Archive for the ‘Links To The Present’ Category

Links To The Present: They Probably Won’t Make It Edition

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Luol Deng once looked amazing with Nate Robinson running the point.  What does that say about Kyrie Irving?

Luol Deng once looked amazing with Nate Robinson running the point. What does that say about Kyrie Irving?

The Cavs have been off since Saturday, and to be completely honest, I have to say nothing is going on with them basketball wise.   They are not a good team by their record, 24-40.  When you see them play, they often look worse than that record.  These three days off have been filled with contemplation by writers across the world, and  they’ve determined that the Cavs probably won’t make the playoffs, that Kyrie Irving should leave, and that LeBron James coming back is a possibility. (more…)

Links to the Present: Big Guy And Sloan Conference Edition

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
This pair may return for Z's retirement ceremony.

This pair may return for Z’s retirement ceremony.

The news has spread that LeBron James may be attending Zydrunas Ilgauskas’s jersey retirement ceremony March 8th.  The NBA schedule works out for LeBron, and the past works for the pair too.  LeBron grew up watching Big Z lead a lot of terrible Cavs teams.  Big Z hopes the star of Akron is received warmly, since they are friends.

I, on the other hand, hope LeBron is not received at all.  The night is about Big Z and just a whiff of LeBron is going to lead to a handful of boos, cheers, and inevitable coverage about the pair’s friendship that overshadow the big guy.


Links to the Present: The Jimmer Hawes Edition

Monday, March 3rd, 2014
Spencer Hawes has very efficient finger pistols when playing with Kyrie Irving.

Spencer Hawes has very efficient finger pistols when playing with Kyrie Irving.

The Jimmer Fredette saga never had a chance to start in Cleveland, but the Spencer Hawes saga has more than made up for that.

“‘We are very excited to add a player like Jimmer to our roster,’ Bulls GM Gary Forman said in a statement. ‘We’ve followed him closely throughout his collegiate and professional career, and believe he’ll be the type of player that will fit in with our group and be an asset to the team.’” [Ben Golliver,]


Links to the Present: Being Hurt Edition

Thursday, February 27th, 2014


As a Cavs fan, I know all about hurt.  Usually, they are hurting me emotionally.  Sometimes, they are hurting themselves physically.  You just never know.

“Since the advent of rookie-scale extensions and maximum contracts, no player has turned down a max extension offer before entering the final year of his rookie-scale deal. Irving potentially has the chance to make history” [Amin Elhassan, ESPN]


Have you seen this story before?

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014


Hey!  Kyrie may want out of Cleveland!!  Or something along those lines from Brian Windhorst.

On days like this, I hope the Cavs do trade Kyrie.  It’s not personal, these articles are just perpetual, and trading Kyrie is a way to make them stop.

For what it’s worth, Kyrie is one more all-star vote away from being a “supermax” player, making $20 million or more per year in his extension.  He doesn’t even need to be particularly great, just popular, to reach “supermax” status.  Is he worth that much loot?   As of this moment, I am not sure he is, to Cleveland or any other team.  Let another management group decide this summer whether he is an investment worth $100 million after one healthy season out of three in which he helped guide his team to 25 – 30 wins annually. 

Remember when Denver traded Carmelo, or Toronto parted with Rudy Gay, and things turned for the better?  What haul could be gained for Kyrie and is it better for the present and future than Irving at $20+ million per year?  This answer could be a “yes”; there are a lot of good point guards in the NBA, eight with a PER above Kyrie, and 29 above average.  Regression based stats consider his defensive impact as awful.  And ultimately winning games is what will keep people in the seats, Kyrie or not.

Anyways, as a fan, this has little to do with Kyrie; I just don’t want to deal with these reports for another five years.

Links to the Present: Untimely Article Edition

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports starts us off with this post from last night about Chris Grant’s failed run in Cleveland. With gems like the ones below, Wojnarowski attempts to prove the thesis: it’s Grant’s fault LeBron James isn’t coming back.

