Friday, October 31, 2008

Well, that didn't take long

Adrian Wojnarowski (hat tip to a much angier Cavalier Attitude):
Donnie Walsh, the Knicks GM, had heard for years about Wesley’s influence, but ever met him. The two didn’t talk about James, sources say, but it was a chance for the Knicks president to be around one of the most influential people in James’ decision-making process. The Knicks are working hard to get under the salary cap in 2010.

With the Knicks, there are two teams a source familiar with James’ thinking says intrigue him: The Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks.

For now, the Cavaliers are working furiously to make it hard for James to leave in 2010. They’ll have significant cap space that summer too, and sources say they’ve targeted the Toronto Raptors’ Chris Bosh to play with him.

Odds are long that the Cavaliers will ever see that duo, but things can change in two years. All they can do now is pray that it will be James holding the trophy in the next two years. If that happens, there will be no Cavaliers legends to bring back that night, no championship banners hanging besides the one that James raises there.

Couple things:

A) Hey, a Dallas Mavericks rumor! Finally. I've been saying for years that if being a Yankees fans means that James wants to play for the Knicks, then is stands to reason that his being a Cowboys fan would push him towards the Mavericks. Thanks Adrian for the first "James to the Mavericks" rumor.

B) If Danny Ferry significantly upgrades the talent on this team, there's no way James walks away from the best chance to win a championship. Doesn't matter the city, the only way LeBron gets to Jordan's rarefied air is if he has some rings. That's what matters.

C) Chris Bosh is a significant upgrade in talent.

D) Has James said anything? No? OK.

E) Again, James is all about image, and if he bolts a team with a 60 win roster to go play on a 1 win team for Jay-Z, then he'll take a PR beating (ie: he's not about basketball or winning).

F) Really, one game? That's all it took? One fucking game? Can't you at least wait for a losing streak?

G) It's gonna be a loooong two years

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cleveland 96, Charlotte 79

My bad, worked tonight, forgot to set the Tivo, so I missed the game. Does FSN Ohio have replays?

Even though I haven't seen any of tonight's game, I will say that I don't care for where this is heading:

We're No.1!

Wait, so Charlie Manual just won the World Series? Weird.

So with Philly winning it's first title since '83, does Cleveland now officially become the most title starved city (not that they weren't anyways, but Philly has 4 major sports, so I guess that makes a difference or something)?

and I still say Cleveland should've had the title even before the Red Sox and Phillies won. 1964 is before 1983 and I'm pretty sure the Celtics and Patriots counted.

Come on LeBron!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ice Skating in Hell, Etc

Some of Bill Simmons's predictions:

6. "Wally Szczerbiak's Expiring Contract" will become America's favorite new phrase.

Move over Theo Ratliff, there's a new sheriff in town! Expect Wally's contract to be thrown into more than 15 million fake trade scenarios over the next four months, and with reason: The Cavs are desperate. The LeBron Clock is ticking. I threw out the Michael Redd/Dan Gadzuric for Wally/Sasha Pavlovic possibility in Friday's column. How big of a gamble will Cleveland take? Would the Cavs roll the dice with Vince Carter or Andrei Kirilenko? Would they be desperate enough to trade Wally's contract and Eric Snow's expiring deal to Denver for the unseemly Allen Iverson/Kenyon Martin contracts and save Denver from Luxury Tax Hell? I just know that Wally is about to become the mint to the ESPN Trade Checker's mojito. We should even give him his own link: "Make your own Wally Szczerbiak trade!!!!!"

(My prediction if the Redd trade doesn't happen: Wally, $3 million and a future No. 1 to Utah for Kirilenko, a move that clears enough cap space for Utah to pay Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap next summer and, more importantly, gives the Jazz an unparalleled Clean-cut White Guy Trifecta of Matt Harpring, Kyle Korver and Wally. Can't you see those guys riding a ski lift together or crashing a raging Sundance party? I'm excited already.)

10. You will regret not fully appreciating Cleveland for swiping Mo Williams from Milwaukee.

Now here's a trade that didn't get enough attention: Cleveland's swipe of Mo Williams from Milwaukee. Only 25 years old and blessed with grapefruit-sized melons, Mo might be a shoot-first point guard, but shoot-first point guards thrive on teams with a creator in place ... and the Cavs have LeBron. Perfect! According to, Williams finished second in the league by making 51 percent of his 2-point jump shots. Throw in his 39 percent clip on 3s and that's a trade that makes sense to me. LeBron creates open jump shots for teammates. Mo Williams makes open jump shots at an alarmingly good rate. Sometimes it's that easy.

