Shooting the Breeze with Windy…

hi-res-6666924_crop_north

On a cool, but sunny, spring, afternoon, I grabbed a couple of steaming hot beverages and sat along New York’s Bryant Park with longtime Cavaliers pulse-feeler, Brian Windhorst. Brian, as most of you know, covers the NBA for ESPN and is one of the more insightful and thoughtful writers covering the NBA today (and has been so for a while). We talked Cavs playoff chances, Kyrie and Dion, extending Tristan Thompson and exactly why people need to write about Cleveland star players wanting out.

CtB: How much of Tuesday’s win against the Magic shows how far the team has come and how much of it was how little the Magic have to play for at this particular point in time? 

BW: They’ve owned the Magic all year. Even when they were playing [poorly] they beat them. To me, the season can be defined by the two games in New York. I think it was the Cavs only TNT game and the Knicks were horrible at the time. The effort level that the Cavs put forth in that game was as bad as any I’ve seen in my 12 years covering the NBA. To play like that when you’re on national television – even if you hate your teammates, even it you hate your coach – have some pride not to get ripped by Charles Barkely. Have some pride. The effort they put forth in that game was an absolute abomination. I was in the locker room after the game in disgust. I ended up ripping Kyrie that night because I’m like, “Who are you? Are you a superstar? Start acting like it.”

Then when they come and they play New York later, New York is on an eight-game win streak, they’d won eight or nine in a row at home too – hugely important game for the Knicks – the Cavs come in and win playing with ten times more effort. And I’m not generalizing. It was ten times more effort.

And, to me, that’s the Cavs season: the one team that didn’t [care] and the one team that came back to New York when the game really mattered and they won.

What’s so frustrating to me about this season: the table was set beautifully for them this year. There was going to be an Eastern Conference team this year that was going to make an enormous leap, take advantage of [a down Eastern Conference] and the table was set for them to do it. It turned out, the Raptors were the team to do it. The Raptors are going to get the three seed with something like 44 wins. That could have been the Cavs. They have enough talent to win 44 games in the East this year. And to have them end up with 34 or 35 or 36 when they totally [threw away] at least 10 games just because of effort is ridiculous.

Now, the positive is that they’re figuring it out at the end and they can use it as a base and get some traction for next year… and that’s all good. But act like a professional. They should have been getting traction at the start of the season.

CtB: It’s like what the Wizards did last year. They ended strong and they came back for a respectable season this year. Whether the Cavs make the playoffs or not, you have to hope that, at least, is the direction you’re headed.

BW: I’ve long been a Mike Brown defender. I’ll say that, obviously, he’s not a good offensive coach, but his history is that his teams have always gotten better. Even the year they went to the finals they were above .500 but they weren’t very good. They won 50 games, but his teams have always gotten better as the season has gone along. And this team has. He’s getting some traction. His Lakers team was the same way. He took them to the second round. They got better as the season went along. To fire Mike Brown five games into the season or to judge him and say “He can’t coach anymore” in December… I mean, that’s not who he is. He gets better at the end. And if the team had given [more effort] and not played like a bunch of babies for so long, they’d be in the playoffs and I wouldn’t be surprised if they scared the hell out of someone.

Wizards are a good comparison but, I think, the Cavs… The Cavs have a lot of talent.

CtB: If they make it, is there still the chance that they scare the hell out of someone?

BW: I’d love to see them play the Heat. I’d love to see LeBron play in a playoff game in Cleveland. They’re not going to beat them. The Pacers are a team that can’t score, so whenever you have a team that can’t play on one end of the floor you have a chance. Yeah. I think they could beat the Pacers once or twice. It’d be great if they could just get in.

I don’t think they’re going to get in, by the way. They win against Orlando and everyone’s like “Oh, they’re two games back” and I’m like “Well, they’re more like four games back because they’re three games back in the loss column.” And that’s the only thing I care about because, at the end of the day, everybody’s going to have the same number of games and they lost the tiebreaker. They need the Hawks to lose four times, so I don’t think it’s going to happen.

But, if they’re able to get in, even if they get blasted out, I think it’s huge for them. Remember the year when the Cavs played the Bulls and it was a 1-8 matchup. The Cavs beat them 4-1, but it was a competitive 4-1. The Bulls win 60 games the next year. The next year after that, the Pacers get in as the eighth seed, they lose 4-1, they go six and seven games against the Heat the two years after that. Just getting in is so important for their development.

But, ultimately, I’d like to see Kyrie and Dion realize that their best opportunity to be successful is to play with each other instead of trying to subvert [one another]. That would be nice if they’re going to want to maximize their potential.

CtB: That’s the thing: are we seeing the start of that now? Or is this Kyrie/Dion honeymoon just in its untested new glow right now?

BW: In my opinion, Kyrie is an immature 21. And Dion is an immature 22. I’m really disappointed at how little growth Kyrie has shown emotionally.

The thing about Kyrie: his talent is amazing, but he’s so defeatist. He gets defeated way too easily. You’ll see something bad happen to him and his head just goes down. And Dion has this thing where he sees himself in competition with Kyrie. He’s like “I’m better than him.” Well, here’s the thing: what you really want is for the two of you to play together for, like, 10 years and you both get paid a heck of a lot of money. Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker figured out how to play together. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James figured out how to play together and they all benefited from it. So, instead of being so headstrong, you hope they realize, “Hey, maybe I do a little bit of this. He does a little bit of that. He’ll get his max contract and I’ll get my $50 million contract and we’ll win.” But it’s hard to sell that to a 21 or 22 year old. That’s why personalities are so important and obviously the Cavs erred when personality matching these two guys.

But it’s dangerous to give up on one of them because I do feel that they’re really talented. For a while, people hammered the Cavs on Harrison Barnes versus Dion Waiters… or even Andre Drummond. I think, ideally, Andre Drummond is your third best player on a good team. I think Dion could potentially be your second best player on a good team. So, I think the pick was good. I just think the personality match was bad.

