The news of Byron Scott's firing has sent an emotional ripple effect throughout the Cavaliers' organization, especially stunning many of the players, writes Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer. GM Chris Grant, who admitted that the decision was a difficult one "personally and professionally," told reporters that the team hadn't been making enough progress to warrant continued direction under coach Scott.
As for a replacement, Grant said: "Moving forward we'll look for someone with proven success and look for somebody who is strong defensively with proven systems...We'll look for somebody who is a teacher. We'll look for somebody who is a grinder and a worker."
We have quite a few links to relay regarding the Cavs tonight, and you can find them below:
- Schmitt Boyer compiled a list of potential coaching candidates, categorizing them in terms of "shoot for the moon" targets, former head coaches, highly regarded NBA assistants, and college coaches.
- The Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto makes a case for Stan Van Gundy as a possible fit in Cleveland, saying that the Cavaliers would definitely like to talk to him soon. Pluto also suggests a possibility that the organization considers someone who has never been an NBA head coach - such as Heat assistant coach David Fizdale - to take the coaching reins.
- Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press mentions that Flip Saunders - a native of Cleveland - could be another option, though the former Timberwolves coach could also be linked to Minnesota depending on if Rick Adelman and/or David Kahn remain with that organization.
- Jodie Valade of The Plain Dealer writes that the NBA will hold a random tiebreaker on Friday which will determine what draft choice the team receives from the Lakers in June. She also runs down the list of impending free agents on the roster and discusses the likelihood of their return or departure.
- In addition to eliciting more reaction from the Cavs players, Schmitt Boyer was able to hear Luke Walton's thoughts about whether or not he could see Phil Jackson joining the franchise as a coach: "I get surprised every day in this league. But we're a pretty young team right here right now for Coach Jackson to come back. I would be surprised if he'd come to such a young team on that side of the process. But I get shocked every day in this league, so I won't say it's not going to happen.''
The Cavaliers nearly pulled out an upset of the Spurs last night in a game bereft of injured All-Star point guards Kyrie Irving and Tony Parker, but instead Cleveland lost and continued its trudge toward the lottery. The lottery and draft are usually banner events for the Cavs, who will come away with two top-20 selections for the third season in a row if the Lakers hold on and make the playoffs. Bob Finnan of The News-Herald checks in with the latest from Ohio's team, and we'll hit the highlights:
- Finnan hears from league sources who believes there will be pressure on GM Chris Grant and coach Byron Scott next season, and speculates that both could be gone if the team doesn't make the playoffs.
- The Cavs picked up Shaun Livingston's minimum-salary contract off waivers from the Wizards earlier this season, but Finnan believes it will take more than the minimum to keep him around next season, estimating that a two-year, $4MM offer could be enough to bring him back.
- Scott is pining for someone who can protect the rim. "I'd love to have a couple of guys down there that would change shots and block shots," the coach said. "Hopefully, we'll get that in due time." Scott believes Tyler Zeller and Tristan Thompson could eventually develop into shot-blockers.
- Finnan also passes along a look at the NBA's top agents from Michael Pina of Hoops Rumors.
With Derrick Rose returning to the Bulls soon, the Pacers rounding into a serious challenger to the Heat in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, and the Bucks looking like a late-seed sleeper, here's a look at the happenings around the Central Division.
- Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Plain Dealer has a new mailbag column in which she discusses the possibility that Marreese Speights will be traded before the February 21 deadline. She believes it's possible if the team believes he will opt out of his $4.5MM option for next season, but says his veteran experience makes him worth keeping around.
- Schmitt Boyer does not know when Lucas Nogueira and Augusto Lima, two Brazilian draft prospects represented by Anderson Varejao's agent, Dan Fegan, plan to enter the NBA draft.
- Schmitt Boyer writes that the Cavs did not make an attempt to trade for Rudy Gay because his contract would have limited their options in future years of free agency.
- Schmitt Boyer breaks down the protections on the Lakers' first-round pick the Cavs own, explaining that Cleveland only gets to swap their own pick with the Lakers if Los Angeles makes the playoffs.
- Schmitt Boyer writes in a separate column that Cavs GM Chris Grant is known to make a lot of moves at the deadline, and she expects him to be active again this year.
- Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star has a feature on Pacers rookie Miles Plumlee, who is currently playing in the D-League.
John Reid of the Times-Picayune writes that Austin Rivers is on schedule to be fully healed in time for Hornets' training camp in October after undergoing surgery on his right ankle three weeks ago. The rookie joins a list of teammates, namely Xavier Henry and Robin Lopez, who are recovering from recent surgeries. Regardless, head coach Monty Williams looks to have all three ready by the time the regular season starts. With that aside, here are more noteworthy tidbits from around the Association:
- C.J. Miles elaborated more on the opportunity he has to expand his game with the Cavaliers, especially for a coach like Byron Scott, who believes that Miles has a lot of untapped potential (Jason Lloyd of Ohio.com reports).
- Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune tweets that former Timberwolves and Trail Blazers assistant Dean Cooper is headed to the Rockets to join Kevin McHale's coaching staff.
- Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio (Twitter link) mentions that Cavaliers GM Chris Grant is encouraged about Kelenna Azubuike, who looks like he's moving well and could be a contributor this season.
- Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith that he'll return to the court "stronger than ever" this upcoming season.
- 76ers GM Rod Thorn acknowledges heightened expectations and says that Philadelphia fans appear to be especially excited because of the acquisition of Andrew Bynum, according to Dei Lynam of CSN Philly.
- Jenni Carlson of NewsOK thinks that James Harden is better suited to thrive in a small market city with the Thunder rather than be potentially distracted in what she terms "hot spots."
Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio writes that Cavaliers GM Chris Grant is happy with where the team is now, having added Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller, and C.J. Miles this summer (Sulia link). However, Grant also says that the team still hopes to sign Alonzo Gee but understands that the process could take some time (Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Plain Dealer tweets). Here are a few more miscellaneous notes coming out of Cleveland this evening, courtesy of Amico:
- Miles, who looks at his situation in Cleveland as a fresh start, believes that he has more to offer than what he had been able to show in Utah (Sulia link).
- According to head coach Byron Scott, Kyrie Irving says he's "doing great" and has already been dribbling with his surgically repaired hand.
- Scott also mentioned that Dion Waiters has been working out in Los Angeles since the summer league and appeared to look much better conditioning-wise.