19. We will see LeBron's first MVP season.

Remember, the Cavs came within a couple of plays of toppling the Celtics last spring. They were damned close ... and that was without Daniel Gibson. Assuming they jump a level with Gibson, Williams and Whoever They Get For Wally, and assuming LeBron submits a career year (something like a 31-9-8), and assuming the media gets behind him (and not Chris Paul), LeBron will take the trophy home. He's due.

20. We will see LeBron win the Finals MVP as well.

My pick: Cleveland over New Orleans in the 2009 Finals. You will remember it as the first LeBron/CP3 Finals some day, a seminal moment in the league's history, the season when a new generation of stars symbolically moved the previous regime out of the way. The NBA ... where rejuvenation happens.

Simmons mentions his Michael Redd trade again. I can't see the Cavaliers trading for Redd at this point. Why do it? Redd and Williams didn't work out in Milwaukee, why reunite them here?

But yes, Bill Simmons has the Cavs winning the NBA Finals. I can't say I disagree, but I won't have a strong opinion until I see what they do with Wally's contract.

and if they're gonna win the finals, they're gonna need LeBron to knock down his late game free throws. That's gonna be a must.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Boston 90, Cleveland 85

You're excited?! Feel these nipples! I'm not sure when's the last time I've been this excited for the NBA to start back up. Maybe it's because of the Tribe and the Browns were so depressing, but it feels like I've been waiting for this game forever.

I really loved the first half. The Cavs came out strong, focused and played with a sense of purpose. Delonte West started at the 2 and the offense flowed fairly well, as the Cavs jumped out to an early lead, scoring 28 points in the first quarter and they went into halftime with a 50-43 lead. They're only issue was giving up too many offensive rebounds (to Perkins in particular), but they fixed it later on.

First impression of Mo Williams: hmmm. Mo did some things I really liked; he hit his jumpers, pushed the ball and played hard. But he got lost on defense a couple of times, which lead to some easy buckets for Boston (he lost track of Rondo twice). However, when he gets beat, he fouls... and he fouls hard (no easy buckets!). Williams was 3-5 from 3 point range, but just 4-10 overall, finishing with 12 points and 2 assists (and 4 turnovers). Again, not bad, but not great either. Hell, if Larry Hughes gave us those numbers, I'd have been thrilled.

The second unit did OK, but I have my issues. While I understand why West is starting (smarter than Sasha, quicker than Wally), I think the Cavs would be a better team if he came off the bench. The second unit consisted of Boobie Gibson, Sasha Pavlovic, Wally Szczerbiak, Anderson Varejao and Lorenzen Wright; out of those five guys, tell me who you want to take the majority of the shots.... Gibson, right? But he was playing 'point guard' and was setting up the offense, which led to Wright and Varejao jumpers and stagnant plays. Personally, I'd love to see the Cavs actually run plays for Gibson, especially with the second unit. Which is why I want West anchoring the PG duties; it'll free up Gibson (only one of the best shooters in the league) to run around picks and get himself open. As it is (or was the first game), there was too much standing around.

Wally Szczerbiak is the new Damon Jones. The Celtics ran plays for whoever Wally picked up defensively. Leon Powe posted up Szczerbiak a couple times and Tony Allen went right at him whenever he had the chance. The Cavs eventually started shifting the defense to help Wally out, but this isn't a good sign that he was such a liability in Game 1 of 82.

LeBron was mediocre. James finished with 22 points, 7 boards, 6 assists, 2 steals and a block. Not bad numbers, by any means, but he was a little too passive (maybe trying to feeling out Mo Williams) and he missed his free throws (4-8) including a couple late ones. However, he also had some of those "I'm LeBron James" moments; he had a couple monster dunks, a crazy layup/alley-oop thing from Z (the high post!) and a sick block on Ray Allen. Some of the problem was that he got himself into foul trouble; James picked up his fourth foul with 1:27 left to go in the third (Cavs trailing 66-63) and didn't come back in until the nine minute mark in the fourth (Cavs trailing 76-68).

Turnovers were an issue. Cleveland had 10 in the first half and 21 for the night. Both Williams and Z had 4, while James chipped in another 3. They say that the offense is always behind the defense early in the season, and the Cavs weren't the exception. You could tell they were trying to do new things; Z was in the high post, LeBron went inside, Williams was pushing ball... these are all things I liked. I didn't care for the Varejao high post (he can't pass or shoot, this is stupid) and I felt that Pavlovic dominated the second unit too much (he basically 'took over' the early fourth quarter- 5 points and a turnover).

Has JJ Hickson learned his lesson yet? Sure he missed the team bus, but 11 minutes of Lorenzen Wright is roughly 12 minutes too many. Wright was 1-3 from the floor (with some ugly ugly jumpers) and committed 4 fouls. I'm pretty sure Hickson can match that production.