CtB: Do you think the Cavs will extend Tristan Thompson and what do you think his market value is?

BW: I think what could happen there is very dangerous. I almost think they should absolutely not extend him. They should let it play out. I think he is what he is. On a good team, he’s not your starter. I think, he’s you first big off the bench. Maybe you finish games with him. I kind of feel the same way about Spencer Hawes, to be honest with you. It’s really dangerous. What do you do there?

I know Tristan has dreams of getting what Derrick Favors got [four years, $49 million]. I think that’s insane money for him. I think Tristan’s much better off getting paid $6 or $7 million a year, but he’s never going to agree to that. And if you agree to $10 million a year for him, you could really get burned. It’s going to be difficult when it comes to that, especially because he’s represented by the same people who represent LeBron. Now, if you know you’re getting LeBron, you’re like “I’ll give you $12 million a year. Hey, take $14 million a year. Whatever.”

Generally, I’m in favor of extending guys because I think that when guys hit the open market, that’s when the big overpays happen. But I think it would be really dangerous to extend Tristan. Really dangerous.

CtB: Do you think Spencer Hawes has a future with the Cavs?

BW: I think Spencer Hawes has a future with the Cavs if he’s willing to take a salary about what he has now. $6-$7 million is really good money for a guy like him. But, when it comes to Cleveland and unrestricted free agents, you’re going to have to overpay and the Cavs cannot afford to get into a salary cap situation where they’re stuck. Luol Deng, Tristan Thompson, Spencer Hawes: dangerous situation.

CtB: How much do you think the team’s current play has been influenced by Luol Deng’s leadership?

BW: It’s hard to say. I don’t think Luol Deng’s been good, at all. It was a good trade and it helped them. They used creative cap management and, to me, that was excellent general managing. But it hasn’t been a terrific home run.

The Bulls offered him $10 million a year and he said no. I think that’s about what he should be getting. But I know that to stay in Cleveland he’s going to want more than that.

I just think there are better ways to go than that.

CtB: Do you think David Griffin stays on as General Manager?

BW: I’m not feeling really good about it. If the Cavs want to hire a guy who’s never been a GM before, they couldn’t do better. He’s really got a nice resume. It would be a totally different atmosphere. He’d look to get more offense, play a more appealing style of basketball. But Dan Gilbert swings for the moon and I think he may go out and try to make a big time hire.

CtB: Is whatever the Cleveland version of Phil Jackson out there?

BW: Isiah Thomas wants the job really bad. He’s pretty much out in New York. His influence is over. He’s met with Gilbert a couple of times – they had lunch or dinner together – and he really wants it. I think Gilbert is charmed by him, as everyone else is.

CtB: Pause for us all to light ourselves on fire.

BW: I don’t think Dan’s going to go that route. Dan is interested in Chauncey Billups, but I don’t think you can turn the team over to a guy [with no experience]. GM is job that you have to be groomed for. But I think he’d like a guy who could bring a fresh perspective and has some clout like that. David Griffin doesn’t.

CtB: Last question: so there’s been a lot written this year about Kyrie being unhappy in Cleveland – that he wants to leave as soon as possible. A lot of people in Cleveland particularly have criticized that line of story for being the equivalent of picking at a scab, at the very best, to just plain not being newsworthy when the team has control over him for as long as they do. What’s your response to that criticism?

BW: 2010 taught me a lot of lessons and I’m applying them the way I’m covering the LeBron free agency. I’ve written a lot of stuff this year that in 2010 I’d have been like, “What’s the point of writing that? It’s not going to happen.” Well…

And, as far as Kyrie, rumblings and stuff, with LeBron I would have let it go. Well I’m not going to let it go [now]. I’m going to talk about it and here’s the truth:

The truth is [Kyrie’s] camp has been putting out there for years – years – that he doesn’t want to be in Cleveland. That they don’t want him in Cleveland. He doesn’t like Mike Brown. He didn’t like Chris Grant. He doesn’t like Dion Waiters. He’s already gotten a General Manager fired. He might get Mike Brown fired. This is the last time – once he signs he loses all of his leverage – so this is the last time he gets to enact leverage. I know he’s said all the right things so, fine, on July 1, when they offer a max contract – which they will – and I don’t even know if he’s a max player, but you have to sign him – sign a five year, no out. That’s what a max contract is. A max contract is five years, no out. If you want out or you want three years, that’s not a max contract. You want three years? Okay, we’ll give you $12 million a year. We’re not giving you the full thing.

I’m just giving you my feel right now and my feel is that he’s not crazy about [signing the full max extension] unless he gets everything checked off across the board.

And the other thing is: if the Cavs ever dream of having LeBron, it’s not going to be with Kyrie there. LeBron and Kyrie have drifted apart in the last few years, even to the point that if the Cavs wanted to get LeBron they would maybe trade Kyrie for someone who would fit better with LeBron. And I’m not making that up. That line of thinking was not originated by me. That’s just the truth.

Now, Kyrie has been very upset by this stuff but, whether he wants to acknowledge it or not, it exists out there and I’m just saying the way it is. I’m sure Cavs fans are upset about it. The Cavs are upset about it. When I’ve written about it, the Cavs have been like “Why does this stuff have to be written about us?” I say, “It has to be written about you because this could happen.”

I think this is very elementary from Dan Gilbert’s perspective. If Kyrie wants to play for Team USA, he’s going to have to do his deal before mid-July when he goes to play for it and he’ll either take the five years or he won’t. If the answer is “no” to five years, he goes on the trade block. Period. I think it’s pretty simple.

I thought I knew Kyrie, but he’s just disappointed me this year with his immaturity. I really do think that if he will lock up for five that you have to do that. But if he starts messing around playing power games, you’ve got to trade him. Dan Gilbert has said as much. At the end of the day, if Kyrie was really a max player, this Cavs team would not be where they are. He would have carried them to much more than this. I’m not saying he has to be LeBron, but he’s only spent one day of his career above .500. I know it’s unpopular for some people, but after 2010 I’m not in the business of messing around. It’s definitely out there in the NBA that Kyrie is not happy in Cleveland – but if that’s not the case, he has a golden opportunity to prove everybody wrong and that opportunity is coming in a few months.

