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Cleveland Cavaliers

Summer league wrap and more

By admin Published: July 18, 2007

--To start with, the Mike Bibby deal looks to be totally off. While I was confident last week because the talks were ongoing, with the Kings signing Mikki Moore, they likely are no longer interested in Drew Gooden. There are all sorts of rumors flying around the league as to why the deal did not get done last week when it was on the table. I'm not going to relate them here, but let's just say some are weird and wild. The Cavs really liked Luis Scola, who they could've acquired from the Spurs if they were willing to take Jackie Butler after the Bibby talks stopped. They were not, so they didn't get that deal done either. Scola is an excellent pick-and-roll player and a good passer. He should excel in Houston, Rick Adelman's offense needs good passing big men (Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, etc.).
--The Cavs believe the best way for the team to improve is through a trade, not the free agent market. Which is why they have been on the sidelines. Some trades come off in a hurry, some take time. The Cavs have been discussions with many teams. They do not have to make the trade today or even at the start of the season. Because they are so close, what is important is the trade works. Not how fast it is done. That may not be popular truth, but it is reality.
--Much of what happens in summer league can be thrown out, especially the stats. They are a basis to make some judgments, but more importantly Vegas sort of gives an update on where players are. Last year, for example, Sasha Pavlovic played and was pretty much terrible. Obviously, it wasn't the end for him. That said, Shannon Brown was not especially impressive. He wasn't bad, he did some good things, but there were not signs that he was about to take a big step. He handled the ball a lot and made some nice passes, but he is not a point guard. He did not shoot well from the outside and overall did not execute at a high percentage went going to the basket. He did show some amazing athleticism, which is his best attribute. Based on the way the Cavs currently are put together, I find it hard to believe he will be able to play ahead of Pavlovic, Eric Snow or Daniel Gibson. He is a better defender than Damon Jones, but his shooting issues will make it challenging for him to get major minutes. Several coaches/scouts told me they were underwhelmed by him. So that's the report, it isn't the final one, just the latest.
--Meanwhile, Gibson picked right back up where left off at the end of the season. He missed two games with injury, but for the most part he shot well and let the game come to him. He continues to work on the little floater in the lane, which has the potential to be a nice weapon. The Cavs front office is more convinced than ever that he could be a special player.
--Based on what I saw, the Cavs coaches told me and other scouts and coaches said, there didn't appear to be any other players on the Cavs summer team who are serious candidates to make the team.
--Right now, the Cavs are considering opening the regular season with Larry Hughes at point guard. They are exploring other options to be sure, but in the short term it may very well be the best option if the roster stays intact. Please consider the following:
Here are numbers from the 24 games Hughes started at point guard in the regular season: Record: 17-7 PPG: 99.6 FG pct.: .464 APG: 23.4
In those games, Hughes averaged 15.4 points and 4.1 assists.
Numbers when someone else started: Record: 33-25 PPG: 95.6 FG pct.: .440 APG: 19.8
He may not be the total answer there, but I often think many fans overlook his value because everyone thinks about his contract first. He does not produce at a near-max deal level, that is a reality. He should not be shooting so many jumpers. But he is a quality player and was a big part of many Cavs wins over the last two years.
--The word going around the NBA is that the Spurs are ready to sign defensive wing Ime Udoka, who had a good year in Portland last year. But right now the Spurs are over the luxury-tax threshold and want to get under it to make the deal. The Cavs have David Wesley (cap number $1.8 million, real money owed $250,000) and a $2.2 million trade exception. There may be a deal to be made there, remember the Cavs like third-string point guard Beno Udrih. The Cavs could trade either for Udrih, if the Spurs can part with him for nothing in return, which isn't certain. Although, they just gave away Scola and Butler for no players in return.

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