Just in case you were wondering, I still hate Kendrick Perkins. Seriously, that guy never has committed a foul in his life. He shoves constantly, he looks like a god damned turtle and he runs his mouth the entire game. Though he did foul out on a fairly weak illegal pick (but I'll take it! Screw that guy!).

Speaking of Boston athletes I hate, Paul Pierce played really well. Apparently he's lost some weight and it showed. He got by James and Pavlovic a couple of times and he ended up leading everyone with 27 points to go along with 4 assists and 3 boards. His last assist to Leon Powe broke a press and ended the Cavs night.

However, the overall defense was pretty stellar. Pierce was the only one of the Big Three who had a decent game. KG shot 5-15 for 11 points (and only 6 boards) and Ray Allen was 2-9. The guys who hurt the Cavaliers the most were two bench players, Tony Allen and Leon Powe. Allen was 4-9 for 11 points and Powe finished with 13 on 5-7 shooting. As a team, the Celtics shot 44% (to the Cavs' 42%).

Mike Brown still murders children at halftime.
The Cavs entered the third period with a seven point lead... 12 minutes later, they're down 4. The Cavaliers scored just one bucket in the first 4:30 following halftime (a Ben Wallace dunk off a broken play).

and finally...

Not a bad game, but it felt like they gave it away. Losing to the champs... on the road... on opening night... by 5... really isn't the worst thing in the world. But the Cavaliers had their chances. LeBron was 4-8 from the stripe, they committed 21 turnovers and they let Boston have 10 offensive rebounds (Cleveland did win the rebounding battle 41-36). I know it's just the first game and that there's 81 more to go (and it's not like there weren't encouraging signs), but a win now counts the same as a win in April, and the Cavs let this one slip away.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This is stupid


The Browns suspended Kellen Winslow for one game.

They should go further and give him the release that he desires.

Winning isn't worth what Winslow has put the Browns through the past couple of weeks.


The Browns are a 2-4 team with Winslow playing while worried about his contract.

What will they be with him playing while obsessed about getting out of Cleveland?

It's too bad the option to keep him inactive the rest of the season — a la the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Keyshawn Johnson — is no longer there. (That move does not exist under the current NFL collective bargaining agreement.)

So release him.

Winslow can find out what he's worth on the open market, and the Browns can move on.


Look, this whole thing stinks to high heaven. The Browns look like bumbling fools, Winslow looks like an asshole and the entire team is suffering from this. Nobody is blameless here.

Like a lot of people, I see this as the beginning of the end of Winslow's tenure in Cleveland. I'm not thrilled about it, but I'm OK with it. I like the guy (and I hated him after the 2002 National Title game) and I think he works his ass off. He's also one of the only guys on this team who shows up week-in, week-out and he has one of the best sets of hands in the NFL (and most certainly on the Browns).

Though I do think that Winslow is worth the trouble, I can see why getting rid of him would be desired. But if the Browns decide to part ways with K2, it is imperative that they receive draft picks in return. They've traded picks for Quinn, sat on potential picks by keeping Anderson (which is looking worse and worse with every passing game) and traded picks for Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams, in no way can they lose Winslow and not get anything in return.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Not-so deep thought

Derek Anderson owes Kellen Winslow at least one dinner.

Anyone talking about 49% completion? 14 of 37? Anyone heard Brady Quinn's name?


Derek Anderson (and Braylon Edwards and the Crennelephant) owes Kellen Winslow.

Big time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cavs Previews (including mine!)

We're less than a week away and let's see what people are saying about the Cavs:

Kelly Dwyer, Ball Don't Lie:

This team will be better in 2008-09, though, and not just because of Williams. It will also be better in spite of the continued drop-off for the squad’s (sometimes, in the case of the last two) well-meaning older types like Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Ben
Wallace, and Wally Szczerbiak.

You see, James’ increased production will make up for that drop off. Should he continue to improve at the rate he’s improved at from year to year (with one noticeable fall-off in 2006-07), James should be doing some pretty legendary stuff this season, assuming his play over the last few seasons hasn’t been exemplary enough. Throw in Daniel Gibson getting a wee bit better, Anderson Varejao being in shape from the beginning of the year, Delonte West’s weird neck tattoos, and Williams’ presence, and you have a team that has as good a chance as any to make it to the Finals.

This is all dependent on a healthy team, though, and James’ continued growth. A month-long injury to Williams or Big Z could have the Cavs struggling to top .500. You have to wish that it didn’t have to be that way, just treading water. I wish a player like this had a better group to work with, but that’s not going to be the case this year or next; not until Cleveland’s payroll falls to essentially nil in 2010.

So, fingers crossed until then, and in the meantime, prepare for some missed lay-ups, not enough fast breaks, some 78-76 wins, and another underrated season for the ages from LeBron.

