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Is Kobe Coming to Cleveland?

Kobe Bryant has an opt-out clause in his contract after this season.  Kobe Bryant has already seen all of what Los Angeles has to offer.  He has tried to be the cornerstone of the franchise and he hasn’t been able to get over the top since Shaq left.  Now, after playing in the Olympics with LeBron James, Kobe probably thinks he can improve his career and legacy by moving to Cleveland.  In Cleveland, he can share the court with another superstar like he did when Shaq was in Los Angeles.  And this superstar, LeBron, is an unselfish player who can help Kobe cement his legacy as a hall of famer with multiple championships to finish his career.

So, while most people claim that big named players need to be in big cities, the truth is they just need to be in high profile situations winning multiple championships.  Because of LeBron James, there is no better place to go and make that happen other than Cleveland.

So, now, all we have to do is find someone who is “close to Kobe Bryant” and lead them into saying that Kobe “would consider opting out of his contract” after the upcoming season.  Then, we need to goad this same “insider” into saying something innocent like, “Kobe has really enjoyed playing in the Olympics with LeBron.”  And then we can extrapolate (unnecessarily and idiotically) saying that it is possible, and possibly likely, that Kobe Bryant is going to opt out of his contract at the end of this season with the express purpose of coming to Cleveland to play with LeBron James and win championships.

You see?  I am making a point.  This is really the same way that the big media outlets speculate on LeBron going to NYC, or Europe.  So how do you like me now?

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the first Kobe to Clevland rumor.  Could it happen??!?!?!??!??


Cavs Land PG Mo Williams

I was cruising WFNY today and the place has caught fire with excited Cavs fans talking about this three-team deal that brings Milwaukee Bucks PG Mo Williams to the Cavaliers. I am a bit more cautiously optimistic than flat out excited by this news.

On the surface, it looks like a great fit, because Williams is known as a point guard who can make his own scoring opportunities. All Cavs fans know that the team needs more offensive options than what LeBron and Zydrunas Ilgauskas provide. So, with that, it should be a promising outlook as of today. Except, I want to be more cautious.

In 2005, the Cavs needed a player to play opposite LeBron James, so instead of trading, they went out and found a player with a Hollinger PER rating of 21.63. This is a statistical combination used to measure a player’s production per minute of floor time. This player had 22 points per game and almost 5 assists per game to go along with just over 6 rebounds per game. And his name was Larry Hughes.

Just to put it all in perspective, Mo Williams’ PER is 17.06 currently.

Now, I am sorry if it seems like I am trying to be a downer. I am not. I hope Mo Williams turns out to be exactly what the Cavs need in terms of getting to the next level. I think combined with Delonte West (should he return,) Wally Szczerbiak (should he not be traded,) and Daniel Gibson, the Cavs have a pretty good rotation of players ready to play in the back court in the upcoming season.

The plusses are that Williams is still a younger player at 25 years old. He just finished the first year of a 6-year $51.5 million deal that is a relative bargain compared to the amount of money that the Cavs paid Larry Hughes. Also, the Cavs unloaded dead weight in Damon Jones, and an aging veteran in Joe Smith, so they didn’t really lose a ton to pick up Williams.

So, anyway, I am excited at the prospect. I think it is a good calculated risk on Danny Ferry’s part. Then again, I thought Larry Hughes was a good calculated risk when the Cavs signed him in 2005. Let’s just hope it works and that the Cavs won’t sit idly by with Wally Szczerbiak’s expiring contract for too long. It is the largest expiring-contract bargaining chip in Danny Ferry’s arsenal, and I hope he uses it wisely.

Update:  The Cavs have emailed their fanbase about the trade.

“Acquiring Mo strengthens our nucleus of players for both the short and long term. He is entering his prime NBA years and will be part of the foundation of our future success,” Ferry said. “Mo is a player that excels as a traditional point guard, but also brings an extra dimension with his scoring and versatility. His ability to push the tempo, get inside the lane, shoot from the perimeter and distribute the ball will be very valuable for us.”

