Archive for April, 2014

The Obligatory Donald Sterling Discussion

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Editors Note: The following is a dialogue and an amalgamation of chats written over a couple of days between Tom Pestak and Nate Smith. The topic of discussion: Donald Sterling and the L.A. Clippers.  As such, it was edited to include topical information, such as Adam Silver’s press conference on Tuesday. Please note that all opinions expressed are solely Tom’s and Nate’s and are independent of opinions of the rest of the CtB staff or our affiliates.

Nate Smith: I know. I know. It seems everyone who’s anyone in the NBA has a take on Donald Sterling’s racists comments to his mistress V. Stiviano and on the lifetime ban imposed by Adam Silver. The tale has it all: a ribald March-December affair, a filthy rich villain getting his comeuppance, an aggrieved fan-base, a jilted wife, and superstar NBA players caught in the middle of it all. Sterling’s comments strip off thin veneer of civility covering the ugly racial tensions just under the surface of our public discourse… It’s no wonder that the story has touched off such a firestorm. But, Tom, as anyone who’s followed the Clippers for any length of time knows, we should have seen this coming. Sterling is a sleazebag, and he has been for years. The New York Times published a litany of his years of offensive behavior, Monday.

In 2009, Sterling paid a $2.725 million settlement in a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department accusing him of systematically driving African-Americans, Latinos and families with children out of apartment buildings he owned.

That racist pattern of action is much more reprehensible than Sterling’s racist comments. Multiple ex-Clippers have commented over the years, on what a D-bag Don Sterling is. Former franchise centerpiece, Elton Brand noted, Monday, that “there have been allegations for many, many years and nothing has been done.” This Deadspin article entitled, “Donald Sterling is a Sack of S**t Part 982,” details Sterling’s verbal abuse of Baron Davis during Baron’s time with the Clips, and the article is from 2010. What’s my point? It’s hard to feel bad for stars like Doc Rivers and Chris Paul who chose to work for a man known to be a racist <insert epithet here>.

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Breaking News: NBA Suspends Donald Sterling for Life, Will Push for Sale of Team

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

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There wasn’t much envy for Adam Silver’s position the last couple of days. On Saturday, TMZ dumped the audio version of a 20-pound bag of frozen shrimp that’s been left out in the sun all afternoon into the lap of the still dewey Commissioner of the NBA. Worldwide debate elbowed its way into the start of this year’s (truly, truly remarkable) playoffs as questions shifted from “Will tonight’s Thunder/Grizzlies game go into OT again?” to “Should Chris Paul and the Clippers even play?” in the wake of an ignorant stream of racist comments allegedly made by Clippers owner, Donald Sterling.

It’s “allegedly” no more now as Silver passed his first real public test as Commissioner with flying colors, suspending Sterling “for life,” fining him $2.5 million (“the most allowable” under the league’s Constitution) and calling the NBA’s Board of Governors to force Sterling to sell the team he has owned since 1981.

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Links to the Present: L.A. Edition

Monday, April 28th, 2014

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The Cavs are being talked about today because of their connections to Los Angeles.  Unfortunately, the talk is anything but positive.  Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, is reporting on a video Ric Bucher put out on Bleacher Report saying that there is a chance the Lakers hire Byron Scott.  Scott might be able to pull Kyrie to Los Angeles according to Bucher.

Irving has said he would like to stay in Cleveland, “but the fact of the matter is with Scott in LA with the Lakers, that could be very appealing, and that would bring in a great building block for the Lakers moving forward,” Bucher said of Irving.

I’m calling shenanigans on this situation.  I have never been under the impression that Byron and Kyrie were close enough to intertwine their career choices.

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Links to the Present: Still No Dan Edition

Friday, April 25th, 2014

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Dan Gilbert still hasn’t been talking, and the media hasn’t been writing any news about the Cavs, just hardcore analysis.  It’s always a good idea to start your day on a positive note, so check out an article by Ryan Mourton at Fear The Sword praising some aspects of the Cavs defense.

The Cavaliers allowed a 4th best 1,969 attempts in the restricted area. How important is that number? Well, the league’s three best teams in terms of defensive rating are also the leagues three best teams in terms of number of made field goals allowed in the restricted area.

