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Tag Archives: Luol Deng
2014 NBA FREE AGENCY WINNERS AND LOSERS
Cleveland Cavaliers – With LeBron James returning home, the Cavs are by far the biggest winners this off- season. James is the best player in the world and he fills a major void at the small forward spot that’s been vacant since well, when he left four years ago. Forget that he signed a 1 year and an option year contract. James did that so he can cash in on the next TV contract by increasing his max contract dollars. He’s not going anywhere, considering how much money he can make, a young talented roster and he and his family are back home. First year G.M. David Griffin also locked up 2-time All-Star Kyrie Irving to a 5-year max contract and thus has his Batman and Robin for years to come.
San Antonio Spurs – After Tim Duncan exercised his player option for $10.3 million to return for at least one more season with the World Champs, the Spurs then went and resigned two of their own free agents in Boris Diaw and Patty Mills to team friendly contracts thanks to Duncan taking less than market value. Plus San Antonio announced that head coach Gregg Popovich agreed to a multi-year contract extension. All four moves are big wins for the Spurs.
Los Angeles Clippers – Doc Rivers added two players that will help the team’s depth and offense and he did so without overpaying for either one. Getting Spencer Hawes, a stretch-5 for less than $6 million per season for four years and point guard Jordan Farmar to replace Darren Collison who left for the Kings at about $2 million per year are very good gets.
Miami Heat – Like the Cavs did in 2010, Pat Riley and the Heat felt LeBron’s return was a slam dunk only to be rejected and left shaking their heads. Again no matter what you do, as the Cavaliers found out, there’s no replacing LeBron James. The Heat overpaid Chris Bosh to stay instead of going to Houston. They’re going to overpay an aging Dwyane Wade and two of their other free agent signees are injuries waiting to happen in Danny Granger and Luol Deng.
Los Angeles Lakers – G.M. Mitch Kupchick was shooting for LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. When LeBron went to Cleveland he was hoping to team up Carmelo with Kobe and Pau Gasol. Then Carmelo agreed to stay with the Knicks and Gasol left for the Bulls. Plus the “Lake Show” lost Jodi Meeks to OKC. This off-season has been one of the worst in Lakers history.
Houston Rockets – While they’ll still be a good team, the Rockets were trying to bolster their roster so they would become an elite team. They targeted Carmelo Anthony first and lost out. Then they set their sights on Chris Bosh and lost him too. Adding insult to injury, one of their fine young players, Chandler Parsons accepted an offer sheet from Dallas and Houston decided not to match it. So the high flying, long distance shooter is now a Mav. They replaced Parsons with Trevor Ariza which isn’t terrible and are said to be interested now in trying to land Kevin Love in a trade, but so far this off season Houston has had a problem getting the players they wanted.
WHAT THE CAVALIERS NEED MOST
The Cavs biggest needs this off season via the draft, free agency or trades are very simple, they need a center and they need multiple wing players.
When you look at their roster they’re overloaded at point guard with Kyrie Irving, Jarrett Jack and Matthew Dellavedova.
While their shooting guards really aren’t shooting guards, they feel they have a young pair in Waiters and Sergey Karasev. Waiters to me is a point guard, or at least what I call a “Ball Guard”. He needs the ball in his hands in order to be effective and that really doesn’t mesh well when he and Kyrie Irving are on the floor together. The Cavs may be willing to try one more season to see if Irving and Waiters can create chemistry on the floor together, but then again remember; David Griffin didn’t draft either one of them so he may be willing to pull the trigger on a trade of one or the other. But for now let’s say Waiters stays.
Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett are their power forwards, while neither one of those guys excite meet, at least they have what is considered a starter on this team, in Thompson. So again that takes us back to small forward and center positions.
Anderson Varejao could be the team’s starting center if need be, but there’s the possibility they could trade him this off season. But if they do keep him, he’s really not a true center, he’s more of a power forward. Tyler Zeller is a nice back-up center, but nothing more and Spencer Hawes is a free agent and he’s not your typical center either. Hawes is a stretch 5, who prefers to play away from the basket and gives you no defensive presence around the rim at all, as well as no toughness. So depending on what he’s asking for, the Cavs may not resign him.
