Archive for January, 2013

Not a Recap: Cavs 113, Milwaukee 108

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Nate will offer something more substantive later today, but in the event anyone is up early on a Saturday, and has thoughts on the game, put ‘em here.

The first thirty minutes went poorly, with defensive breakdowns and unconscious Milwaukee shooting allowing the Bucks to pile-up 82 points with five minutes still to go in the third.  Cleveland trailed by twenty, until Kyrie and Tristan scored 16 in the final four minutes to draw it close.

The new super-second-string secured the win in the fourth.  New addition Speights netted 8 points in the quarter, and fellow arrival Wayne Ellington drilled a three.  Livingston, Gibson and Walton also got in on the action and that group of five mounted a 21 to 8 run to give Cleveland the lead.  Kyrie sealed the deal with six points in the final thirty-five seconds, and all of Cleveland is joyous.

Kyrie finished with 35 points on 83% true shooting.  Tristan posted 18 & 6 with three blocks.  Dion added 16 points and 4 assists on 60% TS, and Livingston and Speights offered 12 and 10 points, respectively, from the bench.  The most interesting man alive, Luke Walton, again tallied seven assists & five boards, and finished an awesome putback.  He almost dunked…honest to goodness.

Look for Nate’s recap later.

Links to the Present

Friday, January 25th, 2013
 

Adam Morrison, NBA champion.

I know there’s been a lot of discussion here about the nature of the draft picks the Cavaliers own. Cavs.com gave forth a detailed breakdown of the various picks and protections.

In other news, Josh Selby was assigned to the D-League, and will play for the Canton Charge until the Cavs feel as though he is ready for the NBA. He was a devastating offensive force in the Summer League this year, and let’s hope he can replicate some of that success.

On the Trade, On the Draft

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

I used this picture recently, but it is appropriate today. All-Star weekend does not know what it hath wrought.

First, Kyrie made the All-Star game.  Yay!!

Second, recent discussions led me to briefly peruse the C:tB archives.  One article I looked at was my preseason predictions. Writing articles like these provides future humor, as even a great result probably nets half failure. So far, my tally doesn’t seem poor, but for a full re-visit I will wait until season end.  At the midway point of the season, the predictions proving most accurate relate to Tristan.  My 11 points, 9 rebounds, 47% fg and 57% ft are nearly spot-on with his 10.6, 9.3, 48.6 and 62.4.

Those lucky guesses are ironic considering this blog featured 100% of the writers being wrong about Tristan 100% of the time.  Anyways, I hope Tristan continues his recent play and blows my pre-season expectations out of the water.

Really, this article is barely one.  Here are some bullets on the Trade and the Draft.

(more…)

Kyrie is an All-Star

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

The much deserved news is here.  Kyrie Irving joins the NBA’s best in Houston in February.  Way to go, Kyrie, on the first of ten all-star trips.

Tristan Thompson Has No Ceiling

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

A peculiar phenomenon of the internet seems to be that nuanced observation and dialogue is… unpopular.  Maybe “not popular” would be a better way to put it.  It seems as if the quickest way to page views and hyperlink glory is to churn out the most hyperbolic, sensationalist screed possible.  In the quest to shout the most ridiculous and extreme views from the mountaintop in order to engender the most snickers, likes, or hates, it becomes impossible to differentiate between parody and actual opinion.  Poe’s law makes the line between expressing a strong opinion and baiting trolls increasingly impossible to discern.  Unfortunately, there’s no smiley face emoticon that can be slapped on every single mocking sentence, and praise can be dripping with sarcastic derision.   So in light of Tristan Thompson Bobblehead Giveaway night tomorrow at the Q, I guess I have to say this without an ounce of irony or shtick: Tristan Thompson’s been pretty good lately.