***

Brian Windhorst was the Cleveland Cavaliers beat writer for the Akron Beacon Journal from 2003 through the summer of 2008, and began to work for The Plain Dealer in October 2008. He moved to ESPN in 2010

Share
Chris m
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

I think your dumb and you know nothing about basketball

kyrieswirving
Guest
kyrieswirving
4 years 1 month ago

Also, I like Simmons (see, my cleveland blinders don’t cloud my judgement for who is a good nba writer. I know most people around here hate him, and he’s spread thin now, but he’s still entertaining as hell to read and usually somewhat insightful when he isn’t senselessly bashing cleveland) for a color commentator/blog perspective of a writer, and Zach Lowe is my favorite and is also infinitely better than Windy. Windy is meh. Yeah, a lot of stuff he says in this back and forth are spot on, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that Dan G. is going to tell kyrie to “take 5 years no out or you’re not getting the max and you are probably going on the block” and likewise anybody who isn’t a biased cavs fan would think it would be nuts to pay Tristan $10+ million a year. The rest of this is speculation and unnamed sources, of which he had a few saying Lebron was happy in Cleveland 4 years ago. It isn’t particularly insightful, reliable, or interesting.

kyrieswirving
Guest
kyrieswirving
4 years 1 month ago
Tom, obviously the narrative exists. Every single successful person I’ve talked to who lives in Cleveland talks about moving out, over half of them have. This is not news. Windy and lloyd corroborating it are not news. Clearly if Kyrie had his pick of any team, contract being equal, he would not choose cleveland. This. Is. Not. News. So can we stop bringing it up every chance we get, especially on sites that are supposed to be for CAVS fans? The national media will bring it up plenty, don’t you guys worry about it here. I have many friends asking me why I’m still in cleveland and when I will be getting out. My “camp” wants me out. the fact that Kyrie is just like every other “successful clevelander without a bunch of family here” I know is not news, or relevant or reliable information in any sense. Disappointing for you to give windy the platform to continue waxing poetic about how undesirable Cleveland is on a Cleveland blog. We know, we live here, and we’re reminded every day. It’s nice to have the respite of a fansite that stays focused on Cleveland possibilities and moving forward.
RickOH
Guest
RickOH
4 years 1 month ago
What athlete ever says way ahead of time that they can’t wait to sign their next contract with the same team? So he avoided Lloyd’s question twice. Big flipping deal. Heck, icons from the Yankees have avoided it – Jeter and Rivera. I bet that cf from the Angels did it recently up until he signed that huge deal. Flacco did it after winning the super bowl. Wade, LeBron and bosh are freaking avoiding the question right now and they’re 2 time defending champs. I hate the big money aspect of sports as it is but how do you want athletes to say when asked about their plans for their next contract? You think Peyton manning wanted to leave Indy or pujols st Louis. Freaking Kobe always threatened to walk out on the Lakers even. So lay off Kyrie for not wanting to answer the question. He may have well been plotting his escape from NE Ohio the day the ink dried on his rookie contract but even so, should he be shouting that from the rooftops to keep windy from either getting a scoop or making it up. Heck, lets start pesturing TT, dion, deng, et al what their… Read more »
Kojo
Guest
Kojo
4 years 1 month ago

Demetrius,

You knocked this one out da park.

I agree completely on the Rie and DWait evolution, the TT stuff and the windy stuff. Well done.

Daveh,

I have no idea how someone did comment yet on what you said Dion is far from blowing. I’m not sure what you don’t see in him but dude has the balls and the skills to be an Alpha in the league.

Tom Pestak
Admin
4 years 1 month ago

Ok so Lloyd corroborates.

“As much as he bristles whenever it comes up, the simple fact remains that people who are supposed to have his best interests in mind have been talking about Irving leaving Cleveland since early last season — within the first month of his second year in the league. That is indisputable to me because that’s the first time I heard it myself directly from someone tied directly to Irving. I’ve avoided writing about it much because it will all be resolved this summer. The rest is just conjecture. But the narrative absolutely exists whether Irving wants to acknowledge it or not.

Here is more indisputable truth: Twice I’ve given Irving the opportunity to say he’ll sign a max contract with the Cavs — once last summer and once in January. Both times, he avoided the question.”

Haha we are a “local Cavs blog”

Nate Smith
Admin
4 years 1 month ago

Drew, So you would like us to hold stories and news until it will least impact the Cavs negatively? Sorry but that’s not how good journalism works. You report the story when you get it. And if Kyrie can’t take what some beat reporter said about him, then he’s as immature as that beat report says he is.

Paul
Guest
Paul
4 years 1 month ago

@Tom P. WOW. I do not visit this blog much but happen to catch this story. Reading through the comments it is truly APPALLING how you talk down and treat your loyal readers. I mean geez, it’s quite obvious your trying to get as close to Winy as possible, but respect the people that support you. The sad part is, your stance isn’t even a strong or valid one. About 80% of the people who read this disagree with you, but I guess their all dumb and your God. I honestly don’t understand how you even have a following. Get it together.

Drew
Guest
Drew
4 years 1 month ago

Cavstheblog.com had a hand in the Cavs losing to ATL. Ummm, huh? Wha? This is the info that fans want, not the smoke-blowing crap. Speaking of which, this thing with Windy really blew up on local talk radio, eh? Also, dump the malcontents, there are other ways to miss the playoffs. Do you know how many more pre-game flamethrowers we could get for Kyrie? Like three, at least.

Tyler
Guest
Tyler
4 years 1 month ago

Why would you put this piece out on the biggest game day of the season? Very poor job of blogging, you completely shifted focus away from the game back to Kyrie. Completely disappointed in this site, whether you like it or not, you guys had a hand in that embarrassing loss last night.

