Cleveland Cavaliers

Magic Choose Weltman As President of Basketball Operations

Raptors GM Jeff Weltman has reached a five-year agreement with the Magic to become their President of Basketball Operations, sources told The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The deal was finalized in a meeting between Weltman and Orlando’s CEO Alex Martins, as well as the team’s ownership group, Wojnarowski continues. He replaces Rob Hennigan, who was fired last month.

The Magic had seriously considered making an offer to Cavaliers GM David Griffin, but focused their attention on Weltman in recent weeks, Wojnarowski adds. Weltman had been working under Raptors president Masai Ujiri. He previously had high-level jobs with the Bucks and Nuggets after starting his front-office career with the Clippers. He had been with the Raptors since 2013 after leaving the Bucks organization.

Weltman will have the ability to hire a GM who’ll report to him but Matt Lloyd, who had been serving as the interim GM, could remain with the organization, Wojnarowski adds.

The Raptors will likely fill the GM vacancy with assistant GM Bobby Webster, Toronto beat reporter Doug Smith tweets.

No Paul George, Gordon Hayward On All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-NBA teams for the 2016/17 season, and neither Paul George nor Gordon Hayward is among the 15 players honored. That’s big news for both players and their teams, since they’ll be ineligible for the Designated Veteran Extension, reducing the amount of money the Pacers and Jazz – respectively – could offer their star forwards in contract extensions this offseason.

Here are this year’s All-NBA teams:

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Based on this year’s All-NBA voting results, Wall is now eligible to sign a Designated Veteran Extension this summer, while Leonard is eligible to sign one next summer. Harden, Westbrook, and Curry are also eligible to sign DVEs this summer, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical notes (via Twitter).

Those Designated Veteran Extensions – which are dependent on a player making an All-NBA team in the year before he signs an extension, or in two of the previous three years – apply to players finishing up their rookie scale extensions. They allow a player re-signing with his own team to earn up to 35% of the salary cap, rather than just 30%. So, if we assume a $101MM salary cap for 2017/18, a player like Curry could sign a new Warriors contract with a starting salary of $35.35MM, instead of $30.3MM.

The Pacers and Jazz will still be able to offer George and Hayward larger and longer contracts than any other team, but the advantage won’t be as significant as it would have been if those players had earned All-NBA spots. Teams can offer their own Bird-rights free agents up to five years (instead of four) and 8% raises (instead of 5%).

Hayward figures to opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer, while George is expected to reach free agency in 2018. George could still become eligible for the DVE in ’18 if the Pacers hang onto him through next season and he earns All-NBA honors a year from now. However, there’s no guarantee that Indiana will be willing to take that risk.

As for the rest of the All-NBA votes, there weren’t any major surprises, particularly on the first two teams. Perhaps the biggest surprise, in a year which was dominated by four clear-cut MVP candidates, is that Harden was the only player who received 100 out of 100 possible First Team votes. Westbrook and James received 99 apiece, while Leonard received 96.

Note: Hoops Rumors readers voted last month on All-NBA teams, and our squads looked awfully close to the official ones, with a couple notable exceptions. You can check out the results of our voting right here.

Cavs Will Attempt To Retain GM David Griffin

Cavaliers general manager David Griffin has been a popular target this spring for teams in search of a new basketball operations executive, having drawn interest from both the Hawks and Magic. However, the Cavs don’t intend to let him get away. According to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net, team owner Dan Gilbert is making it known that he’s prepared to offer Griffin a “substantial contract and title” to remain with Cleveland.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported in April that extension talks between Griffin and the Cavs had been “stalled for months,” and reiterated this week that the team hadn’t made a significant offer to its GM, whose contract expires at season’s end. Based on Amico’s report though, it sounds like Cleveland is ready to increase its offer, and perhaps offer him a president of basketball operations title.

Amico cautions that a deal is “far from done,” adding that the two sides may not meet for several weeks yet. However, several Cavs and NBA sources tell Amico that they think Gilbert has always planned to retain Griffin, and will meet with him before he talks to other suitors.

