Tag:Cavaliers
Posted on: April 4, 2010 1:34 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2010 2:19 pm
 

Bogut injury puts scare into contenders

BOSTON -- The video of Andrew Bogut's horrific arm injury was bad enough. The specter of a late-season injury to their own teams was enough to make stomachs turn Sunday at TD Bank Garden.

In separate pre-game interviews, separated by a few minutes and about 50 feet in the locker room hallway, Doc Rivers and Mike Brown both reacted with the expected head-shaking and somber tone when asked about the devastating fall taken by the Bucks' center Saturday night. The more they talked, it was clear both understood that they could be walking in Scott Skiles' shoes at any moment.

"We could go out here today and something could happen," Brown said before his Cavaliers played the Celtics. "We’re going to have to have some contact in practice, and even if it’s five possessions or three possessions, something could happen. Something could happen driving home in your car. There’s all types of what-ifs, what-ifs, what-ifs. And if you try to be too careful then stuff can still happen and you won't get accomplished what you need to get accomplished to be ready. That’s a tough injury for Bogut. You hope that doesn’t happen to anybody else. But in the same breath, it’s part of t game and part of life."

Unlike Brown, Rivers isn't contemplating whether to rest his stars heading into the playoffs; Cleveland is one win away from wrapping up home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, while Boston is trying to overtake Atlanta for the third seed. If they do, there's a chance their first-round opponent will be the Bucks, who will be without Bogut until next season.

"It was just a freak accident," Rivers said. "It was horrific. It was awful to watch. But it happens."

Ray Allen, a former Buck who had been preparing for possibly facing his former team in the playoffs, said, "This is a tough time of the year because they are making playoff plans, selling playoff tickets and they’re right there in the hunt. I think every coach dreads that."

Rivers was adamant -- and I agree -- that Bogut was not the victim of a dirty play. Running out for a court-length pass and breakaway dunk Saturday night against the Suns, Bogut dunked ahead of Amar'e Stoudemire and tried to hang on the rim in an effort to protect himself and Stoudemire.

"If he could've hung onto the rim long enough to get his feet back, he wouldn't have been injured," LeBron James said. "Just a freak accident."

There was no significant contact from Stoudemire, who may have had a hand on Bogut as he went up -- if that. The issue was that as he tried to protect himself by grabbing the rim, Bogut lost his grip and tried to brace the fall with his right arm, which bent catastrophically beneath his entire body weight.

And with it, the Bucks' aspirations of going deep in the playoffs crumpled, too.
Posted on: April 4, 2010 1:13 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2010 1:36 pm
 

LeBron doesn't respect Colangelo's threat

BOSTON -- After LeBron James and Dwayne Wade both strongly hinted in the past week that they're considering skipping the World Championships in Turkey this summer, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo responded with a warning: Such a decision could jeopardize their spots on the 2012 Olympic team.

LeBron lobbed his own response back to Colangelo on Sunday: He doesn't think that's fair.

The war of words is on.

"I think everyone in the U.S.A. knows what type of commitment these guys have made, including myself, since 2003," James said before the Cavaliers played the Celtics. "I'm not trying to bash Jerry or anything like that, because he's a good guy and I respect him. I don't respect that because of the commitment we've all given to the U.S.A. Right off the bat, we didn't second guess it at all. If we're jeopardizing being in London, what can we do?"

In recruiting members of the 2008 Olympic gold medal team to return for the 2012 Olympics in London, Colangelo has consistently presented to them his desire for a two-year commitment: Win the 2010 worlds in Turkey to earn an automatic Olympic berth, and they get the summer of 2011 off.

But the summer of 2010 is more complicated for James, Wade, Chris Bosh and other 2008 Olympians who will have a chance to be unrestricted free agents on July 1. James also has plans to participate in the filming of a movie; the combination of on-court and off-court responsibilities would seem to make it difficult at best for him to travel to Turkey.

Last week, Colangelo told Yahoo! Sports, "There are no free passes to London." He has since backtracked somewhat, acknowledging that he doesn't expect free agents to practice with Team USA until their situations are resolved. It would be almost inconceivable for Colangelo to punish James for skipping the worlds by leaving him off the Olympic team for London. But in the meantime, he has to maintain the appearance of consistency; if James and Wade bow out, others could follow.

"If that is the case, we'll have to see when it happens," James said. "There's a lot that goes on with being a professional athlete other than just basketball."
Posted on: March 1, 2010 11:45 am
 

Shaq out 8 weeks; not a deal-breaker for Cavs

The Cavaliers confirmed Monday that Shaquille O'Neal will miss about eight weeks after undergoing thumb surgery. Despite the fact that Cleveland has gone from having two 7-footers to none in the past two weeks, this isn't a devastating blow to the Cavs' championship hopes.