Zeke
Guest
Zeke
4 years 1 month ago

I think, ideally, Andre Drummond is your third best player on a good team. I think Dion could potentially be your second best player on a good team.

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

Nate Smith
Admin
4 years 1 month ago

Sorry I misread your post, Demetrius.

Tony O
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

Jordan I agree with you, also, Kyrie was the best player on the draft day and that is why Cavs took him. Kyrie has value and that is important, with him Cavs will be a 35 to 40 wins a year team which is not acceptable. If he thinks there are greener pasture out there so be it. He is thinking a team like LA can use him and he’ll be another Colby and I doubt that, he is always on injured list and lacks leadership . On TT I think he will be a very good PF for a long time, sure he is not 16 and 10 now but will be. Spencer is worth 7 to 8 $ mill a year and that is his value. I said two or three months ago that Cavs will end up around 30 to 35 wins this year and that’s what they are. As far as BW goes , he made some interesting point and he is entitle to his opinion and we shouldn’t get upset about it. That is just my opinion. Go Cavs.

Jake
Guest
Jake
4 years 1 month ago

Tom- Wasn’t Teague’s game tonight so reminiscent of the Brandon Jennings game you talked about in the podcast. Even though Kyrie showed off with his ball handle, Teague looked like an actual point guard.

Tom Pestak
Admin
4 years 1 month ago

Jake, superstars need to make their teams better when their shot isn’t falling. The point guard position, unlike SG, is more suited to that with leadership, playmaking, etc

There’s room for improvement.

Tom Pestak
Admin
4 years 1 month ago

Jake I confess I wasn’t able to watch the game very closely tonight. I did see the Cavs seemed very out of synch when I was gazing at the TV.

Daveh
Guest
Daveh
4 years 1 month ago

Demetrius, I implore you, stop drinking. Thompson blows, Waiters blows. They’re both on borrowed time on this roster.

Daveh
Guest
Daveh
4 years 1 month ago

Hey, vesus, they were never the second-youngest team in the first place, that was always fiction.

Daveh
Guest
Daveh
4 years 1 month ago

The is the Internet, not a sixth-grade paper. I don’t see why the conversation couldn’t have been printed verbatim, instead of perfumed with G-rated tidy words in the spots where Windhorst said “they played like shit,” or whatever.

Underdog
Guest
Underdog
4 years 1 month ago
To me, the most useful information in the interview (if it is true) was – “The truth is [Kyrie’s] camp has been putting out there for years – years – that he doesn’t want to be in Cleveland. That they don’t want him in Cleveland. He doesn’t like Mike Brown. He didn’t like Chris Grant. He doesn’t like Dion Waiters. He’s already gotten a General Manager fired. He might get Mike Brown fired. This is the last time – once he signs he loses all of his leverage – so this is the last time he gets to enact leverage.” If true, it changes all future dialogue about the team. The thing is, I read so many of these bold statements spoken as if the writer is the best friend of the players best friend – that never come in to being – that I think of them as something to chew on, but not to count on. That statement made in this interview will speak to his future credibility more than anything else he said. The rest of the interview contains analysis and speculation that I get from you CtB bloggers on a regular basis. Maybe it was a… Read more »
Demetrius
Guest
Demetrius
4 years 1 month ago
Nate…people can find things that they’ve completely misread ridiculous. One more time…for the cheap seats (or for those with extreme recency bias.) “Oh and NO ONE WILL ARGUE THAT Tristan is a $10 million player.” You know…meaning that no one would argue in favor of the point that Tristan is a $10 million player. Did you just think that I made that “lesser than Derrick favors” argument for my health? Or were you firing up the reply fingers fueled by a lackluster Cavs loss? Also; People in the league like Taj Gibson more than TT (I’d “PARTIALLY” disagree with them) Partially disagree. I’m not stumping for TT’s value clearly above Taj Gibson. There is something to be said about Taj being 28 now and 26 when he got his extension. Assuming the flattest developmental curve for Tristan over the next 4 years should put him squarely in the excellent “good team third big/spot starter” category that Taj is in. Assuming the flattest curve ignores the anecdotal data that the dude switched shooting hands and improved 13% over his rookie year FT%. He’s also become a really adept short-area ball-handler. Despite his funky, mechanical shots..he tends to get to his spots… Read more »
Nate Smith
Admin
4 years 1 month ago

Found your post to be a little ridiculous, Demetrius. It really went off the rails when yous said Tristan is worth $10 per and that he might be better than Taj Gibson. I guess you missed the game earlier this year where Taj absolutely owned TT. Taj got underpaid because he was a restricted free agent, and because he wanted to stay with the Bulls. But Taj is also 6 years older than TT, too. Don’t take the amount of money someone makes as their value… Mike Conley is one of the best point guards in the league and doesn’t make $10 million. Taj is a legit sixth man of the year candidate and one of the better defensive power forwards in the league. Tristan is neither of those things, and (like tonight) seems to disappear in big games.

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
4 years 1 month ago

I think Windy is spot on regarding TT. My fear is that Dan Gilbert has become attached to some of these players and he will hand hold an overpay for him. I’m becoming less and less of a fan of Kyrie. I don’t blame players for wanting to leave Cleveland especially when the team is not good. But I expect them to play hard when they’re here and Kyrie seems to give this impression he’s better than this city. I don’t think it is worth it to pay a guy who clearly doesn’t give his all a max extension.

Pete
Guest
Pete
4 years 1 month ago
Cory Hughey
Editor
4 years 1 month ago

I was almost as upset about Windy leaving the PD as I was about Lebron leaving. He’s was about as good of a beat writer as the league had and the the pad gang that replaced him is what led me to blogs such as this one for my Cavs content.

Thompson’ extension will get back burner news in comparison to the other Cavs storylines, but it’s going to be interesting. If he develops a mid-range game he’ll be worth more than $10 million a year. That’s the gamble.

