August 26, 2014

Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and nostalgic statues, While We’re Waiting

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Happy Tuesday, WFNY!

I wake up at 5:00 am every weekday morning, and I watch the local CBS affiliate news until 5:30 when I start getting ready for work. Why am I telling you this? Well, as a result, my TV is generally on CBS when I turn it on. On Monday nights, I usually start working on WWW around 8:00 pm. I turn my TV on to have in the background as I write, and so before I inevitably switch to the Indians game, “2 Broke Girls” is on.

I have to say, this might be the single worst show on TV. It’s nothing but rapid-fire snarky one-liners. And not particularly funny ones, either. I can’t imagine hanging out with people who talk to each other like the all the characters in this show. It is cartoon-y in all the worst ways. Every week I marvel at how this show is on.

I mean no offense to anyone who watches the show and likes it. We just have different tastes. But I will give it this, I often leave it on for about five minutes, unable to look away like a fascinating train wreck. Even though I thoroughly loathe the show, I keep watching, just trying to observe the never ending quips, each one worse than the last. It’s just funny to me the things that make it on TV and the things that are cancelled. It’s really all such a crapshoot.

Anyway, lets talk some sports…

*****

The break heard ‘round the (NBA) world

I wasn’t watching the USA Basketball scrimmage Friday night, but suddenly my phone started blowing up with the news of Paul George’s injury. I knew he was hurt pretty badly and I knew they cancelled the remainder of the scrimmage, but I didn’t see video of the injury until Saturday morning.

I wish I hadn’t seen it. It’s definitely one of the most gruesome injuries I’ve ever seen. Even though it was a completely different injury, it still reminded me a lot of Shaun Livingston’s injury which, to this day, remains the worst basketball injury I’ve ever seen. The good news for George is that while the injury was horrible to the eyes (and I’m sure it didn’t feel too great, either), there was no ligament damage. He didn’t do any damage to his knee or his ankle/achilles. By most accounts, George should be able to fully recover and return the same player as he was before the injury.

Of course, the injury has turned into an issue of whether or not NBA players should be participating in USA Basketball. Some have suggested that we go back to college players. Others have suggested they make it an under-23 team. I find it a little funny that people are fine with college kids hurting themselves. Because that’s the thing…injuries just happen. They are a part of sports. It doesn’t matter who is participating, there’s always a chance something can happen.

Thankfully, the Team USA players have all committed to sticking with the team and fighting to make the 12 man roster for the FIBA World Cup tournament this summer. That includes Kyrie Irving. As a Cavs fan, yes, it’s scary to think about Kyrie possibly injuring himself at some point this summer playing with Team USA. But it’s not like there aren’t benefits to him making the team. I’m fully rooting for Kyrie to make the team, and not just because I’m a fan of him and want to see him play with Team USA. No, beyond that, I want him to make the team because I feel that playing with some of the best players in the world in a competitive environment will make Kyrie a better player.

Playing on the All-Star team is one thing, but the level of competition there is often pretty low. But USA Basketball is a little different. There’s something about the legacy of Team USA that brings out the best in players. The rumors of Michael Jordan’s scrimmages in practice with the original Dream Team are legendary, and the tradition of intense on-court battles continues to this day with Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Paul George playing “King of the Hill”. Being a part of Team USA pushes everyone to be their absolute best, and it’s an environment that I feel would be incredibly beneficial to Kyrie as preparation for playing on a team with LeBron James and Kevin Love. Oh, speaking of Love…

*****

So it appears Kevin Love is going to be a Cavalier

Yes, something weird could still happen. Maybe Chicago or Golden State will still up their offers. Maybe the rumors are just one last desperate play by the Wolves to get teams to drive up Cleveland’s offer. But if the rumors are true, the Cavs and Wolves have a handshake deal in place to trade Love to the Cavaliers. It sounds like Andrew Wiggins will indeed be heading to Minnesota as the central piece of the deal.

People will probably never stop debating whether the Cavs should be trading Wiggins or not, and until the Cavaliers win a Championship, many will never stop pointing to this trade as being a bad idea. But the reality is, the Cavaliers are about to field a team that features LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving. It’s really hard to look at that core and not project it as an immediate top two team in the Eastern Conference.

But there are still some questions with this team. The Cavaliers’ front court is problematic. And now that the Cavaliers are about to give up some youth and flexibility to get Love, it’s hard to really see how they are going to ever address the center position in any kind of meaningful way. David Griffin is going to have to be extremely successful at finding players who can play later in the draft.

