Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Real Chosen One

Before I get into my Cavs NBA Draft Review, this afternoon Chris Grant and Co. made a trade with the Sacramento Kings. The Cavs traded 22 year old PF JJ HIckson to the Sacramento Kings for Omri Casspi and a conditional first round pick. The conditions on the first round pick are as follows: lottery-protected in 2012 (1-14). The pick is then protected in 2013 (1-13), 2014 (1-12) and 2015-2017 (1-10). If the pick is not conveyed by 2017, then Sacramento will convey its own 2017 second round draft pick to the Cavaliers protected (56-60). Here are my thoughts:

-First, I am not that happy with the protection parameters. I think having a lottery protected pick in 2012 is fair, considering how deep the draft class is. Someone at #14 would have been a #5 pick in the 2011 Draft. But the protections in 2013 and 2014 are killers. I think they should've been top 10 protected in 2013 and top 6 protected in 2014 and unprotected in 2015. The Kings have a solid young core in Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, Marcus Thornton, Hickson and Jimmer Fredette. I don't expect them to make the playoffs next year, but they could show some steep improvements in 2013. The problem with the Kings are that they have 2 black holes on defense in Cousins and Hickson and a ball hog in Evans. This team will score points, but will give up a lot of them too.

-With that said, I have learned from a source connected with the Cavs that Hickson's camp let the Cavs know months ago that he was unhappy here. That displeasure only rose after the Cavs drafted PF Tristian Thompson last week. Also, the belief out of Hickson's camp was that he wanted $10 million a year and the Cavs were not willing to pay him that. With that said, it becomes obvious why the Cavs traded Hickson. One, he was unhappy here. Two, he had unrealistic expectations for his new contract. Three, with the Cavs emphasis on defense (this was addressed by Byron Scott after the draft), Hickson was not going to last long here. Often times last year, he clashed with Byron Scott, struggled to maintain focus, was late on defensive rotations or completely missed them and drew stupid fouls many times. I like Hickson's athleticism, rebounding and offensive skills, but he really lacked basketball IQ and didn't seem to care much about defense. On a side note, the source noted that PG Ramon Sessions was next to go....

-The Cavs addressed one of the main weaknesses on the roster by trading for Casspi, who is a 6'9 SF. He is the first Israeli born player to play in the NBA. He scored 8 points per game and grabbed 4 rebounds a game last year, as he both started and came off the bench last year. Those numbers don't jump out at you but he is a solid 3 point shooter (37% from 3 in 2011), has good ball handling skills and can get up and down the court well. He isn't a great defender as he lacks lateral quickness and cannot create his own offense. Creating his own offense isn't a big concern with me as the Cavs have both Baron Davis and Kyrie Irving to help set up players. Casspi is a passionate player who needed a change of scenery from the disfunction that is the Sacramento Kings. He is still young at 23 years of age and will either start or get major minutes off the bench. While he may not have the upside of Hickson, he is a solid player who will listen to coaches and give maximum effort every night.

-I think the front office's reasoning behind this was that they wouldn't keep Hickson after 2011 and to try their best to get a 2012 first rounder. I doubt any team 1-20 would trade their first rounder for Hickson. People think that Grant could have done better with the draft pick, but if he could've, don't you think he would have? With that said, the Cavs knew Hickson wasn't going to stay, they added cheap young talent, that fits a need on the team. Also, the first round pick could become very valuable in 2013 or 2014. While this may sound bad, this further worsens the Cavs roster as Hickson is a better player than Casspi, so I am guessing the Cavs are in full tank mode. Most Cavs fans are trying to rebuild this team in a year or so by throwing out free agent signing idea for players such as Nene, Jason Richardson, Marc Gasol and Tyson Chandler. We aren't going to trade for Dwight Howard or Chris Paul either folks. The only free agents the Cavs should sign should be young players to short term contracts(PF Brandan Wright and SF/PF Earl Clark are just some examples). No free agent will turn this team around serious contender anytime soon. We need to rebuild through the draft and trades. No need to try to hinder our future cap space for a short term fix. I am fine with tanking 2012, getting a high draft pick and hopefully landing a great young player. This model works, just ask the Oklahoma City Thunder.

-Another piece of news to consider, the NBA lockout is looming. If the Union and Owners cannot agree on a deal by midnight tonight, the Owners will lockout the players. Many analysts and observers are expecting a tough battle between the two sides, with no resolution in sight. If the 2012 NBA season is cancelled, the 2012 Draft odds would be the same as 2011. The Clippers would get their first rounder back, but the Cavs would have the 2nd best odds to get the #1 overall pick and would be guaranteed a top 4 pick. That means the Cavs would have a chance to get PF/C Anthony Davis, SF Harrison Barnes, SF Michael Gilchrist, SF/PF James McAdoo or SF Terrance Jones.

All in all, if I had to grade this trade right now, I would give it a B-. I thought the Cavs could have extracted more value for Hickson, but apparently the market was thin. Maybe teams had some leverage over the Cavs because of the fact that we drafted Tristian and already had Andy/Jamison at the 4 as well. While the protections aren't great, the Kings are a more talented team than people think. If this becomes a first rounder in 2013 or 2014, I will give it a higher grade. The Kings aren't going to be able to afford Hickson after this year, so this is basically a rental for them. Add in the fact we got a solid wing player and a possible lottery pick, it's not as bad of a deal as people believe. Kudos to Grant and Co. for continuing to gather first round picks as they already got one in the Baron Davis deal, 2 more firsts in the LeBron sign and trade (must be used from 2013-2017 but not in consecutive years) and another possible one in this deal. Besides Sessions, I am very interested in seeing what the Cavs can do with the $14.5 million trade exception (the exception cannot be used with another player, so we can't use the exception with Sessions). Let's see if they can get either a future first round draft pick for taking on a bad contract.

Thanks for reading. Go Cleveland!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Cavs NBA Draft 2011 Preview

Well, although I don't write as much, I think now is the time to write a good entry with the NBA Draft being 3 days away. The Cavs currently hold picks #1, #4, #32 and #54. What are the Cavs needs? Everything. When you are rebuilding a team, with no clear franchise player, your strategy is often to take the best player available. This is one of the weakest drafts I have seen in the past few years. There are no sure-fire All-Stars or franchise players, but there are a couple who could potentially be All-Stars. In my opinion, the best player in this draft is Duke PG Kyrie Irving. Here are some of the names that could have their name called by the Cavs on Thursday.

Kyrie Irving, PG Duke As stated, I believe he is the best player in this draft. He is a true PG, who can shoot, drive to the basket, pass, find the open man and play defense. He does everything very well, but does not have one attribute that makes him stand out from other PG's (Derek Rose' speed, Rondo's hands, Chris Paul's ball handling). He had a toe injury this past year that limited him to only 11 games. He has good size for a PG at 6'3 as well. He is a great kid who comes from a good family. He does not seem cocky or self-absorbed (we had a player in Cleveland who had these attributes a couple years ago). When hearing him speak, you get the feeling that he is intelligent, calm and classy. He is a true floor general that could lead this team for years to come. Also, Coach Byron Scott loves PG's and we saw how well this team played after we traded for Baron Davis. The Princeton Offense is predicated on a good ball handler who can make good passes and cut to the basket, exactly what Irving does.

