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Cleveland Cavaliers

Instant Trade Analysis: NBA trade deadline deals

The 76ers trade everyone, control the second round of the draft
Indiana Pacers get: G/F Evan Turner, PF Lavoy Allen
Philadelphia 76ers get: SF Danny Granger, second round pick
Cleveland Cavaliers get: F/C Spencer Hawes
Philadelphia 76ers get: F Earl Clark, C Henry Sims, two second round picks
Washington Wizards get: PG Andre Miller
Denver Nuggets get: PF Jan Vesely
Philadelphia 76ers get: Eric Maynor, two second round picks
In what turned out to be the biggest deal of the day, Larry Bird resuscitated an otherwise tame trade deadline like a last second three-pointer from the corner.
The Pacers finally cut bait with their longest tenured player, sending the ineffective and still recovering Granger (and his expiring $14 million dollar deal) to the tank-happy Sixers, who traded two of their best four players today in separate deals. To “get” Granger, Philly dealt back-up big Lavoy Allen and former second overall pick Evan Turner, the Ohio State star who was selected in the 2010 Draft over the likes of DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors, Greg Monroe and Paul George, amongst others.
The goal for Indiana was quite simple–to get the versatile Turner who can play both guard and forward positions, handle the ball and get to the rim with some ease. While Turner isn’t a great shooter (just .288 from beyond the arc), nor is he the type of offensive spark plug off the bench, in the mold of Jamal Crawford or Manu Ginobili, he’s a solid passer and a professional hand to have on the floor. He’s an upgrade over the immobile Granger, who’s been pretty awful this year after sitting out nearly all of last season with knee troubles. Again, Turner isn’t exactly going to light the world on fire, but at this point, he’s like a very poor man’s Lance Stephenson….who was picked 38 spots later in the same draft. Four years ago, I could have never envisioned typing that last sentence while clear and sober. I like this move for Indiana, as Turner is an expiring contract that they could very well re-up in the case that “Born Ready” leaves. … Read more...

2014 MAMBINO NBA All-Stars

The 2013-2014 NBA All-Stars have been fully unveiled as of last night, with the reserves being named alongside the fan-voted starters. Just for those of you too lazy to punch in “NBA All-Stars” into Google, here they are:
Eastern Conference
Starters: PG Kyrie Irving, Cleveland; SG Dwyane Wade, Miami; F LeBron James, Miami; F Carmelo Anthony, NYK; F Paul George, Indiana
Reserves: F Chris Bosh, Miami; G/F DeMar DeRozan, Toronto; C Roy Hibbert, Indiana; SG Joe Johnson, Brooklyn; PF Paul Millsap, Atlanta; C Joakim Noah, Chicago; PG John Wall, Washington
Western Conference
Starters: PG Stephen Curry, Golden State; SG Kobe Bryant, Lakers; SF Kevin Durant, OKC; PF Blake Griffin , Clippers; PF Kevin Love, Minnesota
Reserves: PF LaMarcus Aldridge. Portland; SG James Harden, Houston; C Dwight Howard, Houston; PG Damian Lillard, Portland; PF Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas; PG Tony Parker, San Antonio; PG Chris Paul, Clippers
A great list to be sure…but not necessarily the right one.
The illustrious MAMBINO crew came together over the past week and threw down their All-Star picks because we’re smarter, savvier and just better than you, dammit. The following are the consensus group picks, as well as some pithy little commentary on how we reached our conclusions, including the snubbiest snubs (those that didn’t even get “snub” votes on MAMBINO). Read on!… Read more...

Trade Analysis: Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers

Chicago Bulls get: C Andrew Bynum, a future protected first round pick (conveyed via Sacramento Kings), two 2nd round picks (conveyed via Portland Trail Blazers)
Cleveland Cavaliers get: SF Luol Deng
Although it seemed like an eternity, the “Andrew Bynum” saga, as it were, only played out for less than two weeks.
On December 28th, the former oft-injured Lakers All-Star center got himself suspended from a Cleveland team 10 games under .500 for “conduct detrimental to the team”. Sometimes this very vague violation is code for “this guy was being a disruptive asshole in the locker room” or “he was being disrespectful to the coaching staff” or even “this player is not talented enough for us to put up with his BS”. All of those descriptions really mean the same thing, but the baseline qualifier here is very much the last one: the perpetrator in question doesn’t add enough on the court to balance his being a dick.
As a casual observer of Andrew Bynum for his entire career up until last season when he was a part of a four team trade for Dwight Howard, I can attest that nothing has really changed from what I can tell of his antics in Cleveland. He’s always had this strange, faraway stare in his eyes while addressing anyone, which often extends to a disengaged gaze that’s plastered all across his face while he’s on the court. Bynum might not be immature as much as he’s just a very strange fellow, though the end result of either opinion is the same: he can be a hard teammate to get along with and a harder player to coach.
I’m not at all surprised that it didn’t work out for him in Cleveland. With his injury history, organizations are no longer looking at him like a prospect that a team can grow around or needs to be fostered for future production. He’s been extremely erratic on the court, no doubt a side effect of the ravages his multiple knee surgeries and rehabilitations. Drew himself has expressed that he doesn’t know if it’s even possible to get back to his All-NBA form, a statement which has partially led to the situation he’s in now. His infrequent bursts of talent weren’t at all offsetting what a huge pain in the ass he’s been, a situation which the Cavs smartly thought of when constructing his contract this offseason.… Read more...

