Cavs Tanking Season?

The Cleveland Cavaliers are off to a rocky start to begin the 2013-2014 NBA season. At 4-8, the team has yet to be the playoff contending team fans have hoped for following a 98-94 season opening win over the Brooklyn Nets. This leaves me with one question. Are the Cavaliers tanking the season?

A report from Yahoo Sports suggests that one NBA team is doing just that. An anonymous general manager admitted to intentionally tanking the season to receive a top talent player in next year’s NBA draft.

Top players of next year’s NBA draft include:

  • Andrew Wiggins, strong forward, Kansas
  • Jabari Parker, strong forward, Duke
  • Julius Randle, power forward, Kentucky

Andrew Wiggins, who is only a freshman at Kansas, announced before the NCAA season started that he would enter next year’s NBA draft. He has been a big name in basketball since he began dunking in high school. He is also listed as the top choice in ESPN’s 2014 NBA Mock Draft.

A talented strong forward is exactly what the Cleveland Cavaliers need.

The signings of Andrew Bynum and Jarrett Jack have improved the team somewhat but still have a long way to go. Anthony Bennett, the Cavaliers’ first overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, has seen limited minutes and minimal production. Kyrie Irving is still producing and becoming one of the league’s best point guards. Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson are still developing, keeping the Cavaliers in the rebuilding stage.

Even with its young players, the Cavaliers have been predicted to finish in the top eight of the Eastern Conference. The team is not predicted to make a legitimate run for a championship.

The general manager pointed out in his interview that he didn’t want to finish in the middle of the league, to win big in the draft, the team has to lose big. With all the details listed, it’s an interesting argument to make that the Cavaliers may want to wait one more season to get one more piece to the puzzle.

Do you think the Cavaliers are intentionally tanking the season?

 

 

Cleveland Indians and Social Media

It felt like the Cleveland Indians’ season would never start this year, but finally after much anticipation the Indians finally played their first game.  There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the team after some new signings this off-season, and a new head manager was named for the organization.

Cleveland began its season in Canada, defeating the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1.The team then followed the season opener with a 3-2 victory in extra innings, but finally lost its first game of the season in the series finale against Toronto, 10-8.

The Indians are facing a difficult schedule to begin the season playing 13 consecutive games, with no break in-between.  With the new faces Cleveland signed this year, I thought I could share with you some ways the organization is attracting interest with its fans.

Nick Swisher

Although some of the key players the Indians have signed this offseason are 30-years-old or older, it almost seems like the team has gotten younger with their personalities.

Nick Swisher has become the new team leader and doesn’t shy away from the camera.  If you’ve watched an Indians game this season you’ve probably noticed Nick Swisher in Indians commercials giving the OH-IO.

Swisher, the former Ohio State Buckeye, no doubt in my mind has become a team favorite with his upbeat personality and ability to play the game.The Indians have also connected with social media a lot more this year.

I should warn you if you have become sick and tired of the harlem-shake videos do not watch this video.  However, if you love Cleveland and love the harlem- shake, it is definitely a video worth watching.  It shows Cleveland manager Terry Francona having a talk with his players, then skipping to a harlem-shake dance.

This video was shared through the Cleveland Indians Facebook and Twitter page and created a lot of buzz with the the new look team.  Because the Indians haven’t seen the playoffs since 2007, it seems a little odd to see the team enjoying themselves.  Maybe it’s exactly what the team needs though to get the pressure off them and compete for an AL Central Championship.

If the harlem-shake video was not enough for you let me introduce you to TERRi.  It’s obvious that this team is comfortable with each other and the video is a spoof of SIRI, which is a way people with iPhones can ask questions and get answers by asking it.  In this case the players are asking questions to their phone and hearing answers from their head coach.

After so many years of disappointment isn’t it about time one of our teams just had a chance to enjoy themselves?  Maybe it will help Cleveland get over the past and look to the future.

Needless to say, if the team isn’t able to make the playoffs this year, atleast the players should be fun to watch.

What do you think about the way the organization is presenting itself this season?

*Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated*

LeBron’s Possible Return

In case you missed it, LeBron James made a visit back to Cleveland on Wednesday and he did not disappoint, recording yet another triple-double.

Since leaving for Miami, LeBron was finally was able to do something he wasn’t able to in Cleveland, win a ring.  LeBron and his all-star cast are a Heat team that continue to dominate the NBA, and after winning against his former team Wednesday the Heat are currently on a 24-game winning streak.

Besides the fact that Cleveland, with an injured Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, were able to blow a 27-point lead, there was much more drama to the  occasional visit from LeBron.

The game started with about a 30-minute delay due to an oil leakage at center court, but that was only the beginning of the strange events that unraveled.  When Miami battled back and had a four-point lead in the fourth quarter, a Cleveland fan ran onto the court with a shirt that read on the front, “We Miss You”, and on the back “2014 Come Back”.

Clearly the man’s plan was to grab LeBron’s attention and by doing so finds himself behind bars in a Cleveland prison.  With this recent event, it can only bring one question, will LeBron return to Cleveland in 2014?  Cleveland has done a nice job in acquiring young talent, and with an aging Dwyane Wade and other veterans on the Miami Heat team, Cleveland may be LeBron’s next destination.

One thing is for sure, the Cavaliers are leaving plenty of cap space for a possible return, and after next season the Cavaliers should actually have a team that can compete for the playoffs.  The past few years have been a rebuilding process, but if you remember what LeBron did for the city of Cleveland, I think it’s about time we get over this…

How would you feel about LeBron James returning to Cleveland?

Cleveland Browns 2013 Free Agency

Remember when the Cleveland Indians spent all that money in the offseason to get key players in Cleveland not that long ago?  Well it looks like the Cleveland Browns had the same thing in mind when free agency started.

New additions

First, let’s start off with the five-year, $40 million deal the Browns signed Paul Kruger to shortly after free agency started.  Kruger played defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens for four seasons and recorded nine sacks in his final season with the team.  Kruger was the best defensive end available in free agency and the Cleveland Browns organization made it a priority to put him in a Browns uniform.

One of the biggest adjustments Kruger will have to make coming into Cleveland is taking a leadership role on defense.  Don’t forget that Kruger was part of a stellar Ravens’ defense with Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, which created opportunities for Kruger to make plays.  Now the 27-year-old Kruger will be out on the field to make plays happen by himself and will be a crucial piece of the Browns’ 3-4 defense this year.

Paul Kruger

Another key signing for the Cleveland Browns is Desmond Bryant who played last season with the Oakland Raiders.  The defensive tackle signed a five-year, $34 million deal with the Browns just hours after the team signed Kruger.

Right now Bryant’s image with the public doesn’t look that well after an embarrassing mugshot was taken after being charged with a misdemeanor in February.  Although the picture went viral most Browns fans could probably overlook Bryant’s mugshot and accept him as a new member of the team, especially after dealing with the antics that Braylon Edwards’ bar incident and Kellen Winslow’s motorcycle accident put Cleveland fans through.

Bryant has made it clear that he wants to get past the mugshot and look forward to next season.  Bryant played all 16 games last season in Oakland and is ready to make an immediate impact on the Browns defense.   If he can live up to his potential and stay clear of off the field distractions he can be a key contributor to the Browns new defense that is switching from last year’s 4-3 defense.

Saying goodbyes

As new players come in, some players part ways.

Once the face of the franchise for the Cleveland Browns, Joshua Cribbs, is no longer a Cleveland Brown.  The wide-receiver was known for his big play ability on kick-off and punt returns but will find himself in a Arizona Cardinals jersey next year, although a contract hasn’t been finalized.

The loss of Cribbs is no doubt due to the potential the team sees in Travis Benjamin, who has shown flashes of big play ability and will take over the role of returning kick-offs and punts.

Another big name with an uncertain future is Browns’ kicker Phil Dawson who has been with the team since its return to the NFL in 1999.  Dawson, who is the team’s leading scorer, has been through the bad times and the good times the Browns have had since returning to the league but his age may becoming a factor.