After watching Luo Deng struggle to stay healthy all season and with all the NBA miles he’s put on his body, I have no desire to bring him back as the starting small forward, especially for what he’s going to be commanding in free agency dollars. Alonzo Gee is nothing more than the 8th, 9th or 10th player on this team.
So as David Griffin and Dan Gilbert prepare for the June 26th NBA Draft, they must decide where they are going to get their center and small forwards(plural) from. That’s what makes this draft so interesting and important. “G and G” have a chance to fill one of those major needs with the first overall pick and possibly another with the 33rd overall pick. If not there, then in free agency or with a major trade.
Joel Embiid would plug the hole at center and be an immediate upgrade defensively, athletically and physically. He’s a little raw on offense, but that’s because he’s only played basketball for about four years and considering his lack of experience, he has shown great improvement in his offensive game. However with Embiid it all comes down to the health of his back. If he cleared all the Cavs medical tests then I believe they should, and will take him number #1 overall. If his back did not pass the medical exams, then it comes down to Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins in the draft.
Parker is the more ready to play right now of the two both physically and mentally. His offensive game is more well-rounded and his outside shot is better at this point than Wiggins. However Wiggins in my opinion, has a higher ceiling and athletically and defensively he blows Parker out of the water. On top of that, Wiggins will still score the basketball from the wing position, just maybe not as consistently as Parker.
But luckily for the Cavs their biggest needs in the draft coincide with the best players in this draft. Meaning they really can’t wrong with whomever they pick. I would have gladly taken anyone of these three before the draft lottery, so they truly are in a win-win-win situation. Now will one of the top three picks separate himself from the others eventually, probably, but you’re still going to get what many believe is an all-star caliber player no matter who you take.
My order of preference is Embiid first, but only if 100% healthy. Wiggins second because of defense and more upside and Parker third because unlike the other two, he’s more of just an offensive player.
Is it out of the realm of possibility that the Cavs maybe use the number #1 pick and a player to make a trade for an already established all-star caliber player? No it’s not, but I believe it’s unlikely considering the talent and potential that each of the top three picks possess.
So once the Cavs do make their selection with that first overall pick, that should tell us what direction they’re headed in as far as free agency and that’s when things could get even more interesting than the draft, depending on what you know who does in Miami.
DECISIONS, DECISIONS, DECISIONS FOR DAN GILBERT
It seems like we say this every year but I really believe this time it’s true. This upcoming off season for the Cavs will be the most important in team history. Owner Dan Gilbert needs to decide which direction he’s going to take the team.
@CavsDan has many important decisions to make. Does he make David Griffin his fulltime General Manager or does he go out and bring in new blood? Will he hire a President of Basketball Operations type? If he does, there are rumors circulating that the names atop that list are former “Bad Boys” Joe Dumars, who reportedly will resign his position with the Pistons soon, or Isaiah Thomas. If either one is hired, it’s possible Gilbert could keep David Griffin as G.M. and have him answer to Dumars or Thomas.
Whenever this brain trust is finally put together their first decision will be to decide should they keep Mike Brown on as the team’s head coach? If not, who do you replace him with?
After that decision is made, next on the check list is do you offer Kyrie Irving the maximum 5-year contract? Do you believe in his brittle body, but made skills enough to make him the focal point of your team moving forward? If you do offer “Uncle Drew” the max and he turns it down and wants a shorter contract, then do you avoid getting burned again like you did with a former local high school star turned NBA MVP and try and trade him if he’s sending you messages he could leave ? If Irving does accept the max contract then you have to figure out if he and Dion Waiters can co-exist on the same team. If you think they can, you don’t do anything. If you think they can’t, then you have to begin the process of trying to trade Waiters and get equal value in return.
After that determination is made, next up on the to do list is which of your own free agents or contract option players do you keep or trade to free up cap space. The important names on that list are free agents Luol Deng, Spencer Hawes and C.J. Miles and team option players Anderson Varejao, Alonzo Gee and Scottie Hopson.
What you do there, then leads into maybe your biggest decision of all and that is do you go after LeBron James in free agency if he opts out of his contract with the Miami Heat. If he doesn’t opt out, or you decide not to target him, then what is “Plan B” and who will you target with all of your cap space in free agency? Do you go after Carmelo Anthony? Is Gordon Hayward your small forward of the future? Do you go after a veteran like Pau Gasol or Rudy Gay or Danny Granger?