While the Cavs were playing well with Shaq -- 12-3 from Jan. 16 until he got hurt last Thursday night in Boston -- they never needed him for the regular season. From the beginning, Shaq was strictly a postseason asset -- specifically, an asset big and bad enough to play mind games with Dwight Howard and get in his way just enough for Cleveland to beat the Magic in a seven-game series this time around.

Eight weeks from today is April 26 -- near the end of the first round, or (more likely) in the midst of a second-round playoff series. That will give Shaq enough time to get his tree-like legs back under him before Howard is posting him up in the playoffs. Maybe while he's rehabbing his thumb, Shaq could adopt Ron Artest's fish-and-veggie diet and drop a few LBs before he returns.

From now until the rest of the regular season, Shaq's absence will allow the Cavs to concentrate on getting Antawn Jamison acclimated to their offense. More importantly, it will give the Cavs a chance to play a little more freely, with better spacing, and at a quicker pace. They won't be a running team as they get deeper into the playoffs, but pushing the ball without Shaq down the stretch will only help them for the postseason stints when they'll need to play smaller lineups.

In the meantime, Cleveland will get back one of its 7-footers, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, once the 30-day waiting period expires following his trade to the Wizards. If Lakers coach Phil Jackson thought that was a "sham" before Shaq got hurt, imagine what the Zen Master thinks now.


Posted on: February 25, 2010 5:53 pm
 

Z-to-Cavs a foregone conclusion

Word that Zydrunas Ilgauskas has reached his anticipated buyout agreement with the Wizards has several organizations -- Atlanta, Denver, Utah -- experiencing the fleeting hope that the 7-3 center could give them some much-needed size for the postseason. Let's not kid ourselves, though: Z is going back to Cleveland once the league-mandated 30-day waiting period to re-sign with the team that traded him comes and goes.

The teams courting Ilgauskas are "fighting the good fight," according to one person with knowledge of the situation. But everyone involved knows that Ilgauskas, who has spent his entire career in Cleveland and is viewed by LeBron James as a necessary ingredient in the Cavs' pursuit of a championship, is going back from whence he came.

Is it fair that players who are traded for the sole purpose of making the salaries add up can return to the team that traded him? The same thing happened last season, when the Pistons traded Antonio McDyess and re-signed him in 30 days. It's not really a question of fairness, though. Rules are rules. It's a question of whether owners will be willing to back up their complaints about Z returning to Cleveland and lobby for eliminating this loophole in the new CBA.

They'll think twice, I predict, because they might just be the ones benefiting from the same chicanery in the future.



Posted on: February 25, 2010 1:05 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2010 1:35 pm
 

Dwight Howard = Wilt Chamberlain?

When Dwight Howard isn't ignoring immature taunts from Shaquille O'Neal, how does he stay busy?

On Wednesday night, he put his name in the same sentence with Wilt Chamberlain.

I'd like to be able to say, "Dwight, I knew Wilt Chamberlain. And you're no Wilt Chamberlain." Sadly, I didn't meet the late, great Wilt until he joined the rest of the NBA's 50 Greatest at the 1997 All-Star Game in Cleveland. I have spent considerable time around Dwight Howard -- watching him perform with boyish enthusiasm and astounding athletic talent, and listening to him thoughtfully, respectfully, and sometimes playfully answer questions from inquiring types like me.

At 24, Howard's resume has a long way to go before he can hold it up against Wilt's, or even Shaq's. Those are facts. So is this: Dwight Howard did something Wednesday night that nobody had accomplished since Chamberlain in 1969, a year before I was born.

In Orlando's 110-92 victory in Houston, Howard had 31 points and 16 rebounds and was 11-for-11 from the field. He also had three assists, one block and was 8-for-12 from the foul line, but that's not the point. The point is, Howard became the first player since Chamberlain to record at least 30 points and 15 rebounds while not missing a shot in at least 10 field-goal attempts. He also recorded his 19th consecutive double-double, a franchise record that broke a tie with -- you guessed it -- O'Neal.

Nobody is saying that Howard = Chamberlain, or even that Howard = Shaq. But it's time to stop dismissing the most physically overwhelming talent in the NBA as a mere freak. Howard is a freak who has his team playing the best basketball in the league.