I agree with you offer Kyrie the 5 with no player options. If his agent insists on an option, start listening to offers.

Vesus
Guest
Vesus
4 years 1 month ago

Are they still the 2nd youngest team after the Deng and Hawes additions?

JHill
Guest
JHill
4 years 1 month ago

I like reading Windhorst articles, I think he’s a great writer, I just disagree with all of his “sources” because it seems more like he leaks everything and then whatever actually happens he’s like YEAH I FIRST “REPORTED” THAT!!!!!!

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s simple, Kyrie can stay or he can go. Fine. I don’t want him thinking about that. He’s trying to make the damn playoffs right now.

JHill
Guest
JHill
4 years 1 month ago

There is an insider article up and statistically Isiah Thomas is one of the best guys at drafting players, so that’s kind of interesting. He just never kept any of them.

Duane
Guest
Duane
4 years 1 month ago

Who is this TOM PESTAK troll?? I don’t need a mother right now using her calming influence. I just wanna complain irrationally, ok? Thanks though. Shoot I’ll bet this clown spent most of his childhood illegally streaming the latest episode of dragonballZ, and now he wants to act like we should give a damn about his opinion on sports. #noob

The only thing anyone should care about right is the fact that the cavs are WINNING all these loseable games! Winning is worthless right now unless were all excited about being the 6th to 10th best team in the east for the next 5 years.

Btw, listen to tom pestak because he’s 10x, and I’m not generalizing, smarter than all of you. #sasukePWN

$ (aka Bill)
Guest
$ (aka Bill)
4 years 1 month ago

Windy is probably right on. He’s a top notch reporter. He doesn’t say rosy things about the Cavs, but there’s not a lot of great things happening. We’re struggling to make the playoffs when Toronto, Charlotte, and Washington are all easily in. Who would’ve thought that would happen? I think the people hating on Windy just don’t want to hear the hard truth.

eldaveablo
Guest
eldaveablo
4 years 1 month ago

“Having a 35 year old man talk about your attitude with terms like “disgust” and talking about the “disappointment” in your emotional growth in 12-months of a situation he could never relate to is ignorant and disgusting. It’s paternalistic. It smacks of the kind of myopic language that hack writers use to rile up stupid fans when they can’t write with any grace. So I refuse to cheerlead that reductive kind of crap.”

THIS! Was thinking the same thing when I was reading the interview. Thi stuff happens when writers fall in love with their opinions, have the bright lights on and fanboys drooling on their words. It’s all the things listed above, and it’s not journalism. It’s hubris.

Demetrius
Guest
Demetrius
4 years 1 month ago
Oh and all of this isn’t to say that Kyrie is happy-fun-times in Cleveland. He and Dion, like any 20-something partner co-workers had to grow up. Kyrie is an introspective dude who wasn’t used to being an alpha anywhere (MKG was the man in high school along with a few other D1 guys till ‘Rie’s senior year, he had the Duke brand, K and injuries in college then BOOM, he’s the city savior.) After a year of soaking that in and trying to process it as a 21 year old, he had to work closely with a dude who only knows how to be alpha. How to fight and scrap and be “me against the world.” Both those guys have been a little spoiled and both could honestly use some of what the other has to round into fully grown men. Kyrie needs a lil dog in him and Dion needs to understand how to work in teams and how to effectively defer without feeling like he “lost” something. That’s stuff competitive 20-somethings deal with all the time. It’s just usually in an office and without people freaking out about every rift. Having a 35 year old man talk about… Read more »
Corey
Guest
Corey
4 years 1 month ago

I’ve been praying for a Kyrie trade since last years pouting began. Get max value return now.

Raoul
Guest
Raoul
4 years 1 month ago

Nate: Amen!

George Karl might be the brightest guy in the NBA.

Isiah Thomas is a moron. He also has the smarmy smile of an expert liar. In his post playing days, he has the reverse King Midas touch: everything he touches turns to turd.

Demetrius
Guest
Demetrius
4 years 1 month ago
Disagree away, it seems like you’re arguing the adjectives used more than anything. You seem to be a huge fan of Windhorst based on the local boy/big platform thing. I quickly googled to find out where BW broke that in Jan/Feb of last year and couldn’t find anything. It didn’t make ESPN, as the first mention they have is from 5 days before official announcement but it could have very well been something he floated on the ‘cast. Either way, if you’re counting breaking random news from a leaky building then I assume you’re giving the same love to Simmons/Chris Broussard/Stephen A. (who all had the “Bron’s gone” chalk before anyone and numerous other Cavs stories) His ‘cast with Wally was awesome, the others don’t move me but that’s anecdotal and not a real point of argument. His writing is ok. B-level. (B’s are good, before you get your dander up.) It’s not like he’s out here doing work like Woj, Zach Harper, David Aldridge, Haberstroh, Ziller and Amin Elhassan. Those guys are A writers and each has their own mix/level of on-court analysis, narrative building, and news-breaking. His critical process is lacking, the conclusions are weakly supported, his lede… Read more »
Tom Pestak
Admin
4 years 1 month ago

Demetrius – wow. that’s a COMMENT.

Btw I read all the writers you listed. I prefer Windy but I don’t have advanced stats to back up who the best NBA writers are. To each his own.

Has he formally received his report card from you yet?

Hot Sauce
Guest
Hot Sauce
4 years 1 month ago

Thanks for running this piece and getting Windy on here! Great stuff!

While I love Windy’s basketball analysis, I do think the speculation about who likes whom, whose camp is saying what, etc. is to be taken with a grain of salt. Even the most connected reporters in sports media get those things wrong all of the time. I am sure Windy has sources to back up those opinions, but the problem is that no one knows what the motivations of the sources are. People leak things to reporters intentionally all of the time so that they can create a narrative that benefits whatever position they are pursuing.