This should seem like a no brainer at #1 for the Cavs, but the recent talk out of the Cavs front office/coaching staff is that they haven't decided on the #1 pick and could take Arizona's Derrick Williams instead. If you ask me, this is a smokescreen. There is a big difference between Irving and the next best PG, Kentucky's Brandon Knight, whom the Cavs had in for a workout today. It seems that the Cavs are trying to get both Irving and Williams, but Williams is expected to go #2 to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves have no need for Williams as they already have Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph, and are trying to trade the #2 pick. In my opinion, the Cavs are using their leverage at #1 to distort the value of the #2 pick by telling everyone they don't know who they want at #1. No team is going to trade for the #2 pick without know who will be there for sure. By doing this, the Cavs are trying to drive the the trade value of the #2 picks, maybe in hopes to acquire it at a cheaper price.

Now this all seems pretty crazy, but it could happen. I just think that Irving is too good to pass up at #1. Some people may say that we already have Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions, but Davis isn't in the teams long term plans as he is on the wrong side of 30, and Sessions is no more than a backup PG. Byron Scott loves good PG's, and it seems like a perfect match to have a smart, steady PG run the Cavs offense with Scott at the helm. Also, look at the 2012 Draft, there are no good PG's at the top of the draft and the Cavs will eventually need a floor general to run the offense. I would be very upset if the Cavs took Williams at #1 and didn't draft Irving. I am just not sold on Williams at #1 and would rather have Irving, who is a safer, better pick at 1.

Derrick Williams, Arizona SF/PF I like Williams as a prospect, but I don't want the Cavs spending the #1 pick on him and passing on Kyrie Irving. In the Cavs offense, Williams would play PF due to his size (6'9), skills around the basket and solid athleticism. I just don't think he has a position in the NBA as he doesn't have the ball handling skills to play the 3 or the athleticism to guard the position. He is a subpar rebounder (averaged 5.5 per game) who isn't a great defender. Also, he tended to disappear at times this year, which worries me for a #1 pick. He does have a pretty good 3 point shot, who can finish at the basket. He has the ability to get to the free throw line and throws down some monstrous jams.

If the Cavs took Irving at #1, and somehow got the #2 pick, then I would be more than happy to take Williams, as he could fit a need at the 3, but create a logjam at the 4. The Cavs already have JJ Hickson, Andy, Jamison, Luke Harangody and Samardo Samuels at the power forward position. Grant it, Jamison will probably be traded and Gody/Samuels being bench players, the 4 is still somewhat of a deep position. You already have young talent you can build with in Hickson and Andy, but you don't have that at the PG position, thus the need to take Irving. Jason Kidd (Mavs), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Derek Rose (Bulls) and Rajon Rondo (Celtics) all lead their teams deep into the playoffs and it was partly because of their play at the PG position. 2 teams that faltered in the playoffs, the Heat and the Lakers, had big deficiencies at the position. I just don't see how Williams could fit it at the 3 on the Cavs and unless the Cavs unload Hickson or Andy, he creates a surplus at the 4. The Cavs had him in for a workout today, but again, I think its a smokescreen.

Enes Kanter, C Turkey No one has seen Kanter play, due to the fact he was ruled ineligible this past year for taking money for the pro team he played for overseas. He was supposed to play for John Calipari at Kentucky, but did not do so this year. We don't have much tape to go off of for him, but according to scouts he is a solid rebounder, good scorer around the basket, has solid size (measured at 6'11) and is a tough/smart kid. He lacks athleticism and a jumper, but I don't mind those weaknesses for a big man.

He would be a solid choice at #4 for the Cavs. He would fill a need at C for the team and could be a good running mate for Kyrie. The Cavs currently have Andy, Semih Erden and Ryan Hollins playing C, not a group too many teams fear. Adding Kanter would provide depth and a young piece who could grow into a solid rotation player.

Jonas Valanciunas, C Lithuania Many people are opposed to taking foreign white big men, but I don't mind Jonas. He has legitimate size for a C (7'0 with a 7'4 wingspan and a 9'3 standing reach). He can finish at the basket, rebound and has a great motor. He isn't scared of contact down low and is very young (19 years old). He has a high ceiling as a player. Some of negatives include the fact that he doesn't have a good repertoire of moves, his skinny (245 lbs.) and has some contract buyout issues with his team overseas.

ESPN's Chad Ford reported that a buyout is close to being completed with Jonas, but he won't come to the NBA next year. Also, he mentioned that if Jonas doesn't come over next year, that the Cavs won't take him at #4. That doesn't mean they won't take him at all, as they can move down the draft and take him later, but that seems unlikely. He is my second favorite option at #4, as I would prefer to have Kanter than Jonas. Kanter is a lower risk player who seems to have already developed a variety of low post moves and is more polished. Jonas has a lot more potential as a big man and offers great size in the front court. We all know that size matters in the NBA, as the Lakers had Bynum, Gasol and Odom, who were all over 6'11 and the Mavericks, who had Dirk, Tyson Chandler and Brendan Heywood, who were all over 7'0 tall. If Jonas can add some muscle and become a better defender, I think he could develop into a pretty solid post player int he NBA. Also, if he stays overseas for a year, he could further develop his skills, as he probably won't get much playing time his rookie year.

Kawhi Leonard, SF San Diego State Leonard's name hasn't been mentioned that much with the Cavs, but if the Cavs do trade down from #4 to lets say around picks #7-11, Leonard's name could be called. He fits a need at SF (least amount of depth on the roster), has great size (6'7), big hands, superior athleticism, solid defender, an improving jump shot and a non-stop motor. Think of Gerald Wallace with Leonard. He doesn't have a great 3 point shot and can't really create his own shot. If the Cavs take Irving, he won't have to worry about creating his own shot. I like Leonard a lot because he has a good attitude, can defend the SF position, an improving skill set and he seems like a safe pick. His weaknesses can be worked on with proper coaching. One of my friends is currently an intern at IMPACT Sports in Las Vegas, where Leonard is training. He told me that Leonard is the best player at the training facility and he described him as a "stud".

Alec Burks, SG Colorado I don't think Burks' name has even been mentioned with the Cavs, but again he could a target if the Cavs trade down to picks 7-11. He has good size at 6'6, is a solid free throw shooter who can get to the line, good ball handling skills, underrated rebounder, and can get his shot off over anyone. He isn't a great shooter and doesn't have elite athleticism, which could limit his ability to get to the basket. Again, his shooting weakness could be corrected with practice and good coaching. I like Burks in the lottery and believe he could be a solid NBA player.

