LeBron made some pointed comments after the Team USA scrimmage about his love of up tempo basketball. Have you heard anything from the Cavs that indicates an upcoming change in their offensive philosophy? Seems to me that appeasing James might not be a bad idea. I agree LeBron sent a jabbing little message from Vegas. However, my advice to him would be to do it more behind closed doors. Ask Kobe how his public demands have gone. LeBron should want the Cavs to improve, but he needs to do his part as well. He said he had to improve over the offseason, we'll see if he's able to.
Who do you think would be/should be on the CAVS short list in terms of assistant coach addition?
As a beat writer for one team, I don't know every assistant coach in the league and his strengths. I have been led to believe the Cavs want a new and somewhat loud and experienced voice to "evaluate everything they do." That's why they have interviewed men like Dwane Casey, a former head coach with lots of experience.
What is the best way to handle the roster players on the end of the Cavs’ bench? Guys like Scot Pollard, David Wesley and Ira Newble. Trade, cut or find a way to use their talents? Is the only answer to leave them sit at the end of the bench and let time take its course. Do you feel that any of the last 5 players on the 15 man roster have anything to offer? Would any non-contract Summer League Players be any better? Could you evaluate by player? I think this is a good question for the dead time of the year, while many of us still want to read about the Cavs.
Pollard probably won't be back, neither will Wesley and if Ira Newble isn't traded by the deadline, he'll probably be bought out. You always need to have veterans who can fill in on the bench. But there are always going to be 3-5 players who don't play, what you want is a mix of developing players and veterans. The Cavs have had that over the last several years.
Whats the latest on the Bibby trade?
Now that Mikki Moore has been signed by Sacramento, I don't see it happening unless a third team gets involved. I believe Kings GM Geoff Petrie has said he doesn't expect to trade him right now. The moment passed.
With Countryside and other mortgage lending companies reporting losses and concerns about future earnings, should we have any concerns about Quicken Loans and Dan Gilbert’s willingness to go outside the cap?
Excellent question. Quicken Loans is a private company, so they don't have to release earnings reports. With the housing downturn, there are less loans being processed so it stands to reason there is less business being done. Also, Quicken Loans doesn't service many of their mortgages, they sell them off. They make money in churn, in the volume of them turning over. How the downturn could affect the Cavs is unclear, Dan Gilbert has constantly shown the willingness to spend money and, as a result, he just had the great financial season in team history. I don't see him changing his philosophy. He still has a company turning over billions in loans.
I wouldn’t exactly call this entire scenario a rumor but it has recently been reported that the Cavs were exploring sending Gooden back home to the Warriors, who have a $9M trade exception at their disposal. Could you see something like a three-way deal sending Drew to GS, Ira and Damon and the GS trade exception to Phoenix, and Shawn Marion to the Cavs? It seems like it makes too much sense to actually happen, assuming that Phoenix really wants to dump some salary.
Two reactions here, I think Phoenix has dumped all the salary is it going to. Steve Kerr talked about those moves "keeping the core together." Marion is part of that core. I would not rule out Gooden being traded, however, it will not be for a trade exception unless it is part of a three-way deal. Also, understand the Cavs will not trade Gooden without having a plan in place to replace him in the lineup.
Hey, Brian, I saw that Henry (TrueHoop) mentioned a book that you’re working on. Is it true? When will it be available? Terry Pluto and I have written a book on LeBron and the Cavs, a 15-month project we started at the end of the 2005-06 season. It is called The Franchise, and will be coming out at the start of the upcoming season. I believe it is the most inside and detailed piece ever written about LeBron. Part of that is because I'm biased, part of it is because I've read everything ever written on him. Hopefully many of you will check it out, it is due to come out in October.
Brian, Cavs fans tend to view the Cavs’ offense as well… well, you know: bad. What’s the league wide view of Mike Brown and Danny Ferry in that regard?
Most of the league gives Mike Brown credit for having a great defense and they laugh or shake their heads at his offense. Again, everybody knows they need a point guard, too.
How does your blogging influence your job as a reporter? I remember McInnis stopped talking to you. For example, does Damon Jones laugh when you tease his fashion sense, or does he hold it against you? Does your relationships with individual players even matter any more given how little exclusive access you have? Blogging is just an extension of what I do as a reporter, just a different form of reporting. Unlike some bloggers, who comment from afar, I am on the inside. This is both a positive and a negative. In general, most players do not read stories or blogs but their friends and families do. Some of them read everything. Over the course of a season, five or six times you upset a player, coach or the general manager and have to deal with the fallout. Sometimes you're wrong, sometimes you're right. Part of the job. As Paul Silas said, "ain't nothing going to be a bed of roses."
I think the best question of all directly relates to the first 10 words of this blog entry: Why has this been a quiet summer for Cavs news? This baffles me. This should baffle you. This should baffle everybody.
