Archive for December, 2011

Cavs Amnesty Baron Davis

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011


The Cleveland Cavaliers have waived guard Baron Davis and designated him as the team’s amnesty player, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

“We would like to thank Baron for his contributions to the team during his time in Cleveland,” said General Manager Chris Grant. “He has been an absolute professional since the day he joined the Cavs and we now wish him the best in the future.”

Well, I suppose that answers a lot of questions. Have fun playing in Contending City X, Baron.

And for any of you wondering what effect this move has on the Cavaliers’ cap, our old friend Brian Windhorst explains:

By using amnesty on Baron Davis, Cavs are now about $8 million under salary cap and will be approx. $20 million under next summer.

What the Cavs will do with that cap room remains to be seen. I don’t think Chris Grant, who has preached patience throughout the rebuilding process, will now feel empowered to bid on, say, Arron Afflalo or whomever in the next 48 hours. But we’re about to find out. I’ll keep you guys posted as any additional news becomes available.

Too early to think about the draft? Not for this Cavs fan.

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Over the course of this season, I will periodically weigh in about a player that could interest the Cavs at draft time. Initially the focus will be on wings like Harrison Barnes, Bradley Beal, Michael-Kidd Gilchrist, Jeremy Lamb, and Austin Rivers.

The first piece will be about Kidd-Gilchrist, primarily because I’m excited about him. currently has him ranked 11th in the 2012 draft, while places him 12th. Through nine games at Kentucky; he’s averaging 12.8 points on 59% true shooting with 7.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.7 steals in 30 minutes per game. After initial research on the wings that may be available next summer, I started hoping for a scenario along the lines of the following for the 2011 – 2012 Cavs:

• Competitive team with occasional flashes of offensive brilliance from Kyrie Irving and defensive mastery from Tristan Thompson.
• Thirty wins in a sixty-six game season.
• With the 11th pick in the 2012 NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from the University of Kentucky.

Kidd-Gilchrist is a player that ESPN describes as an “elite athlete” with an “amazing motor” and a “tough, physical defender” that “attacks the rim on offense”. During his senior year of high school, described him defensively as an “absolute terror, on and off the ball” and discusses him doing “his best Scotty Pippen impersonation” due to his offensive and defensive flexibility. I’ve heard Dick Vitale call him “warrior”, “attacker”, “winner, winner, winner” and “A MAN!!” And Dick Vitale is a man who uses hyperbole sparingly, so it must be true.

Assuming he enters the draft, Kidd-Gilchrist will be one of the youngest available players. Turning 19 next September, he’s 13 months younger than fellow freshman Austin Rivers. He already has an NBA build at 6’7” tall and 210 lbs. Combined with his athleticism and on-court intensity, it’s understandable why he was a top 4 player in his high school class. The plus skill he has right now is his defense, as he’s capable of guarding three or four positions. He is an aggressive offensive player, able to put the ball on the floor in the half court or running a fast break. Possessing quality rebounding skills, decent passing, and a high level of maturity – there is a lot to like from a guy who just turned 18.

The two primary areas that still need developed in his game are his jump shooting and ball protection. A hitch in his jump shot is a critique in scouting reports; this is supported based on the three Kentucky games I’ve watched. He was 2 for 10-ish shooting from outside 15 feet against Kansas, St. Johns and Indiana. On a positive note, he is making 74% of his free throws and was decent from the charity stripe in high school. Turnovers are another concern; he’s averaging 2.7 a game on approximately 22% of his used possessions. This is improvable though for an athletic eighteen year old with legitimate small forward size, already reasonably willing & capable of handling the ball in the half court and in transition. Many college newcomers have struggled with turnovers while adjusting to the games higher level of speed and athleticism.