When it comes to doubting Howard's killer instinct, offensive fundamentals and meanness, I'm guilty as charged. I've questioned Howard's desire to be the alpha male from time to time. But I'm ready to put that aside and just enjoy him for what he is and what he will be -- the most dominant big man in the NBA for the next decade or so.

Last season, Howard became only the fifth player in NBA history to lead the league in blocks and rebounds in the same season. Neither Chamberlain nor Shaq is on that list, which includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Ben Wallace. (In fairness, the NBA didn't count blocks as an official statistic until the 1973-74 season.) Howard currently leads the league in both categories again, and if he repeats the feat, he'll stand alone as the only player ever to do it twice.

More importantly, Howard's team is winning. The Magic are 13-4 since Jan. 20, and no other team has as many wins during that stretch.

The Cavs got Shaq for one reason, and one reason only: To contend with Howard in the playoffs. They just added Antawn Jamison in the hopes that they'll have an answer for Rashard Lewis, who destroyed Cleveland in the conference finals last season. Jamison is too much of a pro to belittle Lewis or anybody else. That hasn't stopped O'Neal from incessantly taunting Howard, calling him an impostor, and generally dismissing him as little more than a wart on his ample behind.

All of this will come home to roost in the playoffs, when the Cavs will have to get past Howard and the Magic if LeBron James is going to deliver the championship that he and the city of Cleveland so desperately need. Take a look at these numbers, crunched by NBA.com's John Schuhmann, showing the dramatic difference in LeBron's production against Orlando with Howard on the floor vs. off the floor since 2007-08. The translation: Howard is so good that he makes the best player in the NBA significantly worse.

Whatever happens in May and June, we know this: Howard will be there with a smile on his face. And he will let his play do the talking.


 

Posted on: February 17, 2010 7:07 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2010 12:38 am
 

Jamison to Cavs in blockbuster deal

Before the All-Star break, LeBron James made it clear to Cavaliers management what he wanted to see them accomplish at the trade deadline. "Go get Antawn," the King told the Cleveland brass, according to sources.

The Cavs -- and LeBron -- got their man Wednesday night as Cleveland agreed to a three-team, blockbuster deal to acquire Antawn Jamison from the Wizards.

The Cavs get Jamison from Washington and Sebastian Telfair from the Clippers, who send Al Thornton to the Wizards. Washington also receives a 2010 first-round pick, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and the rights to 2009 second-round pick Emir Preldzic from Cleveland. The Wizards send Drew Gooden to the Clippers. The trade received league approval late Wednesday night.

Sources told CBSSports.com that Gooden, traded from Dallas to Washington over the weekend, could be bought out or -- get this -- possibly traded yet again. Ilgauskas, a fan favorite in Cleveland who has spent his entire career there, also could be in line for a buyout that would open the door to returning to the Cavs in 30 days. Sources expect there to be competition for Big Z's services, however. His agent, Herb Rudoy, told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that he's already heard from several teams, with Denver and Dallas likely to be among them.

The six-player trade accomplishes vastly different goals across the NBA landscape: Solidifying the Cavs' status as the team to beat in the East, if not the NBA; hastening the controlled implosion of the Wizards after the Gilbert Arenas fiasco; and the tried and true pastime of saving the Clippers money.

It also solidified the Heat as the front runner to acquire Amar'e Stoudemire from the Suns -- if Phoenix decides to trade him. Rival execs believe that to be a foregone conclusion due to the likelihood that Stoudemire will not be able to work out a long-term agreement with the Suns. Although Phoenix apparently is not thrilled with Miami's offer -- which according to a source includes Michael Beasley and a first-round pick -- the Suns may have little choice but to go through with the deal rather than have their 2010-11 cap space eaten up by Stoudemire and face losing him with no compensation. The Sixers, who have been on the periphery of the Stoudemire discussions, are no longer involved, sources said.

The Cavs' pursuit of an All-Star caliber running mate to pair with James for the stretch run -- and, they hope, beyond -- circled back to where it started a few weeks ago. The Wizards, at the time, were too much in flux to nail down the particulars, and then Cleveland became involved in discussions with Phoenix for Stoudemire.

The Stoudemire situation, in which the Suns were trying to squeeze the best offer out of Cleveland or Miami, would've required the Cavs sending talented young big man J.J. Hickson in addition to Ilgauskas and their No. 1 pick. Due to Jamison's age (33) and contract ($28.4 million remaining over the next two seasons), Cleveland wasn't required to part with Hickson in the Washington deal.

