How strongly do you feel Dion is outta here? Likely trade for SF? Who’s the best option in your opinion? @MDS1001
Anything to support your belief Dion will be traded or is that just a gut feeling? @DSRobuck
Let me be clear about this. No one in the Cavs organization has said Dion Waiters will be traded. In fact, the Cavs continue to insist the opposite. They’re in no rush to make a move, they won’t be leveraged or pressured into making a bad deal and they haven’t offered Waiters to any team in trade talks.
But part of my job is to take all the information, assemble the puzzle pieces and look at the picture. And from all of the conversations I’ve had in recent weeks, I get the feeling Waiters will be dealt. The Cavs are committing long term to Kyrie Irving, and real questions remain whether the two can coexist.
Even in Friday’s win, when Waiters was sensational during the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, his offensive explosion occurred while Irving was on the bench.
It’s just like when Andrew Bynum returned for opening night. No one in the organization had said that would happen, but when enough pieces fall into place, you can start to see the big picture. That’s how I thought in mid-October the Cavs were preparing Bynum to play in the opener and that’s how I feel with Waiters.
If the Cavs don’t get an offer they like for him, they’ll hold onto him. I get the impression there are teams around the league interested in him.
When neither is injured, during Kyrie’s top 10 scoring games, what does Dion Waiters average? And vice versa? @calaufer
I did this a bit differently. Irving has scored at least 30 points 18 times now and the Cavs are 12-6. Waiters averages 11.7 points and shoots 36 percent in Irving’s best games. Waiters averages 14.6 points for his career and is shooting 41 percent.
Waiters has scored at least 25 points in six career games. Irving has also played in four of them and averages 14 points and shoots 30 percent. Irving averages 20.7 points and is shooting 45 percent for his career. The Cavs are 2-4 when Waiters scores 25 or more.
Now here’s the fascinating part that could be purely coincidental. The Cavs might be 12-6 when Irving scores at least 30, but they’re 1-4 when Irving scores 30 and Waiters doesn’t play. They’re 11-2 when Irving scores 30 and Waiters plays, even if it’s poorly.
Could there be a point in the season when Chris Grant faces a conflict of interest regarding the team’s future? For example, if the Cavs continue to flounder, the best option would be to stockpile assets (e.g., picks), align for a high draft pick, and plan for next year. However, if he were to propose this plan to Dan Gilbert (e.g., trade away veterans and/or young players), then that’s an obvious indication that Grant’s rebuilding effort was a failure (or didn’t match Dan’s timeline). As such, Grant’s only option is to shoot for a low playoff seed and, potentially, make moves that are good in the short term, but harmful long term.
Carl (via email)
Your scenario could absolutely become realistic when the Cavs have to decide if they’re really in it and if playing for the eighth seed is worth it or if they should cut bait, trade some key pieces and align for a talent-rich 2014 draft.
Fortunately for the Cavs, they have been playing much better the last couple weeks and seem to be trending upward. If that continues, they’ll forge ahead with playing for this season and improving their playoff status as much as possible.
If the Cavs begin to flounder again, difficult decisions will have to be made throughout the organization.
Does Zeller have any more room to really grow? Is this what you expected from him? Thanks Jason. @JohnFanta13
Tyler Zeller got off to a terrible start because of the hip injury in the team’s intrasquad scrimmage and then the appendicitis that effectively forced him out of all of training camp. He’s been trying to catch up ever since, but that’s difficult to do.
With Andrew Bynum playing well, minutes for Zeller will remain limited as long as Anderson Varejao stays healthy. The Cavs remain high on him, though, and I don’t think they would trade him because of the precarious health status of both Bynum and Varejao. Zeller is a great insurance policy. Remember, he was invited to Team USA’s minicamp last summer and he’s the Cavs’ fifth big.
Do you see Anthony Bennett as the Cavs starting small forward by season’s end? @JLeBeau76
The Cavs would be thrilled if that happened, but that’s entirely up to Bennett. He flashed a couple glimpses of hope in Friday’s win over the Magic, including a dunk off a great lob from Jarrett Jack and a couple of inside moves. Bennett has shown more of a willingness to play inside in recent days. That absolutely must continue for him to have any success in this league.
If the Cavs don’t trade for a small forward, watching Bennett grow into the starting role over the next couple of months would thrill the front office and coaching staff. I’m just not sure it’s realistic.
Do you think 10 road wins gets the Cavs in the playoffs, assuming they continue to play well at home? @jaysizzel16
The eighth seed in the East has averaged 38 victories over the last five years. For the Cavs to go 10-31 on the road and reach the playoffs means they’d have to go 28-13 at home. That’s precisely the pace they’re on, but that’s cutting it awfully close.
Over the last 12 years, the Atlanta Hawks’ 12 road victories in 2007-08 is the fewest among playoff teams in the East.
With Bynum playing well, when do the Cavs have to make a commitment to him for next season? @ctoil40
The Cavs hold a team option on Bynum for a guaranteed $12 million. They have to exercise that option by June 30 to retain him for next season.