The Cavs make a new Shaquisition!

Written June 25th, 2009 by Jeff

Yeah, it’s true….what was reported on for weeks has become a reality.

Shaq is a Cleveland Cavalier.

We got him for Ben Wallace (who was retiring), Sasha Pavlovic (our 8th man on the bench), the Cavs 2nd round draft pick (the 46th pick) and some money (500 thousand dollars).  HELL of a deal!

Think of our inside game now.  A force of a shot-blocker, and a man who averaged 18 points per game last season.  Yes, Shaq’s older, but this is the push for a title NOW.  If we’d pulled this deal off three months ago, we’d be hoisting a Finals trophy right now.  The inability to stop a strong inside game was the only reason we came up short this year.

Congrats, Cavs fans.  You’re back on top again.

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Get this….the Cavs are already talking about it possibly being a one-year-only deal with Shaq, then taking his 20 million dollars and moving for Chris Bosh in 2010.  the key in this….NOBODY is talking about using the money for LeBron.  It’s almost as if re-signing LBJ is a done deal.  And considering the moves that Danny Ferry is making for this team, LeBron will stay.  That was the ONLY standard he put on re-upping his contract.  Good job, boys!

Shaq may be in Cavaliers uniform soon

Written June 14th, 2009 by Jeff

The Cleveland Cavaliers may be making a trade very soon, and the deal would be huge.  The Cavs are in talks with Phoenix to trade for Shaquille O’Neal in exchange for Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic.  ESPN News has been all over this story today, with a few twists to it.

Executives from both teams are claiming that the deal is “not imminent”, but any long-term talks for trades will eventually find the exact same comments from front-office people.  This trade is the same trade that was being discussed before the trading deadline, and the weaknesses that were exposed by Dwight Howard resurfaced talks with the Suns.

If this trade happens, it will be extraordinary, enough to push Kobe Bryant into a headline-sharing day of events.  Furthermore, it will not harm our salary situation.  Shaq makes 20 million dollars next year, and Wallace and Pavs combine for 19 million next year.

So do you make the deal for a guy who averaged 17.8 points per game this season and give up two bench players? That’s a no-brainer. Make the deal and stop bluffing with the other GMs. Though the NBA is somewhat similar to elite poker in many ways, making the most out of the free agency period plays a key role in winning the championship.

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Additional point #1 – If we make the push and get the championship next year, expect Laker fans to bombard us with “LeBron can’t win a ring without Shaq” taunts, turning the tables on us.

Yeah, who cares.  If this city gets a ring, let the Laker haters say anything they want.

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Additional point #2 – If this trade happens, thank former GM Wayne Embry for it.  Embry made the move which brought Danny Ferry to the Cleveland Cavaliers as a player in the 80s.  While here, Ferry made good friends with one of the Cavs’ guards, Steve Kerr.

Their friendship continues strong today, and this trade will have been made easier considering Kerr is now the GM of the Phoenix Suns and Ferry is the Cavs’ GM.

Hell, yeah.

Well…..dammit. Now what?

Written June 2nd, 2009 by Jeff

Yeah, I’ve been avoiding writing this because I was just too irritated, but the time has come to sit down and begin planning for the ’09-’10 Cavaliers season (and beyond).

Frankly, the discussion about Game 6 has been played out already.  We had our runs at it and Orlando just had everything working for them (including getting the calls when Anderson Varejao touches Howard’s back, but not when LeBron gets tackled on his way to the basket).  But whose fault is it?  It’s everybody’s fault.  Nobody had a full game Saturday night and as a result, everybody has the summer off.

Now for the good news.

After his brief hiatus from the media, LeBron James stepped forward and discussed his satisfaction with the Cleveland Cavaliers, including their front office and the direction of the team. Contrary to popular belief, LeBron has NEVER said that he wanted to leave this city (that’s the product of a frenzied media and several thousand internet trolls).  What he DID say was that he wanted to stay in Cleveland as long as the Cavaliers continue building towards success and keep him happy.

Monday’s press conference with LeBron brought some sighs of relief to a city.

“I’m great. I feel great about this situation that’s going on.  You want to continue to get better, that’s all you can ask. We got better and I feel this team will be better next season. You don’t want to take a step backward. I think we went forward from the Boston series last year.  Hopefully we can go forward next year.”

Upon being immediately deluged with claims of LeBron going to New York after the Eastern Finals loss, this was a welcome sound for Cavalier fans worldwide.

