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Life as a Cleveland Sports Fan

Archive for the tag “Cleveland Cavaliers”

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!”

From the editor’s notebook …

david blatt cavsThe Cleveland Cavaliers landed their man on Friday, naming David Blatt as the team’s latest head coach.

We admit to knowing next to nothing about Blatt before the Cavs undertook their third head coaching search in the past four years. But the more we learn about him the more we are intrigued by the hiring.

Blatt comes to the Cavs fresh off leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Euroleague championship. His coaching job in the tournament led one NBA general manager to observe that “Maccabi was outgunned at every position except coach. David took down two Goliaths in a weekend. He belongs in the NBA.” (h/t to @WFNYJacob for the link to that story.)

Over the past four seasons, Blatt’s teams went 222-55 and, in addition to this year’s Euroleague title, won the Israeli Cup and Israeli league title. He’s been a head coach in Europe for 15 years and coached the Russian national team from 2006 to 2012. (So at least he will be used to the harsh winter weather in Northeast Ohio.)

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Time for the Cleveland Cavaliers to bring Mark Price home

mark price cavs coachTomorrow will be a month since the Cleveland Cavaliers fired head coach Mike Brown and the team is still without a head coach.

The Cavs are on their third coaching search in the past four years and clearly were paying attention and taking notes earlier this year when the Cleveland Browns conducted their latest search for a coach.

Dan Gilbert and general manager David Griffin are interviewing as many people as they possibly can, as they have reportedly met with:

  • Former Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins, who was 214-201 over seven seasons with the Grizzlies. He helped lead Memphis to the Western Conference finals in 2013 after winning a franchise-high 56 games, but was let go after the season.
  • Vinny Del Negro, who was 210-184 with four playoff appearances over five seasons, two as head coach in Chicago and three as head coach of the Clippers. He was fired by the Clippers after losing in the first round of the playoffs (to Hollins’ Memphis team) despite winning 57 games that season.
  • Former Phoenix head coach Alvin Gentry, who was fired mid-season by the Suns. Gentry has coached four teams over 12 seasons, posting a record of 335-370 to go with just two playoff appearances.

While those names are nice, there isn’t a “must-have” name anywhere in that group, and none of them say “NBA championship coach.” There is little reason to think that if the Cavs hire one of them, things will be any different than when they hired Byron Scott.

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We’ve been doing the fan thing wrong all these years

red right 88We have been a Cleveland sports fan our entire life. And while there have been more disappointments than triumphs, we’ve never thought about being anything other than a Cleveland sports fan.

It hasn’t been easy, of course. And looking back over the decades, the level of sub-par play from the local sports teams has, if we’re being honest, rather depressing more often than not.

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Cavs continue run of success by “winning” draft lottery

cavs draft lottery luckExciting times for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night as general manager David Griffin walked out of the NBA Lottery with the No. 1 overall pick.

It was the third time in four years that the Cavs “won” the top pick in the draft. The last two times they came away with a very talented player in Kyrie Irving, and an injured, overweight and asthmatic Anthony Bennett. In what is widely expected to be a three-player draft, the Cavs now hold the key as they can decide among Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid or Jabari Parker with the top pick – a decision they simply must get right.

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5 Questions: Cleveland Cavaliers season-ending edition

cavs lose lakersThe Cleveland Cavaliers came into the 2013-14 NBA season with high hopes.

The team had spent the previous three years building a young roster of high draft picks that included Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson. To that group they added veterans Jarrett Jack and Anthony Bynum, along with Anthony Bennett – the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

After three seasons, and 166 losses, the Cavs were ready to replace the draft lottery with a return to the NBA playoffs.

Unfortunately, those dreams went unrealized, as the Cavs finished the year with a record of 33-49, five games out of the final playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference.

While the 33 wins was the most for a non-LeBron James team since the 1997-98 season, and a nine-win improvement over last season, the year was still a disappointing one. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an interesting one.

From ugly losses to unexpected wins, to accusations of “buddy ball” and rumors of locker room punches, to Irving being named MVP of the All-Star Game and the firing of general manager Chris Grant, this Cavs season is one fans will talk about for quite some time (even if it may not be for the reasons we like).

To help sort through what we all just witnessed over the past 82 games, and figure out some of the important issues facing the team this off-season, we’ve brought together an august panel of some of the best Cavs basketball minds on the Internet for an installment of 5 Questions in 5 Minutes.

Today’s participants are:

Ben Cox, a writer for Waiting for Next Year, Fear the Sword and CavsZine, and possibly the only librarian who can pull off muttonchops. He can be found on Twitter @WFNYBen.

Brendan Bowers, the founding editor of Stepien Rules and a contributing writer for SLAMonline. He is on Twitter @BowersCLE.

Demetri Inembolidis, a former contributing writer for The Cleveland Fan and I Go Hard Now. He is currently a contributor to Goodspeed & Poe and can be found on Twitter @demeatloaf.

Michael Mayer, the founder and editor of Rebuilding Since 1964 and a contributing writer for Real Cavs Fans. Follow him on Twitter @RS64mikemayer.

Wade Foley covers the Cavs for More Than a Fan: Cleveland and scouts and writes for NetScouts Basketball. He can be found on Twitter @FoleyLoaded_NBA.

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From the editor’s notebook …

Man U Liverpool LiveAfter five years of frustration, Liverpool walked out of Old Trafford on Sunday with their first road win against Manchester United since 2009.

The 3-0 beating pushes Liverpool 14 points clear of United in the Premier League table and, more importantly, leaves the Reds just four points back of league-leaders Chelsea (and holding a game in hand). With a spot in next year’s Champions League almost locked up with nine games to go in the season, the question now becomes: can Liverpool claim its first Premier League title in 24 years?

Captain Steven Gerrard thinks so.

“We’ve showed today that we are genuine contenders and we are going to fight to the end for this,” he said in published reports. “We believe it, but I’ve said many times that in football the easiest thing to do is talk the talk. We’ve got to go and treat Cardiff like Manchester United and we’ve got to treat Sunderland like Manchester United. If we do we will win a lot of games until the end of the season. The rest of the teams around us have to believe we’re going for it.”

The win was Liverpool’s fifth consecutive in the league – they haven’t lost since their Dec. 29 match with Chelsea – and the club has taken 26 points out of its past 10 games.

And much of the credit goes to manager Brendan Rodgers.

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From the editor’s notebook …

tribe starting pitchingThe Cleveland Indians are just 22 days away from the opening of the 2014 season and so far they are only having the good kind of spring training problems.

The Tribe hasn’t had to deal with any major injury issues; the outfield rotation is looking good, particularly left fielder Michael Brantley, who is now hitting .615 in Cactus League play after going four-for-four on Saturday; Carlos Santana is doing what he can in the field at third base; reliever Vinnie Pestano seems to be on the right track to fixing what ailed him last season; and, most importantly, the starting pitching is looking solid.

The top three of Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber and Zach McCallister have quietly gone about their business this spring, and with Danny Salazar expected to make his first start with the regulars on Monday, the rotation is shaping up nicely.

The best part of the rotation may be at the No. 5 spot, of all places, as is it looks like manager Terry Francona is going to have a hard decision to make when it comes time to make the final roster decisions.

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