How good?  Since Anderson Varejao has been out of the lineup, TT has put up some very impressive averages: 14.1 points per game, 11.9 rebounds in 35.4 minutes a game.  His PER is roughly 17.84 (calculated using linear weights PER).  His true shooting percentage is .543, and his defensive rebound rate has been 24%.  The most impressive number?  He’s shooting .691 from the line in that time!  If someone had bet me last year that TT would shoot almost 70% from the line for a solid month, I’d have said, “yeah, and the Lakers won’t make the playoffs.”  Kevin called Tristan’s game buttery slickness.  I’m calling him poutine.  That free throw percentage is pure gravy.

How has Tristan done this?  First of all his rebounding has improved dramatically.  Tristan’s always been a good offensive rebounder.  Before AV left the lineup, TT was rebounding at a rate of 12.9% offensively and 17.8% defensively for a total rebound rate of 15.2%.  Since Andy’s injury, Thompson is rebounding at a rate of 14.6 ORB%, 24.0 DRB%, and 19.1 TRB%.  Obviously, in Varejao’s absence, there are more rebounds to go around, especially when playing with Luke Walton, but TT’s rebounding is reaching elite levels.  19.1TRB% would be #10 in the league this season.  As it stands now, TT is #10 in offensive rebounding this season, even including the time he played with Andy.  Raising his defensive rebounding rate an additional 6.2% in Andy’s absence is impressive.  That’s a per game average improvement of 4.2 rebounds a game.

It’s not just the rebounding.  Canadian Dynamite has become a confident and effective offensive player.  As we’ve talked about and Austin Carr has alluded to, Tristan Trevor James Thompson has torn down his offensive game and rebuilt himself as a right hander.  Strangely ambidextrous, Thompson has much more touch with the right hand.  The left hand shot seems to be flatter, and to have less spin on it.  While he still shoots freethrows lefty, his new preferred move seems to be the right handed hook shot in the lane out to about 9 feet, which he’s becoming more and more effective at.  Another reason that Tristan has become the ketchup chips of offensive players, is that he rarely takes dumb shots.  Tristan is not a jump shooter and he knows it.  He rarely takes a jump shot at all.  He is much more effective with the hook or flip shot from both sides of the basket, but if he doesn’t have a good look, he’s gotten very good at giving the ball up and not forcing anything.  His shot chart speaks volumes.

Shot chart by basketball-reference.com

Thompson has gotten effective at shooting the jump hook, and can go over either shoulder (though I wish he’d go left a bit more to keep the D honest).  He has a full on hook as well as a little jump hook push shot that he likes to shoot from the right and left of of the key.  He’s also gotten very good at quick dunking guys and has dropped some of the weight he had earlier this season.  No longer afraid of getting fouled, TT goes quickly to the bucket and has learned to get to the far side of the rim on dunks to avoid getting blocked.  I’m impressed by his ability to be a double digit scorer simply through putbacks, dunks, hook shots, and the occasional dribble drive.  Yes, his handle is pretty sweet for a big man, and he’s been impressing with his between the legs crossover.  KG turned his head the other night, and TT flew to the rack from the top of the key to earn two freebies.  Because of his dribble drive game, defenders can’t completely ignore TT outside of the key.  Plus, his free throw form looks better every game.  Even if he rarely uses it in games, it’s obvious that the time Thompson spent in the offseason working on his jumper has helped him at the charity stripe tremendously.  As can be seen in this highlight real from Portland, it’s obvious he’s working at it between every game, too.

Another evolution of Tristan’s game has been better passing and decision making before Andy’s injury, Thompsons assist rate was 6.1%, his turnovers were 14.6% and his usage was 15.1%.  Since the injury he’s bumped them to 7.9 AST%, 10.6 TOV%, and 18.3% Usage.  So he’s also getting the ball more.  He even had a 5 assist night against Boston. He may never be Bill (or even Luke) Walton, but he’s no longer Yinka Dare.