Steve
Guest
Steve
4 years 1 month ago

“His writing nor scoops have ever been anything beyond average. His insight is often laughable and fluff.”

This is some of the funniest shit I’ve read in a while.

Alex
Guest
Alex
4 years 1 month ago

“Windy is the best NBA writer in the biz now that Hollinger is gone.”

Wow, please tell me this is a joke. I’ve read it all now. I couldn’t agree with Demetrius and Swirving more. Anyone that has been following Windy and the Cavs for the past decade know Windy rode Lebrons coat tails all the way to an ESPN gig and still continues to have his head up Lebrons bum. His writing nor scoops have ever been anything beyond average. His insight is often laughable and fluff. The things he says right are plain obvious to everyone and everything else is over-dramatized for clicks and reactions. I think it’s fine you guys interview him but a bit disappointed the writers of this blog aren’t even keeled enough to recognize the hyperbole for what it is.

TV63
Guest
TV63
4 years 1 month ago

HOw did you guys know I listened to the entire podcast?? I just entered the ‘Twlight ZOne”

TV63
Guest
TV63
4 years 1 month ago

@Tom Well received advice ! Love it ! LoL Tom you should be our new improved “Windy”

@Nate Though you’re absolutely correct his quote isn’t untrue word by word on paper by the same token what is the purposeful act of omitting the present day improvements of this team? Is that truthful?? That’s all some of us are trying to point out.

cwzagger
Guest
cwzagger
4 years 1 month ago

I spent the whole time reading Windhorst’s transcript thinking he was being pessimistic and especially too harsh about the way Kyrie should be handled… Until I read the line, “but after 2010 I’m not in the business of messing around”… Ouch. Even if you disagree with every single thing BW says, there is no denying the magnitude of that statement. Makes me soften my stance on how untouchable certain Cavs players may be.

Still, I think Kyrie needs to be cut a little more slack in terms of his career so far because a huge portion of his pro days has been marred by talent-devoid, injury-riddled teams with constant turnover throughout all aspects of the organization. It would be difficult for any 20-year old to find success with those inconsistencies. If the post-All-Star break Cavs have been any indication of the team’s direction, then a lot of writers and experts should be prepared to be silenced in the near future.

Nate Smith
Admin
4 years 1 month ago
I don’t get what any of you are complaining about. This isn’t “reporting” for one thing, it’s a casual conversation that Windy was nice enough to let Robert publish. And Windy is not dismissing the recent win streak. That’s the kind of play he expected out of the Cavs. This quote says it all. What’s so frustrating to me about this season: the table was set beautifully for them this year. There was going to be an Eastern Conference team this year that was going to make an enormous leap, take advantage of [a down Eastern Conference] and the table was set for them to do it. It turned out, the Raptors were the team to do it. The Raptors are going to get the three seed with something like 44 wins. That could have been the Cavs. They have enough talent to win 44 games in the East this year. And to have them end up with 34 or 35 or 36 when they totally [threw away] at least 10 games just because of effort is ridiculous. But there’s not a part of that quote that is untrue. I don’t agree with everything he says, (especially about Deng), but… Read more »
TV63
Guest
TV63
4 years 1 month ago

I know you admire him as writer . He did have some very insightful points that were unpleasant of course. But there s such a thing as balance and tying in the reality of present time improvements. It’s not about 1 Magic game. Bu to totally dismiss the CAVS winning over several top playoff contending teams moving up in the top nba ranks isn’t genuine reporting either.

Tom Pestak
Admin
4 years 1 month ago
TV63 – that’s a great point. So my unsolicited advice, then, is to bring up that information as a counterargument. here’s a template: “I notice the NBA insider had this to say about the troubled nature of the on-court relationship between Kyrie and Dion. While that may seem like a troubling #truthbomb, the good news is, that all of Cavs nation was nervous about it this week, and Kyrie and Dion relieved all our tension. I noticed that one Tom Pestak commented extensively about how well they played together in the podcast that I totally listened to from start to finish, so I know how much synergy they are capable of. Hopefully, that was all the impetus they needed to realize that is the path forward, much like the writer laid out – the Cavs will continue to win, and there will be much joy and happy dances going forward” and much less frustration and negativity. Narratives can change!” With love and respect – The enthusiastic commenter. Also, TV63, please please please do not consider harming yourself over this blog post. If you were able to make it through all the background noise in the podcast unscathed, what a waste… Read more »
CavsFanSF
Guest
CavsFanSF
4 years 1 month ago

Tom – Windy is not beyond reproach, he really is good as a beat guy and has broke some big stories. However, his articles in relation to Cleveland have been strange lately. The “Lebron’s Return is a One Night Stand” piece was click grabbing drivel.

He’s good, he’s insightful. But he’s the beat guy for the Heat. That should be enough to keep him busy, I can’t imagine his roots go that deep in Cleveland anymore.

Also, awesome job by Attenwater. Really good interview.

Jordan
Guest
Jordan
4 years 1 month ago

I’ve been on the #TradeKyrie side for about half a year. Not sure why Cavs fans are so enamored by an underperforming diva who has shown no ability to stay healthy or lead a team. He’s good, and he’s by no means elite, however, teams will pay top dollar for him on the trade market because of his unquestioned potential.

Bottom line though, Kyrie will not reach that potential in Cleveland. His heart isn’t in it in Cleveland. Take what you can get for him, and you have a team that, without him playing, has essentially been the same exact team, if not better.

I don’t have time for an entitled “leader” who has never won more than 35 games in his career. Trade him. It’s best for him. It’s best for your long term value in Cleveland. And it’s best for any chance the Cavs have at LeBron.

Kj
Guest
Kj
4 years 1 month ago

Tom, I find it very, very condescending for your blog to run something like this AND THEN act like it’s not a big deal. I mean, come on. “Get a grip?” Really? You drop a bomb like this and then wanna act like it’s really nothing to get worked up about? Ridiculous. Have some damn respect for your readers, eh?