Jeremy Tyler, PF/C USA Tyler is an interesting prospect, he left his junior year of high school to play overseas in Israel. He wasn't mature enough to play professional and got upset when he didn't get any playing time. He eventually left and played in Japan, where he fared much better. In recent interviews, analyst' noted that he seemed a lot more mature and that he learned from his mistakes. He has great size (6'10), athleticism and can play inside and outside. He still needs to develop/refine his overall game, add some bulk to his fram and this will take some time as he is only 20 years old. Much like Jonas, he is a project who will take some time to develop. I believe he could provide a lot of value at pick #32 because he won't be asked to do much his rookie year. There isn't much risk either as 2nd round picks do not have guaranteed contracts. Tyler reminds me a little bit of DeAndre Jordan, someone who could slip into the 2nd round, who has great athletic tools who shows some promise. The Cavs have no need to rush him, so I think he can take his time to develop into a good NBA player.

Norris Cole, PG Cleveland State The Cleveland State homer in me is making me write this, but with the Cavs drafting Kyrie Irving, I wouldn't bet on Cole wearing a Cavs jersey next year. I personally saw Cole play numerous times at his 4 year career at CSU. This past year I saw him play often as I was a season ticket holder. I love Cole's game as he is athletic, can handle to the ball, shoot, defend the perimeter and get to the basket. His performance at the NBA Combine has been very impressive. He is a very nice, intelligent kid who seems driven to be the best player he can be. He was salutatorian at his high school and was named Horizon League Player of the Year. This past year he scored 40 points, 20 rebounds and 9 assists versus Youngstown St. Remember, he is a 6'2 point guard. Blake Griffin was the last NCAA player to achieve such statistics. If for some reason the Cavs do not take Irving, I would love for the Cavs to take Cole with the 32nd pick, although he could be snatched up earlier. Cole is one of the most underrated players in this years draft, as he really doesn't have any big weaknesses besides playing in a Mid-Major conference.

David Lighty, OSU SG While I am not a big OSU fan, I think Lighty could be a good bench player in the NBA. He has good size (6'6), is athletic, smart and can defend the 2. He is an improving 3 point shooter and a good rebounder for a SG. He is a good kid who doesn't have any character issues. While he may never be able to create his own shot or finish at the basket, he could be a good find in round 2. He reminds me a little bit of Anthony Parker, someone with size, who can come off the bench and knockdown some shots. I think he could be available when the Cavs pick at #54 and I wouldn't mind taking him, especially if the Cavs get Irving and Kanter.

Jimmy Butler, SF Marquette If you get a chance, read ESPN's story about Jimmy Butler, its very "Blind Side"-esque. He has gone through a lot after his family left him but he has persevered through it all. A junior-college transfer, Butler is a great defender, who can rebound and is listed at 6'8. He can score inside and outside but he isn't that explosive or athletic. Again, he could fill in the deficiency at the 3 with his smarts and willingness to defend. He reminds me a little bit of Shane Battier, good intangibles coupled with a willingness to defend and do all the little things on a good team. Butler would be a good pick at #32 for the Cavs.

To wrap it all up, I really want Irving and Kanter at the top of the Draft. In the second round, I wouldn't mind a couple good role players like Lighty and Butler, guys who can step in and contribute to a young team. I would guess the Cavs could take a stab at an overseas player in round 2 (Nikola Mirotic or David Bertans) and stash them for a year or so. It's imperative the Cavs take the best players available to increase the overall talent pool on this team. Since we are rebuilding, we need guys who will be team players who can grow and develop together. Don't discount the possibility of a trade, especially with the $14 million trade exception coming due July 1st. The Sacramento Kings have been mentioned as a team that could move their pick (#7), since the Maloof Brothers are bleeding cash. Maybe the Cavs could absorb a contract (Beno Udrih/Francisco Garcia) with the TPE. It should be a very busy, exciting and interesting Thursday night for all Cavs fans.

Until then, thanks for reading and go Cleveland!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Cavs Win!!!

What a great night for Cleveland sports, as the Cleveland Indians beat the Kansas City Royals and the NBA Draft Lottery took place. As many of you already know, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Lottery last night, acquiring the right to pick #1 overall in this year's upcoming Draft, along with picking 4th. The ironic part is that the #1 pick we got was from the LA Clippers in the Baron Davis/Mo Williams trade. Obviously, this is exactly what the Cavaliers franchise needed, after suffering one of its worst seasons after the departure of LeBron James. As I have stated in numerous blog posts before, having draft picks are one of the most important assets in the NBA. They sweeten trade offers and if used correctly, it allows teams to rebuild quickly. Draft picks are especially important to a smaller market team such as Cleveland. Most free agents prefer to go to nicer destinations with lower state taxes, so it is imperative that teams such as Indiana, Cleveland, Sacramento, Toronto and Milwaukee hit their draft picks.

Obviously, Duke PG Kyrie Irving will be the selection at #1. I have always been a huge fan of Irving because he is a true PG, has good court vision, is an above average shooter for a PG, great IQ, great motor, good defender and solid size (6'2 180 lbs). Unlike previous PG's who have come out of the draft, Irving does not have one skill or attribute that jumps out at you. Take for example John Wall's speed, Chris Paul's ball handling or Derek Rose' athleticism. Irving is a player you can build your team around because he plays the deepest position in the NBA, has a great overall skill set and is committed to becoming a better player. Also, he fits in perfectly with the Cavs because Baron Davis is nearing the end of his career, Ramon Sessions is more of a backup PG and Byron Scott's offense is better run with a PG who can see the floor and distribute (watch the Cavs offense after the acquisition of Baron Davis). I believe a part of the reason the Cavs struggled so much during the season was because Mo Williams was more of a scoring/shooting PG and not as much of a facilitating/slashing PG. Scott's offense is built around backdoor cuts and drives to the basket and the Cavs simply were not executing that under Williams. Hopefully this will change with Kyrie at the helm.

Now with the #1 overall pick settled, who do the Cavs take at #4? This is historically one of the worst draft classes I have seen. Players who I thought would be coming out such as UNC's Harrison Barnes, Baylor's Perry Jones, Kentucky's Terrance Jones and Ohio State's Jared Sullinger all went back to school. All four of those players were top 10 picks, with Barnes and Sullinger being top 5. This really depleted the 2011 Draft class of a lot of the top tier talent. Some of the names I would consider at #4 include Kentucky PF/C Enes Kanter, Congo C Bismack Biyombo, Colorado SG Alec Burks, Arizona SF/PF Derrick Williams and San Diego State SF Kawhi Leonard. The Cavs have needs everywhere on this team, but I am in favor of taking a SF/SG/C at the #4 pick. I will get into more details about these players as we move closer to the Draft.

One possibility that came through my mind is a potential trade for the #2 overall pick, which is held by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Their GM, David Kahn has been prone to picking up many young players, but has no way of piecing them together. He traded for Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph, drafted Wesley Johnson, Johnny Flynn and the rights to Ricky Rubio. The teams best player, PF Kevin Love is unhappy in Minnesota and will become a free agent soon. ESPN's Chad Ford noted that the Wolves are looking for more veteran help, are open to trading the #2 pick and I wouldn't be shocked if the Cavs tried trading an Antwan Jamison (expiring contract) or Daniel Gibson along with the #4 pick for the #2 pick. Maybe the Cavs could take on the contract of Luke Ridnour (who is on the books until the 2013/2014 season). The Wolves have mentioned that they believe PG Ricky Rubio will come over to play with the Wolves this summer. Although Ridnour's contract isn't big ($11 million left), it would allows more playing time for Johnny Flynn and Ricky Rubio (if he does indeed come over). Kahn knows that he has to prove that Flynn and Rubio were worth lottery picks. I don't think this is a likely scenario, but it is something to think about. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has been very aggressive in acquiring draft picks (almost acquired Rip Hamilton for the Pistons 1st round draft pick, which would have cost around $15-20 million to buy out Hamilton) and adding young talent to the roster. This could be an opportunity to leverage the #4 pick and the trade exception to move higher in the draft or acquire more picks in the future.

