Posts tagged Cavaliers

I Wanted Ron Artest and I am Dumb Sometimes

Since last season, I have always suggested that the Cavs would do well to acquire the services of Ron Artest.  My thoughts on the subject were that he plays some of the toughest defense in the NBA this side of Bruce Bowen, and he has the ability to score and rebound better than probably anyone else on the Cleveland roster that doesn’t have the first name of LeBron.  My problem is that I never updated my opinion after the blockbuster trade that brought in Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, and (wait for it) Ben Wallace.

I am as dumb as they come.  Take a look at the two people involved in catalyzing the ugliest incident in NBA history.

Oh yeah! Ben Wallace and Ron Artest got into a fight. According to some sources when Artest was lying on the scorer’s table right before he got the beer rained down on him he was yelling to Ben Wallace, “You can suck my balls!”

Uhh, yeah, so maybe the Cavs shouldn’t try and mend that Fence Master Chain Link Fence And Their Uses by bringing Ron Artest in to be a teammate of Ben Wallace.

My bad.

And because I have been such a bad boy with updating this site lately because of an impending move to the country, I should probably also comment on Daniel Gibson’s resigning. I love this for a lot of reasons. First, Daniel Gibson has earned the right to earn his contract in the NBA. He has progressed from being a second-round draft pick to one of the better spot-up 3-point shooters in the NBA. He finished 5th in the league in percentage last season.

At the same time, he and his father (who helped handle negotiations with the Cavs) realize that he is like a BJ Armstrong, or Steve Kerr and didn’t try and hold up the Cavs for every last penny, pretending that Daniel was some kind of superstar in training. They got him a really nice 4-year $21 million deal that can reportedly be worth more if Daniel reaches incentives. This is a really fair deal for both sides.

As an NBA fan, I wish I could feel this way about more deals that players sign in the NBA.

Cleveland Gearing Up For LeBron’s Contract Year Too

While the national media continues to focus on the fact that Cleveland is undoubtedly going to lose LeBron James, we here in Cleveland continue to think otherwise.  Maybe it is delusion.  Maybe it is desperation.  I don’t know for sure.  The fact is that nobody really knows for sure.  And now, I have a new take on the whole LeBron situation.  I haven’t read anyone else who put this argument together, but I am sure I will hear about it in the next few days if someone already has.

But before I get into my new take, just for the sake of completeness, here are the basic thoughts being tossed around already.  First the camp that insists LeBron has to leave:

  • LeBron has to leave because he is friends with Jay-Z who owns an infinitesimal piece of the New Jersey Nets
  • The New Jersey Nets are moving to Brooklyn and LeBron has to go help kick off the new era of the franchise
  • The Nets traded Richard Jefferson, meaning they are readying themselves for LeBron
  • There are escalators in LeBron’s Nike contract which pay him more if he is in a major market like NYC

Then the other side is basically:

  • LeBron likes his hometown
  • Nobody can give LeBron a bigger NBA contract than Cleveland
  • LeBron reached the finals in Cleveland
  • Terry Pluto’s brilliant argument that says you never know where the talent is going to be centered a year from now let alone two years from now
  • LeBron has stated that he wants to bring a parade to Cleveland because he knows we are suffering as sports fans (this interview answer is one that the national media NEVER mentions because it doesn’t fit their pre-determined storyline that Cleveland doesn’t deserve LeBron James)

Well, I have a new take.  Everyone was so quick to point out that the Richard Jefferson trade on draft night was definitely designed at getting LeBron to the Nets in two years.  Well, you know which team is gearing up to have a ton of cap space when LeBron’s contract year comes around?

THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

As of this writing, the Cavaliers don’t have a single player under contract for more than LeBron’s two year deal.  When next season starts the Cavs might have two players under contract for longer than LeBron and those will probably amount to somewhere in the $10-12 million dollar range COMBINED with Daniel Gibson and Delonte West.  That’s it.  Maybe some draft picks will end up with deals that range longer than LeBron’s two years remaining.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas and his nearly $11 million comes off.  Ben Wallace’s almost $15 million comes off.  In addition, LeBron’s salary comes off.  And guess what else.  Because LeBron is such an influential guy, the market is going to be flooded with free agents.  Dwayne Wade followed LeBron’s lead and only signed a five year deal when he was up for his first free agent contract.  Chris Bosh also followed LeBron’s lead in that department.

