Deron Williams

Cavaliers Notes: Griffin, Gilbert, Korver, Williams

The Magic and Suns could both make a run at Cavaliers GM David Griffin after the playoffs end, writes Sam Amico of Amicohoops.com. Orlando, which fired GM Rob Hennigan earlier this month, would consider doubling Griffin’s salary to bring him on board. Phoenix is a legitimate threat because Griffin is from that area and started his career with the Suns. GM Ryan McDonough is safe in Phoenix, according to Amico, but the team could offer Griffin a president’s role, similar to what Phil Jackson has in New York, where he would have the final say on all basketball decisions.

Griffin’s first choice is to stay in Cleveland, and owner Dan Gilbert would like to keep him, but that’s not a guarantee that things will work out. Griffin took over GM’s post in 2014 with the expectation of building a young team, but that changed quickly when LeBron James announced his intention to return. Griffin’s goals quickly changed to building a championship team, and his performance in doing that ensures he will get a big payoff this summer. The only question is whether it comes from the Cavs or someone else.

There’s more today out of Cleveland:

  • Kyle Korver took an instant liking to the organization after being acquired in a January 7th trade with the Hawks, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The Cavaliers have Bird rights on the free agent swingman and can go over the cap for his new contract. Vardon indicates that Korver seems likely to re-sign, but there haven’t been any serious internal discussions about his future because of the uncertainty surrounding Griffin.
  • The same situation affects point guard Deron Williams, Vardon adds in the same piece. The significant different for Williams is that because he signed as a free agent after agreeing to a buyout with the Mavericks in February, the Cavs don’t own his Bird rights. They will be limited to the veteran’s minimum, which was $1.55MM this season, and Williams can probably find better offers elsewhere.
  • Chemistry concerns that haunted the Cavaliers this season seem like less of an issue after the first-round sweep of the Pacers, writes Marla Ridenour of The Akron Beacon Journal. “A lot of egos can get in the way, a lot of things could get in the way of a team being successful as a team,” said Kyrie Irving. “Us putting our individual sacrifices to the side and the only thing that matters is us winning and advancing, as long as that’s first, we’ll always be in a good place.”

Central Notes: D-Will, Teague, Pacers, Pistons

After LeBron James called for the Cavaliers to add a playmaker back in January, the team didn’t make a major move for the next several weeks, as the trade deadline came and went without that so-called “playmaker” joining the team. The Cavs lucked out in the buyout market though, landing veteran point guard Deron Williams after he was cut by the Mavericks, and according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, Williams is getting increasingly comfortable in Cleveland and is looking like that playmaker the club sought.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com conveys a similar sentiment in his latest piece, noting that Williams is receiving praise from the players whose assessment of the Cavaliers roster matters most: LeBron. “Every day he’s getting more and more comfortable with what we want to do,” James said of the veteran point guard. “We needed him. We’re happy we got him.”

As LeBron, D-Will, and the Cavs look ahead to the second round of the playoffs, let’s round up a few more notes from around the Central division…

  • Within a piece examining the Pacers‘ upcoming offseason decisions, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders cites league sources who believe that free-agent-to-be Jeff Teague could be in line for a contract worth $15-17MM annually, or even more than that if other top point guards quickly re-sign with their own teams.
  • With the Pacers facing an uncertain future, Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star argues that team president Larry Bird deserves some criticism for a handful of questionable decisions and roster moves.
  • Following a disappointing season for the Pistons, Rod Beard of The Detroit News makes five suggestions for ways the team could potentially improve this summer.
  • Boban Marjanovic didn’t play much for the Pistons in the first season of his three-year deal with the team, but his audition will give Stan Van Gundy plenty to consider as the club weighs how to use Marjanovic going forward, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Boban could become a more crucial piece of Detroit’s rotation in 2017/18 if Aron Baynes departs in free agency.

Eastern Notes: George, Williams, Lowry

It’s time for the Pacers to deal Paul George since he can become a free agent next summer, Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders contends. Hamilton compares the Pacers’ situation to the Jazz’s back in 2011. Utah sent Deron Williams to the Nets when the point guard still had over a year left on his contract. Brooklyn gave up quite a haul for Williams and the Jazz were able to easily rebuild. Hamilton names the Lakers as a potential trade partner.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Cavaliers won Game 4 against the Pacers today and Williams played a key role in the win, as Chris Fedor of The Northeast Ohio Media group details. Williams can to Cleveland via the buyout market this season. It was previously reported that the waiver and buyout process could be altered this offseason.
  • Coach Brad Stevens surprisingly started Gerald Green in Game 3 of the Celtics’ series against the Bulls and Green will get the nod again in Game 4, Jared Weiss of SB Nation relays. Green is on a one-year, minimum salary deal and he’ll be a free agent this offseason.
  • Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post wonders if the Raptors are going to pay Kyle Lowry a max contract if they lose in the first round. Bontemps believes rival teams, like the Sixers, will be willing to pay him the max for his services regardless of Toronto’s playoff success. Lowry can become a free agent this summer.

