Archive for the ‘Actual Trade/Signing’ Category

Cavs name David Griffin Vice President of Basketball Operations

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Via ESPN.com news services:

The Cleveland Cavaliers took another big step in their post-LeBron James era makeover by adding David Griffin as vice president of basketball operations.
Griffin has accepted the job, sources on Monday told ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher, several weeks after turning down the Denver Nuggets’ offer to be their general manager.
A league source told Bucher at the time that Griffin declined the Nuggets’ offer in part because it was nowhere near $1 million a year, the median salary for recently hired GMs that include the Cavaliers’ Chris Grant.
Grant was hired in June after the Cavaliers didn’t bring back Danny Ferry. Byron Scott then joined the Cavaliers as head coach to replace Mike Brown, who was fired in May.
Cleveland finished the regular season 61-21 as James garnered his second consecutive NBA MVP award. But the Cavaliers were ousted in the second round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics in six games.
James signed with the Miami Heat in July, joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh while ending a years-long buildup to one of the biggest free-agent moves in NBA history.

Cavs sign Joey Graham to a two year deal

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

The Cavs have signed Joey Graham to a two-year deal. According to Windhorst, the deal is worth 2.1 million over two years. It’s another role-player signing, but the money is good and Graham is a pro who’ll be good to have in the locker room.

Not earth-shattering in terms of the on-court implications, but the Cavs are definitely going to need everyone to have their heads where they need to be if they want to be competitive next season. Guys like Graham will help with that. If the signing is a flop, at least it won’t be an expensive one.

On the Ramon Sessions Trade

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Let’s get into it, Pro-and-Con style:

Pro: Ramon Sessions is the best pure point guard the Cavaliers have had since Andre Miller, and was a necessary acquisition for Byron Scott.

(I’m not being hyperbolic about Sessions with the above statement — I believe Sessions to be a better pure point than Jeff McInnis, Damon Jones, Eric Snow, Daniel Gibson, and Mo Williams. Not saying much, when you really think about it.)

The good news here is that Ramon Sessions can really play. He’s a true drive-and-kick guard who loves to get into the paint, and he’s as good as any guard this side of Kyle Lowry at drawing fouls. He was a highly coveted free agent guard last season, and the contract he ended up getting is pretty fair.

On paper, last year was a huge disappointment for Sessions, but his per-48 numbers were pretty good; 7.2 assists, 15.9% draw foul rate, and the best net +/- of any regular rotation player on the Timberwolves. If he can get back to his 07-08 form, when he averaged 11.3 assists per 40 minutes, that would be spectacular. But if Sessions gets enough minutes and room to stretch his wings, the 09-10 version of him will work just fine.

The Cavs desperately needed a playmaker to make this uptempo offense work, and now they have one. The Cavs have athletes on the wings, but it’s not about how fast the players move — it’s about how fast the ball moves. Sessions is also comfortable playing full-court basketball; 48% of his shot attempts came in the first 10 seconds of the clock last season. If the Cavs put Sessions, Mo Williams, Jamison, and two athletes out on the floor together, they’ll have some serious offensive firepower going. Eternal Sunshine of the Run-And-Gun Cavaliers is getting closer to becoming a reality.

Pro: As TYA guys go, Ryan Hollins isn’t bad.

(TYA = Tall, Young, Alive.)

Hollins hasn’t done much in his career, but boy does he have some tools. He’ll make one or two plays every game that make you wonder why he isn’t a MUCH bigger deal. He’ll then make three or four plays that remind you exactly why he isn’t a bigger deal, but those can theoretically be fixed. Hollins has serious upside, uptempo basketball should suit him perfectly, and he’s 25. If he doesn’t play at all, the Cavs only owe him $5 million over the next two years. If everything works out for him, he could be a worse version of JaVale McGee! CATCH THE FEVER!

Pro: The Cavs got rid of Delonte’s contract with a minimum of fuss.

They made it clear they wanted to get rid of his $4.5 million in guaranteed money before the August 5th deadline, and they got something back for him in return. The Wolves will reportedly waive him, so it’ll be interesting to see where he’ll go — I’d LOVE to see him back in Cleveland, for reasons I’ll get into in a bit. If he becomes a bargain-basement guy, he’s a MAJOR steal. (By the way, Miami could definitely use West to back up both guard spots next season. Just going to throw that out there.)