For a better idea of what Kidd-Gilchrist brings to the table; I’ve watched three Kentucky games so far this season. One game I didn’t see was UK’s December 3rd victory over North Carolina. That’s too bad for me, because Kidd-Gilchrist was apparently excellent, leading Kentucky with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Tasked with guarding potential top 3 pick Harrison Barnes, he helped turn Barnes into a role player. Barnes made only a single two-point field goal and shot zero free throws en route to a 14 point, 2 rebound, 0 assist showing.

In games I did watch Kidd-Gilchrist play:

November 15th against Kansas – This was just your typical 12 point, 9 rebound, 4 assist, 1 steal, 3 block game. He did start the game poorly; traveling on a post move, missing a defensive rotation, leading a fast break but turning it over, leading a fast break but missing his finish…Kentucky was losing 14 – 19 when he sat after 12 minutes. The second half allowed him to showcase his full range of talents though. During a 21-7 run to start the second half; he defended Tyshaun Taylor, a 6’3” senior shooting guard and the Jayhawks leading backcourt scorer. During this run Kidd-Gilchrist had three assists, all for shots at the basket, including two on fast breaks (his fourth assist was also for a dunk). On one series – he blocked a shot, collected it, took a few dribbles initiating the break, and then passed the ball ahead for a dunk. Those 8 seconds covered the full high end Michael Kidd-Gilchrist experience. Finally, he helped Kentucky close the game by scoring 7 points in the final 5:45 of a 10 point victory.

December 5th against St. Johns – This was his worst game of the season, as he finished with 5 points on 7 shots with only 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. He battled foul trouble all game and missed a bunch of perimeter shots while turning the ball over three times. He wasn’t able to get into the flow of the game on either end of the court. Positives included that he guarded multiple positions, including the opposing power forward occasionally. His lone assist resulted in a shot at the basket. Fellow freshman Anthony Davis was awesome with 15 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 blocks, leading Kentucky to a 25 point victory.

December 10th against Indiana – This was Kentucky’s only loss to date, but Kidd-Gilchrist was a bright spot; finishing with 18 points on 75% true shooting while adding 9 rebounds against only two turnovers. Of Kentucky’s vaunted front court, he posed the only real threat to IU; Anthony Davis battled foul trouble and finished with six points and Terrence Jones was a non-factor, with 4 points and 1 rebound. In addition to the points and rebounds for Kidd-Gilchrist, positives included playing the entire second half while defending / chasing IU’s two leading perimeter scorers; 6’0” sharpshooting point guard Jordan Hulls and 6’5” slasher Victor Oladipo. MKG finished with two steals and two blocks and his defensive intensity was good, but he did lose his man a few times in transition and lost Hulls once in the half court; these lapses resulted in a couple of threes for IU. Oladipo shook him with a nasty crossover once too. Overall it was a very solid performance for Kidd-Gilchrist and included one highlight reel drive & dunk. This game also made it very apparent that Dick Vitale loves Kidd-Gilchrist, in some part due to what doesn’t show up in a box score. Points, rebounds, steals & blocks do show up in a box score though, and also left plenty to like.

Overall, there shouldn’t be surprise if MKG moves up from the current projection of 11th in the 2012 draft. If he doesn’t…that’s a strong draft. What NBA team can’t use an athletic small forward that is committed to defense, plays a team game, and guards a couple of positions? That could be MKG’s floor. If he can add a reliable jump shot and continue to develop his defense and playmaking; I think he can be the second best player to come out of the current group of college players. How’s that for hyperbole?

Links to the Present: December 14, 2011

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

“With a team that is even younger than the one he had under his watch last season, Scott is easing his way into the season.Not only has Camp Scott – the notorious vomit-inducing set of conditioning drills set to get his team in top-tier shape – been subdued this time around due to the extended offseason and shortened training camp, but Scott’s “Princeton” offense has yet to see the light of day and there may be some improvising during certain defensive sets.” [Scott Sargent]

“Scott said Tuesday he plans to run less-complex offensive sets in hopes of avoiding the adjustment period his team experienced last season. An abbreviated training camp also is working against him.” [Tom Reed]

