA Draft, Oden has now had three microfracture surgeries, this latest being the second on this specific knee. The selection, and subsequent misfortune, of Oden will likely go down along side the Blazers selecting Kentucky center Sam Bowie ahead of North Carolina’s Michael Jordan in 1984.

Agreeing to a one-year deal prior to the 2011-12 season, it was hoped that Oden could see the floor for the Portland Trailblazers, but two separate set-backs have derailed his return. Oden, who has not played in an NBA game since Dec. 5, 2009, has appeared in 82 career games for the Blazers, averaging 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds.

[Related: Varejao’s Injury Changes Cavs Outlook]

Revisiting the Anderson Varejao Trade Discussion

Anderson Varejao's Value Shining Through This Season

In the midst of watching the Cavaliers’ incredible comeback against the Celtics, I was also keeping one eye on Twitter. (On a side note, I don’t know how those of you who tweet during games do it…I always feel like anytime I try to tweet during games, I feel less connected and distracted from the game. So kudos to those more adept to multi-tasking that I am). I noticed something interesting happening on Twitter during this game.

As Anderson Varejao kept pouring his heart and soul into that game, giving every last ounce of effort and want-to he could possibly find inside his seemingly tireless body, Cavs fans on Twitter were making arguments as to why this should be the showcase for trading Varejao.

The irony of people asking for the Cavaliers to trade Varejao as we were all watching the man give the type of effort without which the Cavs certainly would have lost was absolutely not lost on me. Nor was the fact that Varejao, always considered a fan favorite, seems to be the guy many Cavs fans are most eager to have the team trade away. [Read more...]

Report: Packers Unlikely to Use Franchise Tag on Matt Flynn

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Green Bay Packers are likely to use their 2012 franchise tag on tight end Jermichael Finley rather than back-up quarterback Matt Flynn.

The Packers were reportedly considering using said tag on Flynn to allow for sign-and-trade possibilities, ultimately netting them at least one additional draft selection with the counterparty inking the quarterback to a long-term deal akin to that off Matt Schaub or, more recently, Kevin Kolb.

Flynn, 26, was on the radar of many heading into the final week of the season and saw his stock rise considerably following a 480-yard, six-touchdown Week 17 performance against the Detroit Lions.  He has been linked to the Browns as well as other quarterback-hungry franchises like the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins.

The one-year tender for Flynn would cost the Packers $14 million in guaranteed money.

[Related: What Would it Cost for Matt Flynn if He is Franchised?]