Another question is the injuries. Two of the Cavs’ “Big Three” have a history of injuries, and those are the two youngest of the three. Any injuries to Kyrie and/or Kevin in the near future could potentially make this trade a disastrous one. The Cavaliers seem to be building decent depth, and that depth could get a little better if the Cavaliers are able to sign Ray Allen and/or Shawn Marion. But for this thing to be a success, the core three need to stay intact. There’s no way for the Cavaliers to replace any of them if there is an injury. And that’s a little scary to me.

Now, having said all that, I am still 100% behind this trade. I just wanted to point out that it’s not the no-brainer that so many are making it out to be. There are some serious risks if the core three don’t develop together and gel the way we all hope they do. But this is a move the Cavaliers had to make.

The last time LeBron was in Cleveland, the team was never able to find another consistent All-Star to play with him. Sure, Z played in one All-Star game with LeBron and Mo Williams was an All-Star replacement, but it was LeBron and a bunch of really solid role players all designed to fit perfectly with LeBron’s skill set. This time is going to be dramatically different. Now LeBron will be playing with two other All-Stars. And depending on how well Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving play and how much fans still want to vote for Chris Bosh, the Cavaliers could potentially have three All-Star starters playing on the same team. In the perennially weak East, that should be good enough to win the Conference most years.

After four years of abysmal basketball in Cleveland, things are about to get incredibly fun again. Yes, it stinks to have to lose Andrew Wiggins. I wasn’t the biggest Wiggins fan pre-draft, but seeing him in Summer League, I began to see what everyone else sees in him. And he seems like such a good kid and the kind of person it would be awesome to watch grow and develop. But to get a player like Kevin Love, you’re going to have to give up something that hurts to part with. That’s just the nature of the business.

The bottom line is this, you can’t fret too much over losing a player that has never played a single NBA game in exchange for Kevin Love, a 25 year old All-Star in the prime of his career. If this deal happens as everyone says it’s going to, I won’t project the Cavs to make it to the Finals in year one. Neither Kyrie Irving nor Kevin Love have ever played in the playoffs. You typically have to lose once or twice in the playoffs to learn what it takes to win. But projecting forward over the next four or five seasons, the future looks incredibly exciting. I can’t wait to see how this all plays out.

*****

A legacy frozen in time

Yes, I was whole-heartedly opposed to the Jim Thome statue. I thought the idea was preposterous and I felt it made the franchise look even more pathetic. I felt that it was a situation where a franchise and a fan base cared a lot more about a player than that player ever really felt about the franchise in return. Sure, Thome typically said the right things, but actions speak louder than words. Remember, Thome was drafted by the Indians, so he didn’t have a say in that. But after that, all of his actions and choices moved him away from the Indians franchise. Even when the Indians brought him back in the trade, he once again chose to walk away. When he retired, he didn’t choose to come back to the Indians in any way. Instead, he chose to take an executive job with division rivals Chicago White Sox. And sure, he signed a one day contract to retire as an Indian. It’s a nice gesture, but it’s purely symbolic. Today he is back in his role with the White Sox.

Yet I have to admit, after seeing the statue, I was somehow more ok with it. We can choose to remember all the times Thome has turned his back on the franchise, or we can choose to remember that pose. When I saw the statue, I was flooded with memories of what those 90s Indians teams meant to me. I have spent the last thirteen years or so chasing that nostalgia as a fan. The fact is, Thome is the Indians’ all time HR king, and I don’t think anyone is going to catch him any time soon. And that’s what the statue represents to me. A connection to an era lost forever.

As an Indians fan, I love what Bob Feller means to the franchise. And I really hope Larry Doby does indeed get his statue next. But I didn’t see those guys play. Other than my late grandfather mentioning them to me a couple times, I have no real connection to them. But I do to Jim Thome and that pose. It means something very real to me. I don’t have to forget that Thome handed over that jersey he once said would have to be torn off his back1. I don’t have to like that he is now working for the White Sox organization, even if it is close to his hometown. But with this statue, there is now an eternal link to one of the most important players on the most important team of my childhood. I just find something comforting in that.

*****

 

Manziel momentum

Craig sort of touched on this briefly yesterday, so I’ll be brief here. But I just wanted to talk a quick second about the perception that Johnny Manziel is gaining momentum in the Browns QB competition. Obviously the Browns are not stupid. They knew damn well that giving Manziel some first team reps would create a circus of innuendo and projection. But even before Manziel got the reps, I just sort of got the feeling that Manziel was indeed gaining some momentum. I began hearing some whispers that perhaps the gap between Hoyer and Manziel wasn’t as wide as we believed.