“Kyrie Irving is already popping eyes at Cavaliers practice sessions. And you would expect nothing less of the NBA’s No. 1 overall draft pick.’There are gonna be some oohs and aahs at (Quicken Loans Arena) this season,’ Cavs forward Samardo Samuels predicted of Irving. Samuels said it while wearing a large smile, adding he has been most impressed with how the rookie point guard out of Duke ‘gets to where he wants to go every time’ and almost always finds the open man with quick, crisp passes.” [Sam Amico]

“Ramon Sessions spent the extended offseason wondering where he will fit in with the Cavs and recovering from hernia surgery. They used the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft on Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, and now he’s quickly becoming the face of the franchise. That has created a logjam of sorts at point guard. Two-time All-Star Baron Davis is still on the roster, but for how long? He left to have his ailing back looked at, and he might not come back.” [Bob Finnan]

“Perhaps it was a sign of things to come, but Cavaliers guard Baron Davis’ back tightened up in practice Friday, and he was sent to the sideline. Whether the Cavs keep him there is anyone’s guess. ‘Baron didn’t go,’ Cavs coach Byron Scott said. ‘We went through our easy run, the drill I start off with to see where you are, and he had some tightness in his back. I shut him down for the rest of the day.'” [The Sports Xchange]

According to David Aldridge, the Cavs are still undecided on whether or not they will use their amnesty on the ailing Davis. My opinion on this issue is in line with what’s already been expressed by others on this blog: it’s not like the Cavs need the cap space that would be created by amnestying Davis; there’s no point in paying him to play for the Heat or Lakers when he could be a valuable contributor for the Cavaliers. My only worry is that Davis has a habit of checking out and becoming a nuisance when he plays for a team that’s not very good (and I’m concerned this back problem he’s experiencing is either an act of defiance or a sign that he’s not in shape). I think if he really wants to force his way out through becoming a locker room cancer who’s twenty pounds overweight, we should let him go. But if he wants to shoulder the team’s scoring load and help Irving’s development, he should stay on the payroll. I’ve always really liked BD; I’m hoping he’ll conduct himself like a professional this season.

Links to the Present: December 13, 2011

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

WFNY has some tidbits from media day. Apparently, Manny Harris spent the offseason traveling, playing pickup games with NBA players, and working with Ben Gordon on his jumpshot. I may only like Manny because of his cool name and the one terrific game he had against Phoenix last year, but I’m rooting for him.

“You know it’s Cavaliers media day when Ryan Hollins is toting around a FOX Sports Ohio microphone and conducting interviews on his own. Hollins is the Cavs backup center and an aspiring sports broadcaster. He even spent part of the lockout providing analysis for telecasts of UCLA games.On Monday, he played the role of reporter, seeking out the inside scoop involving everyone from Cavs veteran big man Anderson Varejao to rookie guard Kyrie Irving.” [Sam Amico]

Here are various Cavaliers’ thoughts on Kyrie Irving. Unsurprisingly, his teammates and coaches think he has a lot of potential. I’m not sure how candid Byron Scott will be about Irving’s development this season—Scott tends to give pretty blandly positive answers in interviews—but it will be interesting to see how Scott aids that development, since he played with Magic Johnson and has coached Chris Paul and Jason Kidd.

“Two seasons ago, the Cavaliers had a future Hall of Famer as their starting center and a two-time All-Star as his backup. Shaquille O’Neal and Zydrunas Ilgauskas were both past their primes, but each was a legitimate center, a large presence for whom defenses had to account. The Cavaliers will start this season with Anderson Varejao in the pivot, even though his coach concedes the converted power forward would ideally be best coming off the bench.” [Tom Reed]

And here’s a media day interview with Varejao, who talks about the upcoming season, Tristan Thompson, and why Big Z was such an invaluable teammate when Andy was a rookie who barely spoke English.