You will also remember that LeBron really did lead the charge on the 5-year deals at that time.  This means that LeBron has influence.  Who’s to say that LeBron wouldn’t be able to recruit some guys to come in and play with him in two years?  Could you imagine Dwayne Wade and/or Chris Bosh playing alongside LeBron?  The bottom line is that these types of situations can only occur where tons of cap space exists.

As long as Cleveland doesn’t screw this up and load up the roster with too much salary, the Cavs will have $40 million dropping off the cap in order to pull in top talent along with LeBron in his contract year.  Think about what the Clippers just did to try and keep Elton Brand in LA.

I am not guaranteeing that this will happen, but it is JUST as likely as all the presumed OBVIOUS scenarios that get bandied about by the national press when they are looking to pull the greatest sports figure in Cleveland history out of this town.

Mike Brown Has Maxed Out

I know the series isn’t over yet, but I am going to take this opportunity to talk about Mike Brown. Brown has drawn a lot of criticism on these pages for what I perceive to be bad coaching. This series with the Celtics is even more proof that Mike Brown needs to go as he was outcoached by another coach with a horrible reputation, Doc Rivers, in game 5. Mike Brown has done all he can with this Cavaliers team and it is time to find someone else to take them to the next level.

Mike Brown does some things well. He has turned the Cavaliers into one hell of a defensive team. He turned Zydrunas Ilgauskas into a serviceable defensive player, when he has never shined defensively for any other coach. Brown has helped develop LeBron James into a guy who plays solid help defense. His defensive schemes have forced many teams out of their offensive rhythm and forced them to play the Cavs’ tempo on many many occasions.

Unfortunately for Mike Brown, being a one-dimensional coach is not good enough in this day and age in the NBA. Mike D’Antoni could only get Phoenix to play offense and he was fired. Avery Johnson couldn’t seem to get his troops in Dallas to play with consistent effort on the defensive end and he got fired. And these were coaches for decent caliber playoff teams who were relatively successful, and yet their management chose to cut the cord.

I hope that the Cavaliers’ management will do the same with Mike Brown this off-season. I know he has a good record, but it just isn’t good enough. This Cavs team has one of the top two or three players in the league in LeBron James and while some of the rest of the personnel leaves something to be desired, they need a coach who makes them better on both sides of the ball. Mike Brown coaches defense very well, but he can’t scheme offense and his player rotations are mind-boggling.

I won’t run through the laundry list of complaints again, but the highlights include:

  • Guys get in bad favor inexplicably and never see the floor again (Devin Brown, Damon Jones)
  • End of quarter plays have LeBron dribble 30 feet from the basket with no movement of the other players on the court
  • LeBron runs the pick and roll with non-offensive threats like Ben Wallace that guarantee he will be double-teamed (shoutout to Dan Labbe)

These are just a couple of things, but trust me there are more.

So, even if the Cavs miraculously pull off a series victory over Boston by winning tonight in Cleveland and again on Sunday in Boston, I can’t possibly support the continuation of Mike Brown as the Cavs’ head coach.  I have been saying it since last season.  I have said it since day one this season.  I am saying it now.  This guy should be done.  Cleveland can’t waste any more of LeBron’s guaranteed years here in Cleveland.  They have next season and the one after that to win a championship before LeBron becomes a free agent.  That is an opportunity of a lifetime and I don’t trust Mike Brown to make it happen.

Latest Chad Ford Cavs Trade Rumor

Update again:

Cleveland gets Ben Wallace, Wally Sczerbiak, Delonte West, Joe Smith

Seattle gets Ira Newble, Chris Duhon, Donyell Marshall

Chicago gets Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons

___________________________

UPDATE: According ESPN 850 in Cleveland, the Cavs are on a conference call with the NBA, Chicago, and Seattle.