The Cavs know they need to make changes. Whether or not you agree, they feel like doing it through trade is a better option than this summer's free agent market. They are investigating options. They don't have to have a complete team in July. At some point they will make a deal and there will be plenty to talk about then.
I’m concerned that the Cavs are strapped down by contracts and will remain the same team if/until Lebron has the ability to bolt via free agency. Do you feel the same? For the foreseeable future the Cavs will not have salary cap flexibility. Guess what? Neither do 90 percent of the teams in the league. Of the teams that had cap flexibility this summer only one of them was in the playoffs last year, No. 8 seed Orlando. Now, they are bogged down in contracts. Everybody is strapped down by contracts to a certain extent. The Cavs have a young core and an owner willing to spend, they are in position to contend for titles. As for LeBron's future, it is impossible to predict what the league will look like one year from now, much less three years.
How can we get that “soul patch” shaved off the back of Drew Gooden’s head?
Wait for it to go out of style in Oakland.
What about Navarro?
The Wizards want cap relief or draft picks for him. Cavs don't really have either, so I don't think it is a great chance. However, he has to be dealt by the end of the week so his price may drop.
Maybe an odd question but I know the Cleveland Indians are a very tight group with great team chemistry. They play a lot of pranks on each other, they also always have video game tournaments as well. Do the Cavs players pull off any good pranks towards each other or have any weird bonding traditions to maybe better the chemisty?
In general, the Cavs have good team chemistry. To my knowledge, the locker room has been very stable over the last several years. As for pranks, other than small stuff to the rookies, I haven't seen pranks. They do play lots of video games and lots of poker with each other. Like on every team, there are cliques of players who go out together and hang out at each other's houses.
What is goin’ on with the Sasha talks? Not much. I think the Cavs like Sasha, but I'm not sure they want to commit to anything long term with Daniel Gibson and Shannon Brown there. I think they'd like to re-sign him to a cheap, short term deal. What is complicated is wings have signed for all over the board this summer, from Jason Kapono and Luke Walton getting near the mid-level while players like DeShawn Stevenson and Morris Petterson getting much less.
What is going on with the Anderson talks? I suspect the Cavs are offering somewhere in the range of 3 years, $18 million. I suspect that Anderson is weighing taking this guarenteed money vs. taking the minimum tender of 1 year, $1.8 million. If he takes the low-ball offer, he is expecting to hit a bigger contract. He is debating whether the guarenteed offer is better than the risk of injury/competing with some of the top NBA players who will be free agents next year.
Anderson's agent, Dan Fegan, has had success in the past by waiting out the summer. Two years ago, he go Erick Dampier a massive deal in late August. Last year, he got Reggie Evans a five-year deal at about the same time. So he'll wait things out. The Cavs have an offer on the table that isn't likely to improve much right now. The only X-factor in place now is whether Andy is feeling pressure to sign to play for Brazil in the FIBA qualifier next month. If he lets that go, it could be September before he makes up his mind.
What do you think the Cavs’ biggest need is in order to get a championship? They have some glaring shortcomings in the makeup of their team and I know what I consider to be the biggest one of them all. What I want to know is what you think it is. They play championship quality defense. They have a playoff game-changing star. They don't have championship offense, which a quality point guard could help fix.
Do the Cavs have any interest in Brendon Haywood? Since watching him shut down Z in the playoffs in ‘06, I’ve thought he would be a good fit here because he would bring some shot-blocking and some attitude, plus he can run the floor a little. His contract seems somewhat reasonable and I know he’s in the coach’s doghouse in Washington. If we could get him for the spare parts you talked about earlier that could decrease a team’s cap number (i.e., Wesley, Jones, Newble, ect.) and maybe a draft pick I’d do it in a minute. Or maybe they could get haywood and Navarro in a trade for Andy?
I think the Wizards would do that deal, but I don't think the Cavs would. Haywood is what you'd call a "quality big" who has a reasonable contract. However, he's been a problem in the locker room and with the head coach. The Cavs don't like players who are problems.
I’ve always wondered if there is a resource for NBA player salaries. I’m always currious about the plausability of trade scenarios, but never know where to find out about player salaries that match.
Hoopshype isn't 100 percent accurate, but is pretty close. ESPN and Real GM also have trade checkers. Under the current rules, players salaries have to be within 25 percent plus $100,000 for a deal to win. Teams cannot combine players with trade exceptions in deals.
Is LeBron working on his mid-range jumper with team USA? He looked very bad at the end of the Blue vs. White game where Kobe hit the jumper with 1.6 seconds left. I haven't been with Team USA, so I just don't know the answer to this one.
Why isn’t Danny Ferry burning up Seattle’s phone lines trying to pry one of their three talented young point guards away? This seems like a no brainer to me. Both Earl Watson and Delonte West play good defense and can make threes when left open. I’m very perplexed.