Links to the Present: December 12, 2011

Monday, December 12th, 2011

“Baron Davis missed his third consecutive day of training camp with what the team is calling tightness in his lower back.Unlike the first two days of practice, Davis was not at the training facility on Sunday. He was seeking another opinion on the injury, coach Byron Scott said.” [Tom Reed]

“Free agent guard Anthony Parker signed a one-year deal to return to the Cavaliers on Monday, becoming a possible starter at shooting guard and bringing veteran leadership to the locker room of this young team.” [Mary Schmitt Boyer]

“Daniel ‘Boobie’ Gibson might not be the biggest player on the Cavaliers’ roster. He’s not even the biggest guard. But he certainly has the best right hook. Gibson said he did some boxing during the lockout to stay in shape and to improve his hand speed and endurance.” [Bob Finnan]

“Logic suggests the Cavaliers will contend only for a top-5 draft pick come spring. They lack high-end talent and proven scoring from the wings. The lockout-shortened season will afford precious little practice time for rookies Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson. But if Scott can spur improvement the way he did in his second years in New Jersey and New Orleans, the upcoming Cavaliers season should keep fans’ interest at least until Indians pitchers and catchers report.” [Tom Reed]

Zach Lowe has a solid summary of all the moves that have happened in this frantic post-lockout/pre-season period.

And Christian Eyenga grew two inches in the offseason. He’s now listed at 6’7″.

Dan Gilbert Solicits David Stern to Veto Paul Trade

Friday, December 9th, 2011

An excerpt via Yahoo! Sports:

I cannot remember ever seeing a trade where a team got by far the best player in the trade and saved over $40 million in the process. And it doesn’t appear that they would give up any draft picks, which might allow to later make a trade for Dwight Howard. (They would also get a large trade exception that would help them improve their team and/or eventually trade for Howard.) When the Lakers got Pau Gasol (at the time considered an extremely lopsided trade) they took on tens of millions in additional salary and luxury tax and they gave up a number of prospects (one in Marc Gasol who may become a max-salary player).

You can click the link for the full thing. I’m not sure how much influence this e-mail had on David Stern’s decision (certainly, he wouldn’t cancel a trade based solely on Dan Gilbert’s whinging), but Gilbert seems to be speaking for the small market owners who—depending on who you believe—were the motivating force behind the veto.

My thoughts are as follows:

-From an integrity standpoint, this whole fiasco is a joke. The league can enact whatever measures it desires to try in vain to serve some vague notion of “competitive balance,” but Chris Paul isn’t staying in New Orleans; big-ticket free agents aren’t signing with the Timberwolves; and the Lakers, Bulls, Celtics, and Knicks are always going to have the inside track on acquiring superstars. Let it go, owners of teams in Sacramento, Charlotte, and Cleveland.

-As an NBA fan, I wanted this trade to happen. The Lakers either a.) assembled a team that’s treacherously thin, but has two of the best 10 players in the league or b.) by keeping Andrew Bynum, set themselves up to land Howard if Orlando panics and decides they need to at least get something for a player who’s set to leave for free this summer. (By the way, I think Scenario A would have been most likely; it would have been fascinating to see if Bynum could stay healthy, put it all together, and be the third best player on a championship team.) But regardless: Chris Paul on the Lakers! What non-New Orleans resident isn’t excited by that prospect?

-The trade was far from lopsided. The Lakers had to sacrifice their frontcourt depth (the primary strength of their team, the Rockets got one of the best fifteen players in the league, and New Orleans got three starters and something like the 20th pick in the 2012 draft. New Orleans got 85 cents on the dollar with very little leverage. Dell Demps should be commended for that deal; instead, he’s bitterly swilling bourbon and chucking darts at a photo of Stern’s face.

-As a Cleveland fan, I give Dan Gilbert a lot of credit for his willingness to spend whatever it takes to make the Cavs competitive, but he seems, as a person, to be an irredeemable prick. I imagine when he’s eating lunch at a cafe and spots an attractive couple having a conversation in the corner, he mutters “I don’t know why the hell she’s dating him…” to himself, and then complains to the waitress that the frilly toothpicks in his club sandwich are the wrong color. What a miserable human being.