Pro: The Cavs just completed a trade with David Kahn.

I have near-complete faith in my lack of faith in David Kahn. He had no leverage here, and his moves have not been good. I take solace in this.

Con: Ramon Sessions isn’t all that.

Ramon Sessions is a heckuva 8.2 points/3.1 assists player, but he’s still an 8.2 points/3.1 assists player. He’s not going to put the team over the top, and I don’t see any way this team wins a playoff series with Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams leading the charge every night. I worry that this trade will make the Cavs just good enough to cost themselves a high-lottery pick. I’d love to see this team limp into the playoffs. I wouldn’t mind a 15-20 win season and a ticket in the Harrison Barnes sweepstakes. What terrifies me is 5 seasons of 30-40 win basketball and #12 picks.

Con: This team may now suck at defense.

Take a look at the Cavs’ current rotation:

1. Antawn Jamsion — not a good defender

2. Mo Williams — unspeakably horrible defender

3. Anderson Varejao — excellent system defender

4. J.J. Hickson — absolutely terrible defender

5. Jamario Moon — talented but fundamentally iffy on defense

6. Ramon Sessions — awful defender in Minnesota

7. Anthony Parker — Solid NBA defensive player, above-average but way overrated as a lockdown guy

8. Daniel Gibson — good point guard defender, but a small point guard

9. Danny Green — question mark defensively

10. Leon Powe — not a good defender

The Cavs just lost a defensive mastermind in Mike Brown, and playing up-tempo often means taking more defensive gambles. Oh, and the best way to get wins out of a relatively untalented team is to play defense. I’m nervous about this.

Con: Delonte West should’ve been fought for.

I’m going to reserve final judgement on this until Delonte signs somewhere — for all I know, the Cavs plan to get him back, and the Wolves waiving him indicates that Delonte’s market value is less than $5 million right now. Not to put too fine a point on things, but this franchise has made it clear that it feels basketball is more than just a business. Saving money by waiving a player who played harder than anybody else, gave the Cavs huge bang for their buck in his first year with the team, fought with bipolar disorder for two seasons, struggled with his demons all season, played whatever role the team told him to without complaint, and is now the subject of The Rumor doesn’t seem to reflect a more-than-a-business¬†philosophy. Full post coming if and when he gets signed, but right now I feel like Delonte deserved better.

Con: TELFAIR TELFAIR TELFAIR.

Family Guy isn’t my favorite corner of the zeitgeist, but a reference feels appropriate here. Remember the Christmas episode, where Peter and the kids got the family’s gifts stolen, they scorched the turkey and nearly burned down the house, and generally completely ruined Christmas, but Lois seemed completely fine? Then she asked for a paper towel, found out there weren’t any left, and then just completely lost it? That’s how I feel right now.

Team unceremoniously dumps Mike Brown, the most successful coach in franchise history? Had to be done.

LeBron leaves? I made my peace with that.

Z, one of the most beloved players in franchise history, follows him? Good for Z.

The Cavs essentially waive Delonte, my favorite remaining player on the team? I saw that coming?

But TELFAIR? They really had to go ahead and make Telfair a throw-in? Telfair was my island of happiness in this hellstorm of an offseason. Whatever happened, I could always look forward to Telfair getting real minutes in an up-tempo system. The man is a genius in the open floor, at least in flashes. He’s just been stuck in half-court systems since his sophomore season. Now he’s stuck in the triangle, not to mention 40 other point guards. I didn’t need to see Telfair live up to his potential as a great change-of-pace distributor/scorer guard in a run-and-gun system. What bothers me is that he’ll likely never get a real chance. This one really took the wind out of my sails.

Well, there you have it. Welcome to Cleveland, Ramon Sessions. Sebastain and Delonte, you will be missed.


Windhorst: Ilgauskas to sign with the Heat

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

According to Brian Windhorst, Zydrunas Ilgauskas will join LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in Miami next season.

Miami gets the center they needed, although I do think they would have wanted a more athletic center who could allow them to get out on the break a bit more. Still, Ilgauskas can defend the rim, finish around the basket, doesn’t do many stupid things, and will be a great locker-room presence for them.