Expected Record: 47-35

47 wins seems a bit low, but I believe he's accounting for injuries.

Ian Thomsen,
The Cavaliers are my No. 2 team in the East because they should start the year without the issues that hurt them early last season, when Anderson Varejao and
Sasha Pavlovic were holding out. The team that almost knocked off Boston in the
second round has progressed by adding Mo Williams, a deep shooter at point guard. Another improvement by trade may be forthcoming too.

ESPN has a whole bunch of rankngs. Some are good, like ESPN's resident Cavs fluffer Chris Broussard:
CENTRAL: 1 EAST: 2 The unquestioned leader of the Redeem Team, LeBron will be spurred by the pain of past Cavs losses. He'll focus on delivering a high playoff seed and getting after it defensively. Oh, and Mo Williams will be a big help, too.

and Marc Stein ain't bad either:
CENTRAL: 1 EAST: 2 LeBron is only getting older, smarter and better. And he just got a good bit of help via the Mo Williams trade. The Cavs played Boston pretty close in the playoffs without Williams, if memory serves.

But they also have douchebags like...

Ric Bucher:
CENTRAL: 2 EAST: 6 If the regular season really, truly mattered to LeBron, there's no reason the Cavs couldn't win 55-plus. He's that good. I can't see why his Olympic commitment won't be cause to coast at times again.

Chad Ford:
CENTRAL: 2 EAST: 5 This should be the year that LeBron emerges as the MVP of the league. Everyone knows the Cavs play great defense, but the addition of Mo Williams finally gives Cleveland another potent offensive weapon. If they click, the Cavs will be dangerous.

Chris Sheridan:
CENTRAL: 2 EAST: 5 Curious to see what Danny Ferry turns Wally Szczerbiak's expiring contract into. Mo Williams is a big upgrade from Delonte West at the point, and Daniel Gibson could win the Sixth Man award, but they don't have enough frontcourt scoring to help LBJ in the postseason.

I really don't see how the Cavs end up fifth in the East, let alone sixth. Look, both Philly and Toronto will be improved, but I really don't know by how much. Philly could become a top-4 team in the East, but I don't see them as much more than that. I think Detroit might decline a little; they'll still be good, but they won't be as good.

And as long as we're doing previews by douchebags, here's Charley Rosen on Mike Brown:
During Mike Brown's tenure the Cavs have brought in a continuing series of secondary saviors — including Damon Jones, Larry Hughes, Ben Wallace and Mo
Williams. Should Cleveland fail to return to the Finals, the bigwigs just may decide that the problem sits on the bench. Forget about the Cavs' shortcomings in the bigs department, Brown will take the fall.
Nice argument, Charley. As far as second bananas go, only Hughes was really expected to be Robin to James' Batman. Yes, we all have high expectations for Mo WIlliams, but I don't think anyone disagrees that the Cavs still need another piece and that if James is No 1, Williams is more like 2a. As for Ben Wallace and Damon Jones, they were never expected to be more than role players anyways.

This is the best Cavalier team that we've had in the LeBron era. Bar none. The bench is deeper (I don't think anyone realizes how much having Delonte come off the bench should help the offense. With Williams, West and James, there should never be a time where the Cavs don't have a competent ball handler on the court), the addition of Mo Williams and JJ Hickson will add new dimensions to the offense (pushing the ball and an athletic big) and James will continue to dominate.

As far as Brown goes, remember, this is the first time in his tenure where he has an honest to God point guard (and he's got two!). No Larry Hughes, no Eric Snow and no Damon Jones... This is new territory for the Cavs coach. Plus, we go from seeing Gibson, Jones, Snow, Varejao and Donyell Marshall coming off the bench to Gibson, West, Wally, Varejao and Hickson.

Obviously, we've all had issues with Brown's offense, but the lack of point guard couldn't have helped matters. I don't think Brown is really on the hot seat (meaning, I don't think he's in danger of being fired mid-season) but if we enter next offseason with the same gripes about the offense, I believe there's a better than average chance that he'll be let go.

I don't usually like to make predictions of wins and losses, because a lot can happen during a season. But if the Cavs stay healthy (a big IF, considering the age of their starting front line), then I'd say the Cavs break the 50 win mark and somewhere between 52 and 56 wins.

But if there's a rash on injuries (especially if Wallace and Z miss months at a time) then I could see them slipping into 46-50 range (barring a trade).

And there's the thing: a trade. With Wally Szczerbiak's $15 million deal coming off the (not to mention Eric Snow's cool $8 million) the Cavs should be in a prize spot to grab any players from teams looking to dump salary. The obvious candidate is Vince Carter (or anyone on the Knicks), but I wonder about...

(brace for it)....

Carlos Boozer.