Cavs Rumors Include Barbosa and Rasheed Wallace?

The Bleacher Report has an article stating these two rumors. Now, I love a good trade rumor as much as the next fan, and I love the idea of the Cavs signing Leandro Barbosa to run with LeBron, but let’s be serious.  The reports are as follows.

A trade scenario would be trading Joe Smith or Anderson Verajo and a first-round pick for Barbosa.

Now, even the wording of this is kind of funny.  That is an astute statement.  That would be affirmatively referred to as a “trade scenario.”  Trading FilteringCraig for Steve Nash also would be a trade scenario.

The other rumor states that the Cavs would trade Zydrunas Ilgauskas for Rasheed Wallace.

The most interesting deal I have been hearing about for a while has been that the Pistons are looking at adding veteran big man Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

The trade that would work is sending Rasheed Wallace and Arron Afflalo to the Cavs for Ilgauskas and Damon Jones.

Now, I don’t know how interested the Cavs would really be in bringing a personality like Rasheed Wallace into the fold in Cleveland.  He has always been a great talent and he plays with a lot of intensity.  He also has a history of playing with Ben Wallace.  It would also be a nice deal for the Cavs who would gain one more expiring deal, as opposed to Big Z who has two years left on his deal.

Let’s look at these two deals together.  The Cavs would lose 2 of their top bigs in bringing back Rasheed Wallace, Leandro Barbosa and Arron Afflalo.  That would mean the Cavs’ rotation in the frontcourt would include Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, either Joe Smith or Anderson Varejao depending on which player gets traded for Barbosa.

I am going to have to let all this sink in, but right now all I can think of is how loud the “boos” have been for Rasheed Wallace in the past few years in Cleveland.

I Give a Standing Ovation to WFNY

WFNY? That’s Waiting For Next Year for all you non-Cleveland sports fans out there.  I have been talking about this ever since the draft and an article was written by John Hollinger proclaiming that the trade of Richard Jefferson from New Jersey was undeniable proof that LeBron James was on his way to the Nets when his contract expires in 2010.  I have grown tired of the east-coast-centric bullshit that constantly beats the Cleveland Cavaliers, the city of Cleveland, and their fans into oblivion because in those tainted writers’ filthy brains somehow Cleveland isn’t good enough for a superstar of LeBron James’ caliber.

Well, I never wrote the perfect rebuttal.  And now, I don’t have to bother trying.

RockKing (probably not his real name) at Waiting for Next Year has written it.

I won’t plagiarize it here, but he goes through it all.  LeBron has already achieved amazing media success in Cleveland.  He has made millions from the Cavaliers organization.  He holds all the leverage in the world with Nike already.  And finally, LeBron can’t possibly make any more money in the NBA than he can as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.  In fact, with a few mathematical assumptions it is reasonable to assume that LeBron would have to leave somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million on the table to leave Cleveland after years and escalators are taken into account.  You see, LeBron won’t definitely stay in Cleveland, but this whole air of inevitability that everyone seems to put on that he will leave is a bit ridiculous.

Enough of me paraphrasing.  Go read the article that finally smacks all those smug sports writers in the mouth.

Dan Gilbert Votes in Favor of a Sonics Move

The owners of all NBA teams voted last week whether or not they approved of the Sonics’ proposed move to Oklahoma City.  The vote was a landslide 28-2 in favor of allowing the move.  The only two dissenting voices were the Portland Trailblazers, owned by Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen, and Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks.  That means that for whatever reason, Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers voted to approve the proposed move.

Now, I don’t want to jump to conclusions about what Gilbert’s reasoning was in voting this way.  He might be friends with some people in the new ownership group.  He might be looking to make sure he maintains all the autonomy that he can as an owner of a huge sports franchise like the Cavaliers.  If he doesn’t support one ownership group’s rights then they might not support his rights at some point in the future should he decide to do something.  Those are all points of conjecture because I honestly don’t know.