In conclusion, this is a positive step forward for this franchise. The ghosts of LeBron James and the playoff teams of the last few years really made it hard to watch this team last year. We didn't have a franchise player to build around, and just had a collection of veteran, young, unproven talent. There was no excitement, no marquee player. While Kyrie Irving might not be a franchise player, he is someone who can be the face of a franchise and build a team around. The look on Dan Gilbert's face after winning the lottery was awesome. Having his son Nick represent the Cavs at the lottery was very special, especially with his fight with a rare disease. Having Josh Cribbs, Joe Haden and Bernie Kosar sitting right behind Dan Gilbert, showing their Cleveland pride made this not only a special night for the Cavs, but for the city of Cleveland.

As Dan Gilbert said "We're coming back Cleveland!"

Thats all for now. Thanks for reading. Go Cleveland!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Browns Draft 2011 Follow-Up

-This is a quick follow up post to my previous entry on the possible names the Browns could draft. From what I gather (from numerous sources), the Browns have DT Marcell Dareus as one of the favorite targets, although he is expected to be taken #2 by the Denver Broncos.

-Another name to remember is LB Von Miller. I didn't write about Dareus or Miller because I believe they will be taken by the Broncos and Bills in that order. If the Bills do surprise everyone and take CB Patrick Peterson, Miller could be taken by the Browns.

-I am of the belief and have read that the Browns have no interest in Auburn QB Cam Newton, and I am happy about that. While his physical tools are great, his ability to run out of the pocket are superior and he has stepped up when his team needed him, I am very concerned about his football IQ, accuracy, ability to read coverages and high character concerns. He seems more interested in being a superstar and icon, then being a great football player and winner. He was kicked out of the University of Florida for cheating and during his recruitment, his father auctioned him off to the highest bidder, yet Cam had no idea this was going on. During ESPN's Jon Gruden QB Camp Show, Cam basically admitted that they really didn't call plays at Auburn and that he would read one progression and make a play. When running the WCO, this is not the ideal mindset to have. While he may be confident, he does not seem humble. There seems to be this air around him that he is bigger than everything and that different rules apply to him. I would stay far away from him.....

-DT Nick Fairley is a player that I did not mention last week because I don't believe we will draft him. I think Peterson, Green and Quinn are rated higher than Fairley. I am not on the Fairley bandwagon, even though he would fill a need on our defensive line. He has solid size for a 4-3 lineman at 6'3 291, who can get through opposing offensive lineman, deliver punishing hits, display a repertoire of moves and was productive against some of the best competition in the SEC (11.5 sacks in 14 games). I am concerned about his focus, motor and character concerns. Reportedly, he showed up late to a meeting with an NFL team. I don't like defensive lineman that have talent but don't have a good work ethic or motor. I would rather have Robert Quinn over Fairley, because he has less character concerns, is more athletic, has more potential and less of a bust factor. When you are drafting in the top 10, the key is to get the best player you possibly can, that can make an impact on your team, while balancing downside risk. Fairley is a lot riskier than Green, Peterson, Jones and Quinn. He sounds a lot like Gerrard Warren to me....

In review, I will say that if the Bengals don't draft A.J. Green, and instead take QB Blaine Gabbert (Cincinnati Inquirer reported that Gabbert came in for a workout), then Patrick Peterson could be drafted by the Arizona Cardinals at #5. This would leave Green, Jones, Quinn and Fairley for the Browns. My first option obviously would be Green, then Jones, then Quinn, then look to trade down and then Fairley. If the Bengals take Green at #4, the Cardinals take Gabbert at #5, I would be more than happy taking Peterson at #6, then targeting a DT/DE in round 2, a WR in round 3 and a RT in later rounds. There are numerous scenarios that could take place, including a trade down by the Browns, but I think we stay place because Peterson and Green are too good to pass up at #6, if they are there. This is why the NFL Draft is so exciting and fun, no one really knows what will happen...

Thats it for now, thanks for reading! Go Cleveland!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Cleveland Browns 2011 Draft Preview

I've gotten lazy, but we're six days away from the 2011 NFL Draft. The Cleveland Browns currently hold the 6th pick in the NFL Draft. They have one pick in every round, with 2 in the 6th round (resulting from the Brady Quinn trade). The Browns' biggest needs are DE/DT, WR, RT and CB. The Browns have just Ahtyba Rubin at DT with little talent around him (Kenyon Coleman and Brian Schaefering). With the Browns transitioning to a 4-3 defense with Dick Jauron, the Browns will need to beef up the defensive line. The current RT is John St. Clair who had an up and down year last year. The Browns have a very solid offensive line, except for the RT position. With Joe Thomas, Eric Steinbach, Alex Mack and Floyd Womack/Shaun Lauvao anchoring the line, the Browns are one good RT away from having a great offensive line. Besides the deficiencies in the trenches, the Browns do not really have a great playmaker at WR. Our leading receiver last year was TE Ben Watson, that should really tell you something. If we want to see Colt McCoy continue to develop in the West Coast Offense, we need dynamic WR's for Colt to throw to. Both Brian Robiskie and Mo Massaquoi are #2 and #3 recievers and the Browns are in dire need of a WR who could garner some respect from opposing defensive coordinators. The position of CB was one where the Browns took Joe Haden in the first round last year and he proved to be a good pick as he had 6 interceptions in his rookie year. CB Sheldon Brown was acquired from Philadelphia last year and he is starting to get up there in age (he is 32 years old) and he will have to transition to nickel back. CB Eric Wright had a disappointing year and he will be a free agent this year (if there is a free agency!). With all this said, here are some names Heckert, Holmgren and Co. could draft in the first few rounds:

AJ Green, WR, Georgia Bulldogs Without a doubt, Green is #1 choice for the Browns draft in 2011. He fits one of the biggest needs on our team, provides a young weapon for a growing Colt McCoy and he is a safer pick than other options that could come about at #6. Green has great size at 6'3, 211 lbs. and who has great athleticism. He is fast, has great hands and great football IQ. His skill set would fit the WCO offense in that he can catch the ball consistently and gain yards after the catch due to his speed and agility. He was suspended for a part of the 2010 season for selling his bowl jersey but he does not have any character concerns. He is a hard working kid who both coaches and players rave about. If the Cincinnati Bengals do not draft Green at #4, he will be there at #6 and I expect the Browns to take him. I will be a very happy man if we draft Green.