Having said all that, the first 3 sentences of your last paragraph are dead-on, IMO…

Tom Pestak
Admin
4 years 1 month ago

and KJ – no, I don’t think it’s something to get worked up about. An injury like Brandon Roy suffered would. One of our boys getting in trouble with the law would. Kyrie’s camp doesn’t want him in Cleveland or Kyrie and Dion need to not be dueling banjos is not the end of days.

The Cavs have been a supremely frustrating team this season. Windy doesn’t post comments on our blog after every recap. He’s being interviewed about the season at large. Forgive him for not completely ignoring everything that has happened because the Cavs dominated the Magic and Kyrie+Dion were sublime together.

I thought people would appreciate the insight more than be devastated/angered by reality. At some point I had to stop watching college highlights of Anthony Bennett. Life’s not fair.

Tom Pestak
Admin
4 years 1 month ago

KJ – I’m disappointed with the reactions. A bi-polar combination of “the sky is falling” and “this guy’s a hack”.

Thus, the “get a grip” as in, on your emotions.

Windy is quite obviously not a hack, nor is it anything but lazy and disrespectful to belittle his writing and his writing career.

There’s some uncomfortable info in here for many people, that doesn’t make it wrong, and certainly not irrelevant. The point of a blog isn’t to make wildly diverse people all somehow feel great at the same time. It’s getting old constantly defending good writing/analysis because it’s not joyful.

Especially something like this which is not only insightful, but REALLY GOOD ANALYSIS of things like the contract situations.

grover13
Guest
grover13
4 years 1 month ago

I found Windy’s comments to be very candid. He addressed the key issues with the Cavs current make up, and gave his opinion on how they should be dealt with should events unfold in certain ways. Some of those truths are painful to take, but it doesn’t make them any less true. I agree with Windy that-

TT is not worth $10mm
Hawes is not worth more than $7mm (and I’d argue a little less)
Talent aside, Grant’s biggest failure was to consider personality chemistry
The maturation of both Kyrie and Waiters has been disappointing (although the optimist in me says they’ve turned a corner….)
If Kyrie does not sign a max extention, he should be traded
The Cavs will have to overpay to land any significant free agents

I hope for the Cavs sake they win tonight. I’d like to see the chemistry continue to grow, even if it’s only for another two weeks. They’ve played much better since February, and I’d like to see them earn some rewards.

kyrieswirving
Guest
kyrieswirving
4 years 1 month ago

TT isn’t a $10 million a year player, that isn’t insight, its obvious. The fact windy almost sounds optimistic that gilbert is speaking with Isiah says a lot about Windhorst’s ability to analyze the makings of a good team. You can say what you want about him, but there is an incredibly large chance windy would be out of a sports writing job by now had LBJ not fallen within his realm. He’s never been anything special. Not the worst by any means, but him quoting unnamed sources for gossip of he fought him and who slept with who’s mom does nothing more for me than anyone else. Name someone, or shut up.

Tom Pestak
Admin
4 years 1 month ago

Swirving – I strongly disagree with you.

to the point that I’m not capable of engaging without bringing more unneeded attention to something completely false, akin to Delonte and LeBron’s mom falseness.

Don’t let it ruin your day, alright? The Cavs are playing better and better, and responding to Mike Brown.

TV63
Guest
TV63
4 years 1 month ago
Jesus! I felt like slitting my throat after reading this. Do not interview with this man again. He was over the top horrible! Having said that, I agreed with some of the points he had. He didn’t give Kyrie a free pass like our local media does. He has been very immature. He is right on to deal him if he doesn’t sign an extension. I didn’t mind him defending Mike Brown. But C’mon he’s completely out of touch with recent huge developments from this team and the relationship of Kyrie and Dion. He didn’t have 1 damn good word to say about them?? NOT ONE?? 20 year olds change like the direction of the wind. Mentioning a sulking Kyrie and “I’m better than you Dion” was eons ago. 2013 is long time ago for these young bloods. You’s think BW would have done a little more reliable digging to get an accurate version in present time. I think I’ll listen to Lloyd before him thank you very much. Dion , Kyrie have grown immensely. They respect each other a hell of a lot more than last year and now know they can move mountains together. This team is a… Read more »
kyrieswirving
Guest
kyrieswirving
4 years 1 month ago

Tom, stop sucking up so much. LBJ was right under Windy’s nose and he missed that. Windy makes claims all the time, some are bound to be right, like the Mike Brown thing. Good thing he knew it was going to happen 5 months before the people that made it happen knew. Seriously, this stuff is garbage fluff. “We need to talk about it because it is stuff that *could* happen”. Are you serious? No, you need to talk about it because cleveland fans are fragile, anxious, and paranoid and will read up on anything written negative about there team to get overly defensive about it, and this will give you lots of attention and clicks.

I agree about his overall assessment of kyrie’s performance, value, and how he should be treated this offseason, but the speculation stuff about circles and who like/dislikes whom and all that garbage is just that. You don’t want to name your sources and I’m going to forever assume your sources are up your ass.

Tom Pestak
Admin
4 years 1 month ago

Swirving – well fortunately you aren’t fragile, anxious, paranoid, and willing to read anything and get overly defensive. Otherwise this article might have upset you.

Windy is the best NBA writer in the biz now that Hollinger is gone.

I don’t see the point in pretending like blatantly obvious things are made up because it makes us feel better. These critiques of the Cavs are spot on, the issues about extending TT and TRUEPATRIOT are spot on, and the advice that Dion and Kyrie need to grow up and play TOGETHER (like they did this week!) is 100% perfect advice, and what needs to happen for this team in this form to have success.

All is not lost. Winning cures everything, and the NBA landscape can change SO QUICKLY. The Cavs are a well-run organization imo, and like Z said at his retirement ceremony, they’re going to get back up the mountain. Everyone needs to relax. All these people on twitter having this ruin there day….get a grip.