I am sure Danny talks with Seattle GM Sam Presti, who he is close with, quite often. As for Watson, he isn't that great of a shooter and his contract isn't great. The Cavs have more interest in West, who has been injury prone. I think the Sonics may spend time evaluating their players before trading them, though.
As versatile as our combination of big men are, my impression is that they’re “soft”. i submit that we need a defensive “MF” type who will cold cock a guy driving the lane. of course, as long we’re good, we’ll never draft high enough to get that kind of player in the draft. Supposedly that was what Scot Pollard was for. I did notice more of an edge from the Cavs this season compared to last. Varejao and Gooden aren't afraid to hard foul. They'd like to have a guy like that as their fifth big man, we'll see who is available in that spot over the next six weeks.
Is gooden really as much a space cowboy as some accounts hint? for example, in the pistons game where we have a 4 point lead, during the timeout, you can read lebron’s lips “don’t leave the f-ing floor” - and sure enough rasheed jacks up a 3 point attempt, and gooden LEAVES THE FLOOR in a block attempt - a foul on a 3 point shot being the only way the pistons could tie the game. that and his “YEEE!” gives me the impression he’s just a big 6 year old with an attention span to match. as skilled as he is, 4-5 of those types of brain farts a game is what could keep any team from being champions.
Drew is a very smart and thoughtful person. On the court, however, his focus tends to drift. This is partially because he's a very emotional player. He will always have to deal with this and so will any team that has him. Of course, Andy tried making a spin move from 15 feet away in Game 3 of the Finals. All players have pluses and minuses. Could he keep the Cavs from being a champion? I don't know how to answer that one.
Is there any indication on who Lebron wants to bring to Cleveland? It seems that he has the first and final say.
Yes, he'd like Jason Kidd. Then again, so would Kobe Bryant.
Does Danny Ferry think the Cavs can take the next step and win the NBA championship with the same personnel they ended the season with? Also, how possible would it be somehow get Jason Kidd? There seems to be an mutual respect there between he and LeBron which I would think would make the team probable to repeat in the East and an excellent contender for it all. It would also give boobie a couple years to mature into kidd’s role. No, Ferry knows they must improve. Right now, it is impossible to trade for Kidd. It is also impossible to trade for LeBron.
Have the cavs made any efforts to go after Mike Connelly? Do you think he will be a good pro? I assume you mean Mike Conley. After talking with Grizzlies coach Marc Iavaroni at summer league, he looks at Conley as a franchise player. So no, the Cavs won't be getting him. He will have some problems scoring because he's not a good shooter and on defense big guys might bother him, but I think he's got a chance to be a great player. I'm talking Chris Paul, Deron Williams-type great. He's super quick and he can make any pass from anywhere.
Why don’t the Cavs trade S. Brown to Bucks for rights to PF L. Ji from China? I hear LeBron is big in China, so maybe they won’t object playing with LeBron. We could use more scoring from the big guys. Is there a chance?
Do you mean Yi Jianlian? Why would the Bucks trade him for Shannon Brown? I'm not sure there is a player on the Cavs roster other than LeBron the Bucks would trade Yi for right now.
Z is getting older, but he’ll still be a valuable player for a couple years to come. We’ve noticed he can hit the open jumper from a step inside the 3-line somewhat consistently. Wouldn’t it be great if he could work on that shot and maybe extend it back behind the line, since he’s becoming less and less effective inside?
Z is pretty good from 15-18 feet, which he's developed for years. He might be a descent 3-point shooter, but that really isn't his game. He gets many of them on pick-and-rolls from the wing. I'm not sure it is a viable option, I'd rather see him continue to develop the hook.
Hey there. Not a Cavs fan, I’m from MPLS (Go Wolves!) but I got your link from Henry Abbott’s True Hoop. Anyways, I was wondering about a 4-day NBA camp in Vegas that Craig Smith and Rashad McCants are attending. I was wondering what type of stuff they do there, how common they are and, to throw a little local flavor in, are there any Cavs attending these camps this summer?
I believe you are referring to Tim Grugich's camp, which is a development camp. It is a way for young players and coaches to come together and work on things. Not sure if any Cavs are there. He's been running it for 20 years.
From this point on when is the best time to pickup a player. Dog Days of August? (As contracts are being finaliized) Just prior to Training Camp in September? End of Training Camp when rosters are cut? Early in the Season? Anytime? (All are about the same.) As a fan when can we expect the bulk of the player movement?
The bulk of major player movement has been done. However, every year there are players out there who sign right at the end of the summer who make impacts. Usually guys who are sort of undervalued in the league. A player like Jannero Pargo, Devin Brown or even Earl Boykins might be in this category.
