Links to the Present: He’s Here! — Updated with Z’s Comeback Attempt

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Kevin Love is officially a Cavalier, and the Cavaliers officially have a big three.  The news is old, as Kevin Love to the Cavs has seemed liked a done deal for a while.  The internet has pretty much examined what the team will look like now, but there are still some new articles trickling out.

First off, for anyone wondering how Kevin Love became a Cav, Brian Windhorst examined the entire process of acquiring Love for ESPN.  It was luck, the Heat imploding, and some crafty roster moves that kept the cap clear enough to have the space for LeBron James to return.  Basically, each thing that fell into place is something that goes against the bad history associated with Cleveland sports.  The Cavs have used up all the collective Cleveland luck:  sorry Indians,  sorry Browns.

I care how Love ended up on the Cavs, but I actually care more about what the team may look like on the court with him.  David Thorpe, also writing for ESPN, believes that Cavs should earn the moniker the “7-Seconds-Or-Less” Cavs.

The Cavs could start a group with three great passers (at a minimum), four great shooters and at least three great scorers (Irving, Love, James), all with the best playmaker in the game to create shots when needed. The only way to slow them down is if they choose to do that on their own.

If they choose not to slow themselves down, here’s what could happen.

Instead, a splendid blend of some kind of initial action (i.e., pinch-post handoff, ball-screen action, pin down, etc.) will lead to ball movement until there is a big crease to attack via dribble or pass. This will constantly have a defense on its heels — especially if the shooters take open 3s every chance they get, forcing opponents to extend their defense out, thereby leaving openings closer to the basket.

Passing up open shots (when the man with the ball is a good-to-great shooter) slows the offense down and gives Memphis Grizzlies v Phoenix Sunsthe defense chances to recover. The Cavaliers can have the league’s best offense if they give everyone the green light (minus Varejao) to take open shots from behind the line.

Love is going to enable the hammer to be thrown down quite often in transition with his elite passing and rebounding skills.

It’s the full-court game where Love can have the most impact. His outlet passes are legendary, and deservedly so. Corey Brewer is every bit as fast as James, and he led the league in transition points last season, mostly thanks to those passes from Love. James, though, is a better finisher at the rim than Brewer, and better at drawing fouls.

Love’s incredible rebounding talent also suggests that Varejao, along with James, can often release early and race down the court.

“Will Austin Carr have a heart attack from the excitement of this Cavs season” is a serious question.

If looking just at the Cavs win-loss record this season, you may be reminded of the jump the Celtics took when they acquired Kevin Garnett.  Jason Lloyd raised this point right before the weekend started.

The Cavs will have the Minnesota Timberwolves to thank, just as the Boston Celtics did before them. The Celtics, not the 2010 Miami Heat, were the last team to reshape their roster this dramatically in one summer. The Heat were a playoff team the year before LeBron James and Chris Bosh arrived. The Celtics transformed overnight from a 24-win team into NBA champions.

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Eleven months after the Celtics plucked another Kevin (Garnett) from the Timberwolves, they were celebrating a championship at Copley Square. Whether this Cavs season ends with a parade on Public Square remains to be seen, but the similarities between that Celtics team and the Cavs today are striking, beginning with their mutual trade partner.

The Cavs will now need to beat down some young barely proven upstart in the East to officially act as the slightly wiser just put together team.  That would solidify the rebuild.   The Wizards should watch out.

If you have been living under a rock the past month because you were afraid to get too excited about the chances of obtaining Kevin Love, I understand.  Good stuff doesn’t happen for the Cavs too often, but you don’t have to be too behind if you know nothing about Love’s game.  Cleveland.com broke down his game in a simple piece;  you’ll sound like a seasoned Love fan in under ten minutes.

— Update

Lost in the shuffle was the crazy, almost unbelievable story that broke on The Really Big Show, this morning: Zydrunas Ilgauskus plans to attempt a comeback for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, in an attempt to win a ring with LeBron James.

Here’s Brian Windhorst and Tony Rizzo discussing Z and other Cavs news on The Really Big Show this morning.

Additionally, this went up in downtown Cleveland. OK, this thing is starting to get fun.

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NYCav
Guest
NYCav
4 years 25 days ago

If they want to sign Z to a 10-day contract and put him in for a few minutes at the end of an early-season blowout, fine. The defending champs get to take a victory lap and give one of their all-timers his moment in the sun. This will make a great feel-good story in the 2015-2016 season and I look forward to it.