If you want something more substantive, I recommend these pieces by Bethlehem Shoals over at the Classical, Bill Simmons’ take on Grantland, and ESPN’s 5-on-5 feature.

Links to the Present: December 8, 2011

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

“Antawn Jamison began his career during a lockout-shortened season and will perhaps end it with one. Although he insists he has a few years left in his legs and will continue playing after this year, no one knows where he will be. He is in the final year of a deal that will pay him $15 million, making his expiring contract appealing to teams looking to clear cap space. But Jamison begins his 14th year in the league believing he’ll end the season in the same place he is starting.” [Jason Lloyd]

“My body was in shock. For somebody who has never experienced even a back-to-back on the NBA schedule to all of a sudden have three games in three nights was unbelievable… I can remember lying down and not wanting to move by the end of the season.” [Antawn Jamison via Mary Schmitt Boyer on playing a condensed season as a rookie]

Craig Ehlo will not, as reported by many outlets earlier this week, be taking a position as a member of Byron Scott’s staff.

The Cavs are expected to invite three non-roster players to training camp over the next couple of days.

You know that move that Kevin Durant and Kobe use once or twice per game where they rip their arms through a defender’s outstretched hand, act like it’s part of their shooting motion, and get to the free throw line for a couple easy points? That’s probably going to be called a non-shooting foul this year.

For those who haven’t seen it already, here is the Cavaliers’ schedule.

And Chris Sheridan has some important details of the status of a slew of b-list issues in the new CBA.

Also CBA-related: the new CBA could allow for HGH testing, according to the New York Times.

Should the Cavs amnesty Baron Davis? (part 2)

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

(Gotta love hipster Baron.  Is Billy Hunter asleep???)

Note: I’m actually 100% in support of keeping Baron Davis.  In the article below I am simply playing devil’s advocate.  I actually managed to briefly convince myself, while writing this, that amnestying him was a good idea.  I’ve come back to earth.  Anyway, the point is, take this for what it is – an argument for argument’s sake.

As Kevin said yesterday, the NBA has, in the new CBA, agreed on a clause allowing every team to amnesty one player.  This means that the team can wipe that player’s salary away from their cap.  The team will continue to pay that player’s salary (minus whatever new deal the player receives over the same number of years) but that player’s finances would not count in the salary cap totals.

Again, as Kevin wrote yesterday, there seems to be consensus among NBA pundits that the Cleveland Cavaliers should and will amnesty Baron Davis.  While Kevin makes some good points as to why Cleveland should keep Baron, I think he’s missing some of the real issues here:

First, although Baron is playing nice right now, that is not likely to last for long.  As most NBA fans know, Baron Davis has never been a consistently great locker room guy, particularly on bad, untalented teams.  The Cavs have ZERO chance of making the playoffs this year (and honestly, do we really want them to?  They’re better off with a lottery pick.) and while Baron is saying all the right things right now, the moment the losses start piling up, I doubt he’ll be singing that same song.  When Baron is unhappy, he is a team cancer.  The last thing the Cavs need is dissension in the locker room, particularly with young, moldable minds like Irving and Thompson looking for leadership.

One of the most convincing arguments against amnestying Davis is his potential value next year as a trade asset (expiring contract, sometimes-decent player.)  Unfortunately, I sincerely doubt he’ll be worth much on the open trade market.  Remember, he’ll be 33 next year, will still be making a boatload of dough, and already has some serious reputation issues. The odds that the Cavs could get anything worthwhile in return are minimal, and probably not worth the potentially harmful effects he could have in the locker room.

It’s pretty clear the Cavs plan on starting Irving at PG this season, and behind him sits the always reliable Booby Gibson, as well as the stellar Ramon Sessions.  Where does Baron Davis fit into this equation?  Right now there is a log-jam at the PG position – there aren’t enough minutes to go around – and as a team building for the future, it seems silly to keep playing the 32 year old Davis over young, developing players like Sessions and Irving.