On the other side of the ball, the Cavs defense is (still) such a mess that it’s really hard to grade him.  Tristan passes the eye test, in that he seems to get in good position and be a decent one on one defender.  He’s certainly better than his replacements, and has been all season.  82games ranks him as helping the Cavs D give up 7 less points per hundred possessions, and score an additional 4.2 per 100 possessions than his subfor a net rate of +11.2 for the season.  This is more an indictment of Tristan’s really bad replacements though.  Recently, TT held LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Millsap below their averages and helped limit KG to 5-13 shooting.   but he definitely has room for improvement here.  Furthermore Tristan’s blocks are down drastically this year from last year, and he hasn’t been any better in Andy’s absence.  His block rate has dropped in half from 3.3% to 1.7%.  The increase in rebounding has benefited, but it would be nice if he could regain some of the aggressiveness on help defense that he had in his rookie year, while still leaving behind the wild abandon that got him consistently out of position.

The real question is: where can Tristan go from here?  Tristan’s rapid improvement has been eye opening.  It’s like he hired Mark Whalberg’s post Planet of the Apes acting coach to develop his post game.  That serviceable post game was developed in a season and a half after Jay Bilas said on draft night,“he needs to learn how to play and how to score.”  Can Thompson keep developing?  One good thing is that he seems to add one skill at a time.  If TT can master the hook shot, he can graduate to learning how to use the glass.  He’s still not very good at this, but has gotten better at layups off the square.  If he can figure that out, he can start learning how to dunk one handed, which will allow TT to finish at some better angles and let him wait to expose the ball on the flush.  With those abilities and the little flip shot which I’ve seen a few times, Tristan can develop a counter off the hook: an up an under or a turn and face power move/step through/drop step.  That should help him on the block.  In the next couple years if he can develop a jumper even out to 15 feet, he could really be something.

Pre-season, I said that Tristan’s ceiling may be a slightly better on offense Ben Wallace.  I’m revising that.  His ceiling is unknown at this point.  According to a comment Kevin made yesterday, “In the last ten years, the guys to average 15 & 12 and 50% fg are Duncan, Garnett, Howard, Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph (once).”  Tristan is getting close to this in his last month and simple improvements seem possible.  Let’s hope he can keep it up.  TT’s ability to conjure dramatic improvement in season is a rare commodity.  In looking at his game, I’m not sure I can figure out a player to compare him to.  Name me a long armed left handed center in a power forward’s body who scored mostly out of the post, had a face-up game with no jump shot, could put up 12 boards a game, and was still a decent defender?  Maybe Tristan’s a southpaw Dennis Rodman.  This much is true: the fumbling and hesitant player TT was at the beginning of the season, when he was still a rookie, no longer exists.  Tristan has achieved the rare feat of mid-season metamorphosis.

What I like most about Tristan is his demeanor on and off the court.  He seems affable, well spoken, and genuinely funny.  I absolutely love this video for TT’s induction into the bobblehead hall of fame, and the fact that TT’s taken on childhood epilepsy as part of his charity work.  Furthermore, if Fox Sports is to be believed, Tristan was leading the huddles in the game against the Celtics.  He seems one of the few Cavs truly committed to defense on every play, and he plays with an energy that is infectious.  No snark — Canadian Dynamite has become one of my favorite Cavaliers.

Tristan's like fries, cheese curds, and gravy... what's not to love?

P.S. I completely forgot to mention TT’s rapidly developing pick and roll chemistry with Kyrie, and the fact that he consistently runs the floor: two more gold stars in his favor, and the source of a few more buckets a game. That is all. Let the love fest continue.

P.P.S  According to commenter, LaughingCavs, Tristan’s PER is actually 18.5 since Andy’s quad tear (linear weights PER is a rough PER approximation, and tends to drift by a point or so).  He also included this great graph which tracks Tristan’s PER per (offensive) possession from the 500th (offensive) possession of the season onward.  TT is tracking over 20 in the month of January.  Exciting stuff.

Links to the Present: Kyrie is Sweeeeeet.

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Uncle Drew!