But unless you have that ring this sort of thing is just foolishness.

nomad
Guest
nomad
4 years 25 days ago
agree with soultoronados —” Z ” needs to be on the bench/ be in uniform if/ when they win the championship –would be a ” Hollywood ” story———was thinking today on my ” lawnmower of thoughts ” —-do my best thinking there——early june are main focus was going after a player named Hayward as our big free agent signing and off season move WOW DID THINGS CHANGE —— also a thought —-were would be if chris grant was still the g.m—-would mike brown even been fired—–if not would LeBron have come back—-who would he have drafted —-I think it is safe to say we are fortunate griffin was in place as our g.m and in my opinion made some very brave/ outstanding moves ( yes LeBron made it easier to make these moves )—-would like your bloggers response on THE WHAT IF GRANT WAS STILL HERE SCENARIO
Raoul
Guest
Raoul
4 years 25 days ago
I think Griffin was much better than Grant from the day he got the job. Then an astounding run of luck occurred. You are probably correct that LeBron would not have come back if Grand+Brown were still here. I — and most of us here at CtB — like Brown. He is an excellent person. But it is pretty clear that he is a mediocre (at best) coach. Grant is a little harder to figure out. Early on, I liked him a lot. Obviously KI was the right pick, and I do not think TT was an obvious mistake. If he has a good year, that debate will end. DW was a surprise, but now most people agree it was excellent. TZ was a good value for the pick; I sure wish we still had him. AB is still too early to say. Obviously he got off to a horrendous start, but he could easily be a top second year player this year. We will see. Likewise, we don’t know anything yet about SK and Felix(?). Prior to the summer of 13, his trades and FA signings were really good. Things started going bad last summer, JJ and EC were… Read more »
Underdog
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Underdog
4 years 24 days ago
The Cavs are what they are today because of both Griffin AND Grant . . . and a decent amount of luck. Can we not give credit to all three? The media and the world we live in has an insatiable need to classify everyone as a hero and a villain. Beyond that, the media eventually gets around to reclassifying most heroes into villains. Half the people vilifying Grant wanted the Cavs to take Derrick Williams and the other half wanted Harrison Barnes. I think Grant’s downfall was re-hiring his friend Mike Brown (whom I like as a person). Also, the negative culture that developed over time – which partially came from the pressure to “make the playoffs this year.” Grant swung for a home run with AB – because the goal was playoffs and an eventual championship. Nobody bats 1.000 in his profession. Grant had strengths and weaknesses. So does Griffin. Griffin just hasn’t been around long enough for us to ascribe his weaknesses to him. I’m glad the Cavs have Griffin. He’s done a nice job and has brought a great culture to the team. I’m happy with the Blatt hiring. The Lebron and Love acquisitions required some… Read more »
Raoul
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Raoul
4 years 24 days ago

Agree with Underdog. Good points.

DaveR
Guest
DaveR
4 years 24 days ago

Grant was awful. For me it was his approach. Read his interviews after the drafts. Nuff said there. His proponents point to his legacy based on the Mo/Moon to LA for Davis and the #1. Unfortunately that was really early in his run and it was all downhill from there. Every other significant trade Grant made was for rentals.

The one thing that he did do well was keeping the cap wide open for this year knowing there was a chance Cleveland could land one of the biggest names. So yeay for that.

I agree Brown is a good guy and on the right team given the right amount of time he can put together a low seed defensive-minded Playoff quad . Unfortunately he sucks with young talent and is easily out-coached by the bigger names. Good luck to him, he got paid so no need to feel bad.

Underdog
Guest
Underdog
4 years 24 days ago

Grant had to pay $15MM to get Larry Hughes to come to Cleveland. Griffin gets Marion & Miller for either the league minimum or slightly better. Nuff said there.

Grant recognized that he had to build through the draft because Cleveland couldn’t attract top players. To win a championships you need Lebrons and Durants – so he swung for the fences in his draft with Kyrie, Dion, and AB. That’s a very rational approach. Boom or bust means just that. Nobody booms 100% of the time.

He had draft picks and cap space to pounce when the opportunity arose to put that final piece together. I was disappointed that he couldn’t make use of those assets earlier than this year. But here we are today, and because of those assets – we pounced.