Uncle Drew’s World: Cleveland Cavaliers Season Preview

Cleveland’s great hope for the future.

Starting Five: PG Kyrie Irving, SG Dion Waiters, SF Earl Clark, PF Tristan Thompson, C Andrew Bynum
Key Bench Players: SF Anthony Bennett, PG Jarrett Jack, PF Anderson Varejao, G-F CJ Miles, F Tyler Zeller, G-F Alonzo Gee
Notable offseason additions: Coach Potato Head (Mike Brown), C Andrew Bynum, PF Anthony Bennett (#1 overall pick), PG Jarrett Jack, SF Earl Clark, G-F Sergey Karasev (#19 overall pick), G-F Carrick Felix (#33 overall pick)
Notable offseason subtractions: SG Wayne Ellington, G-F Omri Casspi, G Daniel Gibson, F Luke Walton, PG Shaun Livingston, G Chris Quinn, PF Kevin Jones
FACT OR FICTION: The Cleveland Cavaliers are a playoff team in 2013-2014.
FACT. Following the implosion of both Boston and Milwaukee this off-season, there looks to be a four team race for the seven and eight seeds. The usual suspects (Heat, Pacers, Bulls, Knicks, Nets, and probably Hawks) appear safe, but the Cavaliers, Wizards, Pistons, and Raptors (?!) are in the running for the next up and comer in the East. While each fanbase has lots of reasons for optimism, I really like where Cleveland is sitting right now and think they’ll take the 7/8.

Even if Anthony Bennett is a stretch at #1, they had a promising core already with Irving, Waiters, Thompson, and Varejao, a group that will only get better and is now complemented by some stellar off-season signings. Jarrett Jack was an absolute ROCK for Golden State and will bring the kind of moxie in the clutch that can bail out Cleveland in big moments. Earl Clark was a great signing who will provide a lot of depth, defense, and versatility. The Cavs managed to get both for just $11M next season, which is perfectly reasonable.… Read more...

(Not So) Instant Trade Analysis: The high upside free agent gambles of the Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers get: C Andrew Bynum (two years, $24 million, though only one year for $6 million is guaranteed), G Jarrett Jack (four years, $26 million), F Earl Clark (two years, $9 million)
The Cavaliers certainly won’t win a NBA title before LeBron James, but they’re getting closer.
That’s not to say Cleveland has made championship-caliber maneuvers this summer. They have. Potentially.
Within the last two weeks, the Cavaliers have gone on a wild spending spree that could cost as much as $59 million for three free agents that have earned three wildly divergent deals than what was expected of them before the 2012-2013 season.
After being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in the four-team Nikola Vucevic trade (which becomes a more and more fascinating deal by the day—only Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Al Harrington, Arron Afflalo and Jason Richardson remain on the same squads they were dealt to in a 10-player deal a year ago), many figured Bynum was headed for a maximum value contract after the season. New owner Josh Harris even went on record during Andrew’s press conference as to saying “Where do I sign?” in regards to a new deal. 11 months later, Bynum still hasn’t played second for the Sixers . He’s settling for a relative pittance, with just $6 million guaranteed on a two year, “make good” contract (the second year is a club option). A far cry from the $80-$110 million he could have grabbed had he played in even three quarters of the season.  While most folks assumed that Bynum would have suffered some sort of injury during the year, few prognosticated that he would only participate in one practice and zero games for Philly.… Read more...

How did the LA Lakers lose in Cleveland last night?

(Copped from my Silver Screen and Roll  game recap)

Going back to Silver Screen and Roll’s preseason predictions for the 2012-2013 season, most of us here were concerned with several different issues; a few of us pointed to team health, some asked questions about the coaching staff and a couple writers wondered aloud if the team’s pieces were the right fit.

