Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

The Point Four-ward: Live Life and Let Griffin

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) One thing I keep coming back to when looking at the Cavs roster with their bevy of free agents, both restricted and non, and a couple of preferable, if not glaring, holes to be filled before the team tips off their new season around Halloween 2015: if I can predict it, that probably means it’s not going to happen.

I’m not talking about the obvious moves here. I’m not talking about whatever deal the team gives to Kevin Love… or Tristan Thompson… or LeBron James. Those are all likely to happen and they’re likely to happen in one of only a few different ways.

James will (most likely) sign another two-year deal featuring a player option for the second year that will allow his Highness, The King, to continue to maximize his maximum contract status as the salary cap grows over the next several years.

Of course, he could sign elsewhere. But not really.

Or he could sign a multi-year contract. But, again, not really.

James will, as expected, remain a Cavalier… a fact that, admittedly, would have been quite unexpected to imagine writing at this time last year.

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Eastern Conference Offseason Primer Part One

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

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Cory Hughey and David Wood teamed up to breakdown the Eastern Conference teams’ needs in free agency. Click on the team names to see a detailed break down of their contract situations. Part II will be out later this week.

I often listen to a film or documentary in the background while I write to drown outside noises out. It’s a habit I picked up in LA to ignore police sirens, bums digging through dumpsters for cans, and my neighbor training her dog in Korean (I miss that one ). By chance tonight, I was watching The Men Who Built America, while David and myself took turns putting together this preview. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a terrific miniseries about the unscrupulous titans of industry who created the soot stained ivory tower that is the American empire. They lied. They reneged on deals. They used blackmail. They drowned an entire town. They did anything they needed to, to win.

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Your Comprehensive 2015 Cavs Free Agency Guide

Monday, June 29th, 2015

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Well, Jensen Karp blew up Twitter last night when he tweeted a get-together pic between KLove and the King (pic edited). I guess that’s as good a way as any to kick off the madness that will be the 2015 NBA free agency period. So, release the NBA suits! In less than 48 hours, teams can start recruiting free agents (12 AM EST, July 1st). Of course, any free agency talk for Cleveland starts with the fact that LeBron James has officially opted out of his contract and is now a free agent. Of course, everyone expects the King to re-sign with the Cavs, and the official line is that he is taking a “wait and see” approach with regards to the Cavs and free agency. Windy reports.

Last week, Cavs general manager David Griffin said the team had been in regular contact with James since the end of the Finals and that he was “very engaged” in discussions about the roster. Sources told ESPN, however, it is James’ intention to stay somewhat removed from the Cavs’ free agency until other free agents are handled.

Translation? James’ cap hold of $21.6 million is less than the free agent contract he will sign later this summer, of about $23 million dollars. But, for maximum flexibility, it may help the Cavs to “officially” sign him last of all. In light of this, let’s take a look at the Cavs options in free agency, both with their own free agents, and prospective ones.

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The Point Four-ward: Drafting Days Are Here Again

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

 

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers in advance of the 2015 NBA Draft this Thursday, June 25.

1.) It’s been a while since I’ve thought this little about the NBA Draft. I can track my draft fascination all the way back to the mid-90s when I’d anxiously wait for my primer — Chris Monter’s Draft News — to arrive as a cheaply Xeroxed-and-stapled hard copy in the actual, physical mail before deciding on a relative pecking order based on the virtues of players like Todd Fuller, Samaki Walker and John Wallace… only to watch as the Cavs drafted Ukrainian train-like big Vitaly Potapenko who — and I want to be perfectly clear about this — I had ranked below not only the previously mentioned troika of below-average big men but also a fiesty lead guard from Santa Clara named Steve Nash…

… who, of course, I’d never seen play. But, hey, Monter seemed pretty high on him, so why not?

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The Road Forward

Friday, June 19th, 2015

 

Alright so let’s talk offseason moves. Questions by Tom Pestak, answers by me.

If I had to choose between J.R. and Shump I’d go Shump. J.R. is basically a moderately efficient spot-up shooter at this point. With a sprinkling of cross-over stepbacks and 20 point games. But assuming a healthy Irving and Love, spot up 3 point shooting isn’t as critical as stout perimeter D. Nate?

J.R and Shump are fine. Each can play three spots in the Cavs’ system. But Cleveland will still need more wings. J.R. will opt out and command between $6 and $7 million per on a three year deal, with the standard non-fully guaranteed last year. Shump will be the last major guy the Cavs deal with in free agency, unless someone else signs him to an offer sheet, first. I imagine he and J.R. will get around the same sized deals. Shump could get a four year if he wanted, or maybe three year with an opt out.

If the Cavs finally break the curse, will Windhorst have to apologize for his podcast rant last season about how “Gilbert thinks he can buy success?”

Gilbert can buy success this year. The question is, will he? That’s the quarter billion dollar question. If he can get it done for under $200 million, Dan will hold his nose and pay. He’ll also reverse course on the luxury tax system in 2007. Remember, Mr. Gilbert is one of the main guys that wanted this system that, it turns out it, just punishes the competitiveness of small market teams. I bet there’s a lot of ruing going on in the offices of the Q, because the number could be higher than a quarter billion. (more…)

The Point Four-ward: Can He Build It?

