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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Kyrie Irving”

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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What can the Cavs do about their glass man?

irving-shoulder-injury-vs-raptorsThe Cleveland Cavaliers announced on Monday that point guard Kyrie Irving will be shut down for three to four weeks with an AC sprain in his shoulder.

Are there any Cavs fans who are surprised?

In the short run, the Cavs plans for Irving should be pretty easy – with only five weeks left in the season, they should shut him down for the rest of the year. With the Cavs looking to maximize their draft position rather than battling for a playoff spot, there is little reason to bring Irving back this season just so he can play for a week.

It’s easy enough to make plans for the next few weeks; it is the long-run plan that may be a bit trickier.

We look for answers at The Cleveland Fan.

(Photo by The Associated Press)

Hopefully, the kids are alright

12283455-standardIt’s nice that the Cleveland Cavaliers have four players taking part in this weekend’s All-Star Game festivities, but there is a small part of us that wishes it wasn’t so.

Because right now what Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller probably need, more than anything, is time away from the game to rest up. Especially Irving, who played 27 minutes in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge, will take part in tonight’s 3-point contest and represent the Cavs in the actual All-Star Game on Sunday.

“They’ll probably have him do a bunch of stuff,” Cavs coach Byron Scott told The Plain Dealer earlier in the week. “So I’m a little concerned coming back he’ll be more tired. But that’s something we’ll deal with Monday when he comes back.”

We’re with you coach.

To find out why, head over to The Cleveland Fan.

(Photo by The Associated Press)

This Irving kid just might be a keeper for the Cavs

Kyrie Irving ; Tristan ThompsonCleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday, which should come as no surprise to anyone who watched the Cavs play last week.

In helping the Cavs to a three-game winning streak, Irving averaged 35.7 points per game, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.7 steals. He scored more than 30 points in all three games, becoming just the fifth player in NBA history to have three consecutive 30-point games before his 21st birthday.

“This has been a very good week for our team,” Irving said in an understatement on the team’s website. “We’re working hard and making progress. While I’m honored to win the award this week, the most important and exciting thing is our success as a team and continuing our focus to keep getting better every day.”

Read more…

Are the Cavs building a dream backcourt?

The NBA season is still a little more than three months away, but we like what we’re hearing about the Cleveland Cavaliers backcourt combination of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.

Irving has been making headlines in the past week for his play as a member of USA Basketball’s Select team, which is in Las Vegas helping the U.S. Olympic team get ready for the Summer Olympics in London.

In a recent scrimmage, Irving scored 11 of his team’s 14 points, leading Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo to say that Irving is “that far advanced in terms of his talent, it appears. He’s made a good showing here. He had a terrific rookie season in the NBA and certainly he will be one of the leading candidates going forward.”

And then there is Waiters, the Cavs top draft pick out of Syracuse.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, an assistant coach for Team USA, thinks Irving and Waiters are going to be a dynamic pairing – sooner rather than later.

“I think they’ve got the possibility to have the best backcourt in the NBA fairly soon,” Boeheim told The Beacon Journal. “I’m sure some people may think they went out on a limb (in drafting Waiters). I don’t think they went out on a limb at all. I think he was clearly the best player (available). I’ll be shocked if he’s not.”

Irving is also looking forward to playing with Waiters.

“Once I started seeing him at camps, we both earned each other’s respect for each other’s games,” Irving said. “Having him on the team now is a special opportunity and I feel like this is the future of our program. He’s an exciting player. You guys have no idea what we have.”

Irving is joining the Cavs Summer League squad in Las Vegas so he and Waiters can begin working together. The team will play five games, staring with Sunday’s tilt against Charlotte.

(Photo by Getty Images)

America’s Love Affair with Uncle Drew

America has fallen in love with Uncle Drew.

During the NBA finals, more than 11.7 million people went online to find out that Uncle Drew, a character in a Pepsi Max ad campaign, is really the Cavs’ Kyrie Irving, according to The New York Times:

The video was filmed at Clark’s Pond Court in Bloomfield, N.J., which is close to where Irving’s father lives. Local players were gathered and told that Pepsi Max was filming a documentary on a character named Kevin who they claimed was a youth basketball coach. Other than Irving, Kevin and the player whose injury leads to Uncle Drew entering the game, no one on the court knew that it was actually Irving under the makeup.

The video was posted two days after Irving was officially announced as the rookie of the year. With no media behind it, the video garnered 10 million views. With 80 percent of the viewers watching four minutes into the five-minute video, and the key target demographic of males from 25 to 54 accounting for most of those views, Pepsi Max decided to create a series of trailers to the video to be shown during the N.B.A. finals, representing a significant advertising purchase. Even so, the decision was made to stay true to the viral roots of the video by not giving away anything in the 30-second spots.

The paper reports that the ads received a 98 percent like-rate on YouTube and made the front page of Reddit. During Game 5 of the finals, Irving was trending worldwide on Twitter, under both his name and Uncle Drew’s name.