It’ll be tough not seeing Ilgauskas on the roster, but I respect his decision. Ilgauskas has given everything and more to the Cavalier franchise, and he deserves a shot at that elusive ring. The best player to ever wear a Cavalier uniform left on Thursday; one of the greatest Cavaliers ever left today. Best of luck to Zydrunas in all his future endeavors, and hopefully we will see him come back to the Cavaliers for one more run before his jersey gets raised to the rafters.

Cavs complete a sign-and-trade deal with the Miami Heat

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

So the good news is that the Cavs are getting something back for LeBron James after all. According to Windhorst, the Cavs will be getting two first-round picks from the Heat sometime between 2013 and 2017, a 2012 second-round pick from New Orleans, a future second-round pick, and a $16 million trade exception.

The details of this are complicated, but basically this allows Miami to pay LeBron less earlier in his contract, gives the Cavaliers something something for giving up LeBron, and helps Miami improve in the short term while giving the Cavs a better chance to rebuild.

It looks like the plan is to try and use the picks as assets in a trade and try for another winning season rather than try a full rebuild. Not sure how I feel about that as a five-year plan, but it looks like the management wants to give the fans something to root for next season. Can’t say I disagree with that logic.

I would have something to say about the press conference fiasco, but I was at summer league watching basketball. I really don’t feel like I missed something important. Until tomorrow, everyone.

The Kurz of Cleveland and Other Stuff Too

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Before we go any further: you should really read this excellent post by Eddy Rivera of Third Quarter Collapse. It’s on whether or not the Magic should retire Shaq’s jersey, and it’s an interesting look at what Shaq can bring to a basketball franchise in both the short and long term. The comments and poll results are worth a look as well.

The big news of the weekend over in Cavsland is that the one and only Rob “dangerous” Kurz has been signed to a non-guaranteed contract and will try to secure a roster spot at Cavs training camp this year.

All I can really think of by way of commentary at the moment is making puns (“I’m trying to Kurz my enthusiasm for this signing!”), so I’ll let commenter “Chris” lead us off:

“I think you should comment on how Ferry is basically saying we need someone on our team just like……….. Danny Ferry! Both long white dudes with no inside game that love to shoot the three ball. Ican totally picture F erry looming in his office dwelling on what’s missing on our team….. “HEY! they don’t have anyone like ME yet!”

striking resemblance:
kurz: 6-9 / 232 lbs. 3pt%: .395
ferry: 6-10 / 235 lbs. 3pt%: .393″

Okay, that’s freakishly similar. Top-notch work, Chris. You win nothing.

Kurz is good at two things: having a head that’s far away from the ground and making three-pointers. Past that, he’s not giving you a whole lot to get excited about. Kurz is obviously an excellent three-point shooter, and with a 53.6% mark on “inside” shots, he’s actually a decent finisher around the rim for a sniper.

The main issue with Kurz is that three-point specialists are expected to do nothing other than score efficiently, and Kurz didn’t score efficiently last season. His 51.3% TS was below the league average, and Kurz only shot 38.9% from the field. (A reminder: Kurz shot 39.3% from deep.)

The culprit here is that Kurz seems to love taking assisted mid-range jumpers, and sucks at them. 93% of his jumpers were assisted last season, and he only had an eFG% of 42.2% on jumpers. When you consider his eFG% on three-pointers was right at 60%, that’s a pretty inexcuseable figure. To be effective in the NBA, Kurz has to learn that inside the three-point line is no-man’s land, and just sit in the corner and wait for the ball.

As Kevin Arnovitz noted in his Las Vegas Twitter feed, it’s hard to judge Kurz’s contributions to the Warriors last year, seeing as to how he was mainly used when Don Nelson wanted to punish somebody. His +/- and opponent PER numbers are pretty terrible, but the Warriors are such a wonky context it’s impossible to draw any real conclusions from that situational data-it’s like trying to find the best actors in Southland Tales.

Arnovitz also noted on TrueHoop today that Kurz is “a better defender than advertised.” Saying a sweet-shooting 6-9 white guy who’s only played for Don Nelson is better than advertised defensively is kinda like saying Marlboro reds are healthier than advertised, but I’ll take what I can get.

The most heartening thing I can really say about Kurz right now is that Steve Novak took a while to find a groove in the NBA, and now he’s the most lights-out frontcourt shooting specialist in the league today…or he will be, when somebody signs him. So get excited, I think!

