Archive for the ‘Off-Season Moves’ Category

Waiting For This Year: Kevin Love Trade Is Now Official

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

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It seemed like so much longer than just 30 days, but August 23, 2014 did eventually come and, with it, the deal that delivers Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers became official.

Now, even though everyone has been talking about this trade for weeks like it had already occurred, this trade has now occurred. The Cavaliers get the 6-10, 260 pound, three-time all star, sending the Minnesota Timberwolves the spoils of their last two years of lottery luck in Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. The Philadelphia 76ers steps in to facilitate the trade/the continued gutting of their roster sending Thaddeus Young to the Wolves and getting back guard Alexey Shved and forward Luc Mbah a Moute from Minnesota and the Miami Heat’s 2015 first round pick from Cleveland.

Wiggins is only the second number one pick in NBA history to be traded before playing his first professional game. He joins Chris Webber who was traded from the Magic to Golden State on a draft day trade in 1993. Wiggins’s post-draft summer was a little less comfortable than Webber’s, though, as he had to deal with trade rumors basically from the moment LeBron James re-signed with the team in mid-July.

Love is coming off a season where he averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds a game and his ability to stretch the floor (37.6% shooting from three) makes him the perfect compliment to James.

Because the trade has been a veritable lock for several weeks now, you know what most everyone here at Cavs: The Blog thinks, hopes, eats, prays and loves about Love. But now, at least, we can talk about an Irving-Love-James core (even thinking “Big Three” makes me throw up a little in my mouth) as a real, actual thing and look forward to watching arguably the most talented team in Cavaliers history.

You can read the team’s official release here.

 

Breaking News: Shawn Marion Commits

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

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Shawn Marion is going to sign with the Cavs.  The Pacers seemed to be in the running for his services because they could offer more money than the Cavs, but they have lost out.  Marion wants to play for a contender.

Sources told ESPN.com that Marion informed the Cavaliers this weekend that he intends to sign with them this month despite the fact that Cleveland can only offer him a minimum deal.

Marion is known for his goofy shooting stroke and for his ability to defend a variety of positions.  He was a critical piece on the Mavericks team that won the 2011 finals and caused LeBron James to retool his game the following season.

He averaged 10.4 points a game and 6.5 rebounds a game last season.  Marion will be a welcome addition to the Cavaliers offense too;  he doesn’t need the ball to make an impact and always seems to get his own points without being the focal point of the offense.  He has just what the Cavs need: defense and the ability to move without the ball effectively.

The Point Four-ward: Get Those Hands Up!

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Still finding yourself on the fence about whether or not to embrace Kevin Love? Well, sipping from a frosty, ice-brewed, beachwood-aged mug of Kevin Love highlights should put some flash back in your step, mister. I’d been resisting spending too much time aboard the Love Boat this summer, but since we’re in that dangerous stretch between Summer League and Team USA games (where madness truly does lie), I thought I’d spend a minute or twenty with the Cavs presumptive 2014-15 starting power forward. And you know what? Kevin Love does all those Kevin Love things that everyone says he does. But the thing that really stuck out was how much of his 10-minutes plus of highlight footage spanning an 82-game season came on the two occasions where Love was matched up against Tristan Thompson.

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The Point Four-ward: Summertime Rolls Edition

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Last week, I wrote about the Cavs moves in free agency and failed to mention LeBron James. However hard to believe, it’s true. At the time, all of five days ago, I was still trusting what people who cover the league closely had been telling me since the Heat came crashing down in the Finals: sometimes where there’s smoke, there’s just a smoke machine. Basically, while The Return continued to be the year-long rumor that refused to die, very few people saw much in the story besides the story. Of course, the Cavs were going to court LeBron, as any team with the cap room and a drunk gunslinger’s chance of catching the eye of the best basketball player on the planet should have. And, for a league interested in becoming a year-long news cycle similar to the NFL, Cleveland presented The Angle: the plucky, oft-spurned suitor who croons and coos through 7-10 days of lead stories before James, eventually, though inevitably, returns to the pillowy-soft wedding bed of the Miami Heat.

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Under the Radar Targets: Donatas Montiejunas

Monday, July 7th, 2014

 

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So I hear there are some relatively big free agent names out there this summer. Something to do with the 2003 Draft Class. Details. I assume that all those fine gentlemen will make the appropriate choices (fight the urge to say Decision) for themselves and their respective families. Depending on how this all shakes down, some fortunate teams will be in a rush to free cap space in an effort to sign a max salary player. The Cavaliers have an interesting slate of 2015 draft picks that could come in handy when attempting to steal acquire another team’s cap-clogging assets.

Houston has been very aggressive in its effort to land Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, or Chris Bosh.

