Detroit Tigers Weekend Series (July 31-Aug. 1 & 2):One slight problem:
FRIDAY- Fireworks Themed to Tom Hamilton Game Calls to celebrate his 20th Anniversary
SATURDAY- 2009 Indians Hall of Fame Induction of Sandy Alomar, Jr. and Wes Ferrell; Inaugural Class of Distinguished Hall of Fame includes Richard Jacobs and Bill Veeck. And Victor Martinez Catcher Bobblehead to ALL FANS, courtesy of Time Warner Cable
SUNDAY- Slider's Birthday Celebration featuring Slider Bobster to ALL KIDS 14 and Under, courtesy of Nesquik
Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Word is Hakim Warrick, transformed from a restricted free agent to an unrestricted free agent last week when the Grizzlies withdrew their qualifying offer, is deciding between Cleveland, Philadelphia and Milwaukee and could choose his new team as early as Friday.Windhorst has more:
Warrick is a very athletic 6-foot-9 and he averaged 11.6 points and 5.0 rebounds for the Grizzlies last season. The best the Cavs could offer would be their bi-annual exception of $2 million with a player option for a second season. Milwaukee has been linked to Warrick but they may be in a holding pattern as they see what happens with restricted free agent Ramon Sessions. Warrick can make more money and get more playing time elsewhere but playing with a contender like the Cavs on a short deal has its positives.I'd love this move. It would give the Cavs another athletic young player. His length and athleticism would be a fantastic fit for Cleveland.
Imagine a lineup of West-Moon-James-Warrick-Varejao/Hickson. That would be nuts. They could run with anyone. Just the idea of having James, Warrick and Moon on the court together gives me goosebumps.
Lord knows if Warrick will end up choosing the Cavaliers, but damn, it'd be nice.
Mark Shapiro, as you field calls for Martinez let me give you a mantra to utter- “you have to take Hafner too.” That’s right. Make then take Travis Hafner’s damaged shoulder and albatross contract. Take a page from the NBA. Let’s ditch a bad contract.I concur. Package Hafner (or Wood) with Victor Martinez. If you want the stud, take back the albatross.
But knowing our luck, once Hafner makes it to Boston, he'll regain his stroke and start mashing.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The Philadelphia Phillies and Cleveland Indians agreed to a trade that would bring Cliff Lee to the NL East leaders along with outfielder Ben Francisco for four minor leaguers, according to major league sources.At least with C.C. Sabathia, the Tribe traded him during his walk year (rather than lose him for nothing). But not this time. Cliff Lee got jettisoned even though he has another full season under contract.
Well done Mark Shapiro.
The Indians picked up RHP Jason Knapp, RHP Carlos Carrasco, SS Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson. Knapp is the key guy, he had 111Ks in 85 IP this year in A ball (that's right A ball, remember when they wanted Major League Ready Arms for next year? Oopsie.). In fairness, they did end up getting four the Phillies' Top 10 prospects... but still, this is a salary dump.
And this makes me absolutely sick:
The Phillies weren't required to give up pitcher J.A. Happ or the three prospects they balked at trading for Roy Halladay -- outfielders Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor, and pitcher Kyle Drabek.That's some fine negotiatin', Lou.
Fans should spend money on the 2010 Indians because...?
Monday, July 27, 2009
9. Russell. Jeff. Ed. Larry. I really love your band. I think the song "Fever Dog" is a big step forward for you guys. And you guys producing it yourselves instead of Glyn Johns, that was the right thing to do. And Russell, Russell, the guitar sound ... is in-sin-diary. Incendiary. Way to go.
To Sam Presti, GM, Zombies. Love the restraint. He's letting this baby breathe (see above) by building around good chemistry guys, preserving his cap space, avoiding potentially dangerous contracts and building a young foundation around Durant. (In other words, he's doing everything Cleveland didn't do for LeBron these past six seasons.) The Zombies will be $9 million under the cap this season and have $10 million worth of expiring contracts. For teams getting hammered by the economy that need to shed high-salaried contracts, Presti is their first, second and third calls and he's probably in F-You mode every time he answers. If only he were on Twitter.
Sounds reasonable, right? The Sonics have surrounded Durant with a ton of young guys and the Cavs totally should've done that with LeBron. Why the hell would they keep adding vets as opposed to building through the draft?? (note: Simmons has also criticized GM Danny Ferry and the Cavaliers for going this route in his podcasts-fairly certain one with Rich Bucher).