Overall, Kurz is a guy Brown can plug in every few games when seeing power forwards get left alone and brick mid-range shots drives him crazy, and he needs his curiosity sated for 7 minutes or so. Kurz gives some lineups some flexibility, puts a little more pressure on JJ Hickson, but will likely not see significant minutes. Until tomorrow, folks.

One Small Step Towards A Championship

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Alright, this one I was not really expecting. The Cavs have signed Jamario Moon to an offer sheet, and if the Heat don’t match he’ll be a Cavalier. According to Stein, the deal appears to be for two years, although that won’t be official until tomorrow when the details are announced. The Heat, due to their pursuits of Carlos Boozer and Lamar Odom, as well as their desire for cap flexibility in the Summer Of Doom, do not appear likely to match. This one kinda came out of nowhere, so let’s see what we think.

Point #1: This was Another Low-Risk Danny Ferry Special.

1. This is the kind of move that’s become Danny Ferry’s MO since he took the team over. Not to get too cute, but remember how Moneyball made a big point about how Billy Beane’s experiences as a player informed his process as a GM? Basically, Beane was a hyper-athletic prospect with some of the best pure “tools” any scout had ever seen, but flopped horribly in the pros. So as a GM, Beane looks to sign and draft players based on their prior performance, pedigree, and approach, and has zero faith in “tools” when he looks at players-he doesn’t want to end up drafting Billy Beane. Basically, the knowledge Beane gained from his own rough experiences now constitutes a large part of what makes him successful.

Since Danny Ferry took over, he’s built around LeBron by emphasizing the following:

-short-term deals that don’t jeapordize financial flexibility

-only making trades when he isn’t forced to include any valuable assets

-trusting veterans over young players

-being tight-fisted in every negotiation and making sure he doesn’t cave to player demands unless that player has shown that he’s a core piece

In other words, Ferry’s moves seem to be based on a philosiphy that actively strives for the opposite of giving a rookie a 10-year guaranteed contract. The lessons Ferry learned being a grinder in the league instead of a superstar were tough, but might be the ones that ultimately guide him to building a championship team.

Meanwhile, Isiah Thomas, Larry Bird, and Kevin McHale have all failed with teams that prominently featured Stephon Marbury (a high-usage, low-efficiency, dual-threat PG), Peja Stojakovic/Mike Dunleavy Jr. (a player who was once the NBA’s best pure shooter/a superemely versatile point forward), and Al Jefferson (the most skilled young post player in the league).

Alright, ankle-deep pop psych rant over. The point here is that most GMs look to make big moves by waiting for the big salary dump, going for the mid-level names everyone wants, or making a risky trade for the purpose of a better fit. Ferry doesn’t operate that way. Ferry has a knack for making moves with the lowest possible risk by patiently waiting to find himself in a position where he has the necessary leverage to get an asset without having to give up anything he really wants. In this case, Ferry found an under-the radar free agent and worked out the timing so that he could use Moon’s restricted status to get him for cheap with all the other potential suitors handcuffed. ¬†Before getting into any of the brass-tacks behind this signing, the bottom line is that for Ferry the chief impetus for the deal was that it was just too good to pass up.

Point #2: Just Who is Jamario Moon, Really?

Well, from my vantage point I’d describe our moves over the past month or so thusly-“Well, we couldn’t get Ariza, so we’re holding auditions.” However, Moon does do a couple of things that set him apart from the collection of swingmen the Cavs seem to be gathering.

First off, Moon is, without any semblance of a question, the most athletic perimeter player the Cavs have gotten in the LeBron era. Moon’s an athlete and a leaper first and foremost, and there’s some potential for some truly freaky things to happen if Moon and LeBron are able to get out into the open floor. Also, LeBron finally has a solid alley-oop target, so we’ll see if that materializes into anything.

However, the best thing about Moon isn’t his athleticism, but rather how he uses it around the basket. Regular readers know that one of my favorite statistical measures is how well a player finishes around the basket-in both Toronto and Miami, Moon’s eFG% on “inside” shots, 76% in Toronto and 75% in Miami, would have been the best in the entire league by a considerable margin had he played enough games with either squad to qualify. In fact, the Cavs now have the ability to put 3 of the league’s 5 best finishers on the court at the same time (LeBron, Shaq, Moon), and 4 of the league’s top 11 finishers if you include Varejao.

