The ink is dry on Chris Grant's biggest free agent signing of the off-season. Alonzo Gee will be dunking in Cleveland for two more years, maybe even three.
In a deal structured to reward Gee for his development, while at the same time not over-committing in terms of years, Alonzo is scheduled to earn $3.5 million in 2012-13, $3.25 in 2013-14 and another $3.25 in 2014-15 if the Cavs exercise a team option they hold in year three.
That's a winning contract for Chris Grant based on where the market could've gone for Gee. At the same time, for Alonzo, a $10 million deal with $6.75 guaranteed over the next three years is also realizing the NBA hoop dream. A dream that had to seem pretty elusive at times only a few years ago in the D-League.
Gee, 25, cashed in by posting career bests in scoring (10.6), rebounding (5.1), assists (1.8), steals (1.3), free throw percentage (.788) and minutes per game (29.0) in 63 games (31 starts) during the 2011-12 season. In his 31 starts, the 6-foot-6, 219-pounder increased his averages to 11.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 31.7 minutes per game.
“From the start of free agency, we made it clear that re-signing Alonzo was important to us and we’re happy we’ve been able to do that,” Grant said. “Alonzo has worked very hard to make the most of the opportunities he has had thus far and it has been great to see his development and growth as a Cavalier. We’re excited he will be part of our team as our young group of players continues to grow together.”
Off the court, Alonzo Gee has developed good relationships with Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson. I'm sure the Cavaliers two rookies from a season ago are glad to have Gee back in the fold, and he is too.
“I am excited to be back with the Cavs and be a part of what is being built here in Cleveland", Gee said in a statement released by the team. "I wanted things to work out for me to be here and I’m really happy that they did. I’m really thankful that the Cavs gave me an opportunity and I can’t wait to get back to work with Coach Scott and our coaches and my teammates.”
The ink is dry on Chris Grant's biggest free agent signing of the off-season. Alonzo Gee will be dunking in Cleveland for two more years, maybe even three.
According to agent Bill Neff, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be officially agreeing to terms with free agent rookie Kevin Jones today. Hoopshype.com broke the following news earlier this morning:
"Undrafted free agent Kevin Jones will finally sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers today, agent Bill Neff told HoopsHype. Jones, a 6-foot-8 forward out of West Virginia, will get a partially guaranteed deal."The Cavaliers hung with Kevin during his (foot) injury, which is great," Neff said. "The injury set him back during the workout process. He is healthy now."Jones averaged 19.9 ppg and 10.0 rpg in his senior year with the Mountaineers and was named to the All-Big East 1st Team."
Not unlike Cavaliers power forward Luke Harangody, Jones did everything he could during his four year career in the Big East. The 20-10 stat-line he hung on the board was good enough to earn 2nd Team All American Honors, in addition to being named All Big East 1st Team. He graduated with a cumulative GPA better than 3.0, and was named to the Garret Ford Academic Honor Roll and Big East Academic All Star Team. He finished 29th in school history with 1,165 career points and 2nd in school history with 309 career offensive rebounds.
The Cavs are betting on the idea that Jones will keep winning on and off the court at the professional level as well. His natural position is power forward, but I'd imagine they hope he can step out and play some SF as well next season. I'm not sure what this signing means with respect to Alonzo Gee, if anything, but Jones' story is a good one and I hope he ends up having a solid career. I think sometimes that potential and upside are over-valued to an exent where it diminishes the value of actual production from the true student-athlete during the draft process. Jones going undrafted sends the wrong kind of message. Glad to see he worked his way through that, and his injury, to end up inking this deal.
The website TuBasket.com is reporting that the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers are "very interested" in Brazilian Center Rafael Hettsheimeir. The translated report suggests that Dallas appears to be more interested, but that both teams are considering contract offers within the one-year, fifty percent guaranteed range. No indication of proposed dollar values associated with each potential contract offer were indicated.
