Tag:Cavaliers
Posted on: October 28, 2010 10:15 am
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Shootaround 10.28.10: Manic Panic

Posted by Matt Moore

  • The NBA Draft is headed to... New Jersey? The League announced Wednesday that Newark's Prudential Center, home of the Nets this season, will also host the 2011 NBA Draft while Madison Square Garden is being renovated. Considering that many of the top players are unlikely to come out due to the NBA's potential lockout next season, Newark seems like an appropriate choice. Kidding, Newark! We love you!
  • Pacers coach Jim O'Brien is not really happy with the league's suspension process for drug violations. The team was without Brandon Rush last night when the Spurs wiped them off the map likea  coke line at Courtney Love's house in the mid-90's. O'Brien doesn't like the fact that the team isn't notified when a player has his first or second positive test, only being notified when the player is benched. On the one hand, his desire to help his players deal with their problems is admirable. On the other, you have to have some level of privacy for players with these issues (while monotoring the problems). It's a complicated issue, really.
  • So... Celtics fans aren't all brushing off that loss to the Cavs last night. Yikes. Some aren't as worried . I tend to side with the latter group. It's a road game on a back to back against an emotional team with an emotional crowd and you have a team of hyper-confident veterans that would look past a game like this. Just needs salt for a perfect disaster recipe.


Posted on: October 27, 2010 11:06 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2010 11:20 pm
 

Cavs fans thank Rivers for beating Heat, LeBron


Posted by Matt Moore

Had the Boston Celtics, hated rivals of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the past three years, not eliminated the Cavaliers unceremoniously, there's a chance , again, a chance that LeBron James would not have left Cleveland. The Cavs were a fine team last year, and it's not impossible to see them getting past Orlando in the Conference Finals, nor L.A. who they swept in the regular season. It's not beyond the realm of possibility. It's just as likely that James would have left regardless, that he'd decided months ago, that it was long ago decided. It's also possible he could have won a championship with the Cavs and then walked away with a clean conscience.

But still, the Cavaliers fans don't love the Celtics, right? They don't respect and value the team that walked all over them, bullied them, right?

Well, okay, maybe a little. As Dustin Hoffman mumbled in Dick Tracy , the enemy of my enemy is my friend. From Cleveland blog Waiting For Next Year :



OK, then.

Cleveland? Can we talk? As friends do? Great. See, the thing is, Doc Rivers is a really nice man and an honorable dude. And it's almost impossible to really dislike him. But come on. I get that you're angry with LeBron, but the Celtics should still be "the other bad guys" to Cleveland. Take all the satisfaction in the world that the Celtics took LeBron and the Heat down a peg. But Doc Rivers isn't the good guy here. In your situation with LeBron? There are no good guys except you, the loyal fans.

Posted on: October 22, 2010 9:21 am
 

Shootaround 10.22.10: Engaged

Sasha Vujacic gets engaged to Maria Sharapova, the Bulls need to get engaged with one another off the floor, Mike Miller is disengaged for several weeks, and Dwight Howard is engaged on the microphone, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


Remember that thumb injury for Mike Miller we shared with you yesterday? Yeah. So, Brian Windhorst is reporting that it's going to be "several weeks" on that . The new Era d' Heat is starting off swimmingly. All they need is an outbreak of cholera and a bus accident.

May the Fates bless you in your travels, Darius Miles. Miles was cut from the Bobcats yesterday , in what could be the nail in the coffin on his "career." Pay attention, Blake Griffin. This is what happens to Clippers.

Sam Amico of NBA.com and FSN Ohio says the Blazers, Rockets, and Spurs, but especially Blazers, are also interested in Anderson Varejao. We continue to be perplexed as to why .

Martell Webster will have an MRI on his back and miss the Wolves' preseason finale. The Wolves will just have to turn to the other 700 wings they picked up in the offseason.

Dwight Howard told the Orlando Sentinel that a lot of NBA stars get the kinds of Tweets LeBron freaked out about . “All of us get those kinds of Tweets,” Howard said. “People just feel that they can say whatever they want to say to us, and I don’t respond. People are going to talk when they’re hiding behind a computer or a cell phone. What’s the purpose of letting that affect what we do?” Anyone else get the impression Howard's got a serious beef with everything LeBron does? He's one of the few guys to call out James on things. He's more vocal than Boston. Oh, and Heat play Orlando in a preseason game tonight.

The Bulls' chemistry isn't really so much where it needs to be , via the Chicago Tribune talking to Derrick Rose: ""I wouldn't say it's all the way there," Derrick Rose said. "But being on the court with the guys, I definitely know what their strengths are, where to give them the ball in certain situations, just the way they play."At practices, our second team beat (the starters) four or five days in a row. That competing will make us better and help the team gel quickly." It's interesting to hear that, but part of that is probably the disconnect with the departures of players who were closer last year. Something to watch as the Bulls go forward.