Nate Smith
Admin
4 years 1 month ago

Just a fantastic piece, Robert, I’m really proud to have it on the blog. Windy dishes some really harsh truths, and I agree with most of them. Tristan is not a guy who should get $10 million a year, and if Kyrie keeps playing mind games, they should trade him, because the Kyrie from this year is not a $17 million per year player. I was a big writer for taking Windy to task over the Kyrie article, but I tried to be as respectful as possible because I realized that I was yelling at the messenger. I just wanted more transparency in sourcing. Anyway, this thing has me geeking out all over the place.

But Isaiah Thomas? That scares the crap out of me. Outside of the Pistons, Thomas has ruined everything he’s ever touched. That’s an even worse move than Joe Dumars. If Gilbert wants to swing for a big name, I say George Karl is the guy.

Kj
Guest
Kj
4 years 1 month ago

Tom, well, they lead to all-star game apperances if you’re a Cav, soooooo…btw, does that mean you agree with me about Dion over Drummond then? Cuz ya know, double-double’s don’t mean much?

And Gumdrop, in no way was I “discounting” what Windy was saying but if you don’t think he sounds cynical, well…let’s just say I followed Windy from day 1 at the ABJ and he sounds very cynical compared to a few years ago. And overly harsh on Dion and Kyrie. Again, second youngest team in the whole league. Fighting for playoff spot. Let’s be freaking realistic here…

Tom Pestak
Admin
4 years 1 month ago

KJ – you know I have always been a huge Dion fan/supporter. Since before they drafted him. I’m not quite on your level of enthusiasm but my sentiments about him are similar to Windy’s. I think stats like PER are under-reporting his value. Every time @EvanZ tweets something negative about Barnes I retweet and think of you bud.

Red
Guest
Red
4 years 1 month ago

“Kyrie and Lebron have drifted apart”? What evidence at all does anyone have that they were ever remotely close to begin with?

The sensationalism and exaggeration of “facts” to generate interest that is continuously perpetuated by the ESPN empire has seeped into Windy’s writing and now apparently his answering of questions.

David Wood
Editor
4 years 1 month ago

I like that Windhorst is confident Dion can be the second best player on a team. Dion takes too much heat sometimes for his poor decision making. As far as Dion and Kyrie are concerned, do you think LeBron and Wade could have worked (not that Dion and Kyrie are LeBron and Wade) together when they were 22 and 21. I don’t know. I think the first real contracts for Dion and Kyrie, if they are playing together still, will put things in perspective. Those contracts don’t dictate who a player is, but it could help the pair fall in line with each other because one is gonna be worth more than the other.

Ross Gumdrop
Guest
Ross Gumdrop
4 years 1 month ago

Overall, this interview was extremely insightful (great scoop, Robert), but it was also a major gut punch in many respects. And because it’s a major gut punch, you will find some, like Demetrius (and Kj to a lesser extent), that will just brush it over and discount Windhorst. Do so at your own peril. Tom Pestak is right; Windhorst has proven time and again to be VERY plugged into league sources. Don’t stick your heads in the sand – Windy isn’t on the level of Sam Amico.

Ross Gumdrop
Guest
Ross Gumdrop
4 years 1 month ago

Isiah Thomas: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! OH GOD, PLEASE NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Joeyjoe
Guest
Joeyjoe
4 years 1 month ago

Wow thanks Brian for the glowing statements. To recap we’re not making the playoffs, no one on our team is a smart guy to keep, but it doesn’t matter because our GM sucks, and our Coach isn’t really good, but his teams improve. Maybe next time we can get the input of an NBA writer who doesn’t want our entire fanbase to light itself on fire.

Demetrius
Guest
Demetrius
4 years 1 month ago

Ten times more effort you say? Glad Windhorst found the alchemist’s secret in measuring effort and hustle.

This guy is so full of it. He rode a tenuous connection to Lebron all the way to a National job. (Well national in platform, but honestly he showed up as the Lebron beat reporter for ESPN.)

Does no one find it coincidental that he’s turned his sights back to reporting Cavs-centric material as his access to Lebron and Miami has fizzled? That franchise is not the leak-fest that the messy halls in Cleveland can be and the guy is just source-hopping and caterwauling about specious “insider” info. Its so unfortunate that Cavs fans lap this crap up. We should really be better.

Tom Pestak
Admin
4 years 1 month ago

Demetrius – (with as much respect as I can muster)….

I firmly disagree with your comment.

Windy broke the Mike Brown hire 4 months before it happened and months before Gilbert and Brown met. He understands the inner workings of the NBA better than anyone else.

His writing is excellent and his podcasts are supremely entertaining.

Not liking Windy’s work is like hating puppies. You are on the #wrongsideofhistory bro

Kj
Guest
Kj
4 years 1 month ago

Oh and btw, Windy is exactly correct about Dion vs Drummond. Drummond gets numbers by being 4th option on Pistons.

Kj
Guest
Kj
4 years 1 month ago
Well… First of all, I think he is overly harsh on both Kyrie and Dion. Quite frankly, I also think he has become VERY cynical (not that one can blame him) about the whole FA situation cuz he was burned by LBJ. Windy put his rep on the line, at least to a degree, by saying LBJ would stay. However, I think he fails to understand the Cavs are still the 2nd youngest team in the while of the league. And they still might get in the playoffs. They’re younger than Mil, Orl and Tor. Food for thought… The rest of the stuff is not too surprising. As people like me and Nate have been saying Kyrie is by no means untouchable. So far he has not proven himself to be a winner. I think he can be and I think his talent is through-the-roof but I don’t think many of us would be upset if Kyrie brought back an All-Star in return to pair with Dion. Oh and Windy is too harsh on TT, too. FACT: of the Cavs who had 30 or more double-doubles in pts/rbdsin one season EVERY ONE OF THEM made at least on all-star apperance.… Read more »
Tom Pestak
Admin
4 years 1 month ago

KJ – double doubles in points and rebounds don’t mean that much.

wpDiscuz