Gilbert has reportedly declined to respond to Orlando’s request to talk to Griffin, and since the GM’s contract doesn’t expire until the end of June, the Magic and Hawks may ultimately look elsewhere if they’re denied the opportunity to speak to Griffin until July.

It would be a bit of a surprise if Cleveland lets Griffin away, considering LeBron James has publicly endorsed a new deal for the team’s GM, who was responsible for constructing the roster that won a championship a year ago. Per Amico, multiple people under Griffin have let Cavs ownership know that they appreciate the positive work environment Griffin has fostered, and “greatly admire” the GM.

Magic Await Permission To Talk To David Griffin

The Magic have submitted a formal request to the Cavaliers to speak with GM David Griffin, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Griffin is believed to be the front-runner to become Orlando’s president of basketball operations, with a report last month saying he will be offered the job when he becomes available.

The Cavaliers have not responded to the request, Wojnarowski adds, and have the option of holding onto Griffin until his contract expires at the end of June. With free agency starting July 1st, it’s possible that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert will deny the interview request as a stall tactic to see if Orlando turns to someone else.

Sources tell Wojnarowski that Gilbert hasn’t made a substantive offer to try to keep Griffin, who built the Cavaliers into a championship team after LeBron James returned in 2014. James has been an outspoken advocate of keeping the GM, but his public comments seem to have had little effect on negotiations.

The Magic are getting ready to start interviewing other candidates for the position, including Hall of Famer Kevin McHale and Bucks GM John Hammond, who still has a year left on his contract in Milwaukee. Interim Magic GM Matt Lloyd has already been through the interview process and is highly thought of in the organization, according to Wojnarowski.

Orlando launched a front-office shakeup when the season ended, firing GM Rob Hennigan and assistant GM Scott Perry. The Magic plan to put control of the front office in the hands of a president, who will then hire the next GM.

The team faces competition from the Hawks, who recently relieved Wes Wilcox of GM duties. Griffin is seen as a candidate in Atlanta, along with former Pistons executive Joe Dumars, Rockets VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, Knicks director of player personnel Mark Hughes and former players and current TV analysts Chauncey Billups and Brent Barry. Wojnarowski reports that the Hawks have received permission to interview Rosas and Hughes.

NBA Jersey Sponsors For 2017/18

More than three months after Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg reported that the Cavaliers would wear the Goodyear logo on its uniforms as part of the NBA’s jersey sponsorship pilot program, the team officially confirmed its partnership with Goodyear today. And, as Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes, the Cavs will receive more than $10MM per year as part of the arrangement.

Cleveland is the sixth team to confirm a deal with an advertiser to place ads on uniforms, joining the Sixers, Celtics, Jazz, Kings, and Nets. More teams will be added to that list in the near future, as the NBA’s three-year pilot program to sell a small patch of real estate on teams’ jerseys will officially begin during the 2017/18 season, when clubs start wearing Nike uniforms.

As more teams make announcements, we’ll use this space to track their agreements with sponsors. Here are the details on the deals finalized so far, with links to stories on those agreements:

Cavaliers Notes: Lue, Brown, Blatt, Defense

A broken hand suffered by reserve center Edy Tavares has reinforced Tyronn Lue’s decision not to scrimmage during the Cavaliers’ long break, writes Marla Ridenour of The Akron Beacon Journal. Lue is working to keep the Cavs focused during a nine-day layoff as they await the winner of the Celtics-Wizards series. Lue admits the team is “itching to play” as he guides the players through walkthroughs, but he won’t consider scrimmages because of the injury risk. Point guard Kyrie Irving supports the decision. “An incident happened in practice where somebody got hit in the hand and it just wasn’t good,” Irving said. “I was about to come out and play five-on-five and the incident happened three seconds later as T-Lue comes out of the door. Naw, I’m not for scrimmaging right now until the game.”