So here's the Flex offense . No, seriously, here's the Flex offense.

Sasha Vujacic is now engaged to Maria Sharapova, in case you needed further proof the universe is cruel and unfair.

Ron Artest has been given a "Year in Sanity" award by Salon.com. So if the apocalypse shows up soon, don't say we didn't warn you.

Hear Dwight Howard. Hear Dwight Howard sing. Hear Dwight Howard sing "All-Star" by Smashmouth .
Posted on: October 21, 2010 2:33 am
 

Nuggets interested in... Anderson Varejao?! What?

Floppy-haired Cavs forward on list of players Denver covets... for some reason.  Posted by Matt Moore

When KB dropped the verse Wedneday night that the Nuggets have a list of veteran bigs they want in return for any deal involving Carmelo Anthony, there were the usual suspects. 

Joakim Noah: Top flight center. Charming possibility of a beehive. Great rebounder. Young, talented, and tenacious. Makes sense. 

Andrei Kirilenko: Super-attractive wife. Excellent versatile skill set. Able to play multiple positions. Valuable contract. Makes sense. 

Andre Iguodala: The superstar role-player. Able to play the 2, 3, or 4. Great rebounder, passer, and auxiliary scorer. Easy to get under his skin by calling him easy nickname of "Iggy." Slaps rookies in the face with powder. Makes sense. 

Gerald Wallace: Plays so hard every night, every play that he has given himself a concussion and collapsed a lung. Terrific all-around athlete that can do nearly anything you ask of him. Sweet headband. Makes sense. 

Anderson Varejao: Wait, what?

Don't get me wrong. i'm not ignorant in the ways of defensive plus-minus, nor am I oblivious to the stout mechanics of Flopsy's defensive prowess. And hey, if you need a clean-up score, Varejao is your guy. Stick that guy next to 2005-era Tim Duncan and watch the offensive putbacks roll in. Coast to coast like butter and toast. 

But Varejao is far from a complete player, and we've yet to see him outside of being the rather fourth-option level sidekick to the MVP. We're kind of lacking a good sample set on how he'd do where his, say, the second or third offensive option. Varejao's jumper improved last season (jumped to a 50% shooter from less than 10 feet from 35%). But he's still got no range, lacks a true post-set and is, in general, Anderson Varejao. 

What's more confusing is that Anderson signed a new deal in the summer of 2009, with roughly $33 million guaranteed. That's a big, long term, expensive contract entering into a new CBA for a team that would be for all intents and purposes blowing it up and starting over. If you look at what the Nuggets should do in such a move, Varejao is pretty much the polar opposite of that idea. Even if, in the only plausible scenario that involves Cleveland in a deal, there is a third team acquiring Anthony who would send some fictional young superstar to Denver, you'd still be left with a significant financial restriction. 

For the Cavs? Giddy up. If the Cavs do somehow manage to talk Masai Ujiri into taking Varejao's contract, their rebuilding project would be even further along than they thought. Moving Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison then becomes much easier in terms of accepting a quarter-on-the-dollar type deal. The assets they would then acquire, in combination with cap space, a dreadful team guaranteed for the lottery, the Heat's high 20's pick to use in combination with remaining assets on draft day, and the massive trade exception they received from the great James robbery, would put them in line for a massive transformation in only a few precious months versus a long-term project that may take years to complete. 

New York tried everything it could to ruin Cleveland by taking James away this past summer, only to watch Miami do the dirty work and leave them outside the party. Ironically, it could wind up being Cleveland that helps them get the next best available thing. The only question is how long that will take. 

For now, as KB writes, we'll have to wait and see. 
Posted on: October 14, 2010 6:00 pm
 

Cleveland staying Comic, sans LeBron

Cavs employ worst font in history of world for new floor. Posted by Matt Moore

Come on, Cleveland. You're kidding, right? This is some sort of inside joke? You're not really going to...

Let me back up. Let's say you, like most of America, are not into fonts. Typography isn't exactly riveting stuff. I'm no expert myself. But one that's pretty apparent from every graphic designer, copy editor, and artist I know is that Comic Sans is the single worst font to ever be created. It was part of what garnered Cavs owner Dan Gilbert such mockery when he dropped his letter about LeBron. Sure, you can go over the top and make James out to be the worst villain since the Joker, but you need to do it with a grown man font. Not Comic Sans. And yet, that was his option.

But ha ha, remember that time Gilbert used Comic Sans to drop a tirade on the King? Nice piece of trivia.