“Men are slower to recognize blessings than evils.”
-Titus Livius

As Cavs fans, we argue endlessly about the players on the Cavs that just-can’t-get-all-the-way-there; is Dion Waiters a low-efficiency chucker, or Dwayne Wade? Has Tristan Thompson finally turned the corner? This is all well and good. Sometimes, though, we need to take a step back and recognize the history taking place right before out eyes. Kyrie Irving is a young superstar, and the rest of the league is starting to take notice. 20 years old, 22.9 PER. I’m fighting an intense urge to use emoticons here, but times are good.

Anyways, here’s a few links in appreciation of Uncle Drew himself.

ESPN (Insider) is rolling out a new feature called “Who’s Better.” First edition: Kyrie Irving vs. Damian Lillard. Kyrie wins the comparison handily, and there’s this for dessert: “Irving, though, drips with the kind of intangibles that suggest he could be one of the NBA’s greats.”

ESPN (Insider) also released “25 under 25″ rankings. Kyrie is sixth on the list. “Already one of the league’s top players. Irving combines offensive skill better than any player on this list, and far better than anyone at this age in recent memory.”

In addition to the 25 under 25 list, “best- and worst-case scenarios” were compiled for the top 10 by ESPN (Insider). Kyrie receives Jason Kidd/Kobe Bryant as his best-case scenarios, and Michael Redd/Steve Francis as his worst.

Recap: Cleveland 95, Boston 90 (or a consensus “top 3 favorite game of the year”)

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Kyrie loves playing against Boston; 40 points, including 11 in the last 2.5 minutes? All in a day's work.

Big day for the Cavaliers.  First they trade a waiver-wire pickup for the entire Grizzlies bench PLUS a first round draft pick, then they pummel a reigning Eastern Conference Finalist.  Also, based on post-game chatter, this game rates highly among Cavs:the Bloggers.  I watched with company, so hopefully my attentiveness and recollection do this justice.

Cleveland sprinted off on a 31 to 27 first quarter lead.  Kyrie was RIDICULOUS; 19 points on 8 of 10 from the field.  Circus shots at the rim, pull-ups from mid-range, threes from deeeeep; Kyrie displayed the whole arsenal.  The league’s soon-to-be undisputed best passing front court mesmerized with pinpoint dimes; Walton, Zeller and Thompson combined for eight first quarter assists.

Walton perpetuated his point-forwarding in the second quarter, including a set-up for a monstrous Tristan dunk.  Luke registered five assists in his first seven minutes of play; remember, he’s a free agent this offseason, so the team better maintain cap space.  Otherwise the quarter started poorly, as Waiters attacked but could not finish, and also rimmed-out an open three.  Cleveland’s six points in the first six minutes allowed Boston to mount a 37 to 41 lead.  Tristan Thompson scored eight of his twelve second-quarter points in the final six minutes though, to navigate the team to a 54 to 53 half time lead.  He finished with 16 for the half; Kevin Garnett was jealous of how smooth Tristan’s shooting has become.

As usual, Cleveland limped out for the third quarter.  Boston fueled an early run behind Jeff Green and Avery Bradley three pointers.  They built a seven-point lead until Alonzo Gee decimated the Boston defense with filthy drive & dunk.  Cleveland embarked on a 7 – 0 run, including an out-of-bounds play drawn up for their go-to-guy: with three seconds on the shot clock, the pass went to Tristan, who left Garnett grasping at air, and threw the hammer down!  Cleveland trailed heading into the fourth by a score of 70 to 73.

The first nine minutes of the fourth seesawed back-and-forth, as neither team gained more than a three point lead.  Then, the magic started.  Kyrie drove and finished to give the Cavs an 84 to 83 lead.  Next, Rajon Rondo inexplicably chased down an errant pass and saved the ball to Kyrie alone under the basket: 86 to 83 Cleveland.  Kevin Garnett hit two free throws, but then off a Waiters assist, Alonzo Gee pump-faked and dunked to restore the three-point margin.  On the ensuing Boston possession, Garnett received a veteran-vs-rookie phantom call, with Tyler Zeller’s clean block ruled a foul.  Garnett hit both freebies and Zeller fouled out, replaced by super-sub Luke Walton.