  • “Grant hadn’t scouted Valanciunas hard enough to gain full confidence in his abilities.”
  • “The belief was that Grant was searching for a way to cross Valanciunas off the list and draft a player that he believed to be a safer bet: Texas’ Tristan Thompson. What’s more, Rich Paul, James’ childhood friend and player agent now, represented Thompson.” (more…)

Links to the Present: MLK Day edition

Monday, January 20th, 2014 brings us video of Cavs players reading Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The follow-up interviews with current Cavs players on what they think of the  speech are equally moving. The Cavaliers have some impressively well-spoken young men on their roster.

I was supposed to be come up with an article for today, and I was planning on it being about Martin Luther King Jr. and race relations in our post-modern age, but I couldn’t come up with anything that I didn’t feel was patronizing or overly-simplistic. Suffice it to say, that even though the Cavs don’t always play well, it is a pleasure to cover this NBA team. The Cavaliers and the NBA embody the spirit of Dr. King’s dream: men from all different backgrounds and races from around the world working together, striving for excellence, and supporting the communities they work in and the communities they come from. The spirit of the NBA is an example of how sport can help lift us out of unjust ways of thinking, and how we can come to identify with people who might be from incredibly different walks of life than ourselves. From Jackie Robinson, Mohammed Ali, and Jesse Owens, to Oscar Robertson, Elgin Baylor, Bill Russell, Campy Russell, David Stern, Jason Collins, and Hakeem Olajuwan: sports figures have been at the forefront of changing Americans’ opinions and breaking the cycle of racism in this country and around the world. That is one of the biggest reason’s I’m a fan.

Because racism’s evil is predicated not just on what it does to its victims — violence, lack of opportunity, injustice, and oppression — but also what it does to to the perpetrators — blinding them with hate and irrationality, corrupting their minds and their souls, and not letting them see the beauty in other peoples and their cultures. I always refer to Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” as an example of how racism and institutional colonialism can trap the oppressor into an inescapable cycle.

Legally I had done the right thing, for a mad elephant has to be killed, like a mad dog, if its owner fails to control it. Among the Europeans opinion was divided. The older men said I was right, the younger men said it was a damn shame to shoot an elephant for killing a coolie, because an elephant was worth more than any damn Coringhee coolie. And afterwards I was very glad that the coolie had been killed; it put me legally in the right and it gave me a sufficient pretext for shooting the elephant. I often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool.

Dr. King and so many people that came before and after him have helped to break the institution of racism in this country. And though the struggle seems never to be fully won, to me, that is his greatest contribution. It is a pleasure to live in a country where a group of mostly white bloggers can analyze the on-court actions of a group of mostly African-American young men, and have that analysis be strictly about basketball, and not about skin color. Dr. King’s message to me was that we do not have to echo the unjust opinions and practices of our forefathers, our society, even some family and friends. Freeing ourselves from the chains of racism allows us to be better, more empathetic people. We can see the grace in a pass, a dunk, a well executed give-and-go, or a basketball clinic in sub-Saharan Africa — regardless of the race, creed, or religion of the athlete performing it. For that, we thank you, Dr. King.

Links to the Present: No. 9 Edition

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Some links to give everyone some context on Luol Deng…  First, Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago, on the relationship between Luol Deng and Tom Thibodeau.

Deng put in an inordinate amount of time trying to hone his game and get his body in shape to play heavy minutes. As time wore on, it became clearer that Thibodeau trusted Deng more than any other player on his roster. The veteran coach loved that he knew what he was getting from Deng each and every night. Deng just loved the fact that he had a coach that he trusted.

More from Friedell

Next Sam Smith, Blogger for, and a long time beat writer for the Chicago Tribune, posted this piece on Deng’s Legacy with the Bulls.