Now, LeBron did NOT say he was going to re-sign with the Cavs, but this was a STRONG step towards that inevitable conclusion.  The facts are laid out before him, he knows it, and everybody with half a brain knows it too.

The Cavaliers are the only team that can offer him everything he wants and needs, and his family is here.  No major city, especially one that is in a rebuilding phase of it’s own, can give him anything more except money…..and the Cavaliers just got a HUGE infusion of cash to offer James.  The news of a Chinese investment group offering to buy 15% of the Cavs will all but seal the deal to keep LBJ in wine and gold.  With that move, LeBron can successfully market himself, his shoes, his jerseys, and anything else he wants to a billion chinese people who are starved for NBA stars.  The Chinese government doesn’t allow an open and free market as much as we do, but with part-ownership in the team, expect to see Hu Jintao open the gates for anything with LeBron’s name on it.

But that won’t happen if LeBron leaves the Cavs….because the Chinese ownership is NOT of LeBron, it’s of the Cavs.  Sucks to be you, Knicks.

Here’s our current money situation, seen through the eyes of an optimist like me;

  • Currently, LeBron makes 14.4 million dollars, and he’ll want to sign for more before the next season begins.  We can lock him up for a long-term deal at around 20 million a year plus bonuses that do not count towards the salary cap.
  • Wally Szczerbiak has played his last game as a Cavalier.  His contract is up, and we will not sign him again….making 13.8 million per year to be a bench player is not what we want or need.  We loved you, Wally….but sorry.
  • Joe Smith’s contract is also up, but he’s making 1.2 million.  Give him more if he needs it, he’s a big part of this team’s chemistry and he’s inexpensive to boot.  If he wants to break the bank though, we’ll have to let him go.
  • Ben Wallace is talking retirement and he might want a buyout of his final year.  Hell, we KNOW he’ll want a buyout.  Anything we spend on the buyout also does not count towards the salary cap, so we should offer him that and wish him well.  It’ll add to our coffers, as Ben was making nearly 15 million this year.  Again, Ben…we loved you, thanks for your dedication and spirit.
  • Anderson Varejao will be looking for more money.  Again.  His current 5.8 million dollar contract is not going to be enough to keep him, and we’re going to have to up that to 9 or 10 million per season.  There’s very little question about that right now, especially with the possibility of losing Wallace and Smith.  Also, Z’s age doesn’t make anybody comfortable in C-town.

This all adds up to good fortune for the Cavs.  We’ll have to add 10-12 million a year to LeBron, Smith and Varejao’s contracts, but we save about 19 million with the losses of Wally and Big Ben.  That leaves us with 7-9 million dollars left to grab a strong player to add to LeBron’s arsenal, and that’s only if we want to keep the same salary as 2008-09.  We can go over the limit and pay a luxury tax to the NBA since we have that money to spend (hello, China!).

Translation – relax, Cavs fans.  LeBron will stay, and with the mastermind known as Danny Ferry at the helm, we will get everything we need and start fresh again in October.

Day off, but plenty to do still

Written May 10th, 2009 by Jeff

The front page of your local sports page probably has a nice picture of LeBron James today, doing something that you’ll never do ever.  It probably has a headline about a blowout win and most of the story is about LBJ and how he took over another game and it was unbelieveable.

Yeah, The BBC did it last night too.  So did every other onlite site that I frequent.

On further review, the Cavaliers didn’t quite look so good last night.

Yes, it’s nice to know that LeBron can take over a game when he has to, but this is NOT the team of two years ago where LeBron needs to do that.  We’ve got five All-Stars on the team and, despite being very young, enough playoff experience to make James Worthy go “DAAAAAAAAMN”.  This is a team that should still extend leads with their star resting on the bench, but last night they couldn’t do much without him.

And that’s not good.

  • Ben Wallace was out of sync and never got his defense going.
  • Wally Szczerbiak missed four wide-open shots and gave the Hawks the ball under their own basket on a turnover
  • Mo Williams couldn’t find the net with any regularity (5-13 shooting, 1-6 from long range)
  • Daniel Gibson still can’t find his shot, and has put out an APB for it.  Police have been led to a secure location in the year 2007

Fortunately, this team is led by two factors….LeBron, and defense.  Both were outstanding as usual.  Holding the Hawks (who played their best game of the round) to 82 points is no small feat.  Their interior defense was unstoppable and they did exactly what they wanted to do, which was to force Josh Smith into shooting anything from more than 10 feet away from the rim.  When Smith begins to do that, he doesn’t know how to stop, short of several fans emerging from the stands to tackle him.