I’m starting to wonder if the Browns aren’t hoping Manziel does enough to win the job Week One. I never thought it was even remotely possible, but with Josh Gordon’s likely suspension still lingering overhead and with not a whole lot of WR depth beyond Gordon, I just can’t help buy think that maybe Kyle Shanahan would prefer to use Manziel’s athletic ability and creativity to make some plays happen. If Gordon is available Week One, I think Hoyer would be the smart bet. But without Gordon, there are two ways of looking at it. You could trust Hoyer to not make many mistakes and be a safe, conservative offense and try to win games with defense and running the football. Plenty of teams have had massive success with that formula in NFL history. Or, you could give the ball to Manziel and see if he can spark some plays into the offense that Hoyer can’t.

I still think Hoyer is probably the smart bet to be the opening day starter, but the more I hear about camp, the more I’m softening on that stance. There is a real, tangible feeling to the momentum Manziel is generating. But training camp is long. Performance in preseason games will still be hugely important in deciding who starts for the Browns. I’m not really rooting for one guy over the other, I like things about both of them. I just want the Browns to pick the right guy for the right reasons.

*****

The Leftovers

I mentioned the HBO show The Leftovers a couple weeks ago after the first episode, and I wrote about my reservations about the show. Now that we are six episodes in, I am happy that my fears about the show were not met. I absolutely love this show.

Sure, it’s still bleak and can be quite depressing, but once again Damon Lindelof is doing a masterful job of blending storytelling technique with rich character development. Much like Lost’s first season, The Leftovers has an overarching mystery that hangs over everything happening in the show, but you find yourself often forgetting about the mystery and instead watching character interaction closely, trying to figure out their motivations, their secrets, what makes them all tic, and how they are all connected in the story.

My favorite episode by far was the third episode, “Two Boats and a Helicopter”, which focused solely on the preacher Matt Jamison. The wave of emotions and motivations for the character were fascinating. And the writers made us care so much about the character that, by the end of the episode when the (***SPOILER ALERT***) church is lost to the Guilty Remnant, we can feel Matt’s pain in such a real and visceral way.

In this week’s episode, I thought the writers again demonstrated extraordinary ability in showing us Nora Durst’s character path. One of the most famous lessons of storytelling in movies and television is “Show them, don’t tell them”. The writers showed us the depths of Nora’s painful existence and how she is coping with losing her entire family and trying to understand how to deal with her emotions. And then just when you start to wonder where the episode is going, the writers bring it back into the scope of the story’s canon by bringing Nora’s path into the arms of Wayne, one of the more enigmatic characters of the show thus far2.

I’m just a sucker for good storytelling and character development, and so far, The Leftovers is doing a great job of both. For some reason I was prepared not to like this show, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. While Game of Thrones is still probably my favorite show on TV, The Leftovers is quickly becoming the next show I am most excited about watching every week.

*****

 

New music of the week

Finally, now that July is over, we can get back to good music coming out more consistently. This week, there a few albums I’m excited about, but my pick for new album of the week is Spoon’s “They Want My Soul”. Spoon is band that I have always liked, but not really loved. On all of their albums there are a handful of songs I really like and a handful that I don’t feel anything about whatsoever.

On “They Want My Soul”, I don’t feel Spoon are really doing anything dramatically different. It is still immediately recognizable as a Spoon album. What separates this album from their previous work, in my opinion, is the songwriting consistency. This is the first Spoon album where I absolutely love almost every song on the album. It is an incredibly focused and razor sharp album. It’s an album that feels like it has a purpose, and that’s what I love about it.

Other albums I’m looking forward to this week include:

  • Tuatara – “Underworld”
  • Spider Bags – “Frozen Letter”
  • Naomi Punk – “Television Man”

*****

Alright folks, that’s all I have this week. As always, thanks for reading and I hope everyone has an awesome week!

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Footnotes:

  1. does anyone know if Thome actually said this and what the exact quote is? I tried searching briefly for it, but all I found was about a thousand articles referencing the quote with slightly different paraphrasing []
  2. I really, really hope there is an episode that shows us Wayne’s path, particularly his past. I would love to see his journey and how he discovered his unique gift and how he got to where he is now []

Kevin Love to the Cavs a done deal?

kevin love cavs

We have heard the rumors of Kevin Love to the Cavaliers for a couple weeks now. But the most definitive statement has come out today by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Windhorst told the Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show that the Kevin Love trade between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves is done but cannot be announced because of the 30-day restriction of Andrew Wiggins signing his contract. He said the teams have agreed to the deal, but they can’t say it publicly because of the 30-day restriction. Windhorst still remarked that anything can happen between now and the end of the 30-day wait, but there is a handshake agreement between Cleveland and Minnesota. The main framework of the deal is Kevin Love to the Cavaliers and Andrew Wiggins to the Timberwolves.

