Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

LeBron James is a Cavalier Again.

Friday, July 11th, 2014

LeBron James is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s official. LeBron gave an exclusive to Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated, in which LeBron said,

Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now…

I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when. After the season, free agency wasn’t even a thought. But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. I looked at other teams, but I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy…

But this is not about the roster or the organization. I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.

In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.

I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.

It’s what we’ve always wanted to LeBron to say, and how we’ve always wanted him to act. The next era of the Cleveland Cavaliers starts today. I’m happy for everyone who persevered with this team for so long. Enjoy yourselves, Cavs fans. Next season should be quite a ride.

Nothing is “All for Naught.”

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

During the season highlights introduction to last night’s ALCS Wildcard Game between the Indians and the Rays, the voice-over narration caught my ear. It said something to the effect of: despite the great seasons of these teams, despite every every hit, every pitching masterpiece, every defensive gem, every walk-off home run, every injury comeback, every win streak, and every walk-off win, for these two teams, unless they win tonight, this past season was “all for naught.”  This zero sum gain mantra is a summation of everything wrong with attitudes towards sport in this post-modern world.

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NBA Schedule Released!!

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

The NBA released the 2013-2014 schedule yesterday evening; only 84 days until the Cavs return!!  Here is the Cavs slate.

A few items to note:

  • The season kicks off October 30th in Cleveland, against Brooklyn.  Looks like the Nets championship aspirations start poorly.  A huge game, including Shaun Livingston’s return to Cleveland; Karasev vs Kirilenko…no wonder the game is nationally televised on NBA TV.
  • November and December prove more tame this year than last.  Thirty games in 63 days, half at home and half on the road, with zero four-in-five-nights.  The first ten games feature Charlotte twice, Philadelphia twice, and Minnesota twice.  The table is set for a strong early push towards the playoffs.
  • Games eleven and twelve bring battles against Washington, an exciting early test of the Kyrie / Waiters versus Wall / Beal backcourts.
  • No Christmas day game, with Cleveland playing home against Detroit on the 23rd and Atlanta on the 26th.  Enjoy a nice holiday with your families, guys!
  • In January, the team embarks on a 5 game, 8 day West Coast trip, traveling to Utah, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Portland, and Denver.   Two wins from that voyage is easily realistic, probably one coming from Mike Brown, Andrew Bynum, and Earl Clark returning to face the Lakers..
  • Immediately following that stretch is five at home: Dallas, Chicago, Milwaukee, Phoenix and New Orleans from January 20th to the 28th, with no back-to-backs.  Nice stretch there to pick up momentum heading towards the All-Star break.
  • After the All-Star break (February 13th – 18th), the schedule begins getting difficult.  In late February, the Cavs face their first four-in-five-nights stretch: Toronto; at OKC; Utah; at Memphis.  My opinion…much of the regular rotation should sit the Memphis game.
  • The gauntlet of fifteen March games includes: Memphis, San Antonio, the Knicks twice, Golden State, the Clippers, Miami, Oklahoma City, Houston, the Nets, and Indiana.  Whereas the month began with the completion of a four-in-five nights stretch, it ends similarly.  Houston, New York, Toronto and Detroit from March 22rd to the 26th.  This month will be a huge test for a young squad battling towards a playoff berth.
  • If they survive March, April provides a nice tune-up for that inevitable first round series against the Heat.  A seven games in 17-night stretch, with only one game against a contender, and that is the season finale against Brooklyn.  Could be meaningless for the Nets.

There it is.  Next season is almost here, and the schedule shapes up pretty well for a strong showing from the Wine and Gold.  Clearly, league-wide interest in the young Cavs is picking up with nine nationally televised games this year: three on ESPN, one on TNT, and six on NBA TV.  I’m ready.

Runnin’ Down a Dream: Cavs Take Bennett Number One

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Cavs fans should consider themselves lucky there wasn’t a consensus number one pick in the draft this year. If there were, there’s no telling if GM Chris Grant would have taken him.

Grant threw a draft day curve for the third straight year, selecting Anthony Bennett, the 6’7″ forward out of UNLV, first overall in a draft that kept everyone guessing right until David Stern capped the pause after his “A…” with”-nthony Bennett.”

But, don’t worry if this pick shocked you. You have company.

“I’m just as surprised as everybody else,” Bennett said, after being the first Canadian-born player to be chosen with the top pick in the draft. “I didn’t really have any idea who was going number one or who was going number two. I heard everything was up for grabs.”

The Cavaliers and Grant, who has long said the team would select the best available player, clearly saw something in Bennett worth grabbing. While averaging 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds as a freshman (his 12 double-doubles ranked third in the country among freshmen), Bennett couldn’t shake a comparison to a former Runnin’ Rebel and number one pick, Larry Johnson. “[T]hroughout the whole year, Coach Rice at UNLV, Stacey Augmon and Heath Schroyer, basically all said [my game and Johnson's are] similar,” Bennett said. “So I went back… I watched UNLV play Duke and beat them by 30 in the final. It was pretty much similar. I kind of see where the comparisons are coming from.”