It seems from what I have read and watched that most of the starters are being underutilized being that they are told to fit the system rather than play to their strengths. If this is an accurate assessment, do you believe that Coach Brown should change his approach or should there be new players brought in to fit his system? With that being said, with the current list of players, who would you say would be realistic and helpful for this team? I really appreciate reading your column and hope you keep up the good work, thank you! I wish I knew what Mike Brown's offensive system was. I believe having a better point guard would allow some player's talents to flourish more on offense. Getting any starting quality point guard probably would help a great deal. But you can't get those guys on the street corner.
What could the cavs get for larry hughes?
Bad contracts and/or players who are not as good as him. But that could change down the line.
If u were the GM what would u do???
Well I personally think getting an offensive-minded assistant coach would really help. Danny Ferry and Mike Brown disagree with me on this. That and get any sort of point guard, not just a home run player, because I think it would help. People forget that when Jeff McInnis was playing under control, he really helped the Cavs. He was just a mid-level point guard.
How come Sarunas Jasikevicius can’t get any playing time? it seems like he can run an offense and he can shoot, but he’s been on two teams and can’t get more than 10 minutes a night. he seems like a good fit for the cavs, but is there something i’m missing? is his defense that bad? He has defensive problems, but in Golden State it is more of a numbers issue. There are more talented guys ahead of him. He has an expiring contract, wouldn't surprise me if he was traded again.
Ferry is known for playing his cards close to his chest in his dealing and targeted acquistions. how do you think that is viewed by 1) the press - does it make your job harder? 2) the Cavs organization - does Gilbert look at that as plus? 3) the players - unlike NY, is it benficial not see player names daily in proposed trades 4) the fans - does it give fans the perception that nothing is going on behind the scenes
It doesn't matter what the media thinks, although there are some who think he should be more proactive. Overall, Dan Gilbert is very pleased with how Ferry has performed thus far. The players would all like to play more, score more and be paid more. The fans want the team to improve and want it to happen yesterday while the GM has to think for the long term. In other words, being a GM is a hard job from a perception standpoint.
Are there any trades/players that the Cavs are currently targeting? With all the talk it seems like the Cavs will pass on the MLE unless something catastrophic happens and improve through trade…
The Cavs will use some of the mid-level exception if they need to, but they'd rather re-sign Varejao and Pavlovic and attempt to make a trade. They do need a fifth big man, so it is possible they'll dip into it for that purpose.
What is the news on a true PG? What is your prediction of who and when? I am guessing at the all-star break- what’s your thoughts?
I wish I knew. The Magic (Keyon Dooling), Sonics (Watson, West), Rockets (Rafer Alston, John Lucas) and Timberwolves (Troy Hudson) all have spare point guards at the moment. More may become available as the season goes along. I think Ferry would like to acquire a major addition so he may see how certain situations play out before making a move.
Why the hell are we (the Cavs) taking a “flyer” on Brevin Knight? He can’t do worse than Eric Snow and he actually has a jump shot that opponents have to factor in when they create their defensive schemes. The dude had over 6 assisteses per game! That’s LeBron-esque! It’s better to have the ball in his hands than Larry Hughes…what do you think, Brian?
Knight can't shoot and isn't as good of a defender as Snow. So I don't see how he'd help the Cavs. He can distribute, but how does that free up LeBron from double teams? Perhaps if he's out of work in September the Cavs will consider it.
Just wondering if lebron’s been working out his game..? his jumper is atrocious and he needs to develop his post game… any update on this? thanks sir..
LeBron is always working, he hinted at the end of the season he was interested in a shooting coach. I have not spoken to him since the end of the season, so I don't know what he's working on. I will ask when I have the chance.
Whatever happened to that young intern you were mentoring, Brian? Did he ever approach any of the Cavs girls?
You are referring to Jordan Zirm, he's starting college at the University of Missouri in the fall.
Maybe someone else already asked this, but I would be interested in some sort of projection/chart of the Cavs salary cap for the next few years, with team options and player options, it is hard to understand what happens when. Particularly, I am wondering if we are going to have any more offseasons with cap space before LeBron can opt out. Thank you. It is hard to predict because no one is sure what Varejao and Pavlovic will sign for. As it stands now, the Cavs potentially could have $15-$20 million in cap space in two years when Snow, Donyell Marshall, Gooden and Damon Jones come off the cap. It's way to early to determine whether that will still be there then. The Cavs are going after a title, not to save that space.
Why is Mike Brown against having an offensive coordinator?
Because he thinks he can coach offense and he thinks he's getting better. He and Danny have told me it is unrealistic because the head coach should be the one calling the plays. It is easier to have a defensive coordinator, they say, because most defensive adjustments take place in timeouts and not on the fly. To me, it doesn't matter who calls the plays. I think the system is what needs some work.
That is all for now. I have some more in my e-mail inbox, I will answer those in the next post.