All Browns fans could probably agree it would be hard to picture anyone other than Dawson kicking field goals in a Browns jersey, but the 38-year-old may not be back with the team next season.  As hard as it is to see Cribbs leaving the Browns, Dawson has been one of the most reliable players the team has had but it seems his days in Cleveland are numbered.

How do you think the Browns have done in free agency?

*Photo courtesy of SportsIllustrated.com*

The New Look Indians

The Cleveland Indians have finally done what all Cleveland fans have been waiting so many years for, which is making a splash in the offseason.  The Indians in recent seasons have been in a rebuilding process and haven’t had a significant run for the playoffs since 2007 when the team lost to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS.  The 2007 Cleveland Indians had players who were on top of their game in CC Sabbathia, Victor Martinez and Cliff Lee, among other players.

Since then the team has traded away all three players and have failed to make the playoffs, but some offseason signings and a new head coach may get the Indians back to its winning ways.

Some players the Indians picked up this offseason include:

  • Drew Stubbs (OF)
  • Nick Swisher (OF)
  • Michael Bourn (OF)
  • Mark Reynolds (1B, 3B)

Baseball

Drew Stubbs came over in a trade that sent crowd favorite Shin-Soo Choo to the Cincinnati Reds.  Nick Swisher signed a four-year deal with the Indians in December worth $56 million.  The biggest move the Indians made this offseason is signing Nick Swisher who has spent his career playing with the A’s, White Sox and the Yankees but the Buckeye is returning home.  He has put up good numbers throughout his career and should be a solid contributor for the Indians this year.

The second biggest signing the Indians have made is signing an All-Star in Michael Bourn who’s stock dropped after waiting for a big contract.  The Indians managed to pick up the outfielder with a four-year contract worth $48 million.  This is the first time in a long time Cleveland has made this big of a splash in free agency and the team is shaping up to be contenders this year.

Another big change the Indians made this season isn’t a player.  Terry Francona, who coached the Boston Red Sox in 2007 and beat the Indians in the ALCS, is now Cleveland’s head coach.  He brings experience and some believe is a major reason why some big players have decided to play for the Indians.

The team seems to have all the weapons in place this year with a good starting rotation and ace in Justin Masterson.  Also, although Chris Perez seemed to spend most of last year complaining about the Indians fan base is back for another year to earn some saves.  Perez caused a lot of drama last year with his off-field comments and actions, but he has proven he can pitch and can be a great closer for the Indians this year.

Although the Indians managed to pick-up some talented players this offseason the Indians didn’t manage to keep Travis Hafner who signed with the New York Yankees.  Hafner was a solid contributor for the team  when he was healthy, but seemed to lose fade away in some games where he wasn’t able to contribute.  When he was on his game however there isn’t a player in the game that could out-hit him and pitchers were afraid to throw him strikes.

One thing is for sure, the Indians have plugged in some key players this offseason.  How far do you think the Indians can get this year?

Enlightened Cavaliers

It seems like the Cleveland Cavaliers have started the second half of the NBA season on a serious mission to win.  Whether the team is growing into a contending team or Coach Byron Scott has put them under a magical spell, the Cavaliers are playing with more than the idea of just showing up to games.scoreboard

Since the All-Star break there has been no roster changes, and a 3-1 record to show for it.  The Cavaliers topped the New Orleans Hornets and Orlando Magic before losing a competitive game against Lebron James and the rest of the Miami Heat, who are currently on a 12 game winning streak.

The Cavaliers battled back from a double digit deficit against Miami and took a one-point lead going into the fourth quarter.In the end, the true colors of the Cleveland Cavaliers showed and the the Heat got by with a 109-105 victory.

The Cavaliers were able to bounce back the next game defeating the Chicago Bulls 101-98.  An unlikely hero, Cleveland forward Luke Walton, came up with two big plays to help lift the Cavaliers over the Bulls Tuesday night.  Walton drained a jumper with under a minute left in the game and deflected a tipped ball off a Bull guard, which gave the Cavaliers the ball back were crucial plays that led to a Cavaliers victory.