Read more…

The rebuilding continues

The rebuilding continued for the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday night in the NBA draft, as the Cavs found coach Byron Scott his point guard in Duke’s Kyrie Irving at No. 1 and selected Texas power forward Tristan Thompson.

Irving is quick, tough and intelligent and if he had played the entire season last year there’s little doubt he would have been a clear No. 1. He made 46 percent of his 3s in college and 90 percent of his free throws.

Scott won in New Jersey with point guard Jason Kidd and in New Orleans with point guard Chris Paul. If there was ever a player to match with a coach, this seems to be it.

As for Thompson, he has a chance to be the second best NBA player to ever come out of Canada. He’s a rebounder – he led the Big 12 with almost four offensive boards a game last year – and a shot blocker. He can also get to the free throw line – he averaged 7.3 free throws a game last year – but was a Shaq-like 48 percent on those free throws.

In a lot of ways, Thompson is a younger version of young J.J. Hickson, which makes us wonder what the Cavs have in mind here.

We know there are plenty of people who wanted the Cavs to select Jonas Valanciunas as he was sitting there when the team picked at No. 4, but we don’t know. Valanciunas only played 14 minutes a game in 14 games last year in the Euroleague and we’re not enamored with foreign players the way some people are.

Plus, Thompson is foreign, even if he did play at Texas.

General manager Chris Grant is going to get some grief for the Thompson pick because too many people fell in love with Valanciunas despite never seeing him. We’ll obviously find out over the next few years if the team made a mistake or not.

But if Irving turns out to be as good as everyone thinks he will be, and Thompson turns into a solid player, then we have to rate this draft as a winner.

(Photo by The Associated Press)

Browns feeling lockout’s pinch?

How much is the ongoing NFL lockout impacting the Browns?

Well, it’s certainly not helping.

Josh Cribbs told ESPN’s First Take the Browns are hurting because they can’t work with the coaches to install the new offensive and defensive systems.

“It does hurt us because at a time when there’s not a lockout, teams who have new coaches are allowed a certain amount of time to prepare,” Cribbs said. “And because of this lockout, we’re not.”

If this was a normal year, the Browns would be allowed to hold an extra minicamp because they have a new coach in Pat Shurmur.

Now? They have to be content with Camp Colt.

“Colt has been rounding up the troops and planning short minicamps to get the playbook down pat as much as we can, to get the plays down pat,” Cribbs said. “We’re really limited on the amount of things we can do because of the amount of information that we have.

“But at the same time, the minicamps that we’re having are beneficial. We’re getting our throwing down pat and the timing with the quarterback. It’s really beneficial … but we are set back a little bit because of the lockout.”

Speaking of McCoy, can he be the quarterback that helps the Browns close the gap on Pittsburgh and Baltimore?

“It’s horrible; there’s nothing good about [inexperienced quarterbacks] facing the Ravens and Steelers,” said Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. “They’re not carbon copies of each other, but their philosophy is pretty similar. They’re going to take away your running game, and you’re not going to outwork them in the trenches or move them. Then you’re one-dimensional, and then you’re in trouble.

“I really worry about the guy’s arm strength. I just can’t get around that. When the weather gets bad, he’s not going to be able to complete passes in Cleveland. I think he’s a real good fit in the West Coast offense. I think he has some moxie to him and I like the way he plays. But when it’s December and the Steelers and Ravens are in town, you better be able to complete a deep out.”

It’s getting a little old hearing about McCoy’s alleged lack of arm strength. You know who else had “average arm strength”? Brian Sipe. It’s not always how hard you throw the ball, but when and where you throw it that counts.

“It takes a while, but you make the cold and the wind your asset,” Sipe said in Terry Pluto’s book, Things I’ve Learned from Watching the Browns. “You learn to play in it by practicing in it. Then, when the other teams come to the lakefront, they aren’t ready for it.

“You should embrace the cold. It helps you as a quarterback because it slows the game down. You can see things better. Playing in that weather is part of what made us a tough team mentally.”

McCoy has the skills needed for a West Coast offense, which the Browns are now planning to run. He’ll be fine.

***

In the world of a different kind of football, the Premier League’s 20 clubs collectively lost close to half a billion pounds last year despite making record income, a Guardian analysis of their most recent accounts has revealed.

In the 2009-10 financial year, the clubs currently in the Premier League made total revenues of £2.1 billion (that’s billion with a b), principally from their billion-pound TV deals and the world’s most expensive tickets. Yet 16 of the 20 clubs made losses, totalling a record £484 million, and the same number relied on funding from their wealthy owners.

Aston Villa lost £38 million as the club’s owner, Randy Lerner, struggles to compete with clubs whose commercial income and potential is much greater than Villa’s.

