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Cleveland Cavaliers

Letter from Summer League

By admin Published: July 10, 2007

Las Vegas -- Greetings from South Nevada, where the temps are hot and the action at the Vegas Summer League is, well, not. Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, the two headliners, haven't played well so far. No big deal, I've been to five summer leagues and see lots of top picks struggle. It means nothing, really. Durant can't make a shot and Oden keeps fouling, largely because he's using his hands too much. They will both be fine. But here's a few Cavs happenings.
--Anderson Varejao met with the Memphis Grizzlies over the weekend in Las Vegas. The Cavs have also met with Varejao's agent, Dan Fegan. Varejao and the Cavs are far apart right now, which is to be somewhat expected. As has been discussed here before, it is hard to put a value on him. That said, there are signs the Grizzlies may present Varejao with an official offer sheet after Wednesday, when free agents may sign. Depending on how aggressive the Grizzlies are, the Cavs will probably have to do some stewing. Danny Ferry has been saying he will match, which follows normal strategy. Fegan has been playing hardball, which follows normal strategy. So we'll see what happens and just how much everybody values Varejao, but things could heat up very soon.
--Daniel Gibson played well the first two games, but couldn't finish either. He had a cut on his face that required stitches in the first game and he sprained his left ankle against the Chinese on Sunday. It isn't bad, but Gibson told me it had swollen a bit. He'd been playing well, scoring 14 points in the first half and often looking like the best player on the floor Sudnay. At this point, he probably was. The Cavs and Gibson himself are not ruling out a return, but it's highly doubtful he'll play again this week. He told me he plans to workout again with John Lucas in Houston for the rest the summer, which is what he did last year. Overall, he just continues to impress and the organization is extremely excited about his future.
--Shannon Brown is playing with more poise than he showed last year. He's put some hard work into developing his mid-range game it seems. He is so very impressive with his aggressive drives to the basket and flashy dunks, which he's had a few of already. He had 26 points against the Chinese as he repeatedly drove to the basket and finished. But they were playing zone and couldn't stop him, so I don't know how to judge it. In the other games, including tonight when he went 5-of-19 against the Suns, he's struggled to hit a high volume of shots. He has been playing point guard some, although he is not one and will not be one probably. He's thrown some great passes but he's dribble happy, often taking too long to get into a move. Overall, he's better and he's still working very hard, he has a chance to make a push for playing time come this fall.
--Dwayne Jones plays very hard and he fights for every rebound. His skills, though, are still very raw. Not sure about his future with the team.
--Darius Rice, a lanky 6-foot-10 shooter from Miami, has been the most impressive non-roster player for the Cavs. He scored 21 points in the win over the Suns and had 19 against the Spurs on Saturday. The man can shoot and can create his shot a little bit for a guy his size. Worth watching some more.

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