April 16, 2014

Cavs trade for Deng a win for the present, but a question for the future

Luol Deng

While many of us were sound asleep on Monday night, Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant was still hard at work. Glasses on, Grant was looking to capitalize on the flexibility he gave the team in structuring Andrew Bynum’s contract in a way that not only protected the team, but also served as a valuable trade item should Bynum not work out in Cleveland.

Needless to say, Andrew Bynum didn’t work out. So late Monday night, Grant finally found the trade partner he was looking for in the Chicago Bulls. At 12:54 am, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert officially welcomed Luol Deng to the team via Twitter.

[Read more...]

For the Cavaliers, #1 Pick is All About Options and Opportunities

draft-lottery-2013Yesterday, as WFNY’s Scott Sargent was announcing his trial separation with the NBA Draft Lottery, I found myself nodding along in agreement as I consumed every word of it. Scott is exactly right. The Draft Lottery is the worst. It was kind of fun the first couple years, dreaming of top picks and thinking about potential. In previous years I’ve spent countless hours playing the lottery machine, reading about the top 2 or 3 prospects, and dreaming of what winning the top spot would mean for the team.

But the more time you spend wallowing in the murkiness of luck, lethargy, and the tantalizing siren song of the NBA Draft Lottery, the more you realize it’s not a scene you really want to be a part of. As much as I love seeing Nick Gilbert proudly represent the city of Cleveland and the Cavaliers franchise, I’d be perfectly content if I don’t see him on TV again until it’s on a podium holding a trophy.

And thus, shortly after Nick Gilbert told the national audience that he, too, was tired of being there, the Cavaliers won the #1 pick in the draft. And in doing so, the Cavaliers opened the door to a world of options and opportunities. The team may or may not be in the lottery again next year, but you have to believe that at worst Nick Gilbert will be sitting in the top row instead of his usual front-left spot on the stage. [Read more...]

NFL Draft: Browns trade 5th round pick to Colts for 4th rounder in 2014

The Browns have traded away a pick for the second time in the 2013 draft, sending their 2013 5th rounder to Indianapolis in exchange for the Colts’ 4th round pick in 2013. The Browns now have traded out of the 2013 draft twice in favor of adding a higher valued pick in 2014. Cleveland also tradrf their 4th round selection for Pittsburgh’s 3rd rounder next year.

This is frustrating for Browns fans who see lots of holes on the team’s roster and want them filled immediately.Through five rounds Cleveland has only added three players, the two selections of Barkevious Mingo and Leon McFadden, and Davone Bess through a trade with Miami.

Seattle traded up two picks ahead of Cleveland at 139 to give them both picks 137 and 138, selecting DT Jesse Williams out of Alabama and CB Tharold Simon out of LSU. Simon, a teammate of Browns’ first round selection Barkevious Mingo at LSU was thought to be a possible target of Cleveland who despite drafting Leon McFadden in the 3rd round is still weak at cornerback.

[Related: Browns add Bess and McFadden, pass on Honey Badger]

NFL Draft: Browns trade 4th round pick to Steelers for 3rd rounder in 2014

For the first time since 1968 the Browns and Steelers are trade partners. Cleveland traded pick 111 to Pittsburgh for the Steelers’ 3rd round pick in 2014. The Steelers used the pick to select safety Shamarko Thomas out of Syracuse. Pittsburgh was reportedly very high on Thomas who has drawn comparisons to former Colts’ safety Bob Sanders.

While the Browns are in need of a safety, trading a fourth round pick for a third rounder in next year’s draft is a no brainer. Browns C.E.O. Joe Banner has said that all of the team’s holes will not be filled this offseason,  so with no one jumping out at them at pick 111 Banner opted to add an asset for next year.

Let it be noted that the Giants traded up to 110 right ahead of the Browns to select Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib. Cleveland then traded their pick to Pittsburgh. The Browns have been widely rumored to be in the market for a quarterback with Brandon Weeden not receiving the full vote of confidence from the new regime in Berea.

[Related: Browns add Bess and McFadden, pass on Honey Badger]

 

Video: NFL Films presents Davone Bess “Out of the Fog”

NFL Films profiles newly acquired Browns WR Davone Bess and his remarkable journey from nearly losing it all to becoming an NFL wide receiver.

Bess grew up in a rough neighborhood on Oakland’s east side. His dad was caught up in the fast life of the streets of Oakland, exposing Bess to the harshest realities life had to offer, watching his uncle get killed right in front of him. Despite the tough circumstances, Bess managed to stay out of trouble, keeping his focus and dedication on the football field. He was an all-city selection and had earned a scholarship to Oregon State before one night changed everything.