It's back. Like a bad batch of spinach, Comic Sans is being regurgitated in Cleveland. Via Ball Don't Lie , the Cavs unveiled their new court today and in one of the images, you'll notice the following:



Jeez, Cleveland. Is that really necessary? I get the "If you've got it, flaunt it" but really? The fans are already suffering enough having watched you fail to surround the best player in the league with the talent to win a championship, and then fail to secure his services for the future, now you're going to punish them with this font being burned into their eyes on a nightly basis? Cruel, Cleveland. Cruel. Cleveland Masochists might make a better name.
Posted on: October 11, 2010 4:16 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2010 4:21 pm
 

Heat are all business as team develops

Heat locker room far from playful, players speak of "sacrifice" often as preseason ramps up towards regular season start.
Posted by Matt Moore


It's preseason. Which means that anything that occurs needs to be taken with a grain of salt the size of softball. But there was an overriding feeling you could take from the Heat locker room last Friday, their second preseason game in Kansas City against the Oklahoma City Thunder. If what we're seeing in preseason is any indication, things will not be the same as they were in Cleveland.

Oh, James will still be there. He'll still be torching defenses that are literally powerless to stop him, whipping passes to teammates who now might actually catch and finish off of them. And the egocentricity will still be there. Of that you can be sure. In Kansas City, James' locker room was closest to the door at the furthest edge, not atypical for an NBA starter. Dwyane Wade, out with a hamstring injury, occupied the other end of the bracket. But it was James, only speaking to reporters for a precious few minutes (it is just a preseason game in KC, after all) who loomed. His gear spread out, occasionally shouting rap lyrics as he listened to those gold Dre headphones.

The biggest difference between this Heat locker room and what we saw in Cleveland, though, may be in attitude. The Cavs were consistently discussed as being very loose, very easy going, always joking. The bench famously danced to their opponents' misfortune . Many found it disrespectful, some found it unprofessional. It's possible that the Heat could turn into the same happy go-lucky bunch when they get to know one another better, when there aren't kids scrapping for a final roster spot on a team that could net them a championship their first year in. But there was a very clear sense of the tone of the Heat both in the locker room and on the floor, best summed up by Udonis Haslem before the game.

"From Day 1," Haslem said, "when everyone started to make sacrifices to be a part of this, we understood what it's all about. It's all about business, and everyone coming together for a common goal, to try and win a championship."

That much was clear, even in a preseason game in a non-NBA city. The players aren't robots, it's not a taciturn feel to them when they're on the floor or in the back. Dwyane Wade hung Udonis Haslem's shirt and jeans from a ceiling fan after the game for crying out loud (another indication it is still very much Wade's locker room, despite LeBron's looming presence). Business is probably the most outstanding theme from the sense you take away from this team. Despite the distractions, despite the egos, despite "The Decision," this team focused on executing business. It may have been all fun and games over the summer or in previous years, but the backlash has forged in this team a determination mentally that's been apparent in their brief time on the court. Chris Bosh, after the Heat victory in which he scored 23 points, primarily from the attention drawn by LeBron, also spoke to the level of intensity that's already present with the Heat.

"It is all business," Bosh said. "Everything we do is professional. We handle everything in a professional manner. We practice extremely hard. We work hard in the weight room, in the training room, to prepare us the right way to play. That's the nature of the Heat organization. I think everyone has accepted it and we have that in the back of our minds every time, that we have a lot of expectations on us. And in order to fulfill those expectations we're going to have to work hard and be professional and make sure we get something done and make progress every day."

Bosh said he got over the excitement of playing with Wade and James in training camp. "Once it was business as usual" it was "natural." You have to wonder that in the middle of all the rumored "glorification" of the free agents, if this was the real secret of Pat Riley's success, explaining that his approach is to be professional and reach your goals. Instead of discussions about earning a billion dollars, or playing in this or that city, Riley's approach paid off and so far, it seems to have taken hold. The word sacrifice is spoken often by the Heat, from role players all the way up to the superstars. It's odd to hear it from them after a summer of so many people calling them selfish for leaving their respective teams. But they're very much dedicated to at least talking about it. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said that all three of the Triad superstars came in knowing the sacrifice they were going to have to make. Whether that will translate to the floor and locker room is another question that can only be answered by the grind of the regular season, but it can't be denied that the idea is on their mind. And for now, the team itself hasn't allowed many outside influences to start creeping in.

Two people I talked to close to the situation said that as of yet, James' entourage haven't become integrated with the Heat's organization. They are present, but not overt as some feared they would be. Then again, this is October 11th, not February or April, and things are very much different now than how they will be then. The challenge for the Heat will be to keep themselves invested in that business approach, in the intensity Haslem spoke of, while not grinding themselves into nothing. Maybe simply pulling pranks on teammates like Wade's tilt-a-whirl of Haslem's jeans will keep the team loose enough while it focuses on taking its energy out on the critics who doubt them.