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU I know CB isn't the highest need for the Browns, but having a young tandem of Haden and Peterson would be down right scary for the next few years. Peterson is graded as the best CB in this years draft. He has great size at 6'0, he ran a 4.34 40 time and can play in either man or zone coverage. His athleticism is unparalleled. He has great hands, makes plays and can wrap up opposing WR's. He can return punts, and is very durable. He would fit the bill of "best player available" if he is there at 6. I would take Peterson over Julio Jones at #6 for these reasons, he could make an impact on day 1, where WR"s usually take some time to develop and Peterson has been rated as maybe the best overall player in the draft. Scouts and analysts rate Peterson as one of the safest players in the draft as well. I don't think the Browns could go wrong if they draft Peterson over Jones. I would be upset if the Browns take Peterson over Green, just because I think Green is one of the best WR prospects to come out in a long time (scouts compare him to Calvin Johnson).

Julio Jones, WR, Alabama Julio Jones is rated as the #2 WR prospect in this draft, but there isn't too much separation between him and Green. He ran a 4.3 40 on a fractured foot. He has great size at 6'2, good speed, tough, great inangibles and great leaper. He would also be a great fit in the WCO because he fights for yards after the catch. He has had some injury issues with his fractured foot and injuries to his shoulder and wrist. He has some concentration issues and can drop passes but it doesn't seem to be a major issue. If both Peterson and Green are off the board and we cannot trade down, I would take Jones at 6. He fits a need and is a safer bet than other DE's such as Robert Quinn and Da'Quan Bowers. I would also be very happy with Jones on the Browns next year.

Robert Quinn, DE, UNC Here is a name that has been popping up for the last few weeks. Quinn played DE for UNC but was suspended all last year for taking money from an agent. He has great size at 6'4 265, he has great athleticism, can penetrate, tackle and has a great motor. He had a brain tumor in high school that he seems to have beaten, he doesn't have a lot of moves, isn't great against the run and 10 of his 11 sacks in 2009 came against bad teams. I wouldn't want to risk taking a DE who needs time to develop and produced against lesser competition with the 6th pick. He could be a great player but he is a high risk/high reward prospect. I would stay away from Quinn.

Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson When talking about production, Bowers was one of the best last year at Clemson. He had 15.5 sacks against some of the best teams in NCAA. He has great size at 6'3 280, who can shed blocks, deliver big hits and get to the QB. He has a good football IQ and is maturing as a person. This biggest knocks on Bowers are his motor and injury issues. He recently had knee surgery and there are conflicting reports as to how healthy the knee is and if it will hold up. I don't like drafting DE's with knee issues because they will never be the same after their operations. Bowers has been productive, but he sounds a lot like Courtney Brown to me. Recently, many draft analysts have him falling out of the top 10 into the mid 20's. He is too risky to take at #6, and I wouldn't be too eager to draft him, especially with Green, Jones and Peterson all potentially being on the board.

Christian Ballard, DT, Iowa Here is a guy that could be available in the 2nd or 3rd round. Assuming we take a WR or CB in the first round, we would need to draft a DE/DT in the coming rounds. Ballard is an interesting prospect because he was a three year start at Iowa, has great size at 6'3, 283, is athletic, strong and hard working. He is still refining parts of his game but I believe he is someone who has a lot of experience and could step in fairly quickly to contribute. He needs to continue to develop more pass rushing moves and improve his tackling, but any players that is seen as hard working by his coaches, teammates and scouts, will probably work on his weaknesses in the NFL.

Allen Bailey, DE, Miami (FL) Another interesting prospect out of the "U". He could potentially fall out of the first round and he could be scooped up in the 2nd round. He has ideal size at 6'3 285, incredibly strong, is a great bull rusher and is a hard working kid. He is still raw but with some refinement can be a terror in the NFL. He has been productive the last two years as he had 14.5 sacks in the last 26 games. If we draft a CB/WR, this could be a guy would could take in the 2nd round.

Sam Acho, DE, Texas Here is a guy who has a non-stop motor who played at one of the best NCAA programs. He was overshadowed by Sergio Kindle and Brian Orakpo in his career but after they left for the NFL he had a productive 2010, with 9 sacks. He is a great tackler, tough and is a hard working player. He has won academic awards at Texas and is well respected by his colleagues. He is a little small for a DE at 6'1 262 and isn't as athletic as you would like and could be engulfed by bigger blockers. With all this said, he could be a great prospect for the Browns in rounds 3 or 4. He fits a need at DE and would come from a program that is known for producing NFL players.

Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy A interesting WR prospect from a small school with blazing speed. He would be a great fit in the WCO due to his ability to gain yards after the catch with his agility. He is a tough kid who has great hands and has a solid build. He is a dangerous return man who offers a lot of versatility. He is very small at 5'8 185, and has difficulties getting off the line of scrimmage. Also, he will have difficulty blocking due to his diminutive stature. He should be around in rounds 2 or 3, and if the Browns take a DE/DT or CB in the first round, they could target a WR in the second round.

Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland This is my 3rd favorite WR prospect besides Green and Jones. Smith has amazing agility and speed, who would be a great fit in the WCO. He has good size at 6'0 and has great burst off the line. He is still developing his seperation skills. He is a solid blocker and has good hands. He has a great background who was forced into being a father figure when he was 7 years old with his single mother and 7 siblings. He is well respected on and off the field and has been humbled by his experiences. He should be there at our 2nd round pick and I would love to add him to this Cleveland Browns squad.

Marcus Gilbert, OT, Miami (FL) With needs at DE/DT and WR potentially being filled in rounds 1 and 2, this could be a prospect who is available in round 3. He has great NFL size at 6'6 330, who is strong and naturally athletic, He is versatile in that he can play both LT and RT. He can get to the second level and is very agressive, which is the type of attitude needed in the trenches. He is a hard working kid who doesn't have any character concerns. He could be very similar to what Shaun Lauvao was last year, someone who might not be a super-star, but could fill in the offensive line on day one, and be productive.

I know this is a lot to digest and we might not even end up with any of these guys, but if I was in the draft room, these would be guys I would target. The Browns still have many needs on this team and with the current NFL lockout, we might not get any help in free agency. I put a lot of trust into Heckert and Holmgren because their proven to know what they are doing. Together, they signed Scott Fujita, traded for Sheldon Brown and Peyton Hillis, cut Derek Anderson and drafted Joe Haden, TJ Ward, Shaun Lauvao, Colt McCoy and a potential contributor in Montario Hardesty. If the Browns can get 2-3 more starters in this draft, I think the Browns could further position themselves for a potential playoff run in 2011. If any new names pop up before next week, I will be sure to post them. Thanks for reading and go Cleveland!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Welcome to Cleveland, Random White Big Men

The Cavs finished the trade deadline by trading their 2nd round pick in 2012 (one that Minnesota previously owned) to the Celtics for C Semih Erden and PF Luke Harangody. I think this is a sideways move. I believe Erden provides the most value as he is 6'11, and can play down in the post. He doesn't have a lot of post moves and is very skinny (240 lbs.). He sounds like another Ryan Hollins to me. Harangody is another meat and potatoes player. He can shoot and score down low, but isn't athletic and is only 6'8. I didn't really like him when he played at Notre Dame either. I am just not a fan of big men who can't defend, aren't athletic and don't have post skills. With all that said, maybe one of these guys can develop into a guy we can put at the end of our bench. Again, it is a low risk move as we only gave up a 2nd round pick in 2012 for them. Here are some other thoughts about the Cavs and the trade deadline.

