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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Cleveland Cavaliers”

5 Questions – Cavs season-opening edition

After a four-year hiatus, the NBA spotlight makes its return to Cleveland on tonight as the Cleveland Cavaliers open up the 2014-15 season against the New York Knicks.

The Cavs are emerging from NBA purgatory after losing 215 games over the past four seasons and are set to embark on what should prove to be one of the most exciting seasons in franchise history thanks to the return of LeBron James, the addition of Kevin Love, and the continued maturation of Kyrie Irving.

Because the Cavs pulled off one of the most amazing (and unpredictable) off-seasons in league history they are considered by many as favorites to not only return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007, but also bring home the franchise’s first NBA title – whether they are ready to or not.

“Anybody talking about us winning it all, I think they’re being unfair to those great NBA teams that are out there that have either won it or have been there to win it, and also to us as a team that’s talented but new,” head coach David Blatt said earlier this week. “We have a lot of work to do before we can start claiming anything before it’s time.”

Fair or not, the expectations are there for the Cavs and they will have to deal with them on a nightly basis. In addition, they will have to cope with heightened scrutiny from the media, take their opponents’ best shot night after night, and carry the burden of being the closest team to ending the city’s 50-year championship drought.

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Johnny Manziel right where he needs to be – on the sidelines

johnny manziel frustrationCleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine caused a bit of a kerfuffle during his press conference today by mentioning that he senses that rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel if “frustrated.”

“Well, I just think that he’s quiet. I just think you feel it,” Pettine said. “I’d be shocked – maybe I’m imposing it on him – but you feel it because you know what kind of competitor he is. Here’s a guy that’s gone from the past how many falls being out there making plays to standing there and having to watch. The competitor that he is is one of the biggest reasons we brought him here. So if he didn’t feel that way, I’d be shocked.”

On a basic level it’s probably good that Manziel is frustrated – that shows he’s not willing to just hold a clipboard and collect a paycheck. But on a bigger level we’re not sure why this is still a topic of discussion among the media and certain segments of the fan base.

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About those alternate uniforms for the Cavs

cavs navy uniformThe Cleveland Cavaliers announced today that they will be wearing a navy blue alternate uniform this year that features wine and gold letters, numbers and trim.

According to the team’s website, the uniforms will be worn for the team’s season-opening game on Oct. 30 against New York and will rotate with what the team refers to as its gold uniform (c’mon, it’s really yellow) as the official alternates for the 2014-15 season.

“With so much excitement and positive momentum going into this season, this special time called for a brand new uniform to match the energy and mojo of the 2014-15 team,” Tracy Marek, Cavaliers CMO, said on the team’s website.

The jersey is OK for what it is, we’ve always liked navy blue as a complimentary color to burgundy, but it’s not as good as it could have been.

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From the editor’s notebook …

cavs crazyWe’re only one week into training camp for the Cleveland Cavaliers and things are already getting crazy.

From a standing-room-only crowd at media day, to more than 16,000 fans attending a team scrimmage on Wednesday night, to a planned protest by a political group during Sunday’s preseason game against Maccabi Tel Aviv, it is anything but business as usual for the wine and gold.

Things are so hot that other teams are starting to take notice, most notably Washington’s Bradley Beal, who has engaged Cleveland guard Dion Waiters in an ongoing war of words over who has the best back court in the NBA. After Waiters challenged Beal’s claim that Beal and John Wall are the league’s best, Beal decided to fire back.

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From the editor’s notebook …

jordan cameron contractWith the majority of the focus on the quarterback position during training camp, it is easy to forget that there are other stories and issues that the Cleveland Browns are working their way through.

One of those is a potential contract extension for fourth-year tight end Jordan Cameron, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Cameron had a breakout year last season, catching 80 passes and seven touchdowns, after totaling just 26 receptions and a lone touchdown in his first two seasons with the team.

With the availability of wide receiver Josh Gordon – the team’s top offensive threat – still in doubt for the season, Cameron should become the focus of the passing game and based on his production from last season should be in line for a big year. While he would most likely not command a contract in the neighborhood of what Jimmy Graham received from New Orleans (four years with $20 million in guaranteed money), if Cameron can up his stats from last year, his price tag would go up as compared to what it is now. So it makes sense for the Browns to start talking extension now.