Let's look at the Cavs recent draft history, eh?:
2003 - 1 - LeBron James
2003 - 31 - Jason Kapono
2004 - 10 - Luke Jackson
2005 - X - NO PICK
2006 - 25 - Shannon Brown
2006 - 42 - Daniel Gibson
2006 - 55 - Ejike Ugboaja.
2007 - X - NO PICK
2008 - 19 - J.J. Hickson
2009 - 30 - Christian Eyenga
2009 - 46 - Danny Green
Now let's see what the Zombie Sonic's recent drafts have looked like:
2007 - 2 - Kevin Durant
2007 - 31 - Carl Landry
2007 - 35 - Glen Davis
2008 - 4 - Russell Westbrook
2008 - 24 - Serge Ibaka
2008 - 32 - Walter Sharpe
2008 - 46 -Trent Plaisted
2008 - 50 - DeVon Hardin
2008 - 56 -Sasha Kaun
2009 - 3 - James Harden
2009 - 25 - Rodrigue Beaubois
Let that soak in for a second. Cavs drafted LeBron James in 2003 and since that pick then they've drafted eight other players. The Sonics drafted Kevin Durant in 2007 and they've drafted ten other players since. The Cavs had eight picks in seven years while the Zombie Sonics had ten picks in three years(!!).
Now, is some (most) of this the Cavaliers fault? Sure. They let Carlos Boozer walk, they left Kapono unprotected in the expansion draft and they passed on guys like Al Jefferson (!!!), Josh Smith, J.R. Smith and Jameer Nelson to select Luke "I played 46 games my two seasons in Cleveland" Jackson.
But I can't blame Ferry for not stockpiling young talent through the draft; twice they had no picks ('05 and '07) and twice more they only had one ('04 and '08). Plus, his first year they had that cap-space that they used on the Hughes-Marshall-Jones trio (which did help them get to the Finals).
Plus, the Cavs NEVER had seasons where they were "Top 5 Pick Bad" like the Zombie Sonics (picking 2nd, 4th and 3rd in consecutive years), though that would've been sweet (the top five in 2004 were Dwight Howard, Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon, Shaun Livingston and Devin Harris, in 2005 they were Andrew Bogut, Marvin Williams, Deron Williams, Chris Paul(!!) and Raymond Felton). Also, the Cavs never had anyone near the stature of Ray Allen that they could dump for an additional Top 5 pick.
And with theZombies move, their franchise had a couple years (their last in Seattle and first in OKC) where it didn't matter if they stunk or not. By the time Ferry was brought on board, the Cavs had barely missed the playoffs two straight years, they got a new owner and coach and the clock was loudly ticking on LeBron's first extension (meaning, there's no way Ferry could've come in, stripped the team of vets and stockpiled picks- he didn't have the time nor the picks to start fresh).
Don't get me wrong, I love what Sam Presti has done with his squad. I would've loved the Cavs to be able to do something similar.
But the situations aren't analogous. Saying that the Cavs (and Ferry in particular) should've done what Presti has done is comparing apples and oranges.
Oh, and this team is coming off a 66 win season. Just sayin'.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
The audience for the NFL draft has been growing, and the league has responded by expanding the event from two to three days.
Commissioner Roger Goodell notified teams Thursday that the draft will be spread over three days in 2010, running Thursday, April 22, through Saturday, April 24.
In addition, the first round will start in prime time at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Seriously, this is way dumb. The all-day, start-at-noon NFL draft used to be one of my favorite days. You could lounge around and watch football highlights, go grill some food and only really have to pay attention when your team drafted. It was a perfect lazy Saturday.
Hell, I was pissed this year when it started at 4pm or whatever. I mean, we had just gone through two solid months of pre-draft bullshit, now we had to wait an extra four hours just to start the damn thing.Way to ruin my second favorite day in April.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Future episodes of the hour-long show will feature Shaq against Olympic swimming sensation Michael Phelps, boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya, St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, tennis star Serena Williams and beach volleyball Olympians Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh.
Shaq told USA Today that he came up with the idea as a way to train for the NBA season. Shaq figured Americans "would really want to see an athlete play another sport," according to the newspaper. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Shaq's new team, have cleared the 37-year-old O'Neal to take part in the show.
He is scheduled to report for the Cavs' opening of training camp on Sept. 15.
According to USA Today, the episodes will feature preliminary challenges, news conferences, quality time with needy kids and negotiations of a handicap between Shaq and his competitors. Each episode will climax with a main event.
There's no cash prize for the winner. "Bragging rights are always better than any monetary prize," O'Neal told USA Today.