-Give Chris Grant and Dan Gilbert credit. The Cavs according to media reports had a deal in place to trade for Rip Hamilton for the trade player exception, along with a first round draft pick coming from the Pistons. The reason the deal did not occur was because the Cavs and Hamilton could not come to terms on a buyout agreement. Hamilton has 2 years and $25 million left on his deal. With that said, good for the Cavs for trying to turn the TPE into a draft pick, one that could be very high.

-The Cavs and the Warriors were in discussions to trade Antawn Jamison to the Warriors. It wasn't clear what the Cavs would have received in the trade, but I assume it would have been Troy Murphy's expiring contract. Again, good idea by Grant to try to clear more cap space to restore flexibility to the payroll. Brian Windhorst did mention that the Cavs and Warriors would probably entertain trade talks again when the season ends, as Jamison' contract becomes an expiring one.

-The Cavs stayed patient by not moving Anthony Parker. Although I would have liked to have seen him traded for a high 2nd round pick, the Cavs rebuffed offers from the Bulls and Celtics. Had the Cavs accepted a 2nd round pick from the Bulls or Celtics, it would have been a very low pick. I think its better to keep Parker around then give him away for basically nothing. He is a great veteran presence, can shoot and has an expiring deal.

-The Cavs have bought out Leon Powe. I think this will be a good move as he can try to sign on with a contender. He wasn't playing much and he could be a useful bigman off the bench for a playoff team. Again, another class act.

-We came away with Baron Davis, the Clippers 2011 first round pick, Semih Erden and Luke Harangody and all we gave up was Mo Williams, Jamario Moon and a 2012 second round pick. If i had to grade these moves together, I would give it a B+. I don't see why we needed Erden or Harangody, but maybe they can find their way to the end of a bench. I love the Baron Davis trade. As much as I love Mo, he seemed to be hurting (emotionally and physically) after LeBron left. Maybe a change of scenery will be good for him. I understand that the 2011 draft class isn't great, but this could be a top 5 pick if the Clippers continue to lose. I would love to see Kyrie Irving, Jared Sullinger, Derrick Williams or Terrance Jones on this team. Adding that 2011 Clippers pick will only speed up the rebuilding process. Also, I have to give Dan Gilbert a lot of credit, he took on extra salary for the Clippers pick. He seems to understand this won't be a rebuild on the fly, instead it will be through the draft. Now its time to execute in the draft.

Thats all for now. Thanks for reading and go Cleveland!


Welcome to Cleveland, Baron

It's been months since I last wrote, and I have been thinking about this blog a lot lately. I have decided I am going to write more often now a days (don't make fun of me!). The reason being, there is going to be a lot of activity in the Cleveland sports scene, and I just have been a slacker and need to get my thoughts out there.

With that said, the Cavs made a big move tonight in trading Mo Williams and Jamario Moon for LA Clippers guard Baron Davis and an unprotected 2011 first round draft pick. I will say it again, an unprotected 2011 first round draft pick! Currently, if the season ended today, the Clippers would pick 8th. With that said, the order can change from now until June, but the Cavs are going to have 2 lottery picks. Also, the trade itself works out financially, so there is no need to use the $15 million trade exception. The move is suprising to me from the Clippers point of view. Blake Griffin seemed to energize Baron Davis, as he is averaging 12 points and 7 assists this year, but it is clear the Clippers are trying to clear cap room to bring a big free agent in 2012. Here are some quick thoughts:

-Kudos to Chris Grant and Dan Gilbert for staying patient, maintain flexibility and looking for the right deal. They didn't part with any young players, they didn't use the trade exception, didn't use any draft picks and they didn't take on any longer contracts. Both Baron and Mo's contracts end in 2013, although Mo's last two years are player options, he is likely to exercise them ($8.5 million each, he won't get that on the open market). The Cavs took on some more salary now, but it paid off as they received the Clippers 2011 first round pick, which is unprotected. Grant learned a thing or two from Danny Ferry, and that was to not make a deal to just make a deal, and where we would come out winners. It is pretty clear that the Cavs will come out a winner in this deal.

-Adding draft picks has been a part of the teams strategy since the team began its collapse in December. Having the Clippers 2011 first round pick is a great asset, as it will surely be a lottery pick (they currently have the 8th worst record in the NBA at 21-37). We now have 2 first and second rounders this year, along with 2 first rounders from the Heat from 2013-2017, and another second round pick from the Heat. Building through the draft has been key, as it is very difficult to get key free agents to come to Cleveland. We saw with LeBron how difficult it was. Look at Oklahoma City (Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka) built their young team via the draft, or even the Spurs (Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Tiago Splitter, Gary Neal and DaJuan Blair). I am glad the Cavs aren't trying to rebuild on the fly, they are collecting assets and tearing the team down. Let's just hope they can get the draft right!

-The Cavs may not be done yet, they still have the trade player exception, Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker, Leon Powe and most of the Cavs roster to shop for additional draft picks/young players. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw another move coming tomorrow, as the trade deadline approaches. The Cavs have been in talks with the Celtics and Bulls regarding Parker, Powe approached the Cavs about a buyout, and the Mavs have been rumored to have an interest in Jamison.

-What does this mean for the team now? Byron Scott gets a PG he feuded with in New Orleans, but Baron later came out and said that he learned a lot from Scott. The Cavs will continue to be the worst team in the NBA as they slowly strip the roster down. This is probably the best plan, as it will only increase our chances for the #1 overall pick. I believe the only players worth keeping on this squad are Sessions, Eyenga, Harris and Hickson. These are the players that have the most upside and could continue to develop into solid players.

-It is sad to see Mo Williams go. He was one of my favorite players on this team because of his heart and love for the city of Cleveland. He came out and said he didn't want to be traded in the summer time. He is a great 3 point shooter and he now gets to play with one of the most electrifying players in the NBA, Blake Griffin. A true class act. I wish him the best of luck.

Alright, its almost 3AM, time for bed. Thanks for reading and I will update the blog as I hear more news. It's great to be back. Go Cleveland!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

I haven't written a lot about the Browns and Indians latley, but here is an update.


-The Indians traded closer Kerry Wood, OF Austin Kearns to the Yankees for cash considerations and prospects, then dealt SP Jake Westbrook along with cash to the Cardinals for minor-league pitcher Corey Kluber. Kluber comes from the San Diego Padres farm system and was drafted in the 4th round of the 2007 MLB Draft. Kluber was 6-6 with a 3.45ERA in AA San Antonio. Its obvious the Indians are now going to let the kids play as they have traded away the heavy contracts of Kerry Wood and Jake Westbook. I think its a good idea because the Indians can get rid of some salary, and see what they have waiting in the wings. Giving starts to guys like Jeanmar Gomez and Josh Tomlin makes more sense than giving them to Jake Westbrook, especially when you know Westbrook is gone after this year and the season is lost.