Central Notes: Stephenson, Irving, Williams

There’s no denying that Lance Stephenson has had an impact on the Pacers since returning to their lineup for the first time since he left via free agency in 2014. Clifton Brown of the Indianapolis Star writes that the 26-year-old is now giving Indiana exactly what the team needs.

When your teammates believe in you, and the organization believes in you, the game becomes easy,” Stephenson said of his return to the Pacers.

In his first game back, the swingman nearly instigated a brawl by driving home a layup in the waning seconds of a game the Pacers already won. Days later he fanned the flames of animosity with an Instagram post calling out the Raptors for being hypocritical in their response.

More important than any contributions as an instigator is the fact that Stephenson has helped the Pacers to their first back-to-back victories since February. With that two-game win streak, the club has laid claim to the Eastern Conference’s eight-seed (for now).

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • A flare-up in his surgically repaired left knee had Kyrie Irving limping off the floor in Friday night’s loss to the Hawks, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. “It just, I don’t want it to feel sore anymore but it’s just the realization of it,” the Cavaliers guard said. “I’m doing everything possible to take care of my body, I’ve got a clear conscience with that. But also understand that sometimes it’s gonna hurt. And I gotta be able to deal with it.”
  • The Cavaliers may not be using free agent addition Deron Williams to his full potential but don’t fault them for it. Williams was the best and cheapest option available to the team when he was signed but often requires the ball in his hands to be his most dominant, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. For the most part, the Cavs would prefer to keep the ball in the hands of LeBron James or Irving.
  • A second-round pick currently helping guide the Bucks to a six-seed in the Eastern Conference is in the running for the Rookie of the Year award, but Malcolm Brogdon has asked the club to donate the money it would have spent on an extravagant campaign on his behalf to charity instead. Per Alysha Tsuji of USA Today, Brogdon, who averages 10.3 points and 4.3 assists per game, sits second on the publication’s rookie tracker.
  • Veteran Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson has struggled with asthma throughout his life and changes to how he combated the condition have led to his prolonged career, AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today writes.

Cavaliers Notes: Williams, Lue, Korver, Arena

The Cavaliers slipped into second place in the East with Monday’s loss in San Antonio, and the disappointing performance by role players is part of the problem, writes Sam Amico of AmicoHoops. He singles out Deron Williams, who signed with the Cavs after being waived by the Mavericks last month, along with J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye. All except Williams have contracts that run beyond this season.

Smith is working his way back from a broken thumb, but Amico contends that he has been ineffective all season. Smith is averaging 8.0 points per game and shooting just 33% from the field after agreeing to a four-year, $57MM deal in October.

There’s more today out of Cleveland:

  • Coach Tyronn Lue may be willing to fall farther in the standings if it means getting rest for some of his players before the postseason, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Cleveland is just two games up on third-place Washington and two and a half ahead of fourth-place Toronto. “I know the situation in Boston we had where we was back and forth between the first and second seed and Doc [Rivers] decided to rest [Kevin Garnett], Ray [Allen] and Paul [Pierce] the last seven games,” said Lue, who was an assistant with the Celtics. “We was the four seed and still went to the Finals. He picked health over seed and that was important to us knowing if he had a healthy team we’d be OK. I kind of feel the same way.” However, Vardon says Lue doesn’t remember the situation accurately as the Celtics’ three veterans barely had their playing time changed.
  • The Cavaliers are paying the price for resting their stars earlier in the season rather than trying to win every night, charges Bill Livingston of Cleveland.com.
  • Kyle Korver will be held out through Friday to get treatment on his sore left foot, writes Marla Ridenour of The Akron Beacon Journal. He missed Monday’s game in San Antonio, and won’t play Thursday at Chicago or Friday against Philadelphia. Korver will be re-assessed after those games and hopes he won’t miss the rest of the regular season. “I’m hopeful just a few days here to completely shut down and not trying to test it out and see how it feels today,” he said. “Take a few days and let it totally calm down and see where we’re at.”
  • Cleveland City Council was scheduled to open debate this morning on a proposed upgrade to Quicken Loans Arena, according to Robert Higgs of Cleveland.com. If approved, the project will combine $88MM in city funds with millions from the county and the team. The Cavs hope to start construction this summer and have it complete in time to host the 2020 All-Star Game.