One way or another, this season is setting itself up to reveal a lot not only about LeBron James and his legacy, but about this group of professionals the Heat have surrounded the Triad with. One thing's for sure, with all the hype, talent, attention, criticism and expectations they'll face this year, and despite what they may tell reporters, it won't be business as usual.


Posted on: October 11, 2010 1:20 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2010 3:19 pm
 

Heat Stroke: You will pay to see the Heat play

Breaking News: Heat will make NBA ungodly amounts of money this year. Posted by Matt Moore

Mike Wallace, now of ESPN, commented Friday night in Kansas City for the Heat's sellout crowd (the first professional basketball game in KC's Sprint Center to actually feel like it sold out) that the Heat could be the NBA's stimulus package, with the way they're drawing people . Based on the enormous amount of attention the team is getting and a report today from the Wall Street Journal , that joke could be much closer to the truth than we suspect.

The WSJ today reports that ticket prices for the Heat are up across the land by as much as ...wait for it... 72% from the rest of the league. That's just stunning, I don't care how expected it was. That 72% increase is for the Celtics, though, arguably their biggest rival. But what's interesting is how widespread the increases are. The second biggest increase is in Cleveland, where the price is over $127 per ticket, versus the season average of $74.51.

Just so we're clear on this, the owner that has consistently disrespected James for what he feels is betrayal, and who played to the fans' heart strings, that owner will be making a considerable profit from James' appearance in Cleveland, and apparently demand is high enough to justify it. This is the great thing about sports. We feign outright disgust while still paying for that which disgusts us.

Meanwhile, the same effect happens with Toronto, where the price rises over $54 to see Chris Bosh not play defense for someone else, and even in cities who weren't burned by this summer. Rockets prices are up over $40, and Sixers prices are up over $52 Bucks. That's quite a steep increase in the middle of an economic downturn, regardless of when the recession ended. It's yet another sign of what the more rational among us tried to say this whole time. People can badmouth the Heat all they want, they are great for the league. Not good, great. Every team is going to profit significantly on those nights when the Triad Circus comes to town, and there's no denying they want those dollars.

If Dan Gilbert was really so outraged on behalf of the city over James' betrayal, he'd drop ticket prices for that game so that the fans could get afford to come see the man who broke their hearts and tell him how they feel. I'm still stunned the league is putting this on national television (which we'll get to another time), but the draw is obvious. Heck, just look at the ticket prices. Meanwhile, the Heat are going to put the NBA on the map in a way not even the recent Celtics-Lakers rivalry has been able to. This is going to be a peak season for the NBA in attention and revenue. Just a shame the peak comes right before the lockout fall.

Posted on: September 13, 2010 4:32 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2010 11:10 pm
 

Report: Cleveland hires Suns' Griffin

Report: Suns VP joins post-LeBron building project after turning down Nuggets' GM job.
Posted by Matt Moore


David Griffin has been quite the hot commodity this summer, and it would appear the Cavaliers were hot enough to land him. Ric Bucher of ESPN reports that the Cavaliers have hired Griffin as their new Vice President of Basketball Operations , the same role he's held in Phoenix since 2007. The role carries with it an increase in prestige as Cavs' owner Dan Gilbert is known to be more supportive and less fiddling than Suns' owner Robert Sarver. He'll join Chris Grant who was recently extended as General Manager after taking the interim reins following the departure of Danny Ferry. Griffin takes over the job of Lance Blanks who left in the great exodus pre and post "The Decision." Got all that? It's a little bit like a soap opera, only with poor drafting choices and salary cap management.

Griffin turned down an offer from the Denver Nuggets this summer to become their main man in charge, a position that was eventually given to Masai Ujiri, who now gets to wait for Carmelo Anthony to decide he's done watching tennis matches and ready to talk about his job. Bucher reports that Griffin turned down the Nuggets' position because it was substantially below the $1 million benchmark for GMs. If that aspect is true, it paints a disturbing picture for Nuggets fans who face a new regime with Josh Kroenke, son of principal owner Stan Kroenke taking over operations with the elder Kroenke gaining ownership of the NFL's St. Louis Rams. Those kinds of sub-standard offers make obtaining top talent difficult, even if the practice doesn't extend to the team's roster itself.

Cleveland meanwhile gets one of the remaining architects of one of the more succesfull franchises over the past decade. Griffin had been with the Suns off and on since 1993. You have to wonder after all the changes the Suns have seen with the departures of Amar'e Stoudemire, Steve Kerr, and now Griffin, if the ship will be steady as Steve Nash prepares to sail into the sunset in the next few years.
 
 
 
 
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