Shaq will train with a coach for one week leading up to each challenge.
"These athletes may be on top of their game, but I am up for the challenge," O'Neal said. "I plan to train hard and win, so look out."
Monday he will be the guest host on World Wrestling Entertainment's "Monday Night Raw" in Washington, D.C. The show airs at 9 p.m. on USA.
The show is currently running a story-line that involves a different celebrity guest host in charge each week. O'Neal will join the ranks Hall of Fame rockers ZZ Top, who hosted Monday night, and actor/comedian Seth Green, who hosted July 13.
On one hand, this is kinda fun. I'm still not quite used to the phrase "Cavalier center Shaquille O'Neal" and having someone of this stature on the Cavs is kinda neat. This guy is a super-duper star.
But like I said with all the fake pictures and promotional videos... if the Cavs win, it's all good. If they lose, they've opened themselves to a lot of (justifiable) criticism. If Shaq shows up to camp out of shape when he spent his summer filming a TV show... not gonna look good.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
The Cleveland Cavaliers have continued their offseason remodeling by signing restricted free agent Jamario Moon to an offer sheet, according to NBA front-office sources.
Full details of the offer sheet are unlikely to be known until Monday, when the contract is submitted to the league office. League rules dictate that offer sheets must span three years in length, but sources told ESPN.com that the deal is likely guaranteed for only the first two years.
The Miami Heat will have seven days to match the offer once it's formally processed, but Cleveland would appear to have a good chance of landing Moon given Miami's well-chronicled desire to avoid new contracts longer than one year to protect its 2010 salary-cap space.
Moon, 29, is a 6-foot-8 late bloomer with career averages of 7.8 points and 5.4 rebounds since breaking into the NBA with the Toronto Raptors in 2007-08. Miami acquired him in February in the Shawn Marion-Jermaine O'Neal trade.
According to the Plain Dealer, Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry typically avoids players who are restricted free agents, as evidenced by the fact that this is the first such offer sheet he has extended in his four years running Cleveland's front office.
The Cavs, however, are clearly hoping that Miami's focus on Odom and the potential trade pursuit of Carlos Boozer will enhance their chances of landing Moon, while an offer sheet also prevents Miami from including Moon in sign-and-trade proposals for the next week.
I like the move. Moon is a crazy athlete and if Mike Brown can get him to play defense, he could be a real nice pick-up.
Speaking of crazy athletes, check out this fantastic article about the Cavs' first round pick:
The team's decision to select him in the first round last month was a complete surprise that created a number of questions that turned out to have complex answers. Then over the last week at the Vegas Summer League, Eyenga showed off some tantalizing skills that raised eyebrows everywhere from the Cavs' staff to European teams who may have their own designs for his immediate future.
He's listed at 6-5 and is every bit of it. He's just turned 20 years old and looks much like it. He has pogo sticks for legs -- during the summer league he attempted a LeBron James-esque dunk by taking off from at least 12 feet from the basket and he may have pulled it off had he not been fouled. Another time he easily won a jump ball against a player who is 6-9.
He has all the tools to be a good defender. A long wingspan, good lateral quickness, good instincts, and what appears to be a genuine desire to stop his man, even though he hasn't been educated yet on the art of NBA defense.
Much of the time, Eyenga was the quickest player on the floor. With his long strides, he often beat every player down the court even when recovering from a defensive position. Had any of his teammates realized it, he probably could have had a dozen leak-out buckets in the five games, but it seemed like it took the whole week for them to notice it.
Q: So if Eyenga looked so good in summer league, are the Cavs not going to let him go back to Europe and instead just sign him and bring him to Cleveland?
A: It is possible but not certain. It seems the coaching staff left Vegas impressed and may lean toward signing Eyenga to his slotted two-year, $2 million contract with team options for seasons three and four. With the team's D-League connection in nearby Erie, Pa., there are plenty of advantages to having Eyenga close to help him develop.
The fact that they want to sign him has to be considered good news, no?
I like the fact that the Cavs got both of these guys. They need more athletes (re: Eastern Conference Finals) and both Moon and Eyenga fit the bill. Wouldn't a line up of West/Mo-Moon-LeBron-Hickson-Varejao be fun for 10 minutes a night? Let Shaq and Z get some rest and just run the other guys ragged.
I like both of these developments.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
First-round pick Christian Eyenga finished with 12 points Friday, and he averaged 8.8 points and 2.2 rebounds on 47 percent shooting in the five games. He started slowly but improved, moving into the starting lineup Thursday night. Spending time at small forward and shooting guard, he showed remarkable athleticism during the week.
