While it is unlikely the Cavs re-sign Luol Deng, whom they acquired in a mid-season trade, Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer says that his impact has proven that the team needs to add a productive small forward next year. Here’s more from Cleveland:
- Pluto says that if interim GM David Griffin lasts beyond this season, he will make a strong push to re-sign free agent Spencer Hawes.
- Pluto adds that the Cavs would like to re-sign C.J. Miles, who will also become a free agent this summer.
- The Cavs are expected to retain rookie Matthew Dellavedova, whose contract is non-guaranteed next year, per the Plain Dealer scribe.
- Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio looks at the Cavs options heading into the offseason. They could reboot once again, or stay the course with the current foundation players and personnel.
- The Cavs will likely include all of this year’s rookies on their summer league roster, coach Mike Brown tells Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer. ”We’ve talked about it, but there’s nothing formal that we’ve put forth yet,” Brown said Friday. “I think it’s good for first- and second-year guys to go and play with that type of experience.”
- 2013′s No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett would be included in that group, and Brown tells Boyer it could go a long way in helping the under-performing rookie’s development. “I think it’s going to be huge for him, not just summer league, but the time he spends in the weight room, the time he spends conditioning, the time he spends on the floor working out,” Brown said. “[Summer league is] a lot of games in a short amount of time. Because of who he is, guys are going to be coming after him. The ball’s going to be in his hands. It’s going to give him an opportunity to go out there and showcase his abilities.”
Isiah Thomas has been campaigning for a position with either the Pistons or the Cavaliers front offices, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. Whether those overtures will bear fruit or not will have to wait to be seen, but both those teams really have their eye on another soon-to-be former Piston, Chauncey Billups, notes Windhorst. According to the article, Billups is likely headed towards retirement after knee surgery ended his season, and is the apple of both the Cavs’ and Pistons’ eye for a role in their respective franchise’s leadership. While there might be some interest in getting Billups to follow in Jason Kidd’s footsteps and go right from player to coach, Billups has been hinting openly for years he’d rather graduate to the front office at the end of his career, reports Windhorst.
More from the east:
- The Pistons’ Gigi Datome met with Italian National Team head coach Simone Pianigiani and officially confirmed that he’ll play for Italy next summer, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Datome said, “At the end of the NBA season I will remain in Detroit to work. But next summer I will play for Italy. It is going to be my 14th with Italy and I am proud of that.”
- Bob Finnan of The Morning Journal makes the case that the Cavaliers should re-sign Spencer Hawes this summer and only consider re-signing Luol Deng if he is willing to take something in the $8MM-$10MM a year range.
- In the same article, Finnan also thinks the Cavs will entertain trade offers for Tristan Thompson this offseason. The team has Anthony Bennett waiting in the wings and Thompson could be looking for upwards of $10MM a season this summer when he is eligible to sign a contract extension.
- Marc Berman of The New York Post examines the revival of Amar’e Stoudemire‘s career since he was inserted into the Knicks starting lineup, and what that might do for his trade value this offseason.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told reporters, including Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, that if Los Angeles makes a deal, it’ll be one that address issues in “2014/15 and beyond” (Twitter link). Another tweet from Trudell explains that the club won’t be dealing for a player that can make an immediate impact, and Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com hears from Kupchak that it’s actually been pretty quiet around the office as far as trade talks go (Twitter link). Let’s round up a few more tidbits in our nightly look around the league..
- Adam Zagoria of Sheridan Hoops looks toward the 2020 Summer Olympics and sees Canada’s potential team as a formidable force. Zagoria hears that college studs Andrew Wiggins and Tyler Ennis are expected to join forces with current NBA players Anthony Bennett, Andrew Nicholson, Kelly Olynyk, Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph. It’s possible a similar team could assemble for the 2015 Olympic qualifiers, but Zagoria thinks 2020 is when the expected Canadian roster will be able to reach its full potential.
- Euroleague CEO Jordi Bertomeu revealed he is interested in a potential NBA expansion into Europe. “Adam Silver, the new commissioner, is a great contributor to the sport,” said Bertomeu. ”We have met and I think that we have a future together. We want to increase our cooperation and we want to see things realistically.” Lefteris Moutis of EuroHoops.net has the full story.
- Silver looks even beyond Europe and sees opportunity for the NBA in markets all over the world, he tells Sam Amick of USA Today in an exclusive interview. “To me, the U.S. is less than 5% of the world’s population. So when I look at markets like the billion people in Africa, the over billion people that live in India, the (1.3 billion) that live in China, just those markets alone where we’re just barely scratching the surface, there is so much opportunity out there for us.”
- Amick’s piece sees Silver address a variety of hot-button issues, including the lottery, the minimum age for draft eligibility, and the latest CBA.
Steve Hetzel, coach of the Cavs D-League affiliate, the Canton Charge, gives Dakota Schmidt of Ridiculous Upside some insight as to how the developmental process works for Cleveland: “We all talk and communicate about when they’ll be sent down, their overall expectations and how they’ll be able to be coached. They allow me to coach these guys as if they’re my players. It’s a good relationship in the sense that we give constant feedback to each other on when we’re going to have those players and what they want the players to work on in-game. It’s a real benefit to be directly affiliated with the Cavs because it’s a struggle for teams who don’t have a direct NBA affiliation.”