You could also go another route and try and make a blockbuster trade to bring in an impact player like Kevin Love, but would you have to give up to get him?
And on top of all of that, unless a miracle happens, you once again will be picking in the lottery. As of now you would have the ninth most ping pong balls in the hopper. You better hope that Nick Gilbert’s bow-tie has a lot of luck left in it to get a top 3 pick if you want to land a projected franchise type player. If not, then your new front office will have to do a better job than they did last year in selecting the right player in the draft to help your struggling franchise. Even if it’s not a top three pick, you can’t afford to swing and miss like you did with Anthony Bennett.
So I think it’s safe to say that this “IS” the most important off season in Cavaliers franchise history and it falls squarely on the shoulders of owner Dan Gilbert to make all the right decisions to turn it around.
CAVS LUOL DENG ON HIS TRADE RUMORS 2-19-14
YES IT’S A REACH, BUT I WOULD LOVE THE CAVS TO MAKE AN OFFER TO MINNESOTA
NBA TRADE RUMORS AND RODA RUMBLINGS
If I had to rank the Cavs players most likely to be traded before Thursday’s deadline, this is the order I would go with – number #1 being the player they’d like to get rid of the most- 1) Luol Deng, 2) Jarrett Jack, 3) Anderson Varejao, 4) C.J. Miles, 5) Dion Waiters. The only way I think they trade Dion now is in a blockbuster deal for a player of equal or better talent.
The two positions of need in my opinion for the Cavs as they head towards the trade deadline are a shooting guard who can score from long range and a legit starting center.
The chances of Luol Deng staying in Cleveland beyond this season are very slim unless the Cavs offer him a ridiculous contract and I can’t see that happening with David Griffin or whoever their G.M. might be. So with that in mind in the remaining days left until the NBA’s trading deadline (Feb.20th), Griff has to explore every team and every offer that could come their way. You don’t want to just give Deng away for nothing, but it would be nice to get something in return for him since you’re probably going to lose him. The other option is to keep Deng in hopes of making the playoffs and then just let him go as a free agent which gives you cap space this summer.
Playoff teams that could really use Luol Deng but may not have enough to give in return, or are unwilling to give up what the Cavs may be asking for are the Clippers, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Hawks, Mavricks and Nuggets.
If I’m Cavs G.M. David Griffin I’m calling the Houston Rockets to see what they’re looking for in a deal for center Omer Asik. He’s been hurt this season with a right knee/thigh injury and when healthy has played only about 15 minutes per game as Dwight Howard’s back-up, but last season as a starter for the Rockets the 7’0-255pd-27 year old center averaged 10.1ppg & 11.7rpg while shooting 54% from the field. Then in 6 playoff games in 2012-13 he averaged 12.3ppg & 11.2rpg & shot 56% from the field. His big weakness is he is a horrible free throw shooter, with a career percentage of just 53%. According to Hoopshype.com Asik has 1 more year left on his contract at $14.9 million. His salary for this year is listed at $5.2 million. While playing sparingly this season in Houston, he’s only averaging 4ppg-6.5rpg and shooting a career low 46% from the field, but a career high 63% from the free throw line.
Also if I’m Griff, I’m talking with the Warriors about Harrison Barnes, but in order to possibly get Barnes, Golden State will insist you take David Lee and his remaining contract. The Warriors reportedly are looking for a shooting guard and a big. Jarrett Jack and Anderson Varejao would fit their needs and salary wise it would work out in a deal. Plus Jack was a big part of their post-season success last year, so he knows the system. The downside for the Cavs is you really don’t have a legit starting center and you’re stuck with Lee’s contract of $30.5 million dollars over the next two seasons, but you get your young small forward you’ve been looking for in Barnes and control his rights for a number of years.
The teams that are rumored to be most willing to make trades are the 76ers, Bucks, Bobcats, Nuggets, Pelicans, Rockets, Kings and maybe the Warriors and Wizards. Ersan Ilyasova reportedly wants out of Milwaukee. Andre Miller doesn’t want to play for Brian Shaw again in Denver. Philly wants to get something in return for Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes instead of just losing them to free agency. Washington could be looking to dump salary and need a back-up point guard. New Orleans would love to dump Eric Gordon’s contract on someone. Same with Golden State and David Lee.