No one–not a single person on this blog, nor many fans out there–thought that the problem would be effort.

The team’s early season slump was sent to an all-new low tonight, when the now 5-17 Cleveland Cavaliers thumped the Los Angeles Lakers 100-94 in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as it ended.

The Cavs played a modest game to say the least. On the offensive side of the ball, they only shot 44% and a Howard-ian 57% from the stripe. After throwing down a ridiculous 54 first half points, Cleveland was stunningly mediocre for most of the rest of the game, including an unbelievable seven minute stretch at the beginning of the third quarter in which they made exactly one field goal. Part of the reason was a totally impotent bench that without Tyler Zeller’s six points, would have gotten completely skunked. Omri Casspi, Jeremy Pargo and Daniel Gibson bricked all nine of their combined shots in an effort that would have left last year’s Lakers bench shaking their heads in disbelief.

Amazingly, the Cavaliers caught only eight offensive boards, which is two more than Anderson Varejao’s season average. On the whole, the team was crushed by the Lakers’ rebounding edge, ceding 11 more to LA, 15 of which were on the offensive end. Cleveland’s defense wasn’t sterling either, with the squad sending the Lakers to the stripe 40 times. In terms of field goals, the Cavs allowed 54 second-half points to the Show after just 39 in the first half. Finally, they did a terrible job coaxing Kobe Bryant into bad shots, as the Mamba hit 16 of 28 for 42 points.

The Cavs did have a couple of bright spots however, which came from predictable places. Kyrie Irving had a timely return tonight, coming back from injury to drop an amazing 28/6/11 on the Lakers in a seeming 1-on-1 duel with Kobe Bryant. C.J. Miles somehow dropped 28 points, looking like a genuine starter rather than a scrap heap pick-up. Anderson Varejao continued to make his case for the Eastern Conference All-Star team with a fantastic 20 points, 9 boards and 5 assists. However, the rest of the team was a virtual offensive wasteland, combining for 24 points split amongst seven players.

Looking at all those statistics, how could the Lakers have possibly lost this game?

(Check out the rest of the piece over at SS&R!)


Kyrie Irving, Future Top-5 Player? – Cleveland Cavaliers Season Preview

(Some magic from The King, who’s mobile today and so I’m posting on his behalf)

Starting Five:PG Kyrie Irving, SG CJ Miles, SF Alonzo Gee, PF Tristan Thompson, C Anderson Varejao

Key Bench Players: PG Donald Sloan, SG Daniel Gibson, SG Dion Waiters, SF Omri Caspi,  PF Jon Leuer, and C Tyler Zeller

Notable offseason additions:Dion Waiters (4th overall pick), Tyler Zeller (17thoverall pack), C.J. Miles
Notable Offseason subtractions: G Antwan Jamison

Losing LeBron James was the best thing that ever happened to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

I certainly didn’t think this was true at the time, but in hindsight, this was the only possible way for the Cavaliers to win a championship. If the Cavs had resigned LeBron, they would have become a rich man’s version of the late-1980s Hawks: a team with one star player surrounded by limited talent that was not good enough to compete with the league’s current elite, yet too good to pick early in the draft where the vast majority of stars emerge. Not to mention, the Cavaliers had zero payroll flexibility with gigantic contracts for overpaid players–in other words, they weren’t going to be able to get better through free agency. The Cavs’ hopes for a championship would hinge on unearthing an All-Star (or perhaps two) with cheap, late round first draft picks to compete with the league’s up-and-coming teams such as the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

With LeBron gone, the Cavs were essentially assured to be one of the worst teams in the league. This meant two things: (i) the Cavs’ draft pick was guaranteed to be in “superstar” drafting territory and (ii) with no hope of competing, the Cavs could trade their (few) marketable assets for draft picks such as Mo Williams, who, in what may turn out to be one of the greatest trades of all time, they turned into the #1 pick in the 2011 draft.

What it didn’t mean was that the Cavs fans would be doomed to years’ worth of pitiful basketball. Often times, rebuilding a team into a playoff contender can take half-a-decade or more. Watching your home team during those rebuilding years can be brutal – ask the Washington Wizards fans.  If you had talked to any Cavs fan during the 2010-2011 season, they had resigned themselves to the fact that they would endure 5-7 years of uninspired basketball like so many of the rebuilding teams before them. Yet, if you had spoken with those same fans a year later, you’d notice that they were decidedly more upbeat about the Cavs’ prospects. The reason why: 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.