Basically, when Jamario gets around the basket, he tries to dunk EVERYTHING. In both Toronto and Miami, he had a higher ratio of dunk attempts than layup attempts, which is almost unheard of-I haven’t checked everyone, but nobody else is remotely close to doing that in the random sample of notable dunkers I picked out.

Moon’s also a pretty serviceable spot-up shooter, with an eFG% of around 46% on jumpers last season. and a respectable enough 35% career mark from beyond the arc.

The big issue with Moon is that his ball-handling is a major weakness, and he struggles mightily when asked to create his own shot-his usage rates is one of the lowest in the league at small forward, and around 80% of his shot attempts were assisted. He actually has an average assist ration, but because of his low usage rate he averages around 1.7 assists per 48 minutes. Basically, Moon works if he cracks the front of the rotation and gets to have some combination of Mo, Delonte, Bron, and Shaq opening up the floor for him, but if he gets relegated to the back of the rotation and is expected to try and prove himself in limited minutes or garbage time, he’s not going to bring much to the table.

Defensively, Moon’s athleticism and wingspan suggest that he has worlds of potential on that end, and he has averaged a block and a steal per game over his short career. He’s capable of making the spectacular defensive play and can stay with his man, but hasn’t gotten an elite defensive reputation yet, either because he hasn’t made the commitment or just hasn’t gotten the attention.

+/- says that Moon was a defensive ace in Toronto (playing ahead of Jason Kapono and Andrea Bargnani), but a borderline liability in Miami, so there’s a bit of a question regarding just how good he’ll be defensively. However, with Mike Brown’s track record and the defensive culture of the Cavaliers, it’s a fairly safe bet that Moon will perform extremely well on the defensive end.

What Is Jamario Moon Going To Be On This Team?

For me, the first big question surrounding Moon is whether or not he can defend power forwards. At 6′ 7.75′ with shoes on, Moon is the same height as Shawn Marion, the prototype “long, lanky defensive 4,” right down to the quarter-inch. Moon’s 6′ 11′ wingspan is about 2-3 inches shorter than Marion, and at 200 pounds he’s light for the position, but the bottom line is that power forwards in the NBA are getting smaller and faster with the passing of each year. If Moon can bulk up a little bit and adjust to the defensive responsibilities of the position, Moon could be hugely valuable as the “stretch” 4 the Cavaliers have been looking for to compliment Shaq.

But is Moon ready to switch to the four? How comfortable are the Cavs going small-ball? Is Moon good enough to be the 4 that accompanies Shaq? What does this mean for Hickson, Parker, and Danny Green? The rotation is only more muddled, although there seems to be enough talent to go around-the only thing left to do is try to make it all fit.

Alright, that’s enough Jamario Moon for now-I’ll leave it to you guys from here. What we do know for sure is that there are going to be some EPIC dunk contests at practices this year.

The Era Of Trey Johnson Is Set To Begin In Cleveland

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Trey Johnson, surprised to see a backboard troll. Photo courtesy of NBA.com

The Cavs have made a move, but not the Wally Z’s expiring blockbuster many Cavs fans are hoping for. With Jawad Williams’ second 10-day contract up, the Cavs have passed on giving him a full-year contract and instead signed swingman Trey Johnson. (Hat-Tip to Windhorst at the CPD.)

This move was made to shore up the bench with old CTB favorite Delonte West still out until around the All-Star break and new CTB favorite Tarence Kinsey likely out for longer with a high ankle sprain.

(Sidebar: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NOT TARENCE! Just when you’re ready to feel something again…this is my fault. Not only did I admit a man-crush, I actually called him “the player we were expecting Larry Hughes to be.” It would’ve been better on my part to just run him over. I have failed you all.)

I don’t know much (read: anything) about this guy, but his numbers in the D-League are stellar, with 20 ppg and 5 apg on 45% from the field and a great 46% from the three-point line. His DraftExpress profile compared him to Brandon Roy and Chauncey Billups, which I’m sure isn’t getting over-excited at all.

I like this move-you can never have too many shooters, especially without LeBron, I don’t want any more bigs clogging up JJ’s development into a meast, and this kid looks like a pretty good decision-maker to boot. Now that Gerald Green is actually signed with someone, I will not make my once-obligatory WHY DIDN’T WE JUST GIVE GERALD GREEN A CHANCE TO RUN AND HIT OPEN THREES WITH LEBRON? Statement. Instead, I leave you with a video of James White, who also does not have an NBA home.