Finally, the Cavs have some GLARING holes to fill right now.  A team with four point guards, four (or five, depending what you consider Harangody) power forwards (Anderson is hardly a true center) and a bunch of mediocre role players does not make for a promising season or future, even with  the young blood the Cavs got in the off season.  Varejao is coming off a major injury, Jamison is aging fast and has his own health problems, and three of the Cavs starters are new to the team and are still very young and unproven.  Considering what the Cavs need (a starting SG, some insurance at center) and what this free agency market has (some decent, young, low priced SGs such as Aaron Afflalo and Nick Young, a lot of depth at the center position) the Cavs should take this as an opportunity to build for the future.  Add in the fact that this NBA draft is top heavy on forwards and light on SGs, and some mild Cavs activity for this FA period seems like a no brainer.

Baron Davis is by no means a terrible player – in his younger days, when he was on, he had the talent to be a legitimately good starter, if not a star.  But I am certain that his personality, combined with the Cavs ineptitude, make this a perfect use for the Amnesty Clause.

Should the Cavs amnesty Baron Davis?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

The new NBA collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows every NBA team to “amnesty” one player’s contract. This would allow the team to waive the player, and the player’s salary would not count towards salary cap or luxury tax thresholds. The team would still need to pay the player, and the player would be a free agent capable of signing with another team.

(Edit: A couple of astute readers have pointed out a mis-understanding of the amnesty provision. If a player is amnestied, then all teams under the salary cap can place a bid on the player. If an under-the-cap team places a high bid to pay Davis $5 million per year, the Cavs are only responsible for the balance of his contract. If no team bids on the player, then he becomes a free agent. Despite that realization, I stand by the rest of the post. Thank you HoopsDogg and Daniel for pointing out my error.)

The consensus among the national NBA media has been that the Cavs will amnesty Baron Davis. Until recently, this has been treated as obvious, a slam dunk…but I don’t agree with making the move. Recent rumors are that the Cavs are also leaning away from it. Given that a team still needs to pay the player, there appear to be two main reasons for amnesty; to avoid the luxury tax, or to free cap space for additional free agents. Neither of these reasons seems to be compelling for the Cavs to drop Davis. The Cavs position as it relates to the luxury tax is solid. The Cavs have 14 players under contract this season for $65 million, while the estimated luxury tax level is $70 million (both numbers are representative of an 82 game season). For 2012 – 2013, the Cavs will have eight players under contract for approximately $45 million (this includes several million for another lottery pick). There is no cause for concern about the luxury tax.

As far as freeing cap space to sign an expensive free agent, there doesn’t seem to be a rationale for doing that. The Cavs have positioned themselves well for a rebuilding project. They just drafted Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson in the high lottery and have seven more first round picks in the next four drafts. Other than Irving and Thompson, only Anderson Varejao has a guaranteed contract beyond 2012 – 2013. Draft picks and flexibility are exactly what a re-building team needs; why would the Cavs add a new long-term free agent piece to the puzzle, before having a chance to evaluate how Irving and Thompson fit? It doesn’t make sense.

This post isn’t focusing on Baron Davis’ basketball talent or his motivation; but when he wants to play, Baron Davis is a really good basketball player. Most reports indicate that Davis has been working very hard this off-season. Why should the Cavs pay him $30 million for the next two years to play for the Heat or Lakers? If Davis plays well this season, his talent combined with his expiring contract could be valuable in a trade next year. If he isn’t motivated and doesn’t play well, the amnesty can still be used next summer. With amnestying next summer, the Cavs would have $30 million in cap space going into 2012 – 2013. Players under contract would be Irving, Thompson, a 2012 lottery pick, Anderson Varejao, Omri Casspi, Ramon Sessions, and Christian Eyenga. Those players with that cap space isn’t a bad re-building base. As a “worst case” non-amnestying scenario; Davis plays for the Cavs for two years, and the Cavs enter 2013 – 2014 with Irving, Thompson, a 2012 lottery pick, a 2013 Cavs first round pick, a 2013 Heat first round pick, Varejao, Casspi, Eyenga, and $30 million to sign free agents. “Worst case” is used lightly; having Baron Davis around for two years while accumulating young talent and maintaining cap flexibility could be the best case scenario. Letting a young core start to define itself prior to attempting to add a high-profile acquisition makes sense; this allows the Cavs to target the appropriate free agents or trades that fit the roster.