You're tellin me that guy wouldn't be the perfect low post threat to pair with James and Willaims? Sure, he's undersized, but he has a sweet jumper, an array of moves on the block and he rebounds like a fiend. Sure, he's got some baggage coming back here (to say the least), but he's been the subject of trade rumors for awhile now, it's not out of the question that he gets dealt.

(and besides the Knicks, Carter and Boozer, I'd also keep an eye on the fortunes of the Dallas Mavericks. They don't compete in the West, if I'm Danny Ferry, I'm calling up Mark Cuban every day, asking about Dirk and Josh Howard).

So ya, I can see this team getting anywhere from 45-55 wins, depending on how things shake out. If I had to pin down a number, I'd say 53.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Random Thoughts from the Weekend

1. Nice win for OSU. Good to see them actually dominate a team for once.

2. If OSU wants any shot at the title game (or any BCS game), they're going to have to beat teams soundly. Ohio State won't get any love from the polls this year; no benefit of the doubt.

3. A good win against Penn State would really help their fortunes.

4. I said this to my friends after the Wisconsin game, but Terrell Pryor is the real deal. You can tell that he's still young and he makes his fair share of mistakes (you're allowed to throw it away) but it's pretty obvious that this kid is chock full of talent.

5. Like the second play from scrimmage.... oh, we're backed up in our own territory.... nope, one run and we're at mid-field.

6. However, eventually he's going to have to win a game this year with his arm. Tressel hasn't really let him loose (the play calling can be remarkably uncreative) but at some point teams will just be daring him to throw (if they aren't already).

7. This was really cool. I'm glad Pryor is setting the bar high. He knows he's directing an offense (and team) that had title aspirations.

8. Beanie Wells is really good. The more I see him run (and after the way USC lost) the more I realize how much the Buckeyes really missed him in that game.

9. The Browns.... fuck me.

10. 14. of. 37. 14-37. 14/37.

11. Twice they started inside their 50.... nada. The last drive... DA go the first down on the sneak and they needed 5-11 more yards to give Dawson a fair chance of making the game tying field goal.... nada.

12. Anderson is six foot fucking five, there's no reason why he should have so many god damned tipped passes.

13. Does Edwards only catch balls if he's had two weeks to prepare? Or is it a 'once every 5 games' type deal. Maybe he should drink some 5 hour energy before he hits the field...

14. You can't put this loss on the defense, they did what they had to do. This loss is placed soley on the shoulders of the offense. The D has given the Browns a chance to beat both Pittsburgh and Washington, the offense didn't hold up their end of the bargain.

15. Terry Pluto is right, this is simply a 2-4 team. They derserve to be where they are.

15. Winslow's most recent outburst isn't making this season any more fun. It's not like we have an underachieving team, a brewing QB controversy and a coach who's clock management skills are so terrible, I'm shocked he can set his alarm every morning... a trade demand (or almost) is the extra spice that this season was lacking.

16. Kellen saying that he almost asked for a trade is just about as helpful as actually demanding a trade. You're still unhappy, the media is still going to beat this story into the ground and fans will still be upset. Saying "I almost demanded a trade" is the equivilant of saying "you know, I could've done something really asshole-ish right there, but I didn't. Just lettin you know, I could've decided to be a real dick. But I won't." I mean, what's the point?

16. Look, I can't imagine what Winslow has gone through. He gets another staph infection and says the Browns didn't want to tell the media (the Browns have had way more than their fair share, it wouldn't be suprising if they wanted to keep it under wraps). So instead, he gets to hear speculation about his nuts swelling, that has to be fun. THEN the Browns go out (sans K2) and lay a whooping on the Giants, with people speculating that maybe the Browns might have a better offense without Winslow (run blocking!). Then the Browns' offense goes out and take a big stinky dump in Washington. I can see why the dude might be venting.

17. And I'm sure there's a grain of truth to Pluto saying it's all about money, but I don't know if we can pin everything on his contract. If what Winslow says is true, then he got to be brunt of jokes so the Browns wouldn't have had to publically deal with another staph infection case. That's taking one for the team... and if Savage really didn't contact him while he was sick, I don't blame him for being pissed off.

18. But again, the outburst isn't helping anyone. (and who really knows if he's telling the truth. Maybe he's just daring the Browns to say, "nope, he didn't have a staph infection, it was his giant swollen balls that kept him out." But somehow, I doubt it).

19. I heard a great nickname for Romeo today: Crennelephant. Tell me that isn't awesome. [Update] The Crennelephant has confirmed that Winslow had a staph infection. I'm sure he's thrilled with the outburst.

20. Jerome Harrison got three touches. Three. And I'm fairly confident that they call came late in the 4th period. This is just getting stupid.