-The trade of Jhonny Peralta was one that Tribe fans had longed for. Peralta reminds me of former Cavs guard Sasha Pavlovic. He had a lot of talent, but just didn't push himself enough to do get better. He seemed content hitting .250 with 24 HR a year, when he could have batted .285 and 30 HR a year. He did just enough to get by. The Indians picked up P Giovanni Soto, who is only 19 years old. He was 6-6 with a 2.61 ERA in Single A West Michigan. In his first start in Mahoning Valley, he went 5 innings, gave up 1 hit, 1 earned run, and 7 strike outs.

-Going forward, I think the Indians can be competitive in 2 years. They need to first figure out who is going to fill in the rotation. Past Fausto Carmona, the Indians need to get themselves 4 solid starters. Justin Masterson looks like a promising #3, Josh Tomlin and Jeanmar Gomez have looked good in the limited starts they had, Mitch Talbot was doing ok until he got hurt. Also, the Indians have stockpiled many young pitchers with Carlos Carrasco, Jason Knapp, and Nick Hagadone waiting in the wings. Secondly, the Indians have to figure out who is going to play 2B and 3B. Lonnie Chisenhall (.276 11 HR 51 RBI in AA) and Jared Goedert (.296 17 HR 37 RBI in AAA) are seen as their heir apparents at third base. Goedert will probably be a September call-up, especially after the Peralta trade. Luis Valbuena is not going to cut it with a .164 average at 2B and Jayson Nix seems more like on the bench than starting at 2B. Jason Donald came in the Cliff Lee trade, and he has been solid but an upgrade must be made.

-Our outfield seems set for the future with Trevor Crowe, Michael Brantley, Sin-Soo Choo, Grady Sizemore all in the fold, with Nick Welgarz coming in the future. Carlos Santana looks like a stud at C, Matt LaPorta is improving after coming back from the minors at 1B, Asdrubal Cabrera is a great fielder and solid hitter at SS. The bullpen seems to be coming along with Chris Perez filling in the closers role (12 saves 2.18 ERA this year), along with Tony Sipp, Rafael Perez, Frank Herrmann, and Joe Smith pitching much better. First round pick Alex White was projected to be the closer of the future but he has been starting at Class AA Akron (6-4, 1.49 ERA 57K in 78 innings).

-As I have said before, the Dolan's inability to spend a lot of money has hurt the Indians, but they did give out big contracts. The problem is they gave out big ones to the wrong players (Kerry Wood, Travis Hafner, Jhonny Peralta). Grady has been hurt for the past two years and Fausto did not pitch well last year. Had the Indians spent this money on retaining Victor Martinez or Cliff Lee, we would be a much more competitive team. The team does not have a lot of high salaries left on the books, so the Indians should identify the best talent going forward, then do the best to lock them up long term. This way we won't have to go with the "lightning in the bottle" theory, where we hope 4-5 guys on the team all have career years together, only too falter the next year. From 1995 to 1999 the Indians had consistent contributors in Kenny Lofton, Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, Brian Giles, Paul Shuey, Orel Hershieser, Charles Nagy, Omar Vizquel, Jim Thome, Sandy Alomar Jr., David Justice, and Robbie Alomar. This is what the Indians need, a steady stream of players who can contribue consistently over a 4-5 year period.


-Browns 1st round pick Joe Haden signed his contract yesterday and practiced for the first time today. He is practicing with the 2nd team defense and is projected to be a backup to Sheldon Brown and Eric Wright. He will probably see time at nickleback. His deal calls for $50 million over 5 years, with $26 million guaranteed. Mike Lombardi of SI reported that Haden looked slow in OTA's. At the combine he ran a 4.57 40 time, but this was due to a back injury. At the Florida Pro Day he ran a much better 4.43 40 time. I think Haden is going to be just fine.

-Montario Hardesty twisted his knee and is out for a month. This should give Jerome Harrison the inside track to becoming the starter at RB. I think even if Harrison wins the job, Hardesty will slowly ease his way into getting some carries. With the Browns running the ball more this year, I can see Harrison getting 14-16 carries a game, with Hardesty getting 18-20. As the season goes along and the weather gets worse, I think Hardesty will see more time because he is more of a bruising back who can play in the cold weather and get the tough yards. Harrison has dealt with injury issues in the past and I doubt he can last the whole season, carrying the full load in the back field.

-I am very interested in seeing who the starters will be at S. I think Abe Elam and TJ Ward will end up starting. Elam did not do well last year and Ward is the teams 2nd round pick from the Draft. Ward is seen as a hard hitter who can stop the run, but is not good in coverage. Since their return in 1999, the Browns on average have ranked 27th against the run, and they were 27th last year. They need guys who can stop backs at the line of scrimmage. Mike Adams is suited as a backup and 5th round pick Larry Asante is seen more a special teamer. This will probably be the weakest part of the defense going into the season.

-I don't expect big things from QB Jake Delhomme. I just hope he can run the offense, not turn the ball over, and make key passes. We won't be a pass happy offense, so I don't want him throwing the ball 35 times. He was not good last year and he has to provide stability in the offense. Also, don't expect Colt McCoy to play this year, he is better off holding the clipboard and learning from Delhomme and Holmgren (who is known for developing QB's).

-I get the sense that the team is cautiously optimistic this year. We finally have some stability in the front office with team president Mike Holmgren and GM Tom Heckert. The players are getting used to Eric Mangini's no nonsense style of coaching as their have been less problems this year. Gone is Josh Cribbs complaining about a contract, gone are players running laps for missed snaps, gone are players being fined $1,700 for not paying for a bottle of water. The players seem to be buying into the culture, and it was evident in the last four games last year as the Browns were playing for nothing but beat the Steelers and Jaguars (both teams who had a lot more talent than the Browns). I will write my Browns preview in my next blog.

Thanks for reading guys. Go Cleveland!


Monday, July 26, 2010

Class is in Session

The Cavs today traded SG Delonte West, PG Sebastian Telfair to the Minnesota Timberwolves for PG Ramon Sessions, C Ryan Hollins, and a 2nd round pick in 2013. Here are my thoughts:

-I think this is a very good move for the Cavs. We have a PG in Sessions who can run the offense, distribute (had 24 assists in a game once), and get to the free throw line. He will fit well with the up-tempo offense the Cavs will run this year. He is 24 years old and has 3 more years left on his deal, for $4 million a deal. He has a very cap friendly contract.

-C Ryan Hollins is an unknown to most, but he is another young C who probably won't develop into much more than a big man off the bench. He is 7 feet and very athletic, thats it. He is a good finesse defender but doesn't do well against aggressive post players. He is 25 years old and has 2 years left on his contract at $2 million a year. He will throw down some nasty dunks and that is how he will get most of his points. He doesn't have a lot of skills in the post. He will serve as a solid backup to Andy and JJ.

-Seeing Delonte go is somewhat sad, but it had to happen. His off the court issues really hurt the team as the organizaiton could not depend on him on a daily basis. His play really fell off this year and he could never get it together. He was one of our most important players in 2008 and 2009, but he just didn't seem to have it this year. His contract will save the Wolves about $4 million in cap space because he can be bought out for $500K. He was one of my favorite players due to the grit and determination he showed on the court. I remember during game 6 versus the Magic in 2009, he was the only Cavs player hustling on the court at the end of the game. He is a fearless player who was a solid player when healthy.