The teams traded misses, until TT grabbed a d-board, handed it to Kyrie…and Irving went coast-to-coast!  90 to 87!  On Boston’s possession, Rajon Rondo attempted to one-up his young counter-part, but missed…the ball was tipped, then tipped again, and Luke Walton snagged the clutch rebound!  That man is everywhere!

What’s next?  Of course, a Kyrie and-one; put this game on ice, tonight’s baddest man alive says the game is over.  Cleveland leads by six with twenty-seconds to go and the rest is a formality.

A nice win for the team.  Kyrie finished with 40 points on 74% true shooting, including 15 in the fourth quarter.  Tristan finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists worth of buttery-slickness.  Walton tallied seven assists as the team piled-up 28 on 37 field goals.

Good game.  Cavs rule.  Celtics stink. Onto some notes:

  • Kevin Durant still plays tonight, but Kyrie may very well end up the NBA’s best player today.  That happens a few times per season, and is amazing for a twenty year old.  With solid defense, what is his ceiling?  Top-three NBA player?
  • Waiters had an off-night, shooting 3 of 12.  Five of his shots were at the rim, though obviously he couldn’t finish.  He missed an open three and dished three assists with zero turnovers.  One aspect of Dion’s role in the offense that frustrates me, is that when off the ball, he meanders away from the play.  He is frequently 30 to 35 feet from the basket when someone else has the ball.    The game turns into 4 on 5.  He needs to learn / be taught about some action to perform when off-the-ball.
  • Zeller played a relatively feisty game, featuring 10 boards, 3 blocks, 4 assists and plus-5 in 38 minutes.
  • Did you know that Luke Walton’s effective field goal percentage is 47% in the first half and 32% in the second half?  No?  Just something I noticed.
  • Did you know that in the last 17 games, Tristan has attempted 3.5 shots per first quarter, only been assisted on 29% of his makes, and converts at 42% effective field goal shooting?  In the other three quarters, he averages 2.4 shots and is assisted on 46% of his makes with 55% eFG.  You hadn’t noticed that?  What game are you watching?
  • Daniel Gibson returned to the line-up, but ummm, didn’t really do anything.
  • Ohio State alum Jared Sullinger posted a double-double, his third in January.

Your Quick and Dirty Trade Analysis

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

First, here’s the rundown: the Cavs flipped Jon Leuer to the Grizzlies for Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby, and a future first-rounder. According to Brian Windhorst, the pick has protections on it that stipulate the Cavaliers will get the next Grizzlies draft pick that falls between sixth and fourteenth in either the 2013, 2014, 2015, or 2016 draft. So, while the Cavs likely won’t see the Grizz pick this year, they have a decent shot at getting a lottery selection out of the deal in the long run. The deal is essentially a salary dump for Memphis, who wanted to get out from under the luxury tax threshold, and the draft pick a reward for taking on Speights’s contract, which pays him $4.2 mil this year, and $4.5 mil next year if he picks up his player option.

While Speights was a cap burden in Memphis, the Cavs can use him right away. He’s 6-foot-10, 245 pounds, and can play at either front court spot. In Cleveland, he will probably split minutes with Tyler Zeller (who will start and who will come off the bench is anybody’s guess), which is good news for Tristan Thompson, who can go back to being a full-time power forward. Speights isn’t the next coming of Tim Duncan, but he can shoot a little bit, and he’s an excellent offensive rebounder. He has had a sub-par year-and-a-half in Memphis, where his true shooting percentage declined from about 53 percent in his three years in Philadelphia to 49.1 percent last year and 47.4 percent this year. But then, he’s not a scorer, so it’s not like he’s shooting those percentages while taking 10 shots per game. With the Grizz, he was an eighth or ninth man, which is probably his ideal role, but he’ll fit in quite nicely on a Cleveland team that has almost zero frontcourt depth.