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Links to the Present: “Where’s Daniel?” and the Rust Belt Edition

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

"Cleveland in the Distance" +DG, Martin Gonzalez via the Creative Commons license

Kicking off Thursday, Marla Ridenour of Ohio.com/The Beacon Journal fills in for the convalescing Jason Lloyd, and asks the same question that everyone who follows the Cavs is asking right now, “Where’s Dan Gilbert?”  Gilbert was conspicuously absent from the Cavs Tuesday press conference.  The title of Marla’s piece, the “Underlying vibe doesn’t bode well for Cavaliers coach Mike Brown,” says it all.

Gilbert did not attend Tuesday’s gathering. He was off “trying to make us better,” Griffin said. That probably means Gilbert is contacting candidates for the roles of coach, general manager and/or president, a new layer he’s considering adding. It remains to be seen whether anyone wants to work with the Cavs’ collection of misfits and for an impulsive owner who fired General Manager Chris Grant on Feb. 6 without a long-term plan.

I know Tony Rizzo has been asking, “Where’s Gilbert?” all week on the Really Big show — well, when he’s not talking about Johnny Football and Bernie Kosar. Bill Livingston of the Plain Dealer wondered the same thing, when he questioned Gilbert’s Lerner-esque media ducking and lack of accountability, yesterday.

If the GM expects accountability, in turn, where does that leave coach Mike Brown? He seldom used the coach’s ultimate weapon, control of playing time…

Griffin’s remarks could be interpreted as an indication of dissatisfaction with Brown, for how would it be possible to expect anything else after such a disappointing season?

How far that extends to the owner is unclear, and that is the problem.

The owner is always unaccountable, except to the turnstiles. Presumably, Gilbert will eventually share his thoughts. The seat the owner finally sits in will be a hot one.

Livingston’s being a little hard on Gilbert, and I give Rizzo his props.  Rizz always praises Dan’s willingness to spend, which, when compared to the Dolans, is not an insignificant thing.  Ultimately, I’d rather have an engaged, possibly sometimes over-meddling owner who spends and cares than a distant owner who views the team merely as a revenue generating asset.

My bet is that the reason we haven’t heard a lot about Dan or Mike Brown’s fate, is that Mr. Gilbert is waiting for the first round of the playoffs to play out. There have been rumors of Terry Stotts being on the hot seat, and rumors that Frank Vogel is “coaching for his job.” Dan would probably go after both of those guys in a heartbeat, because they’ve done what he wants done: turned mediocre young teams into contenders. And if you don’t think Portland is a contender, then you didn’t watch LaMarcus Aldridge’s moneyball destroying 89 points in the last two games against Daryl Morey’s Rockets. Is Dan plotting like Tywin Lanister to go after David Morway?  Morway assembled this Pacers team before Larry Bird canned him. And could Gilbert then go after coach Vogel? Will Tywin Danister leave Bird holding the bag?  I hope so.

While you’re contemplating all that, sign up for Kyrie Irving’s basketball youth camp for kids grades 1-12, in Cleveland, in July. Also check out this piece by CtB’s own Patrick Redford at The Classical, entitled, “Watching and not Watching Dirk Nowitzki.

Speaking of the Classical, long time Editor there, Pete Beatty, is returning to Cleveland to be the Editorial Director for Belt Magazine. “Belt is an online magazine devoted to long-form journalism, essay, and commentary with a distinctly Rust Belt sensibility.”  Based in Cleveland, they “strive to bring in voices from all over the Rust Belt.” Today, Belt’s Laura Putre published a fascinating History of Rust Belt Alt-Weeklies, and on Tuesday, Pete Beatty, who grew up in Berea, wrote a beautiful editorial on returning to Cleveland and the Rust Belt called, “Boomerang.” I’ll leave you with a couple of my favorite paragraphs.

I have to explain what “Cleveland” meant to me then, and what it means now. Like a lot of people from the suburbs, my sense of what, where, and how a city was came from extremely basic data. Big cities were where the tall buildings and pro sports teams were. Cleveland was my designated big city, my regional capital, my great and wonderful Oz, because it had the Indians, Browns, and Cavaliers, plus a modest collection of skyscrapers…

I also didn’t know that there are thousands of Clevelands across America and around the globe, little galaxies half-finished and half-undone, the Rust Belt of the world. We rushed to build up these places, and rushed just as fast to empty them out. Every single one of these places has stories and songs. But I didn’t know any of that. My idea of Cleveland was an blank spot, surrounded by a desert of tract houses, SUVs that never got dirty, and a lifetime of joyless commercial pilgrimages to malls and big box stores.