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers following their NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors in six games…

1.) As a sports fan, I always dread the morning after a loss. The loss, when it is happening and immediately after, is usually a familiar cloud of disappointment and pizza and nostalgia and beer. Therefore, any real pulse-checking on how truly bad a particular loss is going to feel long term often has to wait until the page has turned and I’m faced with a bright new day.

Waking up on (an unfortunately bright) Wednesday, though, my feeling was the feeling of most Cavs fans — if Twitter is to be believed, anyway (and why should it not?): I just don’t feel too bad after this loss.

This Cavs team has been so much fun to watch — well, since the end of January, anyway — and, really, the Warriors were just too good and too deep to expect a team smarting from missing two of their top three scorers to pull off the seemingly impossible. Sometimes, after all, the seemingly impossible seems impossible because it’s pretty damn near impossible. But, man, how the Cavs fought to make us believe otherwise — that it was possible…. that it was going to happen this year… that it was the Cavs turn at destiny.

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3-on-3: Grind or Go Home Edition

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

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1. What is the most important adjustment for the Cavs to make going into a must win game six?

Tom Pestak: They need to have enough energy to finish the game. The Cavs played well again for three quarters and fizzled out in the 4th. Each time fatigue has been an issue. There are no solutions, just compromises. I think the Cavs need to abandon matching the Warriors’ small-ball-at-all-costs and let Mozgov get in a groove. Just as LeBron was unstoppable in the deep post, Mozgov will manufacture many high-percentage looks too. The key will be having someone cutting hard off ball when Golden State counters with the double teams. He’s the most fresh of the rotation players. They might as well play Mike Miller some more too, since the Cavs didn’t get obliterated with him on the court in game 5. The Cavs should also go to hack an Iggy periodically to 1.) get rest, 2.) stay ahead of the 3-point avalanches. Really, they need to remain mentally focused for 48 minutes. They can’t overreact to a contested Barbosa 3 here or a few Iggy 3s there. When it comes to the scouting report, “stay on target”. (more…)

The Point Four-ward: Expectations and Chips

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Since Robert’s on vacation this week, I’m filling in to author this week’s Point Four-ward: four things I’m thinking about as the Cleveland Cavaliers are just a couple wins from an NBA championship.

1) Matthew Dellavedova belongs to all of us now. “On Wednesday, Dellavedova had the best-selling NBA player jersey on Fanatics, the nation’s largest licensed online sports retailer,” ESPN.com reported. Dellymania has reached fever pitch.

Kyle Welch at WFNY summed up Delly fever well.

Dellavedova went to the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday night after playing himself into dehydration and severe cramps, then showed up for practice; LeBron James endorsed Dellavedova for Australian knighthood; Dellavedova aborted Coach David Blatt’s attempt to put a minutes restriction on the recently hospitalized point guard (“No you’re not”); his hometown of Maryborough, Australia, announced they would name their basketball stadium the “Dellavedova Dome”; and coach Blatt told Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Chris Haynes that he was “full of ****” for questioning the legitimacy of Blatt’s faith in the point guard earlier in the season. And that was all in the last 36 hours!

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On Determination

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

De·ter·mi·na·tion

(dəˌtərməˈnāSH(ə)n)
noun
1. Firmness of purpose; resoluteness.
“He advanced with an unflinching determination.”
Synonyms: resolution, resolve, willpower, strength of character, single-mindedness, purposefulness, intentness; staunchness, perseverance, persistence, tenacity, staying power; strong-mindedness, backbone; stubbornness, doggedness, obstinacy; spirit, courage, pluck, grit, stout-heartedness; Informal: guts, spunk, balls, moxie; Formal: pertinacity. “It took great determination to win.”

In the wake of yet another season-ending injury to a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ “Big Three” (and the third major injury to an original starting five that now features only the “Chosen One”), the easiest path to take is the least painful one… the one of least resistance. The world expects Cleveland (the team and the town) to quit, to tap out, to “Cry Uncle!” after the loss of Uncle Drew. They’d like us to believe there’s no shame in surrender. After all, our team is thin. We’ve lost two of our best three players. Two All-Stars. Even LeBron, as great as he is, can’t possibly carry the weight of this team, this franchise and this city on his muscular shoulders by himself… Can he?

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The Point Four-ward: Let’s Get It Started, Already!

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers as they are about to tip-off their NBA Finals match-up against the Golden State Warriors…

1.) A lot of talk leading up to the Finals has been about each team’s likely inability to shut down the opposing team’s star player: LeBron James for the Cavaliers and Stephen Curry for the Warriors.

Just ask James how to stop Curry and he gives you the same answer as when you ask him how the Warriors might slow him down: “You can’t.”

The Finals will come down to more than just James vs. Curry, but it’s still tough predicting how these teams will attack each other — and how more or less likely one team is to shut down the other — come down to two things: 1.) the small sample size of head-to-head match-ups between these two teams and 2.) the fact that this is now the third (at least) iteration of the Cleveland Cavaliers that we’ve seen this season, so who knows what the Cavs will bring?

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