If the Cavs only want to make a minor move before Thursday, I’ve always liked Wizards shooting guard Martell Webster. He’s never reached his full potential, but if Washington is looking to dump some salary (he’s signed for 2 more years for $11 million, plus a team option) I’d inquire about him if I’m the Cavs. He would give Mike Brown another 3-point threat (40% this year and 42% last year).
Other players that could be, and I stress could be available in trades according to various reporst- Trevor Ariza, Taj Gibson, Danny Granger, Kenneth Faried, Arron Afflalo, Jeff Green, Javale McGee, Nicholas Batum, Greg Monroe, Kyle Lowery and Perry Jones.
A PLAYER-BY-PLAYER BREAKDOWN OF THE CAVS ASSEMBLED BY CHRIS GRANT
Kyrie Irving – He’s an All-Star, thinks he’s a superstar, but he’s not. Soft and plays no defense.
Dion Waiters – Thinks he’s an all-star, but he’s not. Pouts and doesn’t understand and doesn’t want to play defense.
Tristan Thompson – Consistently inconsistent. Gets more shots blocked at the rim than almost any player in the NBA. 6th or 7th man at best on most teams.
Luol Deng – A pro’s pro and understands the game, but slow and old. A lot of miles on those tires.
Anderson Varejao – Hardest worker on the team and a solid player when healthy.
Anothony Bennett – If not a complete bust, one of the worst #1 overall picks in NBA history.
Jarrett Jack – Free agent bust.
Earl Clark – Stinks.
Alonzo Gee – Stinks.
Tyler Zeller – Nothing more than a back-up center at best.
C. J. Miles – An average bench player.
Mathew Dellavedova – 3rd string point guard who at least hustles and plays hard every night.
Sergey Karasev – Rookie who has some type of future in this league, but not sure what it is.
Henry Simms – D-League center.
Carrick Felix – D-League shooting guard.
Luol Deng 1 on 1 Post-game vs Pelicans 1-28-14
POTENTIAL CAVS FREE AGENT TARGETS IN THE SUMMER OF 2014
In looking at the Cavs free agency situation for the summer of 2014 I have compiled my list of the top free agents I think the Cavs should look at. As you can see, they just acquired one of those top free agents in a trade and now control his “Bird Rights” in Luol Deng. Here is a list of my Top 10 potential unrestricted free agents for the summer of 2014 that I would go after, along with three restricted free agents that I would target.
AP photo courtesy of George Frey
My rankings were based on ability, age (how old they’ll be for start of 2014 season), salary (what they’re making this year), fit and need for the Cavs. Danny Granger is the biggest reach on this list because of his recent injury history, but if he proves to be healthy again, he could be a bargain. It’s unlikely players like Duncan, Wade and Nowitzki would leave the only team they’ve ever played for, but you never know. Also to me the only true max players on this list would be LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons.
Potential Unrestricted Free Agents – Some have an early termination offer, others a player option.
LeBron James – SF/PF – 29 – $19.1million – 26ppg-6.5rpg-6apg -59%fg-40%3fg-75%ft
Carmelo Anthony – SF -30 -$21.5 million -26.6ppg-8.3rpg-2.9apg -45%fg-40%3fg-84%ft
Luol Deng – SF – 29 – $14.3 million – 18.7ppg-6.6rpg-3.5apg-45%fg-27%3fg-82%ft
Rudy Gay – SG/SF – 28 – $17.9 million – 20.0ppg-6.6rpg-2.5apg-44%fg-33%3fg-80%ft
Chris Bosh – F/C – 30 – $19.1 million – 15.4ppg-6.7rpg-1ap-52%fg-33%3fg-80%ft
Danny Granger –SF – 31 – $14.0 million – 9.1ppg-3.6rpg-1.3apg-36%fg-30%3fg-95%ft
Zack Randolph – PF – 33 – $17.8 million – 17.2popg-10.5rpg-2.7apg-45%fg-0%3fg-75%ft
Dwyane Wade – SG – 32 – $18.5 million – 19.6ppg-4.9rpg-4.8apg-54%fg-4253fg-70%ft
Dirk Nowitzki – PF – 36 – $22.7 million – 20.8ppg-5.9rpg-3.0apg-49%fg-40%3fg-89%ft
Tim Duncan – C – 38 – $10.4 million – 14.5ppg-9.8rpg-3.0apg-46%fg-0%3fg-77%ft
Restricted Free Agents
Gordon Hayward – SG – 24 – $3.5 million – 17.1ppg-5.4rpg-4.9apg-41%fg-32%3fg-83%ft
Chandler Parsons – SF – 25 – $926 thous. – 17.2ppg-5.4rpg-3.6apg-51%fg-37%3fg-72%ft
Evan Turner – SF – 25 – $6.7 million – 19.1ppg-6.3rpg-3.9apg-445fg-29%3fg-82%ft
(Parsons is a restricted free agent, but Houston has a team option on him)
ME, MYSELF AND I – LUOL DENG TRADE
With plenty of free time on my hands, I’ve been talking talking to myself more and more. Here’s the conversation I had with me, myself and I today about the Cavs acquiring Luol Deng from the Bulls for Andrew Bynum. (Thanks Terry Pluto for the idea, I just tweaked it a little bit)
Me: So Cavs G.M. Chris Grant turned Andrew Bynum into Luol Deng, that’s a pretty sweet deal for the Cavs. Nice trade C.G.!