I don’t like to look for the bad in games like that…..I prefer to appreciate the winning while we have it, because any Cleveland fan can tell you about how it’ll end in a heartbeat.  But I think that it’s crucial to get better as the playoffs linger, because the opposition will most certainly get better as we advance.  While Atlanta is no pushover (ask Boston from their title season), winning by 15 should be thrilling….but it isn’t.

Call it Playstation Syndrome.  You play on rookie level for so long, and you get used to winning games by huge margins, then you get really upset with yourself when you “only” win by a mere double-digit margin.

The good news is that we played our worst game of the NBA Playoffs, and Atlanta played their best.  And we won by 15.  On the road.

Thanks to LeBron James.

Let’s look at this in the “big picture”…..having a guy that can and will do that when needed is not exactly a bad thing to have on your team.  There’s a reason that fans of the rest of the NBA troll our cavaliers, and it’s not because they DON’T want LeBron James on their team too.

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I actually didn’t see the end of the Dallas-Denver game until it was on Sportscenter, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion on it.

If you have a foul to give, don’t pat the guy on the butt just before he shoots it and hope for the call.  TELL the ref you’re going to do it, then WRAP the guy up until the whistle STOPS blowing.

Yes, the ref failed to make the call.  Yes, he admitted it through the NBA.  But Mark Cuban and Josh Howard running around throwing temper tantrums and crying midcourt isn’t the answer.  Playing the game like you’re supposed to IS the answer.    It’s Carmelo freaking Anthony.  He wilts at the first sign of physical defense.  HIT the guy and then you don’t HAVE to rely on a whistle.

If you need the refs to make a call, MAKE them make the call.  That way, no cameramen will get hurt by your owner on his way to a fine and a lawsuit.

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Some really crappy news out of Houston with Yao Ming’s broken foot.  I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like the guy and he was the Rockets’ last hope for beating the Lakers.  At least now Ron Artest can have something new to finish off his usual sentence of “we’d have won if not for (blank).”

I didn’t think the Rockets could knock off L.A. four times in a series, but now there’s no chance of it at all.

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Game 4 of the Magic-Celtics series is at 8pm tonight in Orlando.  The Magic could go up 3-1 if Boston plays like they have since early March.  The Celtics have no fire and no solid gameplan, and Doc Rivers is being exposed as a hack.  And when Stan Van Gundy is looking like the superior coach in a series, you’re got a REALLY shitty coach on the other team.

I’d like to see Boston win tonight and tie the series up at 2-2.  I’d also like to see Boston pull the whole thing out.  I want this for one reason – I want revenge on Boston for last season.

Very good. Scary good.

Written May 5th, 2009 by Jeff

The MVP of the league wasted no time showing his fans why he was given the award for the NBA’s best player.  Then his team wasted no time showing the Atlanta Hawks where the exit is.

A mere 15 seconds into tonight’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, LeBron James was sending his first slam-dunk through the rim.  It was a strong start to an even stronger night.  James would finish with 34 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals in his first game with the official title of MVP.

The Hawks looked strong early on, burying 7 of their first 9 shots to take a 15-10 lead, but that was the end of their fun.  From that moment on, the Cavaliers clamped down on defense and held the Hawks to 38 percent shooting for the rest of the night.  They were equally as miserable from the free throw line, shooting 50 percent on 9-of-18 shots.

An Anderson Varejao tip shot with 3:33 to play in the first quarter gave the Cavs a 19-17 lead which they would never relinquish.  The lead grew to 12 points in the second quarter, and as the second half wore on, the lead only grew larger.

Mo Williams paced the non-MVP Cavaliers with 21 points, and Delonte West added 13 points and 9 assists.

The defense for Cleveland was their strongest asset tonight, holding Atlanta to only 28 points after halftime and forcing 17 total turnovers.

But what is especially scary about this team’s performance is that their big men were a complete non-factor, and yet we still won by a huge margin.

  • Zydrunas Ilgauskas was 2-for-9 shooting for 7 points and had no defensive rebounds
  • Anderson Varejao was 2-for-8 shooting for only 4 points, but grabbed 9 boards
  • Joe Smith missed all four shots he took
  • Ben Wallace scored on his only attempt, a slam-dunk

When your four big men combine for 23 percent shooting (5 for 22) and grab a total of only 17 rebounds in 89 minutes of action, you do NOT expect to win by 27 points.  And yet, that’s exactly what happened.

This team is scary good, and they are perfecting their game at the right time.  From what I saw tonight, I see only one team that can beat the Cavaliers in the playoffs.

Themselves.

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