Summer League Recap: Cleveland 86, Philadelphia 77 (or, Did You See That Dunk?!?)

July 15th, 2014 by Ben Werth

The Cavaliers remain unbeaten in Las Vegas Summer League play as they defeated a Sixers team featuring Nerlens Noel and 2014 Draft pick, KJ McDaniels. The Cavs, led by Mathew Dellavedova, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins took a lead on the game’s fourth possession that they wouldn’t relinquish. After a relatively even first quarter, Cleveland closed the the first half on a 10-2 run. The Sixers were limited to nine for 29 shooting at the break. The lead swelled to as many as 21 before the Sixers’ full court pressure ignited a 16-2 run spanning the end of the third quarter to the middle of the fourth. But some steady play and a parade of free throws pushed the Cavs to a 3-0 Summer League record.

Heading into the contest there were many questions: How would Wiggins match-up against KJ McDaniels? Will Grant Hill’s pleasant baritone sustain us in his new color commentator role? But really most Cavs fans were focused on Noel vs Bennett and the 2013 Draft debate.

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Links to the Present: Follow Up Edition

July 14th, 2014 by David Wood

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LeBron James is officially a Cleveland Cavalier, since he has signed a contract for $42.1 million that has an opt out option after only one season.  There’s no reason to fear he is going to leave though.  Like many decisions in life, this one was all about the money.

Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer explains why LeBron structured the contract with an opt out option.

The salary cap rises 7-10 percent most seasons. The moment you sign a long-term deal, you are locked into that deal. Those close to James estimate that the starting salary for the maximum deal next season could be at least $22 million. So they want to keep their options open when it comes to the contract.

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Summer League Recap: Cleveland 82, San Antonio 70 (or I’m your Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Cherry Bomb)

July 14th, 2014 by Robert Attenweiler

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The Cavaliers summertime instructional team raced out to a quick lead over the San Antonio Spurs, building leads of 25-11 after one and 41-23 at the half before fending of a Spurs second-half run to notch an 82-70 victory in Las Vegas, Sunday afternoon. In what will, no doubt, come to be known as the “Crystal Ball Game” sometime around next June when the Cavs’ varsity unit puts a similar smacking on the Spurs’ A-team to win the 2015 NBA Finals and… and…

[experiences shortness of breath ... light-headedness ... reminds self of "marathon, not sprint"... counts to 10... okay, I'm back]

The Cavs Summer League team looked pretty impressive in upping their record to 2-0 in the Sunbaked Classic.

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Cavs: the Podcast 0052 – King Me!

July 13th, 2014 by Mallory Factor II

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#$$%@&@!(#(&(*^&$(&^!!!!!!

Really, I can’t get over it.  I still tear up when I think about the letter;  I get chills when I consider what’s happened; my heart starts racing and my stomach lurches when I imagine next season.  Is this a reality?  Can someone pinch me?!?!  Please, don’t let me wake up from this dream!

LeBron is back, and in the most beautiful way possible.  All, for the time being, is right in the world – the possibilities are endless, the expectations sky high.

Of course, this meant Robert, Tom, Nate, Ben and I all had to hop on the old podcast line and each give our two cents.  We chatted about LeBeron’s return, what this meant for this season and on, whether or not Kevin Love should join force with our big two, and who else the Cavaliers should target now that the King is back.

Enjoy it, guys – for the first time in four years, the Cavaliers are relevant in the most positive of ways.

As always, we can be found on SoundCloud at: https://soundcloud.com/cavstheblog/0052-king-me

And on iTunes at:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cavs-the-podcast/id528149843?mt=2

Summer League Recap: Cleveland 70, Milwaukee 68 (or, I’m Wiggin’ out Already)

July 12th, 2014 by Nate Smith

Dan Gilbert was on hand to watch a match-up that featured two of the top rookies from the 2013 draft class (Delly and Antetokounmpo) and the top two rookies (so far) from the 2014 draft class. Cleveland started the fourth quarter on a 15-4 run in the first eight minutes and survived a Nate Wolters three point attempt as time expired to win an ugly game which featured 37 turnovers and sub 40-percent shooting. It was a reported 80+ degree on the floor and both teams had been going through two-a-day practices for the last several days. Fatigue showed for each squad, but still, there was a buzz in the sold out Cox Pavillion.

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There and Back Again

July 11th, 2014 by Tom Pestak
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“I want kids in Northeast Ohio 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.” -LeBron James

–I’ve noticed little things. He seemed more comfortable in his own skin. More resolute about his game. He respected his foes and disposed of them without fanfare. When he lost to the Spurs I was taken aback at how calm he was. He seemed genuinely happy for Tim Duncan. He made no excuses – the Spurs were superior. He praised their approach, which, really, would be his approach, if that were possible. That moment changed my rational characterization of LeBron James. And what a contrast. (My mind flashes to the Dirk coughing episode)–

I’m not sure how much LeBron changed between 2010 and today. But I do know that drastic and permanent change is possible in such a short timeframe. A man’s 20s is the most dynamic period of his life. The enormous transition from institutionalized childhood to the distorted lifestyles of higher education to family-building and career growth can occur in just four years. A 26-year-old can look back at his 22-year-old self and wonder how someone so dumb survived. And a 30-year-old can look back at his 26-year-old self and wonder how someone could believe he was so smart.