Or does it?

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From the editor’s notebook …

kyrie reacts to injuryWhen we heard the news that Indiana’s Paul George had suffered a major leg injury during Friday’s scrimmage with USA Basketball it reinforced our belief of club over country.

We understand that injuries can happen at any time (see Winslow, Kellen) and that this is the first  major injury suffered by an NBA player since they started playing on the national team in 1992, but we’ve never been worked up if a Cleveland player is passed over for an All-Star game or for an international competition. It certainly is a nice honor for a player, but from a fan perspective we never saw the value in it.

Why do we need to see Kyrie Irving (who has enough trouble staying on the court as it is) or LeBron James spend the off-season putting extra miles on their bodies? Or watch Joe Thomas or Alex Mack at the Pro Bowl, just waiting for someone to accidentally roll up their leg and blow out a knee? How did playing in the World Baseball Classic work out for Vinnie Pestano?

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Who do ya Love? For the Cavs, it should be Andrew Wiggins

keep andrew wigginsKevin Love or Andrew Wiggins?

Who do you like? More importantly, who should the Cleveland Cavaliers like?

That’s the question that has been rattling around in our brain since the news broke that the Cavs were on the verge (any moment know) of trading with Minnesota for Love in a deal that would include Wiggins. (Unless of course they’re not; it’s been nothing if not a fluid situation.)

From the time the news first broke we’ve been firmly in the Keep Wiggins camp; he just got here and we would very much like to see what he can do with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

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LeBron James realizes that there is no place like home

lebron comes homeTwo days ago when we wrote about how much had changed with the Cleveland Cavaliers over the past four years, the biggest unanswered question was just how much had changed for LeBron James.

We learned the answer today as James announced that he is indeed coming back to the Cavs in free agency.

“I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.”

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Four years has changed a lot for the Cleveland Cavaliers

lebron changes everythingFour years is a long time in the world of sports as players come and go; managers and coaches are hired, fired and rehired; and games are won and lost.

But sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same, especially when it comes to Cleveland sports.

Four years ago at this time, the Browns were embarking on yet another regime change. The Indians were meandering through another disappointing season.

And the Cavs were facing the biggest decision (pardon our word choice) in franchise history as they were in a fight to retain the services of free agent LeBron James.

Fast forward to now. The Tribe is stumbling through the season, currently sitting 6.5 games out of first place in the A.L. Central Division. The Browns are rebooting once again, with a new coach, a (mostly) new front office and a (probably) new quarterback.

And the Cavs once again find themselves working overtime to acquire James in free agency.

But this time it just feels different, especially for the Cavs.

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Kyrie Irving signs contract extension with Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers v Phoenix SunsAlmost from the moment that former NBA Commissioner David Stern made the announcement that the Cleveland Cavaliers had selected Kyrie Irving in the 2011 NBA Draft, Cleveland Cavaliers fans have been told – repeatedly- that it was only a matter of time before Irving fled Cleveland.

A sampling of those media reports includes:

July 18, 2013: “I’ve heard from someone in the know… Kyrie Irving not long for Cleveland” – @BrandonTierney

July 18, 2013: Kyrie Irving denies ridiculous rumor he wants to leave Cleveland Cavs

Nov. 2, 2013: Cleveland Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving could follow LeBron James out the door

Jan. 30, 2014: Kyrie Irving privately unhappy with Cavaliers

April 4, 2014: “The truth is [Kyrie’s] camp has been putting out there for years – years – that he doesn’t want to be in Cleveland.” – ESPN’s Brian Windhorst

April 7, 2014: Unhappy Irving could impact the NBA Draft

May 26, 2014: Contrary 2 report, reason Cavs won’t offer Kyrie max extension: because they know he wouldn’t accept & don’t want 2 look bad#goinggoinggone – @PeterVecsey1

May 27, 2014: Kyrie Irving inching closer to Lakers

So it was quite a nice twist for Cavs fans to wake up this morning to the following news:

July 1, 2014: Cavs, Irving agree to contract extension

And while we were driving to work this morning, we heard two words echoing from somewhere “deep in the Q” as they traveled across the country for the national media to hear.

We’re not completely sure, but it sure sounded like someone saying “suck it!”

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