Though Chicago is still playing without its star point guard Derrick Rose, Cleveland was without its star point guard Kyrie Irving.  Irving is listed as day to day with a knee injury and may just need more rest before returning.

One thing is for sure, the Cavaliers are now playing with a sense of confidence and purpose.  Dion Waiters was also able to step up and score 25 points in Irving’s absense.

Kyrie Irving will be benched against the Toronoto Raptors again tonight, so it is up to the Cavaliers to bring the same intensity as last game.  Can the Cavs continue to win games without Kyrie Irving?

Don’t look now but the Cavaliers are 9 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference.  With 25 games left in the season the only way Cleveland can finish the season at .500 is finishing the season with a 22-3 record, a very unlikely possibility.

Some may argue that the smart thing for the Cavaliers to do is to tank the rest of the season in order to get a better lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft, but now that the team is turning a corner (or so it seems) it is about time Cleveland went back to its winning ways, as it did in the Lebron.

The last time the Cavaliers saw a season above .500 was in 2009-2010 when the Cavaliers finished the season with the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 61-21.

Depending on what happens within the next few weeks the Cavaliers may become a dangerous team to play against, especially against teams still fighting for a playoff birth.

Do you think the Cavaliers have finally become a competitive team once again?

Cleveland Cavaliers: All-Star Weekend, Midseason Grade and Trade Deadline

Basketball Hoop

All-Star Weekend

The Cleveland Cavaliers had an excellent showing in NBA All-Star weekend with Kyrie Irving representing the Cavaliers, playing in the NBA All-Star game and winning the NBA Three-Point Contest.

Other Cavaliers who participated in NBA’s All-Star weekend were Tyler Zeller, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson, who all played in the NBA Rising Stars Challenge, along with Kyrie Irving.

But now that NBA All-Star weekend has wrapped up, many teams anticipate a playoff push with the second half of the season starting.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are not included in this list.

Midseason Grade

The Cavaliers begin their second half of the season tipping off against the New Orleans Hornets (19-35 in Cleveland Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m.  The two teams are not expected to make a run for the playoffs with their current records.  The Cavaliers (16-37) are 10.5 games back of the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference and with only 29 games left in their remaining schedule the playoff chances are slim.

The Cavaliers record does make the team appear worse than they really are.  Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller are the players who Cleveland is trying to build around.  Kyrie Irving has been nothing short of spectacular all season long dazzling defenders and driving to the basket with ease.  Tristan Thompson has come on strong since the injury of Anderson Varejao and has developed a good post game.

Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller have shown flashes of success but have also had games that made fans remember they are both rookies.

Final letter grade: C+

Trade Deadline

The anticipation of the second half of the season gets organizations thinking about how its team can improve as the trade deadline approaches, which is Thursday at 3:00 p.m.

Organizations that are desperate to add talent immediately to their team for this season become more than willing to trade future draft assets and non-developed talent to give itself a better chance of making the playoffs.

The Cavaliers can capitalize on this as an opportunity to add young talent and draft picks to its young team. The players on the trade block who may find new homes after the trade deadline are current Cavaliers, Omri Casspi, Daniel Gibson and Marreese Speights.  Omri Casspi and Daniel Gibson have seen a significant reduction of playing time since the season opener, and may not be part of the team’s future.

The Cavaliers acquired Marreese Speights in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies earlier the season.

Anderson Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who was seen as a major asset the Cavs were willing to give up has had his name withdrawn from trade talks after suffering a season ending injury.

The Cavaliers have expressed interest in the Timberwolves’ Derrick Williams, who the team passed with their #1 draft pick in the 2012 NBA Draft to draft Kyrie Iriving.

Derrick Williams is just 21 years old and could be a vital part of the Cavaliers future if the team decides to make a trade.

What other players do you expect the Cleveland Cavaliers will be interested in come trade deadline?