Hettsheimer is a 6-10, 260-pound, 26-year old center from Araçatuba, Brazil. Playing 33 games for CAI Zaragoza in Spain last season, Hettsheimer averaged 13.3 points and 6.4 rebounds on 55-percent shooting from the field. He would've played with Anderson Varejao on the Brazilian national team during Olympic competition, but he was sidelined this summer while recovering from knee surgery. He's reportedly back healthy and ready to go now.
For more on Rafa, here are some highlights:
I'll be reaching out to my sources in Brazil later this afternoon and be sure to include a further update on this should anything break. Enjoy the Friday people.
JJ Hickson is 24-years old today. In light of it being his birthday, we wanted to take a brief look back at arguably his best play as a member of the Cavaliers. He turned in some big performances during an up-and-down season under Byron Scott, before being dealt for Omri Casspi, but this game might have been his best.
It was moments like this that left Cavs fans wanting more from the young power forward from NC State.
After being bought out by the Sacramento Kings this past season, JJ finished the year strong in Portland as a member of the Traiblazers. Strong enough to re-sign in Rip City for a one-year deal.
This season will be big for JJ. He needs to do what he once did against Blake Griffin to as many people as possible, as many times as he can. He still has that same upside these days, The Hickson's just not getting any younger.
Tristan Thompson is featured in a new Foot Locker / Nike spot which dropped yesterday. The campaign slogan is "Comeback Season", and it highlights the fact that only big dogs play in Tristan Thompson's yard. Something we knew already, but always worth noting.
Below is that video, scored by JD Era, also featuring Montreal Canadiens P.K. Subban.
This commercial will be on heavy rotation in Canada, but we won't likely see it in the states. Even though a "comeback season" would certainly be welcomed around here in Cleveland too.
Tristan Thompson is the highest drafted Canadian-born player of all-time. After being selected by the Cavaliers last off-season, prior to inking his rookie deal due to the lockout, he did not play for Team Canada during international competition. Since then, the Canadians have appointed Steve Nash General Manager of their National Team. Jay Traino was also recently named Head Coach. This week Traino and company are holding a Team Canada mini-camp of sorts, and Tristan Thompson is participating.
From Steve Kyler at Hoopsworld:
Traino held something of a mini-camp for prospective Team Canada player this week which included Joel Anthony, Tristan Thompson, Kris Joseph, Cory Joseph, Robert Sacre, and Andrew Nicholson. Tyler Ennis, one of the top college prospects, also took part and could be a key part of a 2016 Canadian team vying for a spot in the 2016 Olympic games in Rio.
Traino and Nash are hoping to secure three-year commitments from Canada's top stars. To that point, Traino added the following according to Hoopsworld:
“Jerry Colangelo asked those players for a three-year commitment. When they did that and the players became committed, that’s when they became successful and won back-to-back gold medals.
“If we’re going to be successful guys are going to commit. The fact that they’re here working as hard as they are right now speaks volumes to their commitment. We’re going to have to decide as a staff which players we want to move forward and be part of our commitment to the program.”
I have not heard whether or not Tristan plans to offer his three-year commitment to Traino and Nash's program, but it's certainly a good sign for Canada that he's involved this week.
Kyrie Irving is on the cover of KICKS Magazine volume 15. The latest issue presented by SLAM is on newsstands now. If you're in the Cleveland area, it's being sold at the Giant Eagle on West 117th street, amongst other places too I imagine. Tzvi Twersky penned the cover story and it's a must read for all Cavaliers fans.
The Nike pitchman notes in the article, with respect to his sneaker-game as a kid, "My Dad always made me earn all my kicks. If I played well, he'd let me create some shoes on NikeiD or buy me some sneakers as a sort of incentive". The pictures were taken by Trevor Paulhus, and shot in Cleveland over at Quicken Loans Arena. It'd be a good move to pick this magazine up just for the story on Kyrie.
Another reason to buy a copy would be the article that I wrote on Isaiah Thomas. On Page 50 I wrote about the NBA's "Hidden Gem", and the labels he's shed throughout his basketball career as a 5-9 NBA Point Guard nobody wanted to draft. Thomas and I talked about the season he just completed, growing up an Allen Iverson fan, being affiliated with Reebok, and what he's trying to do off the court in order to give back to his community.