RickOH
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RickOH
4 years 24 days ago

Larry Hughes was on danny ferry.

Robbles
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Robbles
4 years 25 days ago

Oh my good god, I would cry with happiness if Z came back and we won one for him. Favorite player of all time! Windy suggested he might do the same that he’s suggesting Ray Allen would do- come in mid-season. But apparently he’s been working out pretty hard. Maybe play 10-15 minutes every other night. That would be so ideal. He can still pick and pop better than just about all human beings, and even if he doesn’t move too well, he would be our best rim protection at 7’2″. Not that I think he would contribute a ton, but how perfect would it be to win one for him. After everything that’s happened to him between the feet and his wife losing the twins. I am so excited. I would be about 1.2 bajillion times more excited to see Z check into the game again and win a ring than I will be to see LBJ throw up that powder. ZZZ!!!!

soultoronados
Guest
soultoronados
4 years 25 days ago

I haven’t listened to the show with Windy and Rizzo, but my first thought about Z is that it would be almost entirely symbolic. He just needs to be on the roster when the Cavs win the ‘ship to get that ring. Lots of “DNP-coach’s decision”. But that’s great. LeBron couldn’t get it done for him in Cleveland the first go-around or in the first season in Miami.

A championship this year would be the biggest feel good story ever in the history of universe. At least for Cleveland fans.

Brian
Guest
Brian
4 years 25 days ago

If Z doesn’t work out, there should be at least a handful of veteran releases who could jump in near the deadline.

EvilGenius
Admin
4 years 25 days ago

I love Big Z, but this seems like a reach. What’s next, Lue and Potapenko throw on gamers and play in garbage time?

Raoul
Guest
Raoul
4 years 25 days ago

Have to get a rule change, but I like it. Imagine if someone tries to rough up KI; they would see Potapenko taking off his warmup, and run for the door.

EvilGenius
Admin
4 years 25 days ago

He always was a scary dude. Looked more like a Klitchko

Cory Hughey
Editor
4 years 25 days ago

He played in 1249 minutes including the playoffs in 2011. Actually posted a SWAgR of 2.14. Does he play 500 minutes during his age 39 season?

Tom Pestak
Guest
4 years 25 days ago

Z!!!!! I’ve been saying it for weeks! Can’t believe its true though.

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
4 years 25 days ago

It’s all good. Best offseason ever and now the best team in the East by a large margin. Pretty much only OKC can beat this team and even that is only if Westbrook and Durant go nuts. I doubt the Spurs can make it to 3 Finals in a row.

The only real obstacle is the lack of playoff experience for the coach and some players.

dan
Guest
dan
4 years 24 days ago

You simply cannot disrespect the reigning NBA champions like that. I am a huge Cavs fan, and I agree we have to be considered one of the favorites, but San Antonio plays as a team, of course taught to them by the best coah this league has seen since Red A. And Chicago plays great defense. Those 2 are not goingt to be as easy to beat as some people may think.

The Cavs will be getting the opponents best every night. Its going to be really exciting to watch.

James
Guest
James
4 years 24 days ago

And whether we can play league average defence (which I think we can)

Cols714
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Cols714
4 years 24 days ago

Considering we were 19th last year and added Lebron James I don’t think it’s even a question.

nomad
Guest
nomad
4 years 25 days ago

agree with both above comments—-hate to be a ” downer ” but after watching the browns pre-season games( the manziel hoopla/ excitement has worn off—-reality has set in ) the basketball season with all its hope/ excitement can’t start soon enough—- WELCOME ABOARD LOVE ( MILLER / JONES AND HOPEFULLY ALLEN AND THE REST OF THE NEW CAST )—–TIME TO MAKE HISTORY IN BELIEVELAND

bw
Guest
bw
4 years 25 days ago

Is Garnett still with Brooklyn? It would please me very much if the Cavs get to bounce him out of the playoffs, and follow it with putting out Paul Pierce and the Wizards out next.

Pete
Guest
Pete
4 years 25 days ago

And even better yet, Allen returns to the Heat and we bounce them as well.

bw
Guest
bw
4 years 25 days ago

That would be amazing. Or if he decides to sign with the Cavs they could cut him right before the playoffs. No, I’m not bitter. Not bitter at all.

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