What I do know is that Gilbert is not in tune with the desires of Cleveland fans on this issue.  Gilbert is based in Detroit, and he has done a very good job of ingratiating himself to this community.  He purchased the Cavs and put lots of money into the team, the arena, and the city in general.  He put a satellite office of his Quicken Loans business in the city and hired employees to work there.  These contributions to Cleveland cannot be understated.

Still, I think that he has a few things to learn about Cleveland sports fans.  Most of us feel defined by the loss of the Cleveland Browns.  We feel defined by the outrage, the petitions signed, the testimonials before government, the moral victory of keeping our team name, the horrendous start to expansion and everything else that went along with Art Modell moving our team out of the city.  And these same Cleveland sports fans who feel defined by this occurrence in the NFL are the ones who are paying the ticket prices and watching the commercials and buying the food and jerseys at Quicken Loans arena to support Gilbert’s Cavaliers team.

For him to fall in line with the rest of the other 27 owners who voted to allow another city’s team to be ripped out from under them as he represents Cleveland is a travesty.

Again, I don’t know his reasoning.  I just can’t imagine the excuse that he could come up with that I would find acceptable.  I find it embarrassing to think that someone who wants so much to be accepted by the city of Cleveland and who needs the city of Cleveland to remain successful would so misjudge the way he should have voted on this issue.  I know he wasn’t elected by us, but in a sense we elect him year to year based on the team, the arena, and yes, even our sentiment for him personally as the owner of our team.

With that in mind, I would love an explanation and I would love for Cleveland fans to express how unhappy we are to be included in the group that was willing to have Seattle’s team ripped from their city.  As we in Cleveland know, it is always the fans that pay the most when a team moves, and we know only too well how high a price it is.

DeShawn Stevenson Wants to Fight LeBron

After a Cavs’ loss to the Washington Wizards DeShawn Stevenson said of LeBron James, “He’s overrated.  And you can say I said that.”  Apparently he and LeBron had been jawing on the court since the opening tip of the game.  The Cavs had a chance to win, but LeBron missed a game-winning three pointer and the Cavs lost by two… in Washington… on the second night of a back to back after playing the previous night in New Jersey… After embarrassing Washington by beating them with a starting five of LeBron James, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Devin Brown, Damon Jones and Eric Snow in Cleveland after the big trade.   I guess I might be salty too if my team couldn’t beat a team made up of also-rans and NBDL’ers the way the Cavs were on the night that they embarrassed the Wizards in Cleveland.

But I guess that would lead one to understand just how LeBron James isn’t overrated in any way shape or form.  And certainly such criticisms ring hollow when they come spewing out of the mouth of a player like DeShawn Stevenson who never lived up to the hype like the target of his criticism.

Just like LeBron, Stevenson skipped out on college to enter the NBA.  Unlike LeBron, Stevenson couldn’t get his career going between his off-the-court problems including charges of statutory rape for an incident allegedly involving a 14-year-old girl when he was 20, and his splintered ass from not being able to find his way off of an NBA bench, he is probably quite jealous of The King.  Maybe it was the sweep that LeBron and company hung on the Wizards in last year’s playoffs?

Either way, despite the victory that the Wizards put up on the Cavs the other night, it is safe to say that DeShawn Stevenson is still LeBron’s bitch.  And by the way, whenever someone says any variation of, “And you can quote me on that” after their quote, they even know they are full of shit.

Ricky Davis Is Bad for Your Team

Ricky Davis would appear to be a good player in the NBA. He is capable of putting up between 15 and 20 points per game. He can add 3 to 5 rebounds per game. He can jump right out of the gym to deliver thunderous dunks and alley-oops. He is an all-around athletic player who seemingly would be a good addition to any team. Seemingly.

But the stats don’t add up. It seems that Ricky Davis is truly not a good addition to any team. The Ricky Davis Effect has pretty much doomed every team that he has been a part of in his NBA career. I won’t bore you with any details of anecdotal evidence, but it seems that this year, the Ricky Davis effect has taken form in Miami.