*In not-so-insignificant-news that I am clearly attempting to downplay for our collective sanity, LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul has reportedly met with Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, and Cleveland to discuss LeBron’s future; not to mention the insanity about Dan Gilbert’s plane flying to Florida, yesterday, Chris Broussard’s tweet, and the subsequent internet freakout. We live in a world with a 1440 minute news cycle.

If Houston were to lure a big time free agent to play with James Harden and Dwight Howard, the Rockets would be required to do some serious cap management. If they match whatever contract offer restricted free agent, Chandler Parsons signs, GM Daryl Morey will have to earn his Dork Elvis moniker. Many smart teams are calmly waiting for those large dominoes to fall.

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Links to the Present: Report Cards, Trades, and a Presser

Friday, June 27th, 2014

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The Cavs organization must have been reading our mock draft last night because they took the same player we took with the number one pick, Andrew Wiggins.  No wonder the grade for that pick is so high.  Although we didn’t take Joe Harris with our 33rd pick in the mock draft, writers are pretty high on him too.

The head draft expert at ESPN, Chad Ford, awarded the Cavs an A.  He didn’t give out an A+ to anyone.

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Initial Thoughts on the Deng Trade

Monday, January 6th, 2014

 

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Well, that was unexpected. After an extended dance with the Lakers about a possible Bynum-Gasol swap, the Cavs have decided to trade Andrew Bynum’s immediately erasable contract and 3 draft picks to the Bulls for Luol Deng and his $14.275 million expiring contract. I’m going to come right out and say it: This trade carries some long-term risks, but in the short-term, it’s an absolute coup for Chris Grant, and just might save his job. Here are the things I like about the trade:

1) Defense, Defense, Defense

As long-time readers of this blog know, I have always been a Mike Brown apologist, and feel he never gets the credit he deserves for turning the Cavaliers into an elite defensive squad during his first stint with the team. As short-term watchers of Cavalier basketball know, Mike Brown has been an absolute disaster on both ends of the floor this season, and the team has only been league-average defensively while being an absolute nightmare on offense. This trade gives Brown another really, really good defensive piece to play with, which he desperately needed. Deng is still an elite defender — the Bulls are 2nd in the league in defensive efficiency and they’re 4.5 points per 100 possessions better defensively when Deng is on the court. Having a stopper on the wing, as well as a high-profile player who buys in on defense, should help the Cavs tremendously on that end of the floor.

2) He comes from the right culture.

I alluded to this above, but I’ll give it it’s own paragraph here. Deng comes from the kind of team that the Cavaliers should aspire to be. They (were) built around a scoring point guard, they played brilliant, intricate, suffocating defense, and they out-worked their opponent almost every night. That’s how they won the most games in the East during Rose’s MVP year, and that’s how they stayed competitive when Rose got injured. If Deng can get Cavalier players to buy into that mentality, it’ll be a huge deal. (Short version: Luol Deng is the opposite of Rudy Gay.)

3) A target for Kyrie — on the wing!

Deng isn’t the prototypical #2 guy for Kyrie on the perimeter. He’s not a great shooter, he works in isolation a lot, and he generally likes the ball in his hands. Still, Deng is an above-average passer for a small forward, which is great considering he’ll be playing alongside of Irving and Waiters in crunch time, he’s a fantastic finisher at the rim, which is something the Cavaliers desperately need, and his combination of basketball IQ and toughness should be an absolute godsend after the parade of wings the Cavaliers have trotted out in the post-LeBron era. Deng’s relatively weak outside shooting keeps him from being a traditional sidekick, but he’s always found ways to score at a decent (if not thrilling) rate of efficiency, and there’s no reason to believe that won’t continue in Cleveland.

4) The only player the Cavs traded is one who they had banned from the team for the rest of time.

That sort of explains itself. So long, Bynum experiment.

5) According to the numbers, Deng is somehow not breaking down physically.

Deng has been playing “If he dies, he dies” minutes for the last few seasons, and missed time last season because of a BOTCHED SPINAL TAP. 28-year old male humans should not be needing spinal taps. That’s a bad thing. And Deng, when not playing 37.4 minutes per game this season because I CAN FEEL A PULSE NOW GET BACK OUT THERE AND SHOW HARD ON THAT DAMN PICK AND ROLL, has missed some games with injuries. However, when he’s played, he’s somehow been having one of his best seasons in years. His PER is as high as it’s been since the 06-07 season, and his TS% has only been higher in 06-07 and the year Rose was healthy and the league MVP. So, fingers crossed, we’re not getting a Luol Deng running on fumes here, which was a pretty major cause with Pau Gasol.

6) Expiring contract!

If Deng does break down, or doesn’t mesh with the team, or whatever, guess what? His contract is coming off the books after this season! It’s all the same! There’s no long-term risk financially here? (Again, I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that Deng is not Rudy Gay.) The only thing that’s happening here is that Dan Gilbert will have to spend more money. And we here at Cavs: The Blog are always willing to spend Dan Gilbert’s money in order to help the Cavaliers. It’s just the kind of giving souls we are. And this means the Cavs will still have the flexibility to sign LeBron! (Note: the Cavs are not going to sign LeBron.)