In any event, some elements of the Cavs' hierarchy believed Jamison was a better fit for their team anyway. It's hard not to agree; the Cavs are a defensive team whose only flaw on the offensive end was lacking a spot-up shooter who could stretch the frontcourt. Stoudemire didn't fit that description at all, but Jamison fits it perfectly. Their inability to defend and score from the stretch-four position was their undoing in the playoffs against Orlando. Problem solved. The addition of Jamison makes the Cavs, who already have a league-best 43-11 record, the clear favorite to come out of the East and only enhances their chances in a potential NBA Finals matchup against the Lakers, Denver or Dallas.

Stoudemire's lack of defensive impact, combined with the fact that he didn't pair well with Shaquille O'Neal when they were teammates in Phoenix, tipped to scales in Jamison's favor. So did the fact that rival executives believe the Phoenix was more interested in Miami's offer for Stoudemire, which would include a higher first-round pick -- potentially in the lottery, depending on how the Heat finish the season.

Depending on what happens with Ilgauskas, the Wizards are within striking distance of getting under the luxury tax line -- a stunningly swift and effective demolition of a roster that was loaded with payroll black holes stretching for years. GM Ernie Grunfeld and assistant GM Tommy Sheppard made sure the impact of the devastating Gilbert Arenas firearms suspension would not linger into the summer -- at least financially. In the span of four days, the Wizards shed 60 percent of their starting lineup and nearly $39 million in salary over the next two seasons. Their haul was two potential rotation players -- Josh Howard and Thornton -- plus a first-round pick. Now, the biggest question remains: What to do about Arenas, who is owed $80 million over the next four seasons.

Posted on: February 15, 2010 1:26 am
Edited on: February 15, 2010 2:09 am
 

Amar'e: Joining LeBron could be 'great'

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- Amar'e Stoudemire said Sunday he'd heard "nothing solid" on his fate with the trade deadline looming, even with the Suns engaged in talks with multiple teams about trading the five-time All-Star.

Asked about the possibility of playing with LeBron James in Cleveland, Stoudemire said it was "great" playing with him on the 2004 Olympic team in Barcelona, but that a trade with Cleveland was "not done yet."

Once again, Stoudemire leaves the All-Star Game wondering if he'll be changing teams the morning after.

"Gotta stick with what I know," Stoudemire said. "Right now, I'm a Phoenix Sun, so until anything changes I'm going to play the same way. ... I'm planning to travel to Memphis (Monday) to play the Grizzlies."

Several league sources told CBSSports.com that the Suns remained in discussions with at least three teams -- Cleveland, Miami and Philadelphia -- in a poker game that features Stoudemire as the grand prize. Two of his would-be teammates were on the court with him in the All-Star Game Sunday night -- James and Dwyane Wade. Another, Shaquille O'Neal, sat courtside and watched.

While the Suns brass were weighing which team could offer them the best combination of cap relief and assets, Suns owner Robert Sarver roamed the rotunda of Cowboys Stadium, watching Stoudemire and other All-Stars walk from the mixed-zone interview area toward the locker rooms.

"It's definitely an important decision," Sarver said. "I don't have any more comment." 
Posted on: February 12, 2010 5:39 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2010 6:04 pm
 

Howard says he expected more of Shaq

DALLAS -- If Shaquille O'Neal had directed his latest tirade at someone else, we would've had a good old fashioned sniping contest Friday at All-Star media day. Dwight Howard wasn't having it.

Howard took the high road, in more ways than one. Not only did he refuse to return jabs at O'Neal -- who once again took verbal swipes at his heir apparent Thursday night in Cleveland -- but Howard took it a step farther.

He did something that nobody has been able to do on the court for 17 years. He made Shaq look small.

"I would never take a shot at anybody," Howard said. "It doesn't matter if you're trying to motivate them or anything. Shaq has been in the league for a long time. He has a very lengthy resume. I just started. I'm only 24 years old and I have a long way to go. The only thing I would want from Shaq -- or any of the older guys who’ve been in my position -- is to help me grow as a player and as a person. That’s what my job would be as I get older. It’s to help the new guys who come in grow into better players and not try to bring them down or talk about them in a bad light. I would want to be that person that younger guys could look up to and ask for advice on how to carry themselves on and off the court."

If Shaq doesn't feel like a big enough doofus for trotting out his tired "Superman impostor" routine on Howard, there's more.

"I just wouldn't expect somebody to do that," Howard said. "There’s nothing I can do about it. He said what he had to say, it didn't sit too well with me personally. I felt like Shaq being who he is and what he’s done for the NBA ... I thought it would be better for him to try to help me through things instead of trying to put me down -- especially in front of you guys. That part kind of stuck with me., I would never talk bad or say anything to put him down."

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com