Windhorst also noted that he believes that Minnesota will also receive Thaddeus Young from the Philadelphia 76ers either in a three team trade or in a separate deal. He said that Anthony Bennett could be sent to the 76ers in this deal and that multiple picks will be involved. The trade might still include other pieces, but the main framework of Love for Wiggins seems pretty set. This is the strongest report so far on the status of the Kevin Love trade to the Cavs. It adds to the interview from Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor that Love will likely be traded on August 23rd or 24th. We still have a couple more weeks of waiting because of the 30-day restriction, but signs are pointing toward Cleveland receiving Love in a trade for Wiggins.

Here is the link to the Windhorst interview: Listen (He starts talking about the trade around the 9:30 mark)

(Photo by: AP Photo/Jim Mone)

T-Wolves owner: Love likely traded Aug. 23 or 24

kevin love cavs

The Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers trade rumors are getting stronger every day. This time the news comes from a direct source, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. Taylor told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Kevin Love will likely be traded on either August 23 or 24. Taylor told the Pioneer Press, “It’s most likely because Kevin has made it pretty clear that that’s what he wants to do.” It just so happens that August 23 is 30 days after Cavs’ number one pick Andrew Wiggins signed his rookie contract and is allowed to be traded.

The Cavaliers have been one of the leading candidates for Love ever since the team signed LeBron James. Other suitors included the Golden State Warriors and the Chicago Bulls. Cleveland became the leader over these two teams once they started including Andrew Wiggins in trade talks. Wiggins is said to be the top target for Minnesota in trade discussions, even over the Warriors’ Klay Thompson. ESPN reported Wednesday that the Cavs were the only team left in the trade talks with Minnesota. It is still unknown what else would be included in the trade for Love, but rumors of Anthony Bennett and a first round pick have been floating around. The only known fact seems to be that Kevin Love will not be a member of Minnesota Timberwolves for long.

(Photo by: AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Cavs only team engaged in Love trade talks?

kevin love cavs

Since the return of LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been talking to the Minnesota Timberwolves about Kevin Love. The Cavs have been in discussion to land Kevin Love to pair with James and Kyrie Irving. Over the past several weeks, there have been talk of the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors engaging in the trade talk for Kevin Love. But, ESPN is reporting that the Cavs are now the only team talking trade with Minnesota. The report says it is a matter of when the trade will happen rather than if. The package would be centered around the 2014 number one pick Andrew Wiggins. The Wolves are said to be interested in Wiggins the most among all other players the three teams could offer. That includes Klay Thompson who the Warriors have still not offered the Timberwolves.

The trade can not be made until 30 days after the date Andrew Wiggins signed his rookie contract, which happened last Thursday, July 24. This time table could give other teams time to sweeten their deal for Kevin Love. But even with this delay, Minnesota seems to be centered on getting Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins appeals to them not just because of his huge upside, but also his friendly rookie deal. They can control him for longer and at a much cheaper price then they could with Klay Thompson. The report says the framework seems to be Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and a first round pick. But, the question still remains about what the Cavs will send along with this framework in the package for Kevin Love. ESPN states that this part of the deal is still evolving and could change from now until the 30-day delay is over. The trade could involve a third team and could also involve other players from the Timberwolves including J.J. Barea. The trade discussions are still ongoing, but it seems more likely then ever that the Cavs will end up getting Kevin Love.

(Photo by: AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Bulls offer Gibson, McDermott and Mirotic for Love?

kevin love cavs

The Cavaliers may have a lot stronger competition in Kevin Love sweepstakes then previously thought. According to Chris Sheridan, The Chicago Bulls offered Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love.  He states that the the Timberwolves are very intrigued by the package.  Taj Gibson is a 5-year veteran who averaged 13 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks last season for the Bulls.  He plays well on defense and can score in the post and in the mid range.  Doug McDermott is a rookie from Creighton University.  In his senior season, he averaged 26.7 points and 7 rebounds.  He is a lethal shooter who can shoot from any spot on the court.  The Bulls signed Nikola Mirotic this offseason from Real Madrid in Spain.  He is a young sharp shooter who has really intrigued NBA teams over the past few years.

The Cavs have reportedly offered Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and a first round pick for Love. Andrew Wiggins was the number one pick in this past draft from the University of Kansas.  He is an athletic player with a huge upside.  Anthony Bennett was selected number one overall in the 2013 NBA Draft from UNLV.  He had a subpar year last season averaging only 4.2 points and 3 rebounds last season.  The Cavs own three first round picks next season including a Miami and Memphis’s picks.