It’s up in the air whether or not Speights will pick up his player option next year. From a financial standpoint, it makes sense, but will he want to play in Cleveland after spending the past 18 months with a fringe title contender? The Cavs can deal with whatever decision Speights makes. It’s not as if they are planning on signing Dwight Howard in the offseason; they can afford to pay Speights if he wants to stick around without injuring their cap flexibility in any meaningful way. (And if Chris Grant and company think Speights is leaving, perhaps they will flip him for another asset. The Grizz didn’t hate Speights; they were just looking to get under the luxury tax threshold. He has some value, and would be a nice addition to a contender’s bench.)

If you need a point of reference for Wayne Ellington, he’s not dissimilar to Boobie Gibson, except that he’s 6-foot-5 (per Draft Express’s pre-draft measurements), which is a more respectable size for a spot-up shooter who’s not an exceptional ball handler. Though he had a rough season in Minnesota a year ago, shooting 32.4 percent from beyond the arc, Ellington appears to have relocated his shooting stroke. He has made 42.3 percent of his three-pointers in 40 games for Memphis. On a team that doesn’t have a lot of shooters, Ellington is a welcome addition. Like Speights, he’s not going to extraordinarily alter the Cavs, but he will be a steady bench player on a team that doesn’t have many viable bench options. Ellington is also a restricted free agent at the end of the season, so he and the Cavs will have an opportunity to feel each other out over the second half of this year. If the Cavs don’t want to pay him next season, he can walk, and if they’re intrigued, they can give him a $3.1 mil qualifying offer and see what sort of offer sheets roll in.

Josh Selby is a player I inexplicably like who will probably be out of the league in a few years. He’s only 21, and hasn’t played much for the Grizz since they drafted him in the second round of the 2011 draft, but he’s been pretty dreadful in very limited minutes. He’s a career 33 percent shooter, turns the ball over way too much, and has a career PER of 2.7. I was curious why no one took a flyer on Selby in the late first round or early second round of his draft, but then my college basketball knowledge is roughly equivalent to that of a dead man, so perhaps I was wrong about a player I had seen play maybe twice. At any rate, Selby’s a young guy with some talent who probably won’t work out. The Cavs can run him through some practices, throw him some garbage time minutes, and roll the dice on the two percent chance he becomes a rotation player. He probably has a better chance of making something of himself on a bad team like the Cavs than a good team like the Grizz who aren’t going to risk losing games just to give him minutes.

* * * * *

In sum, this is a great trade, though it’s important to keep scale in mind. The Cavs got something not-insignificant for Jon Leuer, who hardly saw the floor. Because they had cap space, they were able to absorb a couple of contracts another team needed to unload and picked up a draft pick in the process. And two of the three players they acquired, who were a cap burden to the Grizzlies, also upgrade the Cavalier bench. It’s about as perfect a deal as any Cavs fan could have hoped for, even if, in the long run, it might not have a remarkable impact.

But I want to talk about a plausible scenario in which it does. With this deal and the Omri Casspi-J.J. Hickson swap from a couple of years ago, the Cavs own two future probable lottery picks that they’re going to gain access to in an indeterminate number of years. These two trades aren’t as exciting as the one that brought Baron Davis and a top-10 lottery pick (that eventually turned into the first overall selection) to Cleveland, but they might end up being crucial to the development of the team.

Let’s say, over the next few years, Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller, and their 2013 lottery pick all improve incrementally. Chris Grant hangs onto the guys he acquired in this trade and/or fleshes out the roster in free agency. He doesn’t splurge, but he assembles a decent bench. The Cavs, in the 2014-15 season, grab a seven seed and push the Bulls to seven games. They’re a team on the rise. Not great yet, but they’re young and talented and look like they could have an outside shot at title contention if they continue to improve and add a couple more pieces. This is when those draft picks become valuable assets. The protection on the Sacreattle KingSonics’ pick finally dwindles to the point that the Cavs can use it, and they’re now a playoff team with a pick in the top-10 in the upcoming draft. The next year, Memphis falls off and the Cavs land the 13th pick in the draft. Once they’re in possession of these picks, they can try to fill out their roster with young, cheap talent—say, bring a rookie off the bench for twelve minutes per game, and tell him all he has to do is play defense and make open threes—or they can flip the picks for more established players.