The reported deal would send Ben Wallace, Delonte West and Wally Sczerbiak to Cleveland

The Cavs lose Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Donyell Marshall and other people that don’t matter.

__________________

From the chatroom, Chad Ford is reporting that the Cavs and Bulls might or might not have been talking about this deal.

Ben Wallace, Chris Duhon and Joe Smith to Cleveland for Drew Gooden, Donyell Marshall, Ira Newble, Shannon Brown, Devin Brown and Cederic Simmons … unless Ilgauskas is in this deal.

I am not sure why the Cavs would really want Ben Wallace, except that Mike Brown loves defense and maybe Dan Gilbert feels some Pistons connection with Wallace. Chris Duhon would help, I think. Joe Smith could help.

We will see. There is about an hour to go until the deadline hits.

Live Blogging NBA All-Star Saturday Night

I warmed up some coffee from this morning and I am ready to go until I get bored. Of course, I am really just looking forward to the three-point competition so I can see Boobie Gibson compete.

  • First up “Shooting Stars” which I think is taking over for that 3-ball competition. I don’t know if anyone cares about this competition, which pairs an NBA star with a WNBA star and an old-timer to shoot from certain spots on the floor.
  • Yawn, yawn, yawn.
  • The only thing to say right now is how much I miss the Czar, Mike Fratello. I know he coached the most boring brand of basketball in the history of the NBA when he was in Cleveland, but he won without much talent. I shudder to think what he could do with LeBron and the also-rans that populate the Cleveland roster today.
  • I don’t know anything about the Haier brand, but the song in their commercials is good. The performance of it is bad, but if you gave it to U2, or Aerosmith or even Chris Daughtry, I promise you it would be a hit.
  • Holy shit! Was that a Damon Jones sighting? What the hell is he doing there? He begged to be in the 3-point contest last year and they said no. But there is Jones this year with his faux-hawk and a rouge velvet jacket. What a whacko.
  • While I have downtime and because I have seen an Arby’s commercial, I am going to check and see if the rumor that I heard is true. I heard that Arby’s ships all their “meats” as liquids in bags. Everyone that I tell this rumor says it must be false, and yet, I have never gotten around to researching it. Yes, folks. This is what my wife married.
  • Stupid Snopes made it too easy. Apparently, Arby’s meat is shipped in a “self-basting” solution which some employees might confuse as the meat itself. Snopes assures us all that the rumor is false. Oh well.
  • OK, so while I was doing that, San Antonio won the shooting competition with David Robinson, Tim Duncan and a WNBA’er that I still don’t know. Thankfully that portion of the evening is over.
  • The skills competition. This competition has been a joke over the last 10 years because the fundamentals have gotten so bad in the game. Don’t believe me? Remember that Darius Miles was a top draft pick in the period of decline that I speak of. If Darius hadn’t appeared with Scarlett Johansson in a movie, imagine how low on the totem pole of the universe he would dwell.
  • J-Kidd is up in the competition and Reggie Miller went out on a limb to say that Kidd was trying out for a spot on the Mavericks. Kinda funny, really. Uh oh. J-Kidd couldn’t hit the three for the life of him. I don’t remember when Kidd turned into such a bad shooter.
  • Is it me or does Jason Kidd’s young son already have a stache?
  • Dwyane Wade is up next in the skills challenge. I think he just got the benefit of a foul call as he was going through the first skill.
  • This just in, but I don’t think Dwyane Wade is healthy.
  • This also just in, I don’t think Dwyane Wade’s parents can spell. I can’t tell you how much I hate typing his name.
  • They just showed LeBron and he looks like he stole his coat from Inspector Gadget.
  • OK, the skills competition is complete. We are getting through this garbage quickly. Very nice work by the NBA. They are doing a better job of pushing these events along. If I am rooting for everything to get moved along more quickly, someone tell me why I am watching at all.
  • I love Charles Barkley, but he must ignore all the producers that are invariably screaming in his ear during broadcasts. He never saw a commercial break he couldn’t talk his way straight into.
  • Finally, the moment that the homer in me has been waiting for. The three point competition. I am really hoping Boobie is on fire like he was last night. I don’t hold out too much hope, but I am rooting hard even though this doesn’t really matter.