"It has been a great experience because there are so many good players," Eyenga said through an interpreter. "It will make me better."
Second-round pick Danny Green shot the ball well early in summer league, but tailed off a bit and averaged 8.2 points and 2.6 rebounds on 39 percent shooting. Green is unsigned, but the Cavs are looking to offer him a contract in the coming weeks.
"It was a good learning experience," Green said. Right now, I'm trying to work my way in and get comfortable with the NBA scheme. There's camps and the rookie transition that they want me to go to, but we'll see what happens."
The Cavs do not usually perform well in summer league -- they are 1-9 the past two summers -- because they use it as a primer for training camp and start to install parts of their offensive and defensive systems. This week, they only ran a couple of different plays.
"We tried to teach them parts of our system, and it is very difficult for anyone to learn right away, especially for someone out of college or with a language barrier," said Cavs assistant coach Chris Jent, who ran the summer-league team. "Given their situation, I think both rookies did a pretty good job."
After a silent first quarter against the Pistons, Cavs rookie Christian Eyenga got involved, did some nice work off the dribble against Daye, and worked hard defensively against the Pistons guards. Eyenga was the quickest guy on the floor when he was out there. The Cavs haven't been looking for him at all this week -- and he never calls for the ball -- so it's been hard to get a feel for the full range of his skills.
This isn't as exciting as JJ Hickson dominating going for 20-10s, but it's still decent news.
We knew going in that Eyenga was crazy athletic and it's nice to see that confirmed. I'm not worried about him never calling for the ball; he's young, he doesn't speak English and he's out of his element. I'd bet that he becomes more aggressive once he's more comfortable.
Even with his somewhat weak showing, I'm still OK with the Eyenga pick. I've read a bunch of of pissed off commentors about wasting this pick (especially with regards LeBron's contract situation). I'm sorry, but this team just won 66 games and then added Shaquille O'Neal, do people really think they were gonna grab a rotation player at the 30 slot (nevermind that Mike Brown doesn't really play rookies)? He's stupid athletic and he has time to grow.
Plus, Danny Green could fill a niche, so it's not like if Eyenga totally bombs that they got nothing.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
As for the Cavs free agency.... I really don't know. They're gonna have to explore their trade options, I really don't see what kind of moves are left in FA. As for trades, well, I think Z is their biggest asset ($11 million for your backup C) but I have no idea who's even available. Odds are Z will just be bought out anyways, but we might have to wait to see which teams are really hurting financially once the season starts.
Anthony PARKER... sure, he's 34, but he's cheap and only signed for two years. The guy can play, but I'm not sure if he can beat out Delonte for the starting job. It's not a terrible signing by any means, but it's also a bit hard to get pumped for picking up a 34 year old journeyman.
And I'm still OK with the Varejao contract. Big men get overpaid. Is Andy overpaid? Yes. Is he vastly overpaid? No.
I can honestly say I haven't followed the Tribe. Fair weather fan? Maybe. But because of the NBA playoffs, I don't usually begin to pay attention to baseball (in earnest) until late June. And when late June comes around and your team sucks ass... well, it doesn't really make you want to invest time, energy and emotions into them.
That said, I'm going to the game on Friday (15 rows behind home!).
I saw Reel Big Fish for the upteenth time Wednesday at the House of Blues in Cleveland. Always love those guys. I know they aren't for everyone, but they put on a great show; it's really a lot of fun.
Finally, I just finished Palimpsest by Catherynne Valente. The basic premise (and I'm not doing this any justice) is that if you have sex with someone with a special tattoo (a map), you'll be able to enter this forbidden city (via dreams). Once you do, you get your own tattoo, which is a map of part of the city. But you're only allowed in certain parts of the city (your map and the maps of people you've slept with). It's quite weird but really good. Valente's writing is superb and there are some absolute gorgeous passages. Like I said, it's kinda weird, but really good.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
The Cleveland Cavaliers have come to an agreement with free agent Anderson Varejao on a six-year deal, his agent Dan Fegan told ESPN.com.
Varejao's contract is worth $42.5 million over the six years, and the final year is only partially guaranteed. Incentives could push the total amount to $50 million.
I think $6 million per would've been perfect, but I can live with $7 mil.
While signing Varejao is nice (sorta), there's other news as well:
The Cavs have also agreed to terms with Toronto free agent Anthony Parker. The final figures of the deal are not set, but he will receive a portion of the $5.8 midlevel exception for either two or three years.