 

I am married with two children, was born in 1984, grew up on 80s cartoons, love video games, went to a Catholic High School in suburban NE Ohio, and I love basketball. Other than that, I don’t share much in common with LeBron James, I guess. There was only one constant during my tumultuous 20s – LeBron James in Cavalier garb. In 2003, when the Cavs won the lottery, I screamed up and down my dorm hallway like a madman (my freshman year).   LeBron and the Cavs set out on a journey. He was always there, growing, amidst a reshuffling of teammates, coaches, GMs, even owners. I was growing too, while I shuffled between rental housing, girlfriends, and internships. I was in school for 8 years. The week I was to defend my thesis was the same week the Cavs were eliminated in the 2010 playoffs. I was under so much stress that my body stopped digesting food. In less than a month I defended my thesis, started my career, and got married. During that same month, LeBron left Northeast Ohio and it was devastating.

 

I took me 4 years to emotionally purge The Decision from my psyche. The restlessness required to pen the following words:

“And LeBron’s “decision” would be the ultimate endorsement or indictment of our beloved home.”

had finally washed away. I was forced to realize that my family, my community, my faith, and the things I’d been building and growing were real, within my grasp, and requiring my dedication. Amazingly (I know), I transcended to a higher state of being – no longer requiring a stranger to affirm my city, my state, my team.  To the outsiders, I  “got over it.”

 

And now, much like that explosive month back in 2010, everything has changed again. I’ve come full circle. The cynic in me, never more insufferable than the last few nights, is being purged. LeBron James reminded me why I cared so much in the first place. He reminded me not to be ashamed of having a passion for, and drawing happiness from, a game.

 

This season has followed the most unpredictable sequences of events that I have ever witnessed. Since being dubbed the #seasonOfHuh by Ben Cox for now insignificant things like “struggling to inbound the ball”, it has raged out of control in a fiery inferno. The NBA landscape seems unrecognizable.   The Cavs winning the lottery with those miniscule odds seemed so utterly ridiculous at the end of that season. And now, LeBron James is returning to Northeast Ohio to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. (!)

 

And yet! They pale in comparison to the most remarkable thing of all. Despite all these events, despite all our incredulity, despite all the odds, despite LeBron coming home – something just happened that none of us, not even the most wildly imaginative, could have believed:

 

In less than 1000 words, LeBron James made everything right.

 

 

 

LeBron James is a Cavalier Again.

July 11th, 2014 by Nate Smith

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.

Can this be Over, Already?

July 11th, 2014 by Nate Smith

What a bizarre few days its been. Northeast Ohio has hung on every word — every scrap of news about LeBron’s impending decision. And still? LeBron’s silence is deafening. The emotional meter has swung from hope, to overconfidence, to pent up exuberance, to frustration, to befuddlement. No one knows what to make of the delay that is holding up half of the NBA off-season. In the age of #HotSportsTakes, everyone has had an opinion on whether ‘Bron is coming back to Cleveland and how everyone should act. My barber, the people I work with, random people in a movie theater: all of them have either asked me or told me whether James is coming back. Heck, even the groundhog that lives under my shed was wearing a “Forgiven” t-shirt, yesterday. It’s all gotten a bit out of hand. Why are people so emotionally invested in this guy? Why’s everyone losing their stinkin’ minds?! I agree with Tom Pestak’s ethos: sports should be fun. If they’re not, what’s the point? It’s ok to get crazy and a little silly at times, but this doesn’t feel fun anymore. Read the rest of this entry »

Links to the Present: The LeBron Choice Edition

July 10th, 2014 by David Wood

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Everything the past few days to do with the Cavs has been related to LeBron in some way.  Trading away Sergey Karasev, a first round pick, Tyler Zeller, and Jarrett Jack was done to open $21 million to sign LeBron to a max salary, if he wants to come to the team.  And, the trade is being graded exactly on whether or not LeBron returns by local fans and even national pundits.

Kevin Pelton of ESPN has given the trade a “C” for Cleveland.  However, Pelton acknowledges that even though the trade leaves the roster depleted and out of a future first round pick the trade is perfect if LeBron comes to the team.

If the Cavaliers know that’s going to happen, this trade gets an A-plus. If the league’s best player is coming, you do whatever is necessary to make it happen.

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Breaking News: Three Team Trade, Updated

July 9th, 2014 by David Wood

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The Cavs are still hoping to land LeBron James. ESPN is reporting that the Cavs have traded away Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev to Brooklyn, while Boston will receive Marcus Thornton from the Nets and Tyler Zeller along with a future first round pick from the Cavs. The Cavs need to take back a pick from either of the other two teams to make the trade valid.

This trade will allow the Cavs the cap room to continue pursuing LeBron, who has stated he wants to make max money next season.  It isn’t dissappointing to see the underperforming Jack leave the team, but Zeller will be missed.  Throughout last season Zeller showed he had what it takes to be a realiable center coming off of the bench.

LeBron is meeting with Pat Riley in Las Vegas today, so where he lands after free agency is coming closer to the end.  Hopefully, the Cavs will know his decision in the coming days.  This offseason is certainly looking up for Cleveland.

The pick from the Cavs to the Celtics is reportedly protected.

Updated:

The Cavs may have someone to make clutch threes on their team next season.