Last season, Miami had a record of 44-38, which was good enough for the fourth spot in the East heading into the playoffs. Ricky Davis was not on the team. This year, with Ricky, Miami is 11-51 so far. That is a winning percentage drop from 55% to 18%. I know what you are probably saying at this point. “How on earth could Ricky Davis be solely responsible for the downfall of the teams he plays on?” The simple answer is that I have no idea, but the statistics are too strong to ignore.

In Cleveland, in the 2003-04 campaign, Ricky Davis was traded on December 15th to the Boston Celtics. Upon his departure, the Cavaliers had a record of 6-19 for a dismal winning percentage of 24%. After his departure the Cavs went 29-28 for a winning percentage of 51%. That was LeBron James’ first year in the league. With Ricky Davis on the court, LeBron scored just over 17 points per game. When Ricky left, LeBron scored just over 22 points per game and the winning percentage speaks for itself.

Now, I know there are a lot of factors that go into a team game like NBA basketball and it seems problematic to try to link a lack of success to a single player. With these two small examples, I would agree. So, I have prepared a statistical analysis. On one hand, we have a team’s winning percentage. On the other hand we have Ricky Davis’ contributions to the team as measured by his per-game averages. I found Ricky Davis’ Points, Assists, Rebounds and Steals, converted them to per-game averages and added them up to measure Ricky’s contributions to the teams he is playing on. I split Ricky’s stats and the teams’ records in years 2003-04 (Cleveland / Boston) and 2005-06 (Boston / Minnesota) to be sure that I had The Ricky Effect tracked appropriately to account for trades during a given season.

(Click Here for the Larger Version)


As you can see, there is a relatively inverse relationship between Ricky Davis’ success and his team’s success. I don’t know if this means that Ricky Davis is a cancer to the clubs he is on. Maybe it means that if Ricky Davis is a “good” option to play a lot on your team, you don’t have enough options. Maybe it has to do with Ricky’s selfishness on the court. Whatever it is, I am quite sure the Ricky Davis effect should not be ignored.

So, if your team tries to bring in Ricky Davis during this or any off-season be wary. Try a letter writing campaign to your team’s front office. Email them a link to this article. Hell, tell them to ask John Lucas who was basically fired as a result of the Ricky Davis Effect.

And just for good measure, here is the Youtube Clip of Ricky Davis shooting at the wrong basket in an attempt to get himself a triple double against the Utah Jazz. Davis needed one more rebound and subsequently shot a basket off the rim at the wrong end of the court in a meaningless game where the Cavs were up by a lot already. DeShawn Stevenson fouled him hard for being a dick. Jerry Sloan might have ripped his spleen out with a spork if given the opportunity.

Ricky Davis attempts to get a triple double by knocking the ball off the rim at the wrong end of the court.

Cleveland Fans for Sonics Fans

I am writing this as a result of the apparent move by the new owner of the Seattle Supersonics to hijack that team and move it to Oklahoma City. I am amazed that I don’t hear more outrage from Cleveland fans regarding this situation. I know we are all very happy here right now in the NBA with LeBron James and the blockbuster deal that Danny Ferry just pulled off to rid this town of Larry Hughes. I know that our noses are buried deep in the newspaper watching the moves that Phil Savage pulls off to rebuild the defense and rise above a surprising 10-win season. But Cleveland fans should be screaming almost as loudly as Seattle fans as cross-country advocates for a city that appears to be about to lose its team.

It is a situation that is so familiar to Clevelanders. We lost the Browns because Art Modell wanted to hold the city at gunpoint over a new stadium. Sure there was some bad political play in there as well, but the bottom line is that Cleveland lost their football team and it never should have happened. Well, Seattle shouldn’t lose their basketball team either just because some guy has tons and tons of money. He could afford the team, but to put his desires and wishes above all those basketball fans who have been following the Sonics for 40+ years is ridiculous.