Simply put, Kyrie Irving is the next NBA superstar. Coming out of Duke after playing only 11 games during an injury-riddled freshman year, there wRead more...

WWE for an NBA Fan – Central Divison (Part 3)

The Central Division is the worst in the NBA. Even if all the marquee free agents were evenly distributed amongst Cleveland, Indiana, Milwaukee and Detroit, at best this would be the second worst in the league, ahead of the hapless Atlantic Division. We’re potentially looking at 5 teams in which only 1 might make the playoffs. For all of our hoophead brothers in the Midwest, I can see how a once-nuclear winter has now only morphed into a just a really, really long one.

So why would you follow exclusively the predictable and inevitably disappointing journey to a 8th seed playoff team and a 4 game sweep by the vengeful Heat, when you could instead follow the scripted greatness of the WWE?

In the next of my 6-part series, here are the best possible comparisons I could come up with for these 5 NBA fan bases. I matched up the characteristics that defined, say, Deeeee-troit basketball with the professional wrestler that best personified the culture and history of these storied teams.

Cleveland Cavaliers
WWE Comparable: Santino Marella

The Cavaliers are coming off an unbelievable run that included the best record in the NBA and a Finals appearance. This was, without argument, the greatest stretch in Cleveland sports history in the last 10 years, and with the 2-time American champion Indians of the 90s, one of the greatest squads since Jim Brown’s Cleveland Browns teams in the 1960’s.

But then came The Decision. Without the need to rehash old history here, the hapless Cavaliers limped through the 2010-2011 season to 19 wins and 63 losses, while setting the record for longest losing streak in NBA history. I can’t even define this as adding insult to injury; this is like a roast at a Holocaust memorial. Just terrible. Like that line.

So Cleveland, for you I’d prescribe a WWE Superstar that will be entertaining, but not nearly important enough for any potential investment and emotional distress. The 2011-2012 season isn’t going to be much better than last year – even with the addition of Omri Casspi, rookies Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, this will be a largely undersized squad with two vets (Antawn Jamison and Baron Davis) that likely won’t be there before the trade deadline is up. Cleveland, what you need is someone to give you a few lighter moments in yet another season of despair. You need someone to keep you laughing while your basketball team is going to murder your heart…again. You need Santino Marella.

Santino Marella is an undersized professional wrestler from Canada masquerading as a Italian import. He was dubbed the “Milan Miracle” in his entrance to the WWE for his early upset victories over established Superstar Chris Masters during an European tour. He went on to hold the Intercontinental title but despite all his success, everything that Marella has accomplished during his time in the WWE has been done with a humorous slant. Though I cannot deny my own love and admiration for Santino as a performer, the truth is that his holding of any title while playing his clownish, arrogant and smart-alec character only devalues that championship. He is a man who plays for laughs and when he’s not performing a match for comedy, is proficient enough in the ring to look like something of an actual fighter. After all, this is his finishing move.

You need someone to invest in with measured expectations Cleveland. At least for a few years. Here’s your man. Have fun. And only fun.

Indiana Pacers
WWE Comparable: Rey Mysterio

A couple years ago, ESPN’s 30 for 30 … Read more...

Burning Question #15 – Did the Cavs take the right guy with the number one pick?

Between all the transactions featuring Albert Pujols, CJ Wilson, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Ross Ohlendorf in the past week, I thought that maybe this blog could take a breath and continue on with our Burning Questions series. With the mentioned developments with Dwight and CP3, not to mention potentially the Lakers, Hornets and Rockets, we’ve had to reevaluate the positioning of our remaining 15 posts.

Ironically, our next burning question has to do with the master of digital communication, champion of small market rights and the only man who could make even LeBron James a sympathetic figure, Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert.

Why is this even a question?

Coming off of one of one of the worst 12 months in any franchise’s history, the Cavaliers were due for a little bit of good luck at someone’s expense. Enter GM Neil Olshey and the Los Angeles Clippers organization.

The Clippers were looking to unload the $30+ million dollars of Baron Davis’ contract after years of Boom Dizzle showing up to training camp out of shape, unmotivated and keeping that same blasé attitude for the next 6 months of any particular season. Despite finally playing back in his hometown, Baron was simply disinterested in another losing Clippers season and allowed his vast talent and potential to again go by the wayside. Though signing Baron in the first place was a mistake, I can hardly blame the Clippers for not wanting to compound their error by allowing him to stay on the team and let his lack of work ethic affect the developing young players on the roster.