According to the report, “these are sobering figures … signalling why reality bit for Randy Lerner’s ‘good American’ takeover at Villa Park. Lerner has problems to address despite £206 million invested. Their turnover of £91 million at the 42,582-capacity Villa Park is the Premier League’s seventh highest, but is so far behind Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal they risk becoming a seller of players to the top clubs.”

So in addition to the NFL lockout, Lerner has that on his plate to worry about.

***

Lost in all the hoopla about Jake Peavy’s performance against the Tribe on Wednesday night was that Justin Masterson was just as good.

Even though he took the loss, Masterson threw a five-hitter, striking out eight and walking two in his first complete game of the season.

Masterson went 5-0 with a 2.18 ERA in his first five starts of the season. In his last four starts, he’s 0-2 with a 2.78 ERA. In three of those games, he’s allowed two or fewer earned runs.

He keeps that up and we’re sure everything will be just fine.

***

Kyrie Irving plans to only have medical tests at the NBA combine, and will skip the on-court tests and drills.

“I’m just going doing medical here,” said Irving, the presumed No. 1 pick. “There’s no particular reason. I’m still working out around here (privately) but I’m not doing anything at the combine.”

No need to wear yourself out kid. Just focus on getting ready for Byron Scott’s training camp this fall.

***

Finally, check out the latest from Fresh Brewed Tees.

What a difference a year makes for Cavs

What a long, strange year its been for the Cavs.

A year ago, we were waiting to see if owner Dan Gilbert would fire the most successful coach in franchise history. Once Gilbert made Mike Brown the scapegoat for the team’s playoff failings, we spent time dreading that Gilbert would hire Tom Izzo before wiser heads prevailed and the team hired Byron Scott.

General manager Danny Ferry left when his contract expired.

We all witnessed the debacle at the Boys and Girls Club in Greenwich, Conn.

Then there was the season filled with injuries, a 26-game losing streak and a nagging feeling that the Cavs were becoming irrelevant in the NBA.

But last night’s NBA Draft lottery wiped the slate clean.

”Shocking events took place last summer and it was a slow, long, painful haul to get through it,” Gilbert said in published reports after the lottery. ”Maybe this will be the final straw in getting over the hump, getting to the other side and having a lot of hope for the future. That’s what we need.

”Above all, it means hope, and this is a lot of hope for one night. When you combine this with everything else going on, optimistic days are ahead.”

The Cavs now hold the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the upcoming NBA Draft, giving them an opportunity to continue the rebuilding process.

The last time the Cavs found themselves in this position was 1986 and their are similarities to that draft and this one.

The key lies with the front office.

In 1986, the Cavs were able to trade Roy Hinson and cash to Philadelphia for the 76ers No. 1 pick – the first overall – so they could select Brad Daugherty. They then used their own lottery pick – No. 7 – to select Ron Harper. Finally, the Cavs traded a future second-round pick to Dallas for Mark Price.

How’s that for a day’s work?

The current front office deserves credit for making a trade similar to the Daugherty trade, as they were able to turn Mo Williams and Jamario Moon into Baron Davis and the Clippers’ No. 1 pick – the very pick that turned into the top selection in this year’s draft.

Well played.

”This gives us two good, very young players to add to our core and keep growing,” said Cavs General Manager Chris Grant in published reports. ”It’s not a process that happens in one night. It’s a process that takes some time. . . . Regardless of the outcome, we were going to get two good players and we were excited about that. This makes it a little bit sweeter.”

Grant and the scouts now need to do their work to ensure the Cavs really do walk away with two good players – at the least. If they can do that, the Cavs will be that much closer to returning to their winning ways.

Of course it will take time. Don’t forget, the ’86 Cavs went 31-51 in their first year together – it wasn’t until their third season that the team had its breakout 57-win season.

But, while the team would be better if LeBron James was still on the roster, the Cavs are better off than they were when they won the lottery in 2003. That fall, James joined a roster that included Kevin Ollie, Ricky Davis, Dajuan Wagner, Ira Newble, DeSagana Diop and Tony Battie, to name a few.

Now the Cavs will add two potential impact players to a roster that includes Anderson Varejao, Antawn Jamison, Baron Davis, J.J. Hickson, Ramon Sessions and Boobie Gibson.

Not a powerhouse by any stretch, but certainly better than the group from ’03.

And what’s not to like about that?

***

At every good party someone has to play the fool and last night it was Minnesota general manager David Kahn.

“This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines,” Kahn said after the Cavs won the first pick. “Last year it was Abe Pollin’s widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We were done. I told Kevin: ‘We’re toast.’ This is not happening for us and I was right.”

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Kahn was at the center of this. He’s the same GM who drafted three point guards in the first round in 2009 (of the three, only Johnny Flynn has played for the Timberwolves), called Darko Milicic “Manna from Heaven” and blamed Michael Beasley’s trial and tribulations on “smoking too much weed.”

***

Here’s one man’s vote for the Cavs to take Kyrie Irving with the No. 1 pick.

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