Some questioned the pick, as the Cavs already have a young, somewhat undersized power forward in 6’8″ Tristan Thompson. But Bennett believes it’s not an either/or between he and Thompson. “I can contribute at the four, at the three. … I think I can just fit in right away.” And he downplayed the Canadian connection between he and Thompson, saying that the second-year Cavs forward is “just a great guy. He seems real cool,” but that the two don’t speak regularly.

Bennett was always considered one of the top two talents in this draft (with Kansas’s Ben McLemore being the other), but questions about his fit with the Cavaliers, his shoulder surgery and the inconsistent defense he displayed during this past year, led most to believe the team would choose a different path. While no one asked Bennett about his shoulder injury in the press conference, a source from the Toronto Sun confirmed that, while it would not be healed in time for Summer League, Bennett expects to be ready for the start of training camp.

Bennett is considered an explosive athlete who finishes around the rim, while also having the ability to face the basket and shoot with range.

If Bennett is able to transition to playing the three at least part of the time, the Cavs may have solidified a young, dynamic starting lineup that now seems light years away from their veteran, role-player-laden post-LeBron roster. A starting five of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Bennett, Thompson and Anderson Varejao while, not without its questions, will be the most formidable … or, at least, the most intriguing one the team has fielded in some time.

“I can play with anyone,” Bennett assured. “There’s no agendas for me. I just want to be successful… win championships… and, you know, just win games. … It’s just like a longtime dream that I had since I first started playing basketball.”

Turn on the Lights

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

So, Robert Attenweiler is our newest Cavs: The Blog staffer. You’ll get to call him a know-nothing gasbag in the comments section soon enough, but let me introduce the dude first. He and his writing partner Scott Henkle wrote Our Greatest Year, a play about a young couple living out the 2007 Cleveland sports calendar. You might remember he was a guest on Cavs: The Podcast some months ago, talking about said play. He has also written a couple things for our friends over at The Classical. I was concerned, when I started this search, that I would have to grit my teeth and hire the least-bad clip file that landed in my inbox, but I’m pleased to say that Robert is now part of our staff. I think he’s a very thoughtful writer, and I’m looking forward to reading and editing him.

Even if Robert hadn’t inquired, I would have had a solid stable of writers to choose from. I want to thank everyone who applied. I appreciate your enthusiasm immensely. I know I can get sort of down in the dumps—turn this space into my personal misanthropy bin—but it was heartening to see how many readers like the blog and aspire to write for it. Cavs fandom over the past little while—hell, over the course of the team’s entire history—has been the chore of self-flagellators and sad-sacks in much the same manner writing is. To marry the two practices is perhaps hazardous to one’s health. But good on you, and thank you for reading.

Anyway, Robert will have a post up tomorrow morning, so you’ll get to know him presently. Please make him feel at home.

Cavs: The Blog Calling

Friday, April 26th, 2013

If writing about basketball for free is your sort of thing, drop me a line at colinsilasmcgowan [at] gmail [dot] com. We feel like we need another writer on staff to cover the draft, free agency, and 2013-14 season, and that could be [wipes spit from side of mouth, looks into camera] you! To apply, let me know why you think you’re cut out to write for the blog and, if you have them, give me a couple clips you’re proud of. What we can’t offer in payment we can offer in… hugs? If you fly to Chicago and put yourself up in a hotel, I will hug you, if you really want that. I’m skinny and sorta weak-armed. It won’t be a great hug, probably. At any rate, just email me if you want to join this ragtag operation. We promise it’ll be fun.

Mailbag!

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

So, here’s the deal: we’re trying to figure out some new ways to engage our readership this season, and I thought it would be a good idea to start a mailbag. It’s not an original idea, but it’s one way to address some of your (the reader’s) questions about the team, the blog, etc. Obviously, we write articles about the stuff that interests us, but everyone has blind spots; I think soliciting comments and questions from you guys is a great way to engage some of the topics you might be interested in that we don’t cover in our feature pieces.

Hit up my (Colin’s) email (colinsilasmcgowan [at] gmail [dot] com) or my Twitter (@cs_mcgowan), and I’ll respond to a few of your inquiries in this space, probably next week. You can ask me anything you’d like, really, whether it’s 100% Cavs-related or otherwise. One request: keep it clean. I can’t run the email if there’s cursing in it, not because I don’t have a great affinity for coarse language, but because C:TB is technically a Disney-owned entity.