-PG Sebastian Telfair was a throw in as his contract is an expiring one as well. Not much to miss here.

-This deal shows you how incompetent Wolves GM David Kahn is. He drafts point guards Ricky Rubio, and Johnny Flynn, signs Ramon Sessions, and then signs PG Luke Ridnour the next year. He had to give away Sessions for free, along with a draft pick. Flynn is now hurt and out for 3-4 months. This was the same guy who gave C Darko Milicic $20 million. As Bill Simmons calls him "KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHN!"

-The main reasons I like this deal for the Cavs are the fact that we got a young, cheap PG who can continue to improve, and we added an asset in the 2nd round pick. Most people will say the 2nd round pick is worthless, but in 2013 it will still probably be a high 2nd rounder. You can always find solid talent in the 2nd round. The Cavs are now asset collectors, which is good for a rebuilding team. This squad is going to be painful to watch for a couple years, but as long as we continue to add draft picks, we can build a young roster. We have 4 draft picks coming from the Heat in the next 6 years, and another 2nd rounder here. I hope we can add a couple more picks in the next few years.

-A stark departure from the LeBron era can be seen here. Most of the time we were trading draft picks for longer, more expensive contracts. Now we are adding cheap young talent, with shorter contracts and draft picks. Tear the team down, gather draft picks, and save cap space. If we draft well, this team could see a quicker turn around. Lets hope we don't rebuild on the fly.

-The Cavs signing PF Samardo Samuels was a move to add depth to the team. He played well for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Summer League. He is small at 6'8 and not overly athletic, but he has great skills around the basket. If he can improve upon his athleticism, and work hard, he will have a place on this team.

-Bringing Christian Eyenga over here was also a solid move. He will probably spend some time in the D-League where he can continue to develop. He is going to wow some fans with his athleticism. I hope he gets some minutes here and there because he has the tools to thrive in Byron Scott's uptempo system. If he can continue to improve his overall feel for the game, then he can become a Mickael Pietrus type of player. I see him as a solid wing defender who can score in spurts in a up tempo offense.

I think that just about does it. Thanks for reading guys, go Cleveland!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Knew It Was You Fredo

Well folks, I am sure we all know what happend with LeBron and the Cavs. I am not going to add any facts to the story, we are all seeing it come out now. Here are some thoughts:

-Seeing LeBron in a Heat uniform just sucks. Never could I imagine him anywhere else. I can see why he would want to go win a championship ring, but the best players who have won rings did it with one team and didn't go chasing. Its obvious LeBron understands he can't do it himself and needs to go elsewhere. Guys like Magic, Larry, Kobe, Michael, Duncan all did it with the teams that drafted them. I know one day LeBron is going to regret what he did. He failed here, plain and simple.

-What disgusts me the most is that it seems that he planned this for a long time. The writing was on the wall the whole time and I just didn't want to believe it. He never recruited free agents, didn't commit when Trevor Ariza and Ron Artest came for their visits last year, and didn't speak with Tom Izzo. I think after the Orlando series in 2009, LeBron knew he was going to leave for sure. I say this because he played amazingly in the 2007 playoffs and he gave it his all versus Boston in 2008. I think him, Wade, and Bosh thought of the idea in the Olympics in 2008, then when LeBron saw he couldn't get help here, he punched his ticket out of Cleveland.

-Notice how no one is talking about his elbow "injury". I wouldn't be shocked if LeBron decided to just float throughout the series. He obviously quit in game 5, and he didn't do well in game 2 and game 4. LeBron knew if he played to his abilities, the Cavs would have won that series, and I think he just got tired of his situation here in Cleveland. The way he ripped off his Cavs jersey after the loss gave me some shivers, but again I didn't want to believe he was going to leave.

-People cannot blame Dan Gilbert and Danny Ferry for this. Maybe Gilbert gave LeBron some special privileges here and there, but they spend tons and tons of money on the team. Whether it was new jerseys, stadium upgrades, a new practice facility, or added payroll, the Cavs did it. Any trade the Cavs made during Ferry's tenure, we took on more money. We had one of the highest payrolls in the NBA and the Cavs tried their best to get a #2 guy. They made offers for Jason Kidd, Amare, Pau Gasol, Kevin Garnett, and Chris Paul. I honestly believe the team the Cavs had this past year could have won it all, but the guy who was supposed to take us there failed.

-Dan Gilbert's letter, no matter how crazy and unrealistic it was, was pretty awesome. We know we aren't going to win a ring before LeBron does, but seeing an owner speak the words every Cavs fan was thinking is refreshing. Seeing how passionate Gilbert was in that letter was great, and he did not hold anything back. Clevelanders really needed to hear that letter.

-The way in which LeBron did what he did was horrible. Going on national television, saying your going to call it "The Decision", then leaving is sad. This is after LeBron said he understood the Drive, the Fumble, and the Shot. LeBron never respected Cleveland and never showed the love that we showed him. Wearing Yankees and Cowboys gear was just sad. I feel that LeBron just didn't have any good advice in this situation, he needed a male adult figure to sit him down and be stern with him. LeBron lives in his own little world and he thinks he is invincible from criticism at times. He is a very selfish person who did not think about the repercussions of his actions. Not once did he even mention the Cleveland fans who supported his every move here. For someone who always spoke of loyalty and family, LeBron left both of those behind to go to Miami. I guess he fooled us all.

-Where do the Cavs go from here? I say blow up the team up. Trade any old players (Parker/Jamison), long contracts (Jamison/Andy) for young players and draft picks. Clear cap space, not to sign big name free agents (they won't come here), but to use it in trades. We can use our salary cap space to take on big contracts for some players. The Cavs got 4 draft picks for LeBron, and I hope the Cavs continue to stockpile picks. Take the Oklahoma City Thunder route, load up on draft picks, and use your salary cap space to collect more assets. I am fine with the Cavs being bad for a year or two, but with solid drafting and some luck, you will see a good basketball team in Cleveland. There is no reason to try to re-tool this team, so forget guys like Monta Ellis and Andre Igoudala. Think guys like DJ Augistin, and Kyle Lowry.

-This has got to be one of the worst moments in Cleveland sports history. We always thought we could have a savior for this town with the Browns and Indians struggling. We were always scared we couldn't pay our superstars money (Manny, Thome, CC, Cliff Lee), but we could offer the most to LeBron and the saddest thing is, he is actually from this area. Since it is hard to attract free agents to Cleveland, we all thought if we could get a homegrown talent to play for us, he would never leave. Akron was so important to LeBron and he always spoke about how he wanted to put it on the map. Well he did just that, but for all the wrong reasons. LeBron can never show his face in Akron, Cleveland, let alone Ohio ever again. Its sad that we had our native son turn his back on us. I guess we just have to re-group and keep our heads up. As Terry Fox once said "Somewhere, the hurting must stop".

Thanks for reading, go Cleveland.