So GM Neil Olshey had the unenviable task of finding Baron a new home. After months of searching every corner of the league for a team willing to take on so much money from an unmotivated, albeit talented, freeloader, he finally matched up with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In exchange for Jamario Moon and Mo Williams, the Cavs took on Baron’s massive deal, as well as an UNPROTECTED 1st round draft pick from the lottery-bound Clippers. Other than the shock and amazement league-wide that any team would take on Baron’s money, this trade was met with little attention or credence.

Of course, the Clippers curse reared its ugly head yet again. As the lottery balls shot out into Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver’s hands, the nation realized that the Cavaliers had gained the #1 draft selection…by way of the Clippers’ pick.

After a month of debate, the Cavaliers selected point guard Kyrie Irving, a steady and talented young ball handler from Duke University. Irving’s selection as the first overall pick was met with much more skepticism than say John Wall, Blake Griffin or LeBron James (in fact, the entire draft was met with skepticism; a shallow talent pool was thinned even further when the industry saw that a lockout and potential cancellation of the 2011-2012 season was inevitable). Kyrie has been projected by many experts and scouts to turn into a solid pro who could potentially make one or two All-Star games. However, on the flip side, stating that Kyrie has that limited of potential is not necessarily the type of upside you want for the first overall pick. The second and third picks, forward Derrick Williams of Arizona and Turkish born center Enes Kanter, both project as riskier prospects, but with higher upside. The Cleveland front office obviously preferred to pair their fourth overall pick (also to the Cavs), forward Tristan Thompson, with young guard, rather than another big man.

Making a mistake with the first overall pick could be a … Read more...

Dan Gilbert Can’t Stop Crying

Just a couple days ago, my buddy Fatass took his first law school exam. When I asked him how it went, he was calm, cool, and collected (very un-Fatass, for anyone who has had the opportunity of hearing him speak). Unfortunately, he couldn’t say the same for his peers. According to him, these people questioned every minute detail of the test they had just finished. I of course was amused, seeing as how I bore witness to this first-hand during my own legal education.

There is nothing to gain from worrying about something for which you no longer have control. Words to live by.

When LeBron James infamously declared that his talents would call South Beach home, most fans, including me, forgave the city of Cleveland for rioting all over their own streets. We forgave them for setting fire to LeBron’s Cavaliers jersey. And when Dan Gilbert inexplicably wrote a letter to his constituents Cleveland fans, admonishing the cowardly decision of LeBron James, we forgave him too, even though it was more childish than the rioting or the burning. As fans of our own teams, we empathized with those actions because we would never want to be in a similar position.

More than a year has gone by, and at the risk of putting a second cliche in this post, time does heal all wounds. But if any of us have ever needed even more of a reason to tell Dan Gilbert to quit it, it came in the form of an e-mail to David Stern last night.

Yesterday, a blockbuster trade occurred between YOUR Los Angeles Lakers, the New Orleans Hornets, and the Houston Rockets. The exact location of all players was to be determined, but we all know that superstar point guard Chris Paul would be heading west to LA. Pau Gasol and Lamar Kardashian would be leaving for the Big Easy. I will put aside my analysis of the trade, partly because we don’t know the full details (and now we might never know), but mostly because my cohort KOBEsh has already done a wonderful job on the subject. (Seriously, he’s getting pageviews on that post like whoa.)

As most of us have learned within the past 12 hours, NBA Commissioner David Stern nixed the deal. League spokesman Mike Bass vehemently denied the allegation that any NBA owner had anything to do with this. But Yahoo! Sports and the New York Times both obtained an e-mail sent by “Buck Nasty” himself, Dan Gilbert, to Stern. In the e-mail, Gilbert declared the deal to be a “travesty.” He suggested that Stern put the trade to a vote to the “29 owners of the Hornets.” (As an aside: the NBA owns the Hornets. It is continuing its search to find a buyer, but the other 29 owners collectively have a say in the franchise’s operations.)

This is despicable. After enduring a lockout in which both sides failed to understand the definitions of “compromise” and “leverage,” fans were buoyed by the prospect of a saved season. Additionally, the whirlwind of news just yesterday about the possible destinations of not just CP3 and Gasol, but Tyson Chandler and Caron Butler, made the hardcore hardwood fans care even less about $254 million over ten years.

Let’s put this in perspective. Dell Demps, the Hornets’ General Manager, was given full authority to run the franchise’s basketball operations. This power was given to him by Stern, and was not questioned by any of the other 29 ownership groups. In a league where the dreaded player opt-out provision leads to franchises being forced to trade blue chip assets for 50 cents on the dollar, Demps turned his unhappy superstar into worthwhile piRead more...