We’re Back With Idiot Wonder

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

I’m glad the sportswriting world has embraced hackery. Or rather, we’ve embraced that everyone is to various degrees a hack. The knowledge that informs this sounds self-evident when stated in plain terms: you can’t know sports. That’s a nonsensical concept, and the people that hold fast to that idea tend to be ex-jock troglodytes or else just gigantic morons. You can only know things about sports. Writers like Bill Barnwell, Chris Brown, and John Hollinger demonstrate this, but the numerous stat and video analysis geeks remind us constantly: they don’t have predictive powers, and though math is sometimes involved, their use of it doesn’t produce well-wrought urns of analysis. They conduct themselves like sportsologists—the pseudo-scientific nomenclature is deliberate—constructing from data various models of how the games they analyze work. They’re not experts; they don’t hold pretensions to authority. (And when the rare sabermetrician or video analyst does write as if atop a sports knowledge throne, it’s every bit as insufferable as when Blowhard Broadcaster X sidles up to a microphone to condescend to you about how to defend pick’n’roll.) For the most part, they’re just obsessive people trying to figure stuff out.

If you’re reading this, there’s a decent chance you’re an obsessive person trying to figure stuff out about the Cleveland Cavaliers. You and me both, friend. I have figured out nothing. I spent forty minutes this afternoon figuring out which Thai place I wanted to order lunch from, and my brain’s still half-melted from finally watching the Bachelor Pad finale last night. We’re talking about a basketball team that might start four players who have played a combined 111 games in the NBA. I don’t follow college basketball; I haven’t been hanging out with Tristan Thompson all summer; and the only things I know about star formation are from watching Carl Sagan’s Cosmos a few years ago, so it’s not even like I could make an apt analogy about the Cavs being in their “red dwarf” stage or whatever. Consider this video of a baby elephant learning to walk my cogent analysis of the forthcoming Cavaliers season. Ponder the metaphor. Or perhaps just point at the screen and squeal in delight.

But here’s the thing: I think this season will be fun. Not fun in the ecstatic sense, but fun like a watching a David Attenborough documentary while being punched repeatedly in the left shoulder by a five year-old. Fun like learning something while accumulating bruises.

I think this is the year the Cavs will start to make some sense. Not individual players per se, but the team as an entity. Two years after shoving the post-Lebron roster through a rice thresher, Chris Grant has assembled something that resembles a professional basketball team. Or at least the best college basketball team in the country. We’re finally going to see talent interact with talent. Kyrie Irving, already one of the twenty or thirty best players in the league, won’t seem so out of place. There are arguments to be made about how good the Cavs’ offseason acquisitions can be, but they’re already markedly better than Luke Harangody and Ryan Hollins. They have motor skills much more advanced than that of the average toddler and don’t handle the ball as if it were an irate lobster. They’re basketball players—they know how to make lay-ups and everything!—and Cavs fans will be treated to something like basketball.

Bad basketball, probably. It’s not like this team fills me with evangelical fervor. But it arouses my curiosity in a way last year’s team didn’t. (You really only needed to watch 30-odd games before you figured out Irving’s great, TT’s a project, Alonzo Gee’s an eighth man, and everyone else is varying degrees of not-good.) Dion Waiters moves through the lane like a bowling ball on a hoverboard, and Tyler Zeller is the Cavs’ first athletic seven-footer since before Brad Daugherty’s back lit up like a Lite-Brite board of pain. They were both asked after the draft how they fit into the team, and I remember being confused by the word “fit,” which implies there’s an existing structure into which one needs to position oneself. Rookies need to fit themselves into teams with mostly-solidified rosters like the Spurs and the Celtics. The Cavaliers exist in a pocket of collapsed space-time wherein Kyrie Irving stands solitary, dribbling a basketball through his legs with a look of unease on his face, and Tristan Thompson flickers like a hologram. Do whatever you want, rookies. You might not be good right away, but at least you’re corporeal. Fill the emptiness with reverse lay-ins and mid-range jumpers. No one’s going to stop you.

So bully to anyone calling themselves an expert, but they can’t possibly be right. This team is one shade lighter than absolute black, and I just want to stare at it for a while and let my tempestuousness simmer. I want to embrace not knowing stuff and write about the darkness and what might be inside it. Then I want to write about the nascent light that hopefully emerges and what it illuminates. That’s what we’ll be doing this season at Cavs: The Blog. (Yes, we’re back in full and rolling out preseason coverage all this week. Wake the children.) This is all to say we’d be pleased if you would join us. It’s probably best if we travel in packs. Things are about to get weird.

Cavs Get Fourth Pick in Upcoming Draft

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

I enjoyed the Kyrie Irving Era. Discuss.

Jent leaves the Cavs for OSU

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Former Cavs assistant coach Chris Jent has left the team to take an assistant coaching position with the Ohio State Buckeyes. My writeup on Jent’s move can be found over at NBC. Best of luck to Mr. Jent, his family, and the Buckeyes.