That’s a plausible future, right? The deal the Cavs made this morning can help make the above scenario a reality. If and when their current core realizes its potential, they will be able to continue to reinforce their roster, not just through free agency, but through the draft and the trade market. Chris Grant, since the day he took over for Danny Ferry, has stressed that he was going to value flexibility. Today he capitalized on the cap flexibility he has maintained over the past three seasons while also making sure the Cavs will remain flexible in terms of their ability to acquire players and assets three-to-four years down the road when they’re (hopefully) a markedly better team than they are now. Grant doesn’t want future Cavaliers teams to be like the current-day Knicks, Celtics, and Lakers, who clearly need to get better but don’t have any valuable assets with which to do so. This salary dump deal isn’t the blockbuster Andy Varejao trade that some wanted, but it’s a smart move that might pay significant dividends in the future.

TRADE ALERT

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Nothing is imminent yet, It has been done! the Cavs have traded Leuer for Marreese Speights and Josh Selby.  Picks may or may not be involved.

Someone talk Kevin down from the ledge.

UPDATE: Looks like the Cavs got Speights, Selby, Wayne Ellington AND a future top-5 protected first rounder for Leuer.

SECOND UPDATE: As Pete was kind enough to point out, Jones has been sent to the D-League – NIX THAT!  Looks like Jones is coming back.

THIRD UPDATE: Looks like Pargo has been waived.  Looking at a very different roster after today.

In Memoriam of Ed – Waiting for the Big W

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Ed Foth was born in 1919 in Cleveland Ohio.  He served in the air force during the second World War, started his own successful company, and had a great marriage for 67 years (until his wife passed away a few years ago, God bless her soul), and was a true family man.  He had a ton of interests too – Vegas, Golf, his garden, but in all the time I knew him no interest seemed to come anywhere close to his obsession with Cleveland sports.

I was lucky enough to spend many, many hours discussing every single facet of  being a Cleveland fan with Ed which, admittedly, has influenced my fandom.  Sitting at the bug game in 2007, watching my Yankees fall to the Indians due to a sudden swarm of gnats, I couldn’t help but feel happy for my family, particularly for Ed, who wanted nothing but to see one of his beloved home teams win another championship.  Later, when the Indians finally ousted the Yanks, I thought he might have that chance. (Damn you Boston.  May you forever be tormented in you-know-where.)

Ed was your typical trooper when it came to Cleveland teams falling short – he approached the disappointment with a sort of gloomy optimism, surrounding all of his hopefulness with a gigantic swig of negativity.  Ed knew as well as anyone else that while next year meant another chance at success, it also meant another opportunity to fall short.  Year in and year out I’d hear him lament the past year’s failure, and how the next year could be the year it all came to fruition.  But underneath all the positivity was that same distress that plagues us all.

In 2010, my senior year of college, my uncle was lucky enough to snag a bunch of tickets to game 1 of the Cavs/Celtics playoff series.  On May 1st, despite Lebron’s “elbow,” we were fortunate enough to watch Mo Williams (crazy dunk and all) and the Cavs beat the Celtics.  Things were good, and Ed was happy.  I vaguely remember him saying something along the lines of, “I think this could finally be our year.”  His positivity was overflowing – he had let his Cleveland guard down, and was anticipating a championship.  Of course, we were all wrong, and I’ll spare everyone the recapitulation of what happened next.

And now, less than three years later, Ed has passed.  Unlike many of us, he was lucky enough to witness a parade down Euclid Avenue, but also unlike most of us, he knew just how sour being a Cleveland fan can be.  And so, as they bury a true American success story, a good man from the great generation, I’ll think not only of the success he achieved in his life, of his patriarchy that ushered in a family of two children, four grand children, and seven great-grandchildren, and of the love he held for his wife until the day he died, but also of his passion for Cleveland sports.

Rest In Peace, Ed.  May the Browns, Cavaliers, or Indians one day achieve that ever elusive W.