  • Did Jason Kapono just call it a “stiff field?” I don’t think that is what he meant at all.
  • Rip Hamilton is up first and the question I had has finally been answered. No mask for the three point competition.
  • Hamilton finishes with 14 because he stepped on the line a bunch. I don’t think I have ever seen them watch the line so closely before.
  • Boobie is up now!
  • Boobie passed Rip Hamilton at least with 17 points!
  • I am such a homer.
  • I know it is going to be a controversial point here, but I gotta say just playing New Orleans style music doesn’t do it for me. As a style, I don’t really gravitate to it all that much. It has to be really really loud and or jazzy for me to be interested. Too much of the stuff I hear is middle of the road. I generally don’t like any kind of music at mid tempos and mid volumes.
  • So, not to get all geek here, but Dirk just tied Boobie at 17, but if the time left is the tie-breaker, I think Boobie had time left on the clock and Dirk had no time left. Again, this doesn’t matter, but I am rooting hard.
  • Again with the Damon Jones stuff. Why in the world are they showing Damon Jones? Why is he there? He isn’t in the competition and he isn’t on the allstar team. I bet he had to buy a ticket.
  • Kapono knocks down 20. He takes the lead, but Gibson moves onto the second round. For the record, Jason Kapono should still be a Cleveland Cavalier. He was left unprotected for Jeff McInnis among others when he was taken in the expansion draft.
  • Boobie gets 17 in the second round. At least he is consistent. Hopefully he put up enough to hold off either Dirk or Kapono, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
  • Dirk gets 14 and Boobie is looking good in the clubhouse!
  • I know that this whole thing has taken a turn and there is nothing witty going on right now. Still, I am enjoying this. Plus, I can’t beat Barkley.
  • Barkley and Kenny Anderson are using the word “tittie” and I don’t think that would be allowed on regular TV. I know it isn’t allowed on regular radio.
  • Kapono caught fire and went for 25 to put Gibson’s dreams in the showers. Still, not a bad showing for Gibson and the Cavaliers.
  • So the vote for the best year’s slam dunk competition is still going and last time I looked the year 2000 was beating 1984 and 1988 among others. This is a really bad way to tabulate the “best” because it is according to txt messages sent in by viewers and we all know that the average txt messager was born well after 1980, so 1984 and 1988 don’t stand a chance even though they were THE definitive slam dunk competitions. Vince Carter was amazing, but he didn’t have any competition.
  • I don’t want to be mean, but I just don’t get Dr. John. I am sure some music snobs will tell me that I am “wrong” but dude can’t sing hardly at all. If that makes me a bad person, then I guess I am a bad person. Seriously, I love that song and I know where it is going, and I know where it can go, and he went places he shouldn’t with some of those notes.
  • Magic Johnson doesn’t deserve a soliloquy in any way shape or form ever. Also it was awkward that they let Magic talk, but Dr. J didn’t have a microphone and was just talking to himself, basically.
  • Does anyone remember when Gerald Green won last year and that was the only thing that the Celtics had to be excited about last season? What a difference a year makes as Green plays for the T-Wolves and the Celts have the best record in the east.
  • OK, we have had some good dunks so far, but now Gerald Green has a cupcake on the rim and he is going to do something crazy with a lit candle.
  • Gerald Green blew out the candle while dunking on an alley oop! 1000 points for creativity there.
  • By the way, we all know that this whole day is really for the all-star players to do their impression of def comedy jam. Watching the reaction shots of all the NBA stars is by far the funniest part of the show.
  • There is nothing to say about Dwight Howard. Simply amazing right now. He shouldn’t be able to jump that high with how tall he is. Wow. Dwight Howard finishes round one with TWO perfect scores.
  • It’s over.  It’s over.  Dwight Howard wins in a landslide.  That’s it folks.  No more.  I am done.  I made it through the competition.  It was a good night.  Thanks for hanging with me.  I can’t listen to any more of the banter between Dr. J and Cheryl Miller.

Why Give Mike Brown An Extension?