Just like what happened in Cleveland, there are a lot of people to blame in Seattle. I am not going to go into the blame game except one place. Just like Paul Tagliabue never should have allowed Art Modell to move the Browns out of Cleveland, David Stern should not allow the Sonics to be moved out of Seattle. You shouldn’t allow that to happen to a fan base in a city that has traditionally supported the team. Even if the Sonics have lost money over the last few years, the NBA as a business has not. It is a franchise agreement and it is up to the NBA to wade through the details of making every one of their clubs profitable. It is hard for me to believe that Stern would allow this long-standing franchise with a good track record to be swiped from a traditional NBA city. It is bad business to bring harm to your fan base.

Anyway, I don’t really care about the issues in this case. All I care about is a fan base is about to lose their team. That is where I identify with Seattle today. I support their plight to save their team and I hope that they are at least as successful as the Cleveland fans were in keeping their team identity even as all the players, ownership and staff left to become the Baltimore Ravens. I would hope that other Cleveland fans would at least speak up in support of the Seattle Sonics fans. If anyone out in this world of professional sports fans can understand the horrible suffering they are facing, it is all the rabid Browns fans in Cleveland.

The NBA is Out Of Control

 There are a whole lot of weird things going on in the NBA right now, and it just doesn’t feel right.  It is crazy enough to have guys get traded at the trade deadline and have guys reshape the way a team works, like what has happened in Cleveland, Phoenix and Dallas.  Then on top of that, there are all these tertiary transactions that are taking place which all seem to be effecting the playoff races going on, and it seems anti-competitive.

Here are the things that come to the top of my head.

  • Brent Barry gets traded, cut, and then re-signs with the team that traded him to begin with, the San Antonio Spurs.
  • Sam Cassell gets bought out and gets to go to the Celtics who have been talked about as a potential suitor for months.
  • Theo Ratliff gets cut and gets to join the Pistons for the league minimum.
    • Chris Webber gets bought out the year before this by the 76ers and promptly joins the Pistons.
  • Dallas uses a retired playe, Keith Van Horn, to get a deal done that brought Jason Kidd into their lineup.

Now, I guess these are all technically legal under the rules the way they are set up.  It just doesn’t seem right that contending teams can get players who were making a lot of money without giving anything up and then not having to pay the incoming players any significant amount of money.

I don’t know what the answer is, but why, exactly do the Celtics deserve the services of Sam Cassell?  Why exactly, do the Pistons get to pick up a big man late in the season, two consecutive years in a row?  Finally, how is it that someone can be part of a trade, and a short time later end up back with another team?  This calls into question the validity of the games and has clear implications on the playoffs.

I feel like maybe the trade deadline needs to turn into a bigger deal so that these cuts, waivers and roster moves can’t be made up to the playoff roster deadline.  Having the time difference between the two deadlines only opens up these types of inexplicable roster moves that seem shady, at times.

Cavs Get Ripped (Off) In Milwaukee

Michael Redd nailed a long three-point shot to skip overtime last night in Milwaukee versus the Cavaliers. Normally, I wouldn’t be upset about a Cavaliers loss like that, because Michael Redd is just that good to be able to pull out a huge win on a last second shot. But today, I am upset about the game because Michael Redd’s shot isn’t the story for me. The story comes down to three names; Mike Callahan, Pat Fraher, and Brian Forte. Those were the officials for last night’s game in Milwaukee and they cost the Cavs a game.

The free throw differential for last night’s game was 37-14 in favor of the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks did a nice job of converting those opportunities on the night by hitting 32 out of 37. But last night the Cavs had a game come down to three points and the officiating was so one-sided (by TWENTY-THREE free throws) that they just couldn’t pull out the victory. That will put a sour taste in just about anyone’s mouth.

It is a long season, and one game doesn’t make it, but this one stings a bit.

Oh, and as for the refereeing crew of Mike Callahan, Pat Fraher, and Brian Forte, they are making quite a name for themselves.  They are the same crew that ended up ejecting Kobe Bryant the other night with two technicals, and Kobe isn’t exactly known to be the Rasheed Wallace of the Western Conference.  Mark Cuban has made this an issue for a while now, and he is right.  The NBA needs to have some structure in place to deal with refs who are incapable of calling a decent NBA contest.

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