21. This Brett Favre story pisses me off. Not because of what Favre did (douche move, but I really don't give a shit) but because now ESPN is going to be 'all Favre, all the time' yet AGAIN. Lord help us all if T.O. starts mouthing off after the 'Boys loss to St. Louis. I could easily lose my mind.

22. "I swear to God, if the Red Sox win tonight, I may murder someone" - Ben Cox, October 19th 2008, 8:07 PM.

23. That being said, if we reach November and the state of Florida has three world series titles in the past 12 years.... I may murder someone. Go Phillies!

24. It's nice that Ben Wallace enjoys being out of the spotlight. I just wonder how good his mood will be if he's out of the starting lineup.

25. Terry Pluto talks about Sasha Pavlovic becoming the Cavs starting 2-guard, basically by default. I think he's right; Sasha is bigger than West and quicker than Wally. My big thing with Sasha is consistency, mainly with regards to his shooting. If he can knock down the open 3 on a regular basis, it would do wonders for this team.

26. I know it's preseason, but I really enjoyed the Cavs first win on Saturday night. I was lucky enough to catch the end of the game on the radio (dear lord I love Joe Tait) and it was great to hear that the reserves lead them to victory. I was intrigued by the five that Mike Brown had on the court in the final minutes: West, Gibson, Pavlovic, Hickson and Varejao. That (really young) group finished the game with a 20-2 run. (Also, with Brian Windhorst joining Terry Pluto at the PD, Cleveland's biggest paper will finally have some decent Cavs coverage. Going from cranky Bill Livingston, Branson Wright and Roger Brown to Windhorst and Pluto makes quite a difference).

27. Having Mo Williams get himself ejected didn't help with the chemistry development issues (can Mo, West and Gibson share the court at once, small-ball style?), but I don't mind the feistyness

28. Speaking of young guys, Cavs rookie Darnell Jackson will miss 5-6 weeks with a broken wrist. Now, this isn't a good thing by any means, but it might mean that we'll see a teensy bit more of JJ Hickson. I'm high on both rooks, but I don't think that this will really set him back too far.

29. I'm so very glad that Billmon is back. Same with Fafblog.

30. A few of my friends are in the band Falling Into Fire. I might do some recording with them at some point. Check 'em out, they're too talented to be hanging out with the likes of me. (Also, in other Ben Cox news, at some point this NFL season, I may be posting links to some podcasts. We'll see what happens).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Delonte West

This was unexpected, but it does explain his absence. I hope he's doing well:
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Delonte West contemplated quitting before leaving the team's training camp to seek help for depression and "a mood disorder" he has been battling his entire life.

West, who recently signed a two-year contract with Cleveland, said he removed himself from the team to "get my thoughts back together." He missed three preseason games during his absence from Oct. 4-15.

"I felt a feeling of anger and I just wanted to throw it all away and quit the team," he said.

The 25-year-old candidly discussed his condition following practice on Friday. West said he had been troubled by his behavior toward a high school referee during a scrimmage at the Cavs' training facility on Oct. 3. West took out his frustrations on the official, and said the incident was a warning signal for him to seek treatment to combat an illness that has troubled him for years.

"I needed help," he said.

West is taking medication and has been attending therapy sessions.

"In a sense, you feel like a weaker man because you have to raise your hand and ask for help," West said. "But I found out over the last week that it made me a stronger person. I came back focused, and with the help of some medicine and talking with people on a regular basis, I'm back in good spirits.

"I'm back here 100 percent."

I know the team is 0-4 thus far in the preseason, but I wouldn't be overly concerned. Having West out there with the second unit will allow the Cavs to remain competetive with the starters resting. They should be set once the season rolls around (obviously you'd like to see them win, but at this point you just want everyone healthy and used to each other).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What's the point of this column?

Is Livingston criticizing the Cavaliers' pregame rituals? Is he saying they're dumb? He never really offers a concrete complaint, but he seems pissed off b the whole thing. Is he simply a cranky old man? Who cares if they have elaborate routines?

I want my 5 minutes back.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Uh, what?

I mean.... what the.... ah... well... huh?

So what does this mean? Is this a good team? They just beat the champs, convincingly. I'm absolutely dumbfounded. Of all the scenarios I had pictured, "Browns win comfortably" wasn't one that sprung to mind.

The offensive line... god damn. The secondary... hell, the entire offense stepped up: no punts, no turnovers and no sacks. What. The. Fuck.

There were still some issues though. It seemed like when the Giants wanted to, they could move the ball. Credit where credits due; the Browns made stops when they needed to. But I still feel concerned to a certain degree.

And coupled with the penalties, the Browns still have stuff to work on.

but... wow. Just, wow. Hats off to the both the offense and the defense. I was not expecting this.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Only in Cleveland

Kellen Winslow Jr.... out with... what?