This issue also features an article on Ricky Rubio, Chris Paul, Under Armour, And 1, Brandon Jennings, Vince Carter, the Morris Twins, and more. Get yourself a copy today peoples. Enjoy the Tuesday.
The highly anticipated Cavs Zine 3 is coming. Members of the Cavs Zine creative staff mobilized this past weekend and first took over Progressive Field on Saturday night in preparation of our third annual installment.
The Indians responded by knocking off the hated New York Yankees, and this momentum spilled into a Power Brunch on Sunday. The weekend served as a Think Tank for Cavaliers Fandom, as article ideas sparked by creativity and innovation were explored.
These stickers were also passed out to a number of lucky Cleveland sports fans. As you can see from the picture below, everybody wanted one.
After the game (pictured from left to right), @cre8ive_juice, myself, @TheDannyFairy and @WayneEmbrysKids were taken down to the visitors' dugout to watch the Bruce Springsteen themed fireworks display. Shout-outs to @cshillz on the camera work, as well as @_Believeland who left moments earlier in preparation for the Warrior Dash on Sunday. According to ESPN, @_Believeland went on to set a World Record in the Warrior Dash, so congratulations to him on that.
Here's a closer look at the credentials we were wearing, as designed by Brenkus. Totally awesome, as you can see.
While we were in the Social Suite, the Indians also thought that Jackson and I looked like Chris Perez and Jason Kipnis. They took the picture below, tweeted it out, and called us look-a-likes. My offical apology to Jason Kipnis is included here. I'm sure it's not as cool for him to be consistently compared to a sports blogger as it is for me to be compared to an All Star Caliber 2nd Baseman in the Major Leagues.
The Cavs Zine Power Brunch was also well attended. Dropping in for that on Sunday was @CavsFangelo, @CavsWITNESS, @teamrobhogg, as well as others from the night before. Most people ordered the Chicken and Waffles, and Deagans did not disappoint.
Some of the new features in Cavs Zine 3 may include: Discussion of Terrell Brandon. We may reach out ot Mark Price. There could be another musical installment similar to Cavs Zine 2. Tyler Zeller's business acumen will not go unnoticed. Dion Waiters will be getting mad respect. More designs from my favorite artist Brenkus will be featured. It may or may not be passed out by volunteers outside the Q dressed up like Uncle Drew. If you liked Cavs Zine 1 and Cavs Zine 2, this will be the most spectacular installment of all-time.
As more information becomes public, I will keep you posted. In the meantime, stay tuned for Cavs Zine 3.
David O'Leary is a long-time friend and contributor here at Stepien Rules. He follows the NBA from his native Ireland, and embraces the Cleveland Cavaliers as his own. He checks back in with us here on the additions of Waiters and Zeller, along with the prospects of finishing 10th out East.
So I’m sitting there on the night of the Draft pondering if, when, and why we’ll make a move from our number four spot. Could we move even as high as one, and actually try and nab Davis by offering all our picks to New Orleans; a trade we actually tried to make it turns out. That was a pipe-dream, and something that may have only been possible if David Kahn or Michael Jordan were running New Orleans, but the second and third overall slots were more intriguing. I genuinely thought Charlotte or Washington would have at least thought about an offer consisting of the following...
The numbers 4, 24, 33 and 34 picks in this draft, all our second round picks for the next X-amount- of-years-they-wanted, plus an expiring contract of say a Luke Walton or Boobie Gibson. I’d of even thrown in a first round pick that was only lottery protected through 2015.
Not to be. I would have very strongly considered offering Tristan or Andy along with our picks also let it be noted, but it was never going to materialize. Thus we stood pat at the four spot. Then this happened.
“With the fourth pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select.....”
Cut to me thinking all of the following: we’re nabbing Harrison Barnes about ten spots too high just cause he may or may not be a Brandon Roy type scorer; we’re actually gonna take a flyer on Drummond and his HUGE ceiling; oh my God Thomas Robinson and Andy together would be impressive; holy crap we really are going to draft Jeremy Lamb because after all, he is going to eventually be the best scorer in this Draft; Meyers Leonard?; maybe we’ll even take a...