7) No major assets were given up.

When I first saw that the Cavs had given up two second round picks, a first, and a right to swap for Deng, I thought Grant had gone into a Paxson panic and made a Jiri Welsch-esque “I’m fired if this doesn’t work, so who cares about the future?” trade. However, the “1st-round pick” is almost certainly not going to be in the first round, since it comes from Sacramento and is top-12 protected. (One more time: THANK GOD FOR RUDY GAY.) In fact, the pick is top-10 protected through 2017, which means that the pick won’t come back to bite the Cavs until Sacramento gets out of the cellar, which could take a while, or if Chicago hits the jackpot and finds a franchise-changing player outside of the top 10. As for the second-rounders, it’s hard to feel too bad about them when the Cavs have one lottery pick who can’t crack the rotation and another who shouldn’t be in the rotation. TYLER ZELLER IS A RELATIVE SUCCESS AMONG RECENT CAVS LOTTERY PICKS. As for the pick-swap, that’s pretty well protected too.

DOWNSIDES:

1) Spacing.

As mentioned above, Deng is a pretty poor shooter for a high-profile NBA wing. He’s shooting 27.4% from deep, and he’s not much better on long twos. Considering that the Cavs already have some pretty serious issues with spacing, that’s a legitimate concern, especially since you’d love to see someone able to give Waiters and Irving more space to work in in the paint.

2) Deng is an old 28.

I mentioned this above, but it’s concerning that Deng has been playing 38 minutes a night for the last few years, had a spinal tap procedure that almost killed him during last year’s playoffs, has missed games this year, and was given up for a player who will not be playing basketball anytime soon willingly. I can’t shake the feeling Deng is going to age like an NFL running back — one day, he’s just going to be DONE, and some team will be stuck with a substantial bill. I just hope it’s not the Cavs. That takes us to…

3) I am terrified of signing Deng to an extension.

As of now, I love this deal. The Cavs can get some pride back, some wins under their belt, make an actual run at a playoff seed, and feel like a real basketball team again. Despite the current theory that tanking is a panacea, that strategy generally works just as well for getting teams out of the gutter than bottoming out does. However, I will want to eat a compact fluorescent lightbulb if the team signs Deng at $15-17 million through his age 32 year, because he’s not going to take the team any further than the first round and at some point his next contract will become an albatross. (Joe Johnson is currently 32. That should terrify you.) If the Cavs extend Deng immediately, I will go insane. If they extend him on the strength of a first-round playoff appearance and exit, I will also go insane.

Fortunately, they probably won’t extend Deng right away, because they want to keep their slim hopes of getting LeBron alive (and honestly, LeBron is worth it, despite the odds), and won’t extend him on the strength of a first-round playoff birth, because I still don’t think the Cavs are making the playoffs. This trade will help, but the Hollinger odds have the Cavs with a 10.4% chance to make it in as of today. Only the Bucks have lower odds of making the playoffs in the East, and I don’t think Deng is enough of a game-changer to completely turn it around.

The bottom line, though, is that this move represents a step in the right direction for the Cavaliers, and I look forward to them getting much more watchable in the near future. Things will get squicky for me when the time comes to decide on re-signing Deng, but until them I’m happy about this one. Until next time, campers.

 

Sizing up the Northwest: the Portland Trail Blazers

Friday, October 11th, 2013

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Over the last year in various hypothetical Cavalier trade posts, I have been a little hard on the Portland Trail Blazers.  Over the salary cap this season, committed to 80% of that level for 2014 – 2015, and lacking four of six picks in the next three drafts, their current big three consists of Lamarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard and Nic Batum.  That’s all fine and well, but in the West over the next five seasons, will that beat: Durant, Westbrook & Ibaka; Gasol & Conley; Harden, Howard, Parsons & Lin; or Paul & Griffin?  What about San Antonio or whatever becomes of the Lakers?  Perpetually a deep conference, I envisioned trouble for the Portland core exceeding “first round playoff fodder”.  But anyways…that was then…this is now; how is Rip City stacking up with the Cavs this season?

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Sizing up the Pacific: The Golden State Warriors

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

One of last season’s darlings, the Golden State Warriors made big moves this offseason.  How do their future prospects look and what does it mean for the Cavs?  Let’s see…

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Sizing up the Southwest: the Memphis Grizzlies

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Two weeks from today, across the country, the NBA kicks-off a new season with media day; finally, something substantive to distract us from football.  Until then, Cavs:the Blog continues our odyssey through the rest of the NBA.  The Eastern Conference featured several doormats to enhance Cleveland’s playoff hopes; the Western Conference houses few similar patsies.  Beginning the sojourn through that terrifying wilderness, today I look at the Memphis Grizzlies.

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