The Cavs hope to sign Channing Frye with the remainder of their midlevel exception.
This is somewhat interesting. I'm not opposed to Anthony Parker, it just mattered at what price. And if the Cavs are hoping to split their midlevel between two players, then that means they aren't overpaying for someone like Parker (not a stylish pick up, but a servicable player nonetheless).
As for Channing Frye, I really don't know. He has the on court skill set (decent jumper) to compliment Shaq and Bron-Bron, but I don't know if he's got the mental toughness. We'll see I guess, I remember he had a nice rookie year and then he kinda dropped off my radar.
I still think their best at adding major talent is through trading Big Z('s contract).
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
The Pistons are expected to complete the hiring of Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach John Kuester later Tuesday, NBA coaching sources told ESPN.com.
Kuester became the Pistons' top candidate after ESPN analyst Avery Johnson broke off contract talks after more than two days of negotiations.
So you're saying Mike Brown gets to incorporate Shaq into the offense on his own? Hooray!!!
The Cleveland Cavaliers got some bad news followed by some potentially terrific news on Sunday. In a last-ditch effort to recruit Trevor Ariza away from the Houston Rockets, LeBron James told Ariza he would remain with the Cavaliers past 2010, according to a person close to Ariza.
Even that wasn't enough to get Ariza, who verbally committed to join the Rockets last Thursday, to change his mind and go to Cleveland.
But the Cavaliers will gladly settle for the consolation prize; if indeed James' statement to Ariza was more than an empty sales pitch.
"Trevor asked LeBron if he would be in Cleveland after next season," the source said. "And LeBron said, 'I'll be there. Of course, I'll be there.'"
James could not be reached for comment on Monday.
First, I completely agree that LeBron's lack of commitment hurts Cleveland's chances in Free Agency. I don't see how it couldn't. If he's telling potential FA's that he's sticking around, it will only help Danny Ferry do his job.
Second, while I don't buy all the hype about Houston's Dork Elvis GM, I do think it's interesting that he's targeted Ariza. For all the potential and so-so stats, Ariza did just start on the team that won the NBA title. I'm not a fan of throwing a ton of money at a guy who's still considered unproven, but he's young, he's won (been through the playoff wars) and he's crazy athletic. Do we really think his jumper won't improve?
Third, I'm all for the Cavs still trying. Look, they HAVE to get younger. And if that takes trying to sign potential FAs out of their verbal agreements, then go for it. A title is a title is title.
At the end of the day, whatever happens with Ariza, I think this has to considered a good thing. LeBron is telling other NBA players that he plans on sticking around. That doesn't suck.
UPDATE: He said/she said:
That source said that James told Ariza he planned to remain with the Cavaliers past next summer, when he can become a free agent. James could not be reached for comment Monday night, but on Tuesday, sources who spoke to James said the story told by the person close to Ariza was wrong.
All I know, is that it's gonna be a long long year...
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
The linked article:
According to several league sources, the Cavs have been been in contact with Houston Rockets free agent forward Ron Artest. It even included a face-to-face pitch from LeBron James on Tuesday night in Los Angeles, as both were in Southern California for various events.Honestly.... I think I'm OK with this.
First off, this is obviously a high-risk, high-reward situation. However, with Carlos Boozer screwing over the Cavs again (the Pistons would've thrown their money at Boozer, rather than Charlie Villanueva), I'm not sure what other move comes within sniffing distance of Artest's potential high-reward.
Plus, if they sign Ron-Ron, they'll probably just pick up Varejao. So that would be the Cavalier front line: LeBron James, Ron Artest, Shaquille O'Neal as the starters with Anderson Varejao and Zydrunas Ilgausksas coming off the bench (or maybe you start Andy and bring Artest off the bench as the other scorer in the 2nd unit with Mo). Who knows. I just think a crunch time defensive lineup of James, Artest and Shaq would be very very difficult to score on.
Of course, he could also have a meltdown and derail the entire season. He's known for being a black hole on offense and he often takes questionable shots. Plus, he's not the same player defensively as he once was (can't stay with the quicker guards, though he's still a beast on the block) and he's a certifiable crazy person. I love Mike Brown and all, but do you think he'll be able to incorporate both Shaq and Ron freaking Artest into this locker room (let alone the offensive end of the court)?
But hell, I say go for it. I'm pretty sure Ron-Ron can guard the Rashard Lewises of the world.
In case you don't listen (heh), I think I got a good Shaq nickname: The Shaqahoga. Then when he's scoring a lot we can say that "The Shaqahoga is on fire!"