“....Dion Waiters, from Syracuse”
I didn’t see this coming, even though Adrian Wojnahoweveryouspellhisname from Yahoo! had said it, I still didn't think it would happen. After all, Waiters was a guy who in his freshman year at Syracuse struggled a lot to find a role on the team and didn’t put up impressive numbers by any means. His numbers weren’t exactly eye popping the season just gone, but I can see why he was so appealing to Coach Scott who apparently endorsed this pick STRONGLY.
Waiters has got a terrific ability to get out and run the floor and is very intelligent at picking out teammates on the break. He gets a lot of his offense in transition (28% of his total shots came on the break last season) which is encouraging when you have a guy like Kyrie running your team. Waiters is a deceptively gifted athlete also, and will have no problem twisting and contorting his body at the rim to finish a layup, or going a few feet above the trim to throw down a highlight reel dunk.
Despite talk of him transferring, and the fact he and Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim didn’t really see eye-to-eye that often, he stuck around for a second season. With enhanced minutes came enhanced statistics. His second season numbers jumped up – considerably – across the board. He was a key component of the vaunted Syracuse 2-3 zone, using his length, speed and motor to disrupt any opposing guard while being able to track his man well beyond the arc. While his shooting is prone to bouts of inconsistency, when he’s hot he’s hot. Just look up clips of his effort in a loss to Cincinnati when he racked up 28 points including 7-10 shooting on three’s.
ESPN.com published their predictions yesterday for how each team will finish in the Eastern Conference next season. Their construction of this forecast included a survey of one hundred basketball writers and contributors across a broad spectrum of ESPN affiliated networks. The end result pegged the Cleveland Cavaliers at 33-49 overall, good for a 10th place finish in the Eastern Conference during the 2012-13 season.
In last year's lockout shortened season, the Cavs finished with a winning percentage of .318 (21-45). That win/loss percentage in an 82-game season would calculate out to a record of approximately 26-56. ESPN is projecting then, that Cavaliers will be seven (7) games better this time around, finishing ahead of five teams instead of only two.
Cleveland closed the book on the 2011-12 campaign with better overall records than only the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats out East. ESPN's 10th place prediction in 2012-13 includes better year-end win totals than Washington (12) and Charlotte (15) again, along with the Toronto Raptors (11), Detroit Pistons (13) and Orlando Magic (14). Four wins ahead of the Cavaliers in 9th place were the Milwaukee Bucks. Seven games better, and securing the 8th and final playoff spot, were the Atlanta Hawks.
In summary, ESPN is suggesting, generally, that (Kyrie Irving in his 2nd season + Tristan Thompson in his 2nd season) + (Dion Waiters + Tyler Zeller) - (Antawn Jamison + Anthony Parker) + (CJ Miles) - (Maybe Ramon Sessions) = 7 more wins. A statement I can't really argue with too much. I'm not going to make my win total prediction until the end of training camp, but right now I'd have to admit this sounds pretty fair.
I hope the Cavaliers are a team that competes for a playoff spot this season. I think a 10th place finish would indicate the fact that they did that. In the very least, they would be in the race for a good portion of the year, which I think is important. It also suggests that it's not the craziest thing ever to think the Cavaliers could end up with the 8th seed. Seven more wins (to match the Hawks) than was expected - certainly not the unthinkable leap of Charlotte or Orlando getting in. But looking at the eight projected playoff teams on this list, as well as the Bucks who aren't, playoff basketball in Cleveland will be a challenge.
I think the Brooklyn Nets are extremely over-rated at 5th on this list. After that though, these six teams that ESPN has in the playoffs are definitely playoff teams: Heat, Celtics, Pacers, Bulls, Sixers & Knicks. After that, BK and ATL certainly would be the next two favorites to get in. Then Milwaukee and Cleveland. For right now, I'll take that.