The race to get Kevin Love is in full gear and it may not be decided for quite a while.  The Cavs made a trade yesterday to better their offer by getting three non-guaranteed contracts from the Utah Jazz.  The Bulls and Cavs seems to be the leaders in the clubhouse for Kevin Love, but anything can happen in the NBA.

(Photo by: AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Texans’ Andre Johnson asks for trade

Houston+Texans+v+Tennessee+Titans+VdPNmkn6uhYl

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Andre Johnson has told the Houston Texans that he wants to be traded.  The rumors of his discontent with the organization has echoed throughout the offseason. He is reportedly upset over his contract and how the Texans’ front office has treated him.  Rapoport states Johnson is upset about a $1 million bonus for attending workouts.  He had missed some of the sessions this offseason, but wanted to earn his money back by working out extra.  The report says the Texans told Johnson that he can not earn back the money.  Johnson believes that he deserves better treatment because of all the things he has done for the organization like restructuring his contract three times for the team.  This fight only adds to his want to play for a winning team and not one rebuilding like the Houston.

According to Rapoport, the Texans have so far said no to this request.  He also reports that four teams have expressed interest in trading for Johnson.  He could not specify who the four teams were though. The Browns could be one of those teams because of the likely suspension of Josh Gordon.  Johnson would give the Browns a number one receiver to replace Gordon and be the main target for the offense. The Browns will have a big hole at wide receiver if Gordon is suspended, so Johnson could be a good option to fill this hole.

(Photo by: Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America)

Cavaliers 3-team trade officially announced

new Cavaliers Primary Logo

The reported deal between the Cleveland Cavaliers, Brooklyn Nets, and Boston Celtics was official announced.  The biggest part of the trade for the Cavs was for cap space.  They cleared enough room to give LeBron James a max contract of about $20 million a year.  Their cap space is estimated to be around $22 million after this trade.  Along with the cap room, the Cavs acquired Boston’s 2015 second round pick (top 55 protected), the rights to Ilkan Karaman, and the rights to Edin Bavcic.  The 2015 second round pick will not extend into future years even if the Cavs do not receive it in 2015.  In the trade, the Nets received Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev.  The Celtics received Tyler Zeller, Marcus Thornton, and the Cavs’ 2016 first round pick (top 10 protected).  The Cavs’ 2016 first round pick sent to Boston is top 10 protected in 2016, 2017 and 2018, but will be unprotected in the 2019 draft.

This trade was all about cutting big contracts and making cap space for the team to be active in free agency this offseason.  According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the trade was not done for the sole purpose of making room for LeBron.  The Cavs received rights to Ilkan Karaman and Edin Bavcic in this trade, too.  Ilkan Karaman, 24, was selected by the Brooklyn Nets with the 57th pick of the 2012 NBA Draft.  He most recently played in the Turkish Basketball League for Fenerbahçe Ülker.  Edin Bavcic, 30, was originally selected by the Toronto Raptors with the 56th overall pick of the 2006 NBA Draft.  He currently plays for KAOD in Greece.

According to AP report, the Cavaliers have traded Alonzo Gee

DSC_0566

On Thursday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers decided not to draft Joel Embiid, the center prospect with the fractured foot. However, that doesn’t mean the Cavaliers weren’t still in the market for acquiring other centers with fractured feet.

According to the AP, the Cavaliers traded much maligned Alonzo Gee to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Dwight Powell (who was taken with the 45th pick in Thursday night’s draft) and center Brendan Haywood. Powell was a first-team All-Pac 12 power forward for Stanford last season who possessed excellent athleticism and will try to bring a face up game to the Cavaliers. Haywood missed all of last season with a stress fracture in his foot.

As for Alonzo Gee, this ends his roller coaster time with the Cavaliers. Initially brought on as an undrafted free agent in 2010, Gee won over the team and many fans with his hustle, effort, and defensive ability. Gee carved out a role for himself on the team, playing 24 minutes per game his first season with the Cavs. But as expectations for Gee grew in Cleveland, his performance began to decline into a bit of an inconsistent period of frustration. After averaging over 30 minutes a night the previous season, Gee saw his minutes dwindle to around 15 per game under Mike Brown this past season.

Gee finishes his 4-year period in Cleveland averaging 8.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game.

[Related: Cavs draft sharp-shooting Joe Harris with No. 33 pick]

Photo: Scott Sargent/WFNY

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]