This doesn't happen to another city. John Smiley blowing out his elbow... warming up. Gary Baxter blowing out both knees... on the same play. The Steelers QB rides a motorcycle without a helmet, gets hit by a car... and has some scratches. Winslow rides a bike... in a parking lot... and misses an entire season.

Cleveland sports baby!

I swear to god... sometimes....

Anyways... does anyone out there have any confidence in tonight's MNF game? anyone? The entire PD staff picked the Browns to lose and I can't say I disagree.

I'm just hoping to not be embarrassed- no dumb penalties, no moronic coaching decisions and no terrible plays from the QB. Lose with honor! Don't fuck up terribly bad! Don't make me hate being a Browns fan! Low expectations!

Cleveland sports baby!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

From the comments


Hey, did you guys read this little bit from ESPN's TrueHoop?

Something about this just really hits a nerve - even worse than everything else that was blatantly anti-Cleveland. Maybe it's the subtle condescension towards Cleveland and its fans, or that Abbott usually doesn't come off as a shill for ESPN's media gimics. LeBron eventually said something about Darfur, so he's probably just playing to the Cleveland fans??? Gimme a break. Am I overreacting here?

and Erik:
Henry Abbott is definitely on the "LeBron's leaving Cleveland" bandwagon. He responded, I think, to both Ben's blog and my blog last year when we called him out for having an anti-Cleveland bias.

His response to my blog post was particularly rambling, where he went off on some tangent about actually loving Cleveland, but that he had credible sources that told him LBJ is just putting on a front for Cleveland and he's really out the door on July 1, 2010.

So, whatever. ESPN's company line is "LeBron to New York in 2010." That's what sells subscriptions and pumps up their TV ratings.

What really seems like a slap in the face is when Chris Sheridan pens an article, as he did today, featured on the front page, noting that D-Wade plans to sign an extension in 2010. In the same article, he notes that the Cavs live in "mortal fear" of LeBron leaving.

Again with the whole idea that D-Wade should never want to leave Miami, no
matter how bad the Heat are, and LBJ should never want to stay in Cleveland, no matter how good the Cavs get.

I don't know if it's arrogance, coveting, what it is, but I've never seen so many people hope one team fails so that one player will leave that team. It's amazing. I guess it's one more way people in this region are going to have to persevere. Even in our moments of triumph, there is still an underlying current of worry and/or misery.


Now, is this really true? Is he really not going anywhere?

He's the same guy who a few weeks before the Olympics couldn't imagine a situation whereby he would not speak out about Darfur. You get the sense he has the ability to say what the crowd wants to hear.

But ... I'm sure it's nice for Cleveland fans to know that he at least understands how to say these words. The thought is not foreign to him. That's worth something.

And as he said it, he was not wearing a Yankee cap.


I had a fairly long back-and-forth email conversation wtih Abbott awhile back about LeBron leaving (my beef at the time was that every piece of Cavs news was viewed through the 'LeBron is leaving' filter. Despite what people think, there are other players on this team- and this still the case. If there's an article about the Cavs, 2010 is always prominantly involved). In the end, they were fairly long emails where we just managed to piss each other off.

His basic point was that those close to LeBron have been saying he's good as gone... that the media isn't just making stuff up; those close to LeBron are saying he's gonna bolt.

And maybe that's true (I mean, I really don't know), HOWEVER, it's never reported that way. The articles never state: "sources close to LeBron James say that he'll leave the Cavaliers in 2010". It's always: "LeBron is as good as gone... why? Because it's Cleveland, that's why".

Also, here the thing: no one (not even James IMO) knows what he's gonna do in two years (do you?). Which is why this whole situation seems like an exercise in pissing off Clevelanders. I mean, Bill Simmons was POSITIVE that James not signing his last extension within 24 hours meant that James was out the door (he also predicted James would demand a trade last season). How'd that work out?

I mean, say the Cavs trade Wally's contract for Emeka Okafor or Joe Johnson... you still think James is leaving in 2010? I'd say the odds would decrease a tad. What if the Cavs use their own 2010 capspace to sign Chris Bosh or D.Wade and just use LeBron's Bird Rights and go over the cap? That's a possibilty that no one talks about. Danny Ferry has set the Cavs up pretty well for the Summer of Doom (only James, Hickson, Williams, Gibson and West are under contract).

Look, by no means am I taking the statement James (or for that matter, anyone) made at a political rally as set in stone (I've seen too many Tribe players walk after uttering similar phrases). And hey, Abbott may be right, James could just be saying what people want to hear. However, it never crosses their mind that he could be doing the same thing to New York and Brooklyn. If we're gonna be questioning his motives for telling Cleveland fans he's staying, shouldn't we be also questioning the whole favorite burough crap?