Yesterday, when I heard they gave Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown an extension, I had nothing else to say but, “WHY???!?!?!!?”  And seriously, don’t assume that I am overstating things with the capital letters and all that additional punctuation.  If extending Romeo Crennel’s contract was a bad idea, then extending Mike Brown’s contract was the worst one ever.  You see, in football there are at least two coordinators that can help with the game planning.  And to Romeo Crennel’s credit he is very good about letting his coordinators coach without too much interference.

Mike Brown, on the other hand, is on record as saying that he wouldn’t hire any offensive coaching help after last season.  If anyone needed an offensive coordinator after last season, it was Mike Brown.  He didn’t want there to be any confusion on the team with too many voices making noise from the sidelines.  Seriously.  That’s what he said.  I would think that the Cavs would be better off with a little bit of confusion about who is talking rather than the widespread general confusion with which they run their offensive “sets” on a nightly basis.  But what do I know?

So, what were Danny Ferry and Dan Gilbert thinking?  None of this makes any sense to me.  The problems with the Cavaliers from a coaching standpoint have been well-known since Mike Brown got here and yet none of them have been addressed.

  1. Mike Brown’s offense is confusing, inconsistent, repetitive and doesn’t lead to as many high percentage shots as a good offense should.
  2. At the ends of quarters, halfs, games and on important inbounds plays the plan usually consists of getting LeBron the ball and watching him dribble and probably shoot a fade-away jumper.
  3. Mike Brown does not develop young talent.  Daniel Gibson had to force his way into the lineup.  And even still, Gibson has done nothing but perform and Mike Brown continues to start Larry Hughes and Sasha Pavlovic in front of him.
  4. Mike Brown’s player rotations are continually mind-boggling.  He can have guys start who disappear completely before the game is over.  Drew Gooden and Zydrunas Ilgauskas are usually the most likely candidates for disappearance.  But the weird thing is how Ira Newble or Damon Jones can show up and play for two weeks, not play too badly and then disappear completely for two months.  This also contributes to number three and specifically Shannon Brown who got some playing time, seemed to be getting comfortable and then had “DNP – Coach’s Decision” next to his name in the box score for two months without warning or explanation.
  5. The 3rd quarter has been, and continues to be a HUGE problem for the Cavs.  They come out flat, they give up leads, the fall further into deficit.  Whatever.  It has been ongoing for as long as Mike Brown has been in Cleveland.

Now, I can’t take anything away from Mike Brown’s commitment to defense, but these other things are real bona fide problems with Mike Brown as a coach that he hasn’t been able to rectify.  Maybe I overstate the negatives, but I can’t help but feel like this team would do better with someone who was a complete master of the game.  At this rate and with the numbered problems above, I still view Mike Brown as a defensive specialist who hasn’t figured out his weaknesses and how, as leader of the team in the East with arguably the most talented player in the NBA, to overcome those weaknesses.

Maybe this is a result of my fears that LeBron is going to leave this town and this team at the end of his contract if they don’t win a championship.  I feel like that fear is relatively tangible and it feels too real to be fake.  With those stakes in mind it confuses me to think that Danny Ferry and Dan Gilbert think that Mike Brown gives the Cavaliers their best chance to protect their market value by winning a championship and subsequently keeping LeBron here.

I sure hope they are right.

Cleveland Sports Curse Podcast – 2008-01-12

This week we were live on 1540 KNR2. As we were talking about the Browns’ vacated Defensive coordinator job, they promoted Mel Tucker from within the organization. We talked about Derek Anderson and his being named the starter for next season. We talked about the Buckeyes and their problems in the national championship game.

If you want to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, click here.



Shannon Brown Could Be Cavs Next Big Loss

According to reports, Shannon Brown has requested to join the Cavaliers’ development league team due to a lack of playing time on the pro roster. You will remember that Shannon Brown was the Cavs’ first round draft pick (number 25 overall) in the 2006 NBA draft. Put him on the long list of Cavs draft picks that have been shuttered off into the abyss.