Obviously the Cavs’ 2011 -2012 roster is a little nonsensical; it can be argued that the best six players are point guards and power forwards. I’d like to see the Cavs play the following unit for 15 – 18 minutes every game.

• PG – Irving
• SG – Eyenga / Manny Harris
• SF – Casspi
• PF – Thompson
• C – Varejao

The Cavs can see how the young guys play with each other, as these players have the only contracts that extend past 2012 – 2013. This season is as good as any to start figuring out what works and what doesn’t. This is also a reasonable group where Irving can play as the PG in a “traditional” lineup. With Davis & Sessions around, it will be important to give Irving opportunities to lead as undisputed PG. The other 30 minutes a game in 2011- 2012 can be spread amongst a variety of two point guard, two (or three) power forward lineups.

In summary, I see no reason to pay Baron Davis to play basketball for someone else this season. If everyone is healthy; a Cavs team including Davis, Irving, Varejao, Antawn Jamison, etc could be interesting. Keeping Davis now helps maintain flexibility later. Seems like an easy decision to me.

Links to the Present: December 6, 2011

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Lots of Tristan Thompson-related articles today:

“Adding to [the pressure] for Thompson is the fact the Cavs traded J.J. Hickson, last season’s starting power forward. Hickson was shipped to Sacramento for small forward Omri Casspi just before the lockout, potentially freeing some minutes for Thompson. Still, Thompson didn’t appear to be nervous after a workout at the team’s practice facility Monday. The workout also included Casspi, Samardo Samuels and Luke Harangody.” [Sam Amico]

“The Cavaliers rookie took an introductory broadcasting course, learned about U.S. government, delved into African-American studies and got schooled in defending Tim Duncan on the low block. Actually, the last item isn’t offered at UT. It was more of an extra-credit project in San Antonio.” [Tom Reed]

“Thompson is a communications major who has dreams of a studio analyst job with ESPN or TNT after his playing days. He took four classes this fall (government, a speech/broadcasting class and two African-American studies courses) and completed two final exams early so he could fly to Cleveland over the weekend and begin his career. He has two more final exams he must e-mail back to the professors.” [Jason Lloyd]

“The Cavs decided to select Thompson instead of Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas, who was forced to play overseas this season. ‘Everyone is entitled to their own opinion,’ Thompson said at Cleveland Clinic Courts on Monday. ‘Some people were glad they picked me, and some wanted them to take the Lithuanian kid. I’ll just come in and play my game and win their hearts.'” [Bob Finnan]

“I was working out two times a day and also going up to San Antonio and working out with Tim Duncan and the Spurs guys in town. It was a great experience – guarding Tim Duncan. He’s a Hall of Famer. Plus, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It gave me a good taste of what the NBA is about.” [Tristan Thompson via Project Spurs]

And the Cavs have decided to hire the Thunder’s D-League coach as an assistant:

“The Cavaliers have dipped into that organization’s development system for their newest assistant coach. They named Nate Tibbetts — the Thunder’s D-League coach the past two seasons — as a low-level assistant on Monday. The hiring highlighted several moves coach Byron Scott made to his staff.” [Tom Reed]

On the Twitters

“Say this for the #Cavs rooks they didn’t bail on school the moment the lockout ended.” [PDCavsInsider]

“Last two days of class coming up and then I’m off to Cleveland…yessir!!! We gon do it.” [Kyrie Irving]