I've always said that LeBron's decision to stay or go will hinge on the Cavaliers longterm prospects in the summer of 2010. A deadline deal (or lack thereof) in 2008/09 isn't going to make or break that decision.

James could be just telling us what we want to hear. He could really be planning on leaving for New York. Maybe all those 'close to James' are dead on and he's as good as gone. But I don't know who is saying it, I don't know what is actually said. But I have heard these words from LeBron's own mouth: "I love Ohio and I ain't goin' nowhere. I'll be here."

And until I hear something different, I'll be good with that.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

ESPN is gonna need a new narrative

From the Cavs media day:

''Go on the Internet and look at every time I have been asked am I happy in Cleveland and see my response,'' James said to the large media gathering.

''I've never given any indication that I was leaving or didn't like being here. Every time I am asked the question — I love being here, I love playing in front of these fans, my family is here, I grew up 30 miles away — I never gave any indication that I did not like playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.''

Then on to hot button part two, an issue that seems to be equally as debate-worthy in Northeast Ohio: James' support of the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys. James brought up this one on his own and he was equally serious in relating his feelings.

''Now, I'll say I like the Yankees and the Cowboys, but that has nothing to do with the Cavaliers,'' he said.

''It's not fun [to be questioned about it]. Am I not allowed to be a fan? When I grew up watching sports, the Cowboys were a team to love; Michael Jordan was [a player] to love. If I say I like Michael Jordan, is that a problem because I didn't say Mark Price?'' James asked. ''Is that a problem? Is it? That is who I grew up watching. These are the teams and the people that inspired me. Now I broke it down for you all.''

Did PTI break this down? Was this quote on Truehoop? Sportscenter? I don't seem to remember.... (this is why Dan Gilbert says the "LeBron to the Knicks" speculation is driven by bored sports writers and is an insult to Cleveland). Stuff like this is never prominently displayed or pushed by the world wide leader.

Also LeBron (who apparently is also a socialist) addressed an Obama rally in Cleveland and ended with this:

Thank you, Cleveland. Of course, you all know I love y'all, of course. I love Ohio and I ain't goin nowhere. I'll be here.

Look, I've said it before and I'll say it again: LeBron James doesn't need New York. He's hosted SNL and the ESPYs, he's got a ton of major endorsements, he hangs out with Warren Buffet and Jay-Z, he's third guy ever to be on the cover of Vogue and he's the 17th most powerful person in all of sports - all from Northeast Ohio. Moving to New York City makes him bigger... how exactly? What doors will NYC open for him? What can't he do now that playing for Knicks/Nets will allow him to do?

Look, the only way this guy can get any bigger is if he starts winning championships.

And the Cavs give him the best shot at a ring.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Temper those Hickson expectations

I really like J.J. Hickson. In a few years, I think he could be the Cavs main big after Z retires and Varejao moves on to whichever team vastly overpays him.

Hickson scored a lot of points and grabbed a lot of boards in the summer league, raising a lot of hopes that he could contribute this season. And I think he will, though I'd guess those contributions will come later in the season, once he learns how to play NBA defense (and the Cavs go a few games without Z and/or Wallace).

So far (judging by Daniel Gibson and Shannon Brown), it takes Mike Brown awhile to trust his rookies. From the early looks of things, don't expect Hickson to break this trend:
Cavaliers rookie J.J. Hickson is less than a month off his 20th birthday and at least two years younger than anyone else taking part in the team's training camp. That includes the interns.

Not surprisingly, it's showing.

While there was some belief that the 6-foot-9 inch forward could become an instant rotation player, some early training camp growing pains may be bringing everyone back to reality.

Now surrounded by all the veterans, Hickson is having some moments where he can't keep up, especially on the defensive end.

I know we'd like to see reports of Hickson playing great D, but this is pretty much par for the course when you draft a 20 year old with the 19th pick. This shouldn't worry Cavalier fans; the kid definitely has talent, just ask Mike Brown (and don't smirk at Mike's quote):

Even Brown said that Hickson's skills have impressed him.

''He has a talent level that I can't teach,'' Brown said. ''If he's able to do them in framework of what we want to get done as a team, then he has a chance to be very good for a long time.''

Hickson is basically where you'd expect a talented 20 year old would be (after one year of college). He's playing on one of the best defensive teams in the NBA and he knows that if he wants to play, he's gonna have to D it up (plus, he gets to watch vets like LeBron, Ben Wallace and Z busting their humps night in, night out)- the kid will eventually get the Cavs' defense.

(also, is anyone else pumped to be reading Cavs articles every day again (and I don't mean mine)? I've been jonesin' for the Cavaliers, especially after the way the Tribe's season went and how the Browns' season is currently playing out. I need the NBA back.)