Cavaliers Notes: Sanders, James, Liggins, Williams

LeBron James would endorse the signing of free agent center Larry Sanders to improve the Cavaliers’ bench, writes Marla Ridenour of The Akron Beacon Journal. A story broke Friday that Cleveland was in “serious discussions” with the former Buck, who hasn’t played in the league since the 2014/15 season. The Cavs need a rim protector after losing Andrew Bogut to a broken leg in his first game with the team. Sanders is only 28 and had talks about joining the organization before Bogut became available. “An athletic big guy, incredible shot-blocking skills, anticipation around the rim, can finish around the rim and block shots and being able to guard perimeter guys as well,” James said. “… It looks like he wants another opportunity and hopefully if we’re the team, hopefully we give him an opportunity. Why not? Everyone deserves a second chance and it looks like he wants to get back to playing the game he loves and hopefully this is his destination.”

There’s more this morning out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavs chose defense over offense when they decided to keep DeAndre Liggins instead of Jordan McRae, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. McRae, a second-year guard, was waived March 1 to create a roster spot for Bogut. Cleveland believes Liggins is more useful because he can match up with Isaiah Thomas, John Wall, Kyle Lowry or Stephen Curry in a playoff series. In addition, Vardon says some people in the organization questioned McRae’s work ethic.
  • Kyle Korver will be out of action for about a week with a recurring foot injury, Vardon writes in a separate story. Tests this week showed inflammation of a tendon, which is an injury that has affected Korver before. Coach Tyronn Lue said Korver will be re-evaluated “in a few days.”
  • Deron Williams continues to look like he will play a major role in the postseason, relays Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. The backup point guard, who signed with the Cavaliers after agreeing to a buyout with Dallas, posted 10 points and four assists in 25 minutes Saturday in a win over Orlando. “That’s perfect for our team, and he’s able to learn the sets on the fly,” James said. “He’s putting us in position, and every game he’s getting an opportunity to get his legs back up underneath him because he didn’t play much before the All-Star break. And then you have the break, which is another week, and then I think he took like another week after that. So he’s using these games to get back into game mode and game shape, and it’s helping him every time out.”

Central Notes: Zipser, Portis, Harris

With Taj Gibson now a member of the Thunder, the Bulls have shifted Bobby Portis into his spot at power forward and rookie Paul Zipser into the sixth man role, writes Sam Smith of Bulls.com. Zipser, a 23-year-old forward, has stepped up of late as a competent two-way player able to defend opposing team’s scorers while hitting the occasional big shot.

Smith isn’t the only one touting the rookie who returned to the lineup after a month’s absence. “He really kind of solidified himself as our sixth man (before the injury) and a guy who’s closing games for us,” Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg told Mark Strotman of CSN Chicago. “We missed him, there’s no doubt about that. He’s got size, he’s got length, he can put it on the floor and he can really defend.”

The change in rotation goes to show that trades aren’t always about what a team acquires, Smith writes, but also about who they open up opportunities for. Portis has averaged 12.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game since stepping into the larger role with the Bulls seven games ago.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • All season long LeBron James commented that he’d like the Cavaliers‘ front office to go out and get a playmaker. Little did he know then that one would fall into their laps. In Deron Williams, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes, the Cavs got just what they wanted. In his first game with Cleveland, Williams became the first reserve to dish out more than four assists in a game all season (he managed seven).
  • The Pistons made the wrong choice when deciding to shake up their starting lineup, Stephen Shea of Basketball Analytics Book writes. A deep dive on Tobias Harris reveals that he is Detroit’s most efficient scorer and that the team performs better when he’s on the floor.
  • The 15-year-old son of Dwyane Wade won’t stop talking trash, Bulls teammate Jimmy Butler tells Alysha Tsuji of USA Today. Zaire Wade is highly regarded as a high school player. “When he makes it to the league, every single NBA player is going to try to score 50 on him,” says Butler.

 

Cavs Notes: Bogut, Williams, MVP

The Cavaliers were quiet at the trade deadline but have made two significant moves since adding recently waived veterans Andrew Bogut and Deron Williams. Chris Mannix and Bobby Marks of The Vertical discussed the signings in a recent video.

Not only do the March moves shed light on why the club didn’t make a drastic move at the trade deadline — they also tie into the previously reported LeBron Jamesplaymaker” demands. The Cavs knew that they had March 1 in their back pocket all along. While they may not have known specifically that Bogut or Williams would fall to them, it would have been reasonable for general manager David Griffin to assume that the reigning champions would at least be on the short list of any new veteran free agent hoping for a playoff run.