Links to the Present: Matty Dellavedova edition — Updated with Xtra awards and @dg_riff

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

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Matthew Dellavedova has been referred to by Cavs: The Bloggers as Delly and Matty SuperDova.  I call him Matty D sometimes.  He’s been a little ball of constant effort, and in almost every season review article coming out about the Cavs, he has received high praise.

As of yesterday, the world needs start calling him the Gotbuckets.com Rookie of the Year.  Cavs: The Blog writer Kevin Hetrick crowned Delly with the award.

 Dellavedova did some nice point-guardy things, posting true shooting of 54% with a 3.1 to 1 assist-to-turnover ratio.  More than anything though, he was energy.  On offense, he always pushed the ball.  On defense, he was a nuisance.  The first time the NBA really experienced Matty SuperDova, they weren’t ready for his Delly*.  In back to back games against Washington in mid-November with the Cavs looking lethargic and disinterested, in stepped the undrafted rookie.  And he was the sun, a beaming ray of light on the otherwise morose Cavaliers.  To Brad Beal, he was like a fly on flypaper, white on rice, impossible to shake…I think Randy Wittman tried handing Beal a taser during one timeout.  Things started happening when Dellavedova was on the court, good things for the Cavaliers.  In those two games, Cleveland was -39 in the 44 minutes he sat and a glorious +39 in the 57 minutes he played.   And it stayed that way much of the season, with the Cavs being outscored by 7 points per 100 possessions during the 2700 minutes he sat, but torching opponents by 4 pp100p for the 1300 minutes he played.

And for all of that, Matthew Dellavedova, you win the very prestigious, yet largely ignored, inaugural gotbuckets.com Rookie of the Year.  Congratulations!

I hope Anthony Bennet doesn’t get too jealous of the flourishing point guard.

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Recap: David Griffin Post-Season Press Conference

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

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David Griffin is still just the acting General Manager for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get to do all the fun stuff that real, fully named GMs get to do. One such perk of wearing the GM’s hat— right up there with thanklessly working one’s self into the ground— is the annual gala known as the end-of-season press conference. Griffin took a seat in front of the Cleveland press today. He was short on definitives (still no word on his long-term job status with the Cavaliers… same for the status of head coach, Mike Brown) but was long on just about everything else you’d want to hear from the man tasked with putting together the players on a professional basketball team. Griffin showed passion and smarts. He tipped his hat to the work of the previous regime (of which, admittedly, he was a part) while staking claim to a very different vision for the ball club going forward. All told, it was the kind of end-of-season presser that could make one hope that this wasn’t Griffin’s last.

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Links to the Present: It’s All Okay Edition

Monday, April 21st, 2014

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The long disappointing Cavs season is finally over.  People are trying to figure out what went wrong with the team, and one positive thought has emerged.  The team has the same problems as last year and no new ones.  Is Mike Brown the right coach? Can Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters play together?  Will Tristan Thompson finally become a quality starter?  Can the team stay healthy?

Dan Gilbert’s press conference about this season and his plans for the off-season is Tuesday, so he will hopefully answer a lot of those questions then.  Until then, we can look at the news that has come out since the Brooklyn win and be happy that there has been no drama. (more…)

5 on 5: The “Season of Huh?”

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

This week, we’re looking back on this bizarre Cavs season, and looking forward to the future.  Five of our writers sat down for some serious pondering on five critical questions.

1. In a word, what’s your attitude regarding the Cavs now that this season’s over?

David Wood: Ambiguous. Some nights the ball is flying around, Dion and Kyrie are trying to include each other, and players are running around without the ball. Other nights, there are four guys watching Kyrie or Dion, and Matty D runs more than the whole team combined in just a few plays. Who are the Cavs?

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Get Your Motor Running (for next year)…

Friday, April 18th, 2014

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Momentum: the greased-up pig of professional sports. It’s the one thing losing teams can look to for signs that next year might turn out better. It’s the one thing the Cavaliers have had to play for since being eliminated from the playoff race last week. And it’s the one thing that has, with every swipe, slipped through the Cavs fingers.

Looking past overall team success, though (and, really, why would that matter in a team sport), there are some bright spots – bright, forward-moving, momentum-fueled spots on this roster that should give the team and its fans some crumbles of hope heading into a fourth straight off-season of lose … lottery… repeat.

So, who in this organization is good at putting one foot firmly in front of the other and who is standing in place?

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