While giving friends what Bess called a “routine ride”, he and his friends were stopped by a police officer who found thousands of dollars worth of stolen electronics in the bags Bess’s friends possessed. Bess was adamant of  his innocence throughout the legal process, but as the driver Bess was convicted of possession of stolen goods and sentenced to 13 months in jail, a harsh sentence for first offense offender of a non violent crime.

Watching Bess speak of the hardships he faced, and the journey he went through to get to where he’s at brings to new light the Browns newest wide receiver.

[Related: Browns add Bess and McFadden, pass on Honey Badger]

 

NBA Trade Rumor: Cavaliers and Grizzlies working on deal for Leuer and Speights

EDIT: It appears this trade is agreed upon and just waiting for league approval.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies are in talks on a deal that would see Jon Leuer sent to Memphis and Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, and Josh Selby coming to Cleveland. Per Windhorst, draft picks would also be included in the deal.

The Grizzlies have been trying to rid themselves of some salary, and this deal would certainly help them with that. Speights is making $4.2 million this year and will make $4.515 million next season. Wayne Ellington is making $2.083 million this year and will be a restricted free agent after this season. Jon Leuer is making $762,195 this season and will have a qualifying offer to become a restricted free agent after this year.

As for the talent impact, well, there’s not much. Speights is a solid offensive big man and a decent enough rebounder, but his defensive woes will fit in a little too nicely on the Cavaliers. He’s averaging 6.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in 14 minutes per night. Ellington gives the Cavaliers some outside shooting that they do lack, but has never really developed as Minnesota or Memphis had hoped. He is shooting 42.3% from three point range this season.

[Related: Halfway Home: Cavaliers' Stats and Trends]

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...]

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]

 

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to Cleveland Far From a Sure Thing

Is the sequel to this photo getting closer to reality? Perhaps.

On Wednesday, as word broke of the New Orleans Hornets and Washington Wizards trade, there was a lot of instant analysis being done in the media and in social media outlets as well.

One of the main assumptions everyone seemed to jump to was that this trade signaled Washington’s intent to draft Bradley Beal at #3. On Twitter in particular, Cavalier fans erupted in celebration. With so many whispers out of Charlotte indicating that Thomas Robinson was the direction they are leaning, this meant Michael Kidd-Gilchrist appeared to be falling into Cleveland’s lap at #4.

Could this really be happening? Could the player so many Cavs fans1 coveted all along really be sliding down to Cleveland? A cause for celebration indeed! [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. as well as Cavs writers on this site []

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!]

Chad Ford: Cavs Would Love To Trade Up To 2, Considering Lamb at #4

ESPN’s Chad Ford, no matter how you feel about his talent evaluation, is an NBA draft pundit who definitely has his ear to the ground when it comes to NBA team intel. As with the NFL draft, there is always misinformation being intentionally leaked by teams to manipulate the actions of others, so as always, take this with a grain of salt.

In his latest draft blog, Chad Ford writes that the Cavaliers would love to move up to #2:

The Bobcats will likely decide between Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kansas’ Thomas Robinson at No. 2. Bradley Beal, Andre Drummond and Harrison Barnes are all in the mix there, but it seems like Kidd-Gilchrist and Robinson are the two top guys on the board. [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

MLB Rumors: The Tribe’s Ongoing Search for a Right-handed Bat

I’m back with your weekly “search for the right-handed bat” update.

As we stand on December 14th, the Indians are still on the hunt. Names keep getting bandied about, but nothing as of yet has happened. Last week’s Winter Meetings spawned conversations, including the now infamous Chris Antonetti “if I gave you 50 chances, you wouldn’t guess” quote in regards to who the Indians are going after. In the past two days, two names were crossed off the Tribe’s wish list; Third Baseman Aramis Ramirez and Outfielder Josh Willingham.

[Read more...]

NBA Lockout: LeBron Trade Could Pay Dividends in Event of Cancelation

If the 2011-12 NBA season becomes completely canceled (something not out of the realm of possibility), the assets acquired in the deal which ultimately sent LeBron James to Miami could play a integral role come this spring.

ESPN’s Chad Ford recently penned a piece discussing the possible outcomes of the 2012 NBA Draft in the event there is a complete cancellation of the 2011-12 season; we have already seen the first two weeks canceled and a potential decertification of the NBPA would be equivalent to a “six-month reset button,” as one league source put so poetically.  In Ford’s words, the league has several options as to how they will approach a draft that will be rife with talent: re-do the lottery with the 2011 odds, have a league-wide lottery which would equal-weight all 30 teams, or merge the two in a weighted lottery akin to that of the NHL.

In two of the three scenarios, the Cavaliers would have a fairly decent advantage in terms of getting compensated for James packing his bags last offseason.  The first is obvious; the Cavaliers won 19 games last season and would have the second-best odds at the first-overall selection, picking no later than fifth overall.  The second option, which would seem insane from a poor-record point of view, might not be so bad after all.  [Read more...]