Myself: Yes indeed, you dump a bum with bad knees for a 2-time all-star, in the prime of his career, at your biggest position of need, and better your chances of making the playoffs this year. I’d say that’s a steal!
I: Big deal, the Eastern Conference sucks other than Miami and Indiana. Making the playoffs in the East is like being the slimmest fat kid at fat camp or Earl Clark saying I’m the leading scorer amongst Cavs small forwards, it doesn’t mean diddly squat!
Me: You’re wrong, it means a lot. You can’t teach playoff experience, you have to go through it and hopefully with Deng here, guys like Kyrie, Tristan and Dion will experience that.
Myself: Plus if the Cavs make it to the playoffs and actually win a round that will send a message to the 2014 free agent class that they’re on the right track and it may result into a certain free agent wanting to return home if he sees progress in Cleveland.
I: Yeah, and if my aunt had balls, she’d be, well you know the rest. She doesn’t, and he’s not coming back because of Luol Deng or winning a first round playoff series in the putrid the East.
Me: Well if LeBron doesn’t come back, then the Cavs can just resign Deng and go after another free agent in the off season.
Myself: Plus even though they won’t be in the lottery, they’ll still have multiple draft picks to add talent.
I: But you won’t get one of the studs that will be available in this year’s draft. This is the year you WANT to be in the lottery. You WANT to have the 1st, 2nd or 3rd overall pick with such a deep draft class. Even Grant couldn’t mess up that pick. If they make the playoffs and get bounced in the first round, they’ll have screwed that up too! Right now they’re in good position for the lottery. APPBITH for one more year.
Me: You have to start winning sometime or else Kyrie is going to take his talents somewhere else.
Myself: This Deng trade shows Kyrie and all the other players how serious they are about winning, which will give the players a mental boost for the rest of the year, and who knows maybe they add another player before the February trading deadline for another shot in the arm.
I: That so called good feeling will last a week or two if they aren’t winning or if Luol and Kyrie both ignore Dion and don’t pass him the ball.
Me: I’m just happy that Chris Grant has followed through and traded in some of those chips he had on the table for a solid defensive small forward who can score. He’s a legitimate starter at that position.
Myself: Me too. This is the best player the Cavs have added outside of the draft since Lebron left and he’s an all-star the last 2 years.
I: That same all-star has an achillies injury, and it’s forced him to miss 9 games already this year. What’s to say it won’t flair up again?
Me: Yeah but if it doesn’t, we’re looking at 19 points and 7 rebounds a game and he’s an all-league defender.
Myself: Plus he’ll be a great veteran leader in a young clubhouse and a leader on the floor for Mike Brown.
I: The only reason he’s playing so hard is because it’s his contract year and he wants to get paid and he’ll take the best offer at the end of the year and more than likely someone else will offer more than the Cavs, so you basically got a 4 month rent-a-player.
Me: Yeah but if helps us make the playoffs, it will have been worth it.
Myself: Yeah, just win dammit!
I: You won’t be thinking that come draft lottery time when you could have had a shot at Jabari Parker or Julius Randle or Andrew Wiggins.
Me: I’m willing to take that chance if it means winning now.
Myself: Me too.
I: Not me.