But Deng should always be remembered proudly as someone who gave every bit of what he had for the team, was a model citizen and someone who made you feel proud to watch and enjoy the NBA, a classy competitor who got as much out of his natural ability as maybe anyone who ever played for the Bulls…

Deng also has played the fourth most amount of minutes for the franchise behind Jordan, Pippen and Sloan, all of whose jerseys have been retired, and Deng ends up among top 10 franchise leaders in 10 other categories, including steals, blocks, rebounds and three pointers. This season was Deng’s eighth consecutive opening day start, two behind alltime leader Sloan. And Deng was one of just 10 players in franchise history to play for more than one All-Star team. He was one of a dozen to be on an all-defensive team and was the only player in franchise history to win the league’s sportsmanship award…

Deng, a refugee from Sudan who grew up in England, played for the Great Britain Olympic basketball team and has been the Bulls regular representative in the NBA’s Basketball without Borders program that brings the game around the world and provides international help. Deng with his foundation travels the world in the summer doing clinics and charitable work. Even in recent days in Chicago he was awarding fans prizes for contributions to his work with Chicago food pantries. No one among the Bulls has ever been a more community and worldwide involved citizen. He’s been honored by the United Nations, the league’s community assist award and the Bulls Lubin award for community service.

For all of Deng’s character, he was not treated very well by the Bulls organization, in fact, they literally almost killed him.  The spinal tap leaked, and team doctors traveled to Miami, leaving Deng in the hospital.  According to, this became an issue during extension negotiations.

The Bulls issued the spinal tap to test for viral meningitis, and sources at the time indicated Deng complained of his post-procedure care, which featured unfamiliar doctors, no visits from team personnel and the lack of a private hospital room.

And yet, Deng forgave them and still negotiated in good faith with the Bulls. The Cavs would be hard pressed to find a better player to represent the team and the city of Cleveland on and off the court.

For Chris Grant, this trade may have saved his job.  SBNation’s Tom Ziller writes that Luol Deng is the salvation or the death knell for the Cavaliers and Chris Grant.

In the trade game, Grant is strong: he landed the pick he surrendered for Deng by taking the Kings’ now-retired GM Geoff Petrie to the woodshed…

But Grant has been so awful in the draft and free agency to date that his team has remained irrelevant. The Deng move is a last gasp to reverse that, to boost Cleveland into the playoffs this season and build enough goodwill to build on it going forward.

Also, this little nugget…

Finally, the Plain Dealer is tweeting that the Cavs are trying to get Deng to town, but the weather and late timing of the trade are not helping. Regardless, Deng will not play tonight, but Kyrie Irving participated in the shootaround today.

Link to the Present: Gasol Trade Talk Progressing

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Pau Gasol, Anderson Varejao

According to Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne, talks between the Lakers and Cavs are ongoing, with a trade hoped for today.  There have also been discussions between the Cavs and Jazz, about Richard Jefferson.

If the Cavs include an asset to get Gasol, it better be a second round draft pick.  Anything else would be a pretty big panic move to receive a 33-year old, half year rental.


Update: Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Cavs will not be including Dion Waiters as the extra “asset” in any trades for Gasol.

Are you kidding me?


Links to the Present: Trouble in the Paint Edition

Saturday, January 4th, 2014


“This season, the Cleveland Cavaliers are shooting a horrific 51.1% from the restricted area. If it lasts, that mark would be the worst in at least 17 years per that site’s data. The Bulls are second-worst this year at 56.0%. If you want a single telling sign of this Cleveland team’s terrible offense, this might be it.” [Jacob Rosen (The Diff) - WFNY]

I participated in a Cavs Blogger Roundtable Podcast with friends from FearTheSword, DefendClevelandShow, and RealCavsFans.  A decent portion of the conversations included the Cavaliers troubles finishing at the rim.  [RealCavsFans]

“Cleveland’s desire to make the playoffs and demonstrate progress to its fans, potential free agents and star guard Irving (eligible for an extension next fall) is understandable. If the Cavaliers could guarantee that a Gasol trade would translate into a playoff spot, it might justify the hit to their draft pick and benching their young big men. But acquiring Gasol offers no such certainty, and dropping three or four spots without even making the playoffs would be a lose-lose situation.” [Kevin Pelton - ESPN Insider]

““It’s hard to explain his importance,” Brown said. “He’s like a right guard on the offensive line. He does grunt work, grunt work, grunt work, then the running back busts through the hole and gets a touchdown and does a little dance. Andy goes to the sideline, gets his rest and then goes back in and does it again. His importance to us is huge.”” [Jason Lloyd - Akron Beacon Journal]