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??!?!?!??!??
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Cavaliers reinforcements have arrived. I thought I would talk about it at least for a while.
6:15 – Starting Lineup – Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Ben Wallace, LeBron James, Devin Brown, and Delonte West
6:17 – The team is looking awkward so far. Delonte West hasn’t been bringing the ball up consistently yet, and then…
6:18 – Ben Wallace with the steal LeBron on the break, Delonte gets the ball, throws the oop for LeBron on the slam.
6:19 Delonte West might have to become my favorite player with his uniform number choice of 13. I can’t remember the last Cavalier to wear that jersey number.
6:21 – Wally just walked to the scorer’s table to check in.
6:23 – First time out on the floor and the Cavs lead early 18-8 and there isn’t anything to say of note yet other than the defense is playing well. Wallace really does provide an imposing presence in the middle to anybody driving, and Delonte West seems to play defense with a lot of energy.
6:29 – And here come the rest of the traded players. Looks like we are about to get our first look at Wally and Joe Smith off the bench.
6:32 – Uh oh. Here comes Ben Wallace at the free throw line. This will drive my brother crazy, who doesn’t understand why people will not learn to shoot free throws. And Ben Wallace nails two of them.
6:41 – Even with all brand new players, I find Mike Brown’s rotations to be mind-boggling. He has Dwayne Jones on the court along with Wally, Devin Brown, Joe Smith and Damon Jones. That is just weird.
6:45 – Dan Gilbert, owner for the Cavaliers, has just goaded Fred Mcleod, the Cavs TV announcer into a bet where if the Cavs win the championship, McLeod will have to shave a mohawk into his head.
6:51 – SZCerbiak, SZCerbiak… I gotta remember that. I have trouble remembering whether the C or Z goes first. Z before C when it comes to Wally World.
6:52 – Shit. SZCZerbiak. S – Z – C – Z – erbiak… this is worse than Anderson Verajao by a longshot.
6:59 – I know that this game isn’t going to be proof of anything, but it is exciting nonetheless.
7:00 – Dan Gilbert is talking about Orlando’s reaction to the trade and how someone in Orlando said that the Cavs’ trade will help Orlando. Dan Gilbert is openly laughing at that. Dan Gilbert is pretty outspoken, but I haven’t heard him speak this much before.
7:10 – It is half time and the Cavs have a 21 point lead. That doesn’t suck for a debut, anecdotal as it is.
Well, that’s it for me. I am done with the live blog, but this is a lot of fun. If nothing else, it changes the ride from last year. That rocks all by itself.
In a huge moment of pride for Cavaliers fans, Daniel Gibson goes for 7 three pointers in the first half in the rookie vs sophomore game on Friday night. Gibson hit seven out of nine by my count. And with every shot that he hit, LeBron popped out of his seat courtside in street clothes and acted like he had just seen the greatest play in the history of basketball.
Kind of cool, as Cavs fans with the situation that the Cavs are in not being able to get any roster moves together, that LeBron is still having fun. He could be pulling a prima donna move pouting his way through life until Danny Ferry is able to make some kind of move. Instead, he is enjoying the moments and his time currently. He didn’t have to attend the rookie sophomore game, and most stars have skipped the games in the past.
As nice as it is to see LeBron support Boobie Gibson in the game, it does mean one important thing. You might as well take Gibson and put him on the list of untradeable players on the Cavs’ roster, because if LeBron likes him this much, that means he isn’t going anywhere. By my count that means you have LeBron, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and now Boobie Gibson. Everyone else is available.
UPDATE: Gibson continued the onslaught and hit four more in the second half. In all he was 11 out of 20 for 33 points and won the MVP award for the game. It is a weird exhibition game, but any hardware that a player can receive is an honor.