There’s more news today as the wait continues in Cleveland:

  • Mike Brown and David Blatt have both prospered since being fired by the Cavaliers, notes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. Brown took two years off after his dismissal, passing on chances to become a lead assistant with the Thunder and head coach at Nevada-Las Vegas. Last summer, he became the Warriors’ top assistant and has assumed head coaching duties with Steve Kerr sidelined for health reasons. Brown could wind up coaching against the Cavs in the NBA Finals. Blatt, who was fired midway through last year’s championship season, is the highest-paid coach in Europe, guiding Darussafaka Dogus in the Turkish League. He led the club to its first-ever Euroleague playoff berth.
  • After struggling on defense all season, the Cavaliers have improved on that end in the playoffs, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The Cavs ranked 22nd in defensive efficiency during the season, but are fourth since the postseason began. Still, Lue jokes that he wishes the players could remember their defensive assignments as well as they remember their pre-game handshake routines.
  • The Cavaliers are among the teams showing interest in Arizona shooting guard Rawle Alkins, according to Sam Amico of Amicohoops. Cleveland doesn’t have a pick in this year’s draft, but could buy a late selection like it did last year to obtain Kay Felder. The Cavaliers, Thunder, Pelicans and Heat have all contacted Alkins’ high school coach to get more information, according to Adam Zagoria of Fanrag Sports (Twitter link).

Edy Tavares Fractures Hand, Out Indefinitely

Cavaliers backup center Edy Tavares could be lost for the rest of the playoffs after fracturing his right hand during practice, tweets Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com.

The team announced today that Tavares is out indefinitely after the extent of the injury was confirmed through an X-ray and bone scan, relays the Associated Press. The 7’3″ rookie hurt his hand during Thursday’s practice.

Cleveland signed Tavares on the final day of the regular season, and he posted six points and 10 rebounds in his lone game with the team. He didn’t appear in any of the eight playoff games. Tavares also played one game for the Hawks earlier this season and 11 with Atlanta last year.

The 25-year-old represents the Cavs’ most recent late-season attempt to find depth at center. When the organization signed him, it waived former Bucks standout Larry Sanders, who was never able to make an impact in Cleveland and spent much of his time in the D-League. Sanders took over for Andrew Bogut, who was signed after agreeing to a buyout with the Sixers, but was on the court for less than a minute before suffering a fractured left tibia.

Tavares agreed to a multi-year deal with the Cavaliers that is scheduled to pay him more than $1.47MM next season and more than $1.6MM in 2018/19. However, neither season is guaranteed.

Love's Diminished Role In Postseason

Matchups in the first two rounds have limited Kevin Love‘s role throughout the playoffs thus far but that could change in the Eastern Conference Finals, Tom Withers of the Associated Press writes. Currently the Cavaliers await the winner of the Wizards and Celtics.

After having averaged 19 points per game during the regular season, Love’s average dropped to 12 in the Cavaliers’ four-game sweep of the Raptors. What’s more, the power forward didn’t even play in the fourth quarter in two of those victories.

Some of it’s my fault because we haven’t really featured him a lot because of the matchups we had on other teams,” Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue said. “He has been great. His whole mindset is winning and that’s what it’s all about in the playoffs.

Lue Jokes About Cavs' Handshakes, Defense

Cleveland’s biggest issues this year are on the defensive end and it’s carried over into the postseason. While the defense does not appear to be championship-caliber, the offense certainly does. The Cavs lead all teams this postseason with an offensive rating of 117.0. As they wait to find out who they will play in the next round, check out some notes from the Eastern Conference:

LeBron James came back to the Cavaliers prior to the 2014/15 season and since then, the King’s team has appeared to be a tight-knit group, as evidenced by the elaborate handshakes which can be witnessed in the pregame. The pregame festivities elicited a response from coach Tyronn Lue, as Dan Feldman of NBC Sports relays.

Korver Paying Off; Lue's Job Isn't Easy

  • Kyle Korver is delivering in the playoffs the way the Cavaliers hoped when they traded for him in January, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. He scored 14 points in the Game 3 win at Toronto, with most coming as Cleveland pulled away in the second half. “When [Korver] steps on the floor, eyes have to be on him,” said LeBron James. “… Just his ability to be out on the floor just helps us all out offensively because it just creates more space. From the time we got him all the way to now, and as we continue to play throughout the postseason, he’s been huge for our ballclub.”
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