Limited tradeable assets and draft picks gave the Cavaliers little other choice, Marks argues, but they can rest assured that they’ve bolstered their lineup with some solid depth. Mannix mentions Williams’ possible impact in particular. The Cavs have been without a veteran backup at the point guard position since Matthew Dellavedova signed with the Bucks and Mo Williams abruptly retired.

The gap between the Cavaliers and everybody else in the Eastern Conference just got a little bit wider,” Mannix says.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • Once again, LeBron James is making a case to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, writes ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. Veteran forward James Jones spoke about James’ bid for yet another award and why his case sometimes gets overlooked. “Sometimes they get bored with what they know is coming, even if that’s still the best option out there.”
  • Agents have substantial influence on the waiver wire, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Vardon suggests that NBA front offices would  be wise to heed an agent’s request to not put in a bid for a veteran player going through the waiver processes, lest they want to damage their chances of doing business with the agency in the future.
  • Veteran Kyle Korver spoke about his recent return to Atlanta and Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal published video of the conversation. “It felt like I was on a really long road trip and I came back,” he said. The forward speaks fondly of his time with the Hawks but is grateful for his opportunity in Cleveland.

And-Ones: Hansbrough, D. Williams, Draft

Veteran forward Tyler Hansbrough recently signed a D-League contract and has now been claimed by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the league announced in a press release. It’s a reunion of sorts of Hansbrough and the Pacers — the former UNC standout played in Indiana for his first four NBA seasons, and will now play for the team’s D-League affiliate.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • Deron Williams is a member of the Cavaliers now, and we heard this week that there may be mutual interest in a reunion between him and the Jazz down the road. However, those weren’t the only teams that had interest in him around the time of the trade deadline. Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes that the Bucks and Clippers also considered the veteran point guard as a trade target.
  • In his latest look at the 2017 NBA draft, ESPN’s Chad Ford (Insider link) examines the lottery teams and identifies the best fit for each of those clubs in the event that they land a top-three pick. As Ford notes, Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball are widely considered the top two prospects in the draft, but there are differing opinions on which order they should be picked, and who should be drafted after they’re off the board.
  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders identified some of the front office executives around the NBA who figure to receive general manager consideration in the not-too-distant future if they’re willing to consider leaving their current clubs. Tony Ronzone (Mavericks), Matt Lloyd (Magic), and Tommy Sheppard (Wizards) are among Kyler’s picks.
  • NBA Africa VP Amadou Gallo Fall spoke to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated about the league’s efforts to grow the game in Africa.

Cavaliers Notes: McRae, Bogut, Dellavedova, Williams

Second-year guard Jordan McRae expressed no bitterness on his way out the door after being waived today, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. He was released to open a roster spot for the signing of free agent center Andrew Bogut. McRae appeared in 37 games for the Cavs this season, starting four, but was only playing about 10 minutes per night. He will receive all of his nearly $1.15MM salary. “All smiles here,” McRae posted on his Instagram account. “Not a bad thing to say about any player or anybody that has anything to do with this organization. I’m proud to say I am a part of Cleveland’s first-ever NBA championship. The memories I will take with me for the rest of my life. Best of luck to this great group of guys, brothers for life love you guys. Thanks Cleveland.”

There’s more tonight out of Cleveland:

  • Former Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova played a role in helping Bogut, a fellow Australian, choose Cleveland, tweets TNT analyst David Aldridge. Dellavedova, who spent three seasons with the Cavs before a sign-and-trade sent him to Milwaukee over the summer, gave a glowing recommendation to Bogut about the players and the organization.
  • Deron Williams, who signed with the Cavaliers on Monday, said the defending champions were the “best fit” for him, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. The veteran point guard, who committed to Cleveland after agreeing to a buyout with the Mavericks, said he considered the city when he was in a similar situation in 2015. He also cited a friendship with guard Kyle Korver, who was a former teammate in Utah. “I just feel like I’ll be comfortable here,” Williams said. “I’ll have a significant role here, with the need for a backup for Kyrie [Irving] and also being able to play with Kyrie. We get a chance to play together and of course competing for a championship is something that I haven’t had a chance to do.”
  • James believes it’s too early to say whether this year’s roster is now better than last year’s, Vardon writes in a separate piece. This week’s signings of Williams and Bogut added two accomplished veterans to an already-talented team and filled the primary needs for a backup point guard and an extra big man. “Yeah, we’re pretty deep and the biggest thing is just trying to get everyone to mesh together and who plays well together and who doesn’t,” said coach Tyronn Lue.
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