The Cavs have already stated that they won’t pick up the option for Brown’s third year on his rookie contract. That means that unless the Cavs change their minds, Brown will be an unrestricted free agent and could be signed by anybody league wide.

Now, I am not willing to jump in front of a train for Shannon Brown. We don’t know exactly what he has to offer as a player at the professional level. What I do know is that Brown has gotten inconsistent chances, at best. He has been inconsistent overall, but at the same time the whole situation just stinks of mismanagement of talent by the Cavs. Mike Brown has an affinity for veterans and throughout Brown’s two years in Cleveland those veterans have gotten the nod for playing time. This includes Larry Hughes, Eric Snow, Damon Jones, David Wesley, and the younger guys who are more like Brown’s peers, Daniel Gibson and Sasha Pavlovic.

That list makes me want to tear my hair out. You are telling me that Shannon Brown, who had a pretty damn good college career at Michigan State wouldn’t be able to contribute more consistently than any of those guys? We know he is a hell of a lot more athletic than any of them other than Daniel Gibson.

Add to this the fact that the Cavs have been MISERABLE at developing talent in the past, and I just cringe at the thought of what some other coaching staff might be able to do with Shannon Brown next season when he gets more of an opportunity. Look at Jason Kapono. The Cavs let him get away in the expansion draft because they didn’t feel he was worth protecting. For comparison’s sake, the Cavs protected Dajuan Wagner, Jeff McInnis, Desegana Diop, and Kedrick Brown as they let Kapono leave for Charlotte. Kapono has gone on to become a VERY solid contributor with Miami and now Toronto. Dajuan Wagner recently signed a deal with a POLISH TEAM CALLED PROKOM TREFL SOPOT.

All the Cavs had to do was evaluate their own talent better and they would solve a lot of their own problems. While I don’t know for sure about Shannon Brown, I would hate to see another player who is capable of contributing to this talent-starved team disappear.



Cleveland Sports Curse Podcast 2008-01-05

This is the first podcast of 2008.  There were three participants today.  Wood from WKNR2, Antonio Castro and yours truly did about a half hour today on the Browns, Cavaliers and looking ahead to the BCS National Championship on Monday night between Ohio State and LSU down in Louisiana.

This is our last show before we go live next Saturday.  That show will be available for streaming on the web and you can call in and contribute if the feeling strikes you.  I will be sure to post more info on that later this week.

For now, check out this show.

The Cleveland LeBrons Are Back

When I panic too early in an NBA season again next year, can someone please remind me that LeBron James is on the Cleveland Cavaliers? Also, it doesn’t hurt that 16 teams get the “honor” of playing in the NBA playoffs. And maybe my panic wasn’t totally unjustified. Sasha Pavlovic held out. Anderson Varejao held out and said he didn’t want to play in Cleveland anymore. Larry Hughes looked horrendous and then got hurt. Right after an impressive win where LeBron willed the Cavs to victory over the Boston Celtics, LeBron got hurt. The Cavs lost six in a row and I was starting to be convinced that the season was over.

That might have been a bit premature. Pavlovic came back. Varejao signed and said he wanted to put the past behind him. Larry Hughes got better, health-wise and talen-wise. Finally, LeBron came back from his finger injury. Since LeBron has come back from injury, the Cavs are 6-5 but they are getting better as they have one three out of the last four games including an impressive performance last night against a much improved Atlanta Hawks team.

The team is finally playing a bit of defense, although you wouldn’t know it from the score – 94 to 98 – in favor of the Cavs. The Hawks were bombing threes and making them at the end of the game, which accounted for the high score. Joe Johnson of the Hawks was 4-6 from three point land including two huge threes with very high difficulty at the end of the game.

The problem was that he was facing the most untradeable player in the NBA according to Bill Simmons. LeBron started slowly, but scored 36 points. He scored 32 points in the second half and 19 in the 4th quarter. Anderson Varejao played that crazy, energetic style off the bench and picked up 11 rebounds. Larry Hughes shut up his critics (myself included) for another night as he was 6-10 from the field. Slowly but surely, this team appears that they might be starting to play like they did last season.

And that is why I need someone to remind me about who LeBron James is next year when I panic early.

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