Here’s more from Cleveland:
- In the same interview, Hetzel doesn’t rule out the possibility of an Anthony Bennett assignment, telling Schmidt, “That’s completely up to Coach [Mike] Brown and the Cavs organization. If they want to send him down, we’d be open arms. Right now Bennett is getting time with Cleveland and if you’re getting minutes in the NBA, then that’s the best experience that you can get. Whether he’s flourishing or struggling, he’ll improve with the playing time that he gets. If that time comes, we’ll cross that bridge as it happens.” Bennett’s play has finally picked up in recent days, after his historically poor play for a number one pick had some calling for him to get some time in the D-League.
- Rival executives believe new Cavs GM David Griffin‘s best option going forward would be trading recently acquired Luol Deng and trying to land a premium first-round pick in this year’s draft, per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Since it appears unlikely that Deng will stay with Cleveland beyond this season, Kennedy thinks buyers would see value in obtaining him now, while he still has his Bird Rights, to have a leg up on signing him to a long-term contract extension. Deng can be traded a second time this season with some limitations: he cannot be dealt back to the Bulls and he cannot be traded away along with any other Cavs players.
- The Cavs have recalled rookie Sergey Karasev from the D-League, per Cavs.com. Karasev has been in the D-League since being assigned late last month, and has totaled 17 games in his time with the Cavs.
Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said before tonight’s game against the Mavericks that the chances of Charlotte making a deal soon depends on who’s available and what makes sense. GM Rod Higgins couldn’t put a percentage on the likelihood that something gets done, but went so far as to say “…the thing you should know is we’re definitely shaking the tree (and hope) a trade pans out” (Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer).
You can find several links worth sharing tonight out of Eastern Conference below, including more from the above piece:
- Sorensen hears that the Bobcats are interested in 76ers guard Evan Turner and presumes that Ben Gordon and a first round pick are on the table (whether it’s the one owed to them by the Trail Blazers or Pistons is unclear).
- Yahoo’s Marc J. Spears says that in addition to Turner, Thaddeus Young is another starter who could be moved soon.
- Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW shared some of what he’s heard from around the Eastern Conference: Turner and Spencer Hawes are the most likely to be traded from Philadelphia; the Celtics are reportedly bound and determined to make moves before the deadline; the Cavaliers think pretty highly enough of their key pieces and aren’t likely to deal them for anything less for a “king’s ransom.”
- Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony tells Fred Kerber of the New York Post that tales of stars trying to make recruiting pitches during the All-Star break are blown out of proportion by the media and says it “never happens.”
- Earlier tonight, we relayed a piece from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports about the Cavs’ recent misfortune over the last few years. Another interesting thing to note is about how Anthony Bennett – who aside from his double-double performance tonight has otherwise failed to impress this season – would likely have fallen into the back end of the top 10 picks or further on draft night if Cleveland didn’t select him first overall.
Going into the 2013 NBA draft, experts had viewed it as one of the weakest in recent memory. There was no franchise savior available, and the lottery was looked on as a guessing game at best. A little more than halfway through the season, the rookie class hasn’t done anything to dispel this notion. Outside of Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, there hasn’t been much rookie production. Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders.com believes there are five rookies who might be able to turn their seasons around. The players he examines in the piece are Anthony Bennett, Cody Zeller, Ben McLemore, Alex Len, and Otto Porter.
More from around the league:
- Free agent center Marcus Camby is progressing in his rehabilitation from foot surgery and expects to be fully healthy by February’s end to join an NBA team, a league source told Shams Charania of RealGM. The 39-year-old, who would become the second-oldest player in the league behind Steve Nash, averaged 1.9 points and 3.3 rebounds in 24 games with the Knicks last season.
- German team Medi Bayreuth and Will Conroy have parted ways, according to an announcement on the club’s official website translated by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The 31-year-old, who was averaging 5.2 PPG across nine games, is already working out with another German team and is likely to sign for the rest of the season, tweets David Pick of Eurobasket.com.
- A Western Conference executive tells Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News that he expects more coaches to lose their jobs now that Maurice Cheeks has lost his. That’s a grim sign for Mike Woodson, Lawrence observes.
- It was previously thought that the NBPA would vote on a new union leader in New Orleans during the All-Star break but the latest signals suggest that won’t take place, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. There’s a push from some in the union to start the search over from scratch.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
The leading story in the Central Division, and around the NBA, surrounds Kyrie Irving and his alleged discontent with the Cavaliers. It’s in the team’s best interests to mend fences with the star point guard, as multiple Cleveland-area writers have written, but the Cavs still wield most, if not all of the leverage. Irving would be a “raving lunatic” if he passed up a max extension from the team this summer, opines Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Here’s more on the Cavs and their Central Division rivals:
- The Bulls have no immediate plans to re-sign Cartier Martin, whose second 10-day contract expired this week, but Tom Thibodeau won’t rule out the idea of bringing him back later this season, notes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- In the same piece, Thibodeau admits that Derrick Rose could begin practicing with the team later this season. The Bulls have maintained that Rose is out for the season, but Rose has left the door open for a return during the playoffs.
- Executives around the league believe the Cavs are hesitant to send No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett to the D-League because they think it would look like an admission of failure on their part, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com.
- With landing the No. 1 pick seemingly the best-case scenario for the Bucks this year, Matt Velazquez of the Journal Sentinel explains that it’s no panacea.
The Cavaliers will take the court this evening against the Suns, but prior to the game, two of Cleveland’s beat writers discussed the current state of the Cavaliers. Here are a few takeaways from their discussions:
- It is unlikely LeBron James will return to Cleveland, according to Bob Finnan of The News-Herald. Finnan is hearing from many around the league who “now think Heat forward LeBron James will take a pass on returning to the Cavaliers in free agency this summer.” Finnan thinks it becomes “extremely tough” for LeBron to leave Miami if the Heat are able to win a third consecutive NBA title this season.
- Finnan also dismisses the rumors that the Cavaliers may try to sign Luol Deng and James this offseason. According to him, there isn’t a way for the Cavaliers to do that without “dump[ing] some major contracts this summer.” It is Finnan’s opinion that Cleveland’s best odds of resigning Deng are through an extension this season, but he believes Deng does not seem interested in that option.
- Kyrie Irving will likely have the chance to sign a max extension this summer with the Cavaliers, but Jason Lloyd of the Beacon Journal wonders if he has earned that contract. Lloyd examines Irving’s value similar to how Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune evaluated Kevin Love last night and points out the Cavaliers are 80-193 since Irving’s arrival. Lloyd places partial blame on Cleveland’s failure to provide Irving much help of late but reiterates the All-Star has to take some of the blame if “he is truly the leader.” Lloyd urges the Cavaliers to begin holding Irving accountable instead of “anoint[ing] him the Big Man on Campus immediately upon [his arrival].” This summer’s negotiations between the Cavs and Irving will be a strong indicator as to what level of accountability the organization will place on the 21-year-old.
- It seems the Cavaliers are not alone in their surprise as to how Anthony Bennett‘s season has transpired. In a separate piece, Jason Lloyd of the Beacon Journal has heard from teams around the league that they had Bennett as a top 10 draft choice and “no one has [told Lloyd] they saw this coming.” Lloyd also adds that for the current time Bennett is “not going [to the D-League], period.”
A couple of former D-League players inked 10-day contracts earlier today: Dewayne Dedmon officially signed his second such pact this season with the Sixers, and Othyus Jeffers jumped on board with the Spurs to help provide some depth off the bench while the squad deals with an injury to Kawhi Leonard. Here are a few more D-League-related tidbits:
- Undrafted free agent Kenny Kadji has been acquired by the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers, hears Gino Pilato of D-League Digest. Kadji spent his training camp playing with the Cavaliers, but he failed to make the opening day roster. The big man out of Miami is still free to sign with any NBA team.
- Cavaliers coach Mike Brown told reporters, including Jodie Valade of the Plain Dealer, that Anthony Bennett won’t be heading to the D-League any time soon. Bennett hasn’t played in the Cavs’ last five contests and has struggled throughout his rookie season after being selected first overall in last summer’s draft.
- Kendall Marshall is unsure if he will be a member of the Lakers after this season, but he credits the D-League for keeping him in shape and helping him land a spot in Los Angeles (Twitter links via Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders). Marshall signed a deal to play for LA through the remainder of year after a rash of injuries in the club’s backcourt left them without much depth.
- Another tweet from Kyler reveals that Manny Harris praised the D-League for helping him display his skills and eventually get a 10-day deal with the Lakers. Harris, like Marshall, is also unsure of his future in Lakerland, but it was revealed last night that he might be soon receiving another 10-day contract offer from the team.
Instead of coming back and playing for the Lakers chances to play in June for a 17th NBA Championship, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times thinks Kobe Bryant should “play for June” by not coming back from his injury this season and hurting the Lakers June draft position. Plaschke believes the Lakers chances of winning it all this season are impossible so any improvement Kobe would bring hurts their draft chances this summer.
A few other notes about players that will be playing in the NBA for years to come.
- Joel Embiid is a player that has rapidly climbed in draft stock this season. One person whose draft board he hasn’t risen on is Bill Self, his coach at Kansas, and that’s because he has always been at the top of Self’s draft board. Self told Eric Prisbell of USA TODAY that he informed Embiid the moment he stepped on campus that he would be the No. 1 pick, whenever Embiid decided to come out (Twitter link).
- The Rockets have called up Robert Covington from their D-League affiliate according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The rookie scored 33 points Friday for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and was on Houston’s active roster Saturday night. Coming into tonight, Covington had yet to log any minutes in the NBA.
- Someone who may be heading to the D-League is Cavaliers rookie Anthony Bennett. According to Bob Finnan of The News-Herald, Cleveland needs to send Bennett to their D-League affiliate in order to rectify what has gone wrong this season.