Sandy Dover, proprietor of Slam Online's San Dova Speakeasy, took a timeout over the weekend to talk all things Cavaliers, Cleveland, and Stepien Rules with me - here - in an interview that ran this afternoon. To check out the exchange, click on the link below:Slam Online regularly, Sandy is also a novelist, writer, and the unofficial president of the Jimmy Jackson fan club.
If you have a chance, drop into the Cavs Live Game Chat at Cleveland.com tonight with me, Mike from Cavs HQ, Dan Labbe from Cleveland.com, and Cavs fans worldwide.
Cavs fall to Nuggets 118-116
The Cavaliers won 13-straight games with Zydrunas Ilgauskas wearing Wine and Gold and now he's gone, and they lose. Coincidence? Correct, none whatsoever. Truth is you had to kinda had to see this loss coming a bit. Coming off the All Star break, with all the excitement of adding Sebastain Telfair Antawn Jamison going on, it had to be harder than other nights to come out focused, and to be so for a team that could very well win the Western Conference. Sure the Nuggets will probably end up losing out the Lakers, but they're definetely a team that's a contender, and the Cavs did not come out prepared to play a team like that tonight. And there's a lot of other reasons why in addition to the ones I mentioned: Mo's first game back, working Delonte back in, Mike Brown's anxiety attack of how to work Jamison into the rotation even without Jamison in uniform, as well as 16 bricks from three-point land and a dagger shot by 'Melo, and that's what you get, the 12th loss of the year.As far as that anixiety attack, allow me to clarify. I'm a guy that's defended Mike Brown consistently on this site, however, here's what I didn't like seeing tonight. Number one, you have a guy like Jamario Moon on your team to match up with teams like the Nuggets. If there is a team in the league he matches up best with its the Nuggets. And he didn't play. At all. I would have liked to see him in over Anthony Parker late, and I don't see how he doesn't help on the glass (where the Cavs were out-rebounded by 4), as well as against a guy like J.R. Smith for example (who scored 14).
He's the guy I wanted all along, and if I had to bet money I'd say he's the guy Ferry wanted from the beginning too: Antawn Jamison.
Just updated on Brian Windhorst's twitter account is the following:
"Washington Post Reports the Cavs have traded for Antawn Jamison."
photo credit: cleveland.com
As far as what the Wizards will get back, Wizards beat reporter Michael Lee posted the following on his twitter account:
"Wizards are believed to be getting back Zydrunas Ilgauskas & a 1st round pick, according to the source."
And in conclusion...According to Y! Adrian Wojnarowski's twitter account:
"Cavs get Jamison and Telfair, Clippers get Drew Gooden and Wash gets Illgauskas, Al Thornton and Brian Skinner and Cavs 1st round pick."
So that's the Cavs trading Z and a 1st round pick, and getting back Antawn Jamsion and Telfair...and I'm a huge fan.
More on Telfair from Windy:
"Telfair on last yr. of 2-yr, $3.5 million deal. Will be 3rd PG, same role Coby Karl & Cedric Jackson have been in this deal, Also, Telfair currently is recovering from a reputured groin muscle and is expected to be out another 1-3 weeks."
Reaction to the trade (updated at 8:58 pm):
The move Danny Ferry wanted the whole time is complete and he didn't have to trade a starter (JJ) to get it done. In fact, he didn't even have to trade a guy that plays half the game every night (Z - 20.5 mpg) to do it either. And to be honest, I don't really care about the 'Z was a loyal Cavalier arguement.' His loyalty was repaid to the tune of about $100 million over the course of his career, and truth be told, he still might come back anyways. But even if he doesn't, I'm okay with the price paid for a player in Jamison who I believe is the exact piece the Cavaliers could have added, he fits perfectly, there's no debate.
And I say the exact piece the Cavs 'could have added' because I still contend they could have made a run anyways without Jamison. But he helps, he helps a lot. Furthermore, if everything was equal, I would prefer having Jamsion on this Cavaliers team for the rest of this season over Amar'e Stoudemire anyways and there was never a part of me that even questioned that. And when I say over him, I mean straight up, if I could just pick, I'd take Jamsion over Amar'e everytime in that scenario, and despite things we may hear to the contrary, I firmly believe that was Danny Ferry's position the whole time too...just a guess though, he didn't tell me.
And the last point about the Cavaliers GM is this: Danny Ferry's a crook, and if I'm ever in the same room as him I'm leaving my wallet in the car. First he dumped Larry Hughes and got some value (Delonte) in return. Then he moves Damon Jones for Mo Williams, then Sasha and Ben for Shaq, and now Z (with the chance he comes back) for Jamison essentially. And now his work is done. As Gene Hackman once said, "my team is on the floor." The trade talk was fun, but title talk's better, and all the pieces are now - for the first time in the LeBron James era - in place. Its NBA title or bust time at this point, there are no more holes to fill.
Allow me to plug a couple of my recent posts seen elsewhere around the web:
Waiting For Next Year - Grading Daniel Gibson:
My friend Rick over at WFNY was nice enough to ask me to provide an All Star Break evaluation of Daniel Gibson over the weekend and I gladly obliged. My grade for Boobie, as well as comments on his play this season, can be found here. If you missed that Monday, as well as the previous installments of WFNY's Grading the Cavaliers series - featuring Mo Williams, J.J. Hickson, Anthony Parker, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas - check those out as well by clicking here, here, here, and here. Those guys have a couple new ones today too, with more to follow.
Midwest Sports Fans - Mid-Major madness starts early as Butler downs CSU:
My credentialed coverage of the CSU Vikings continued over the weekend, and my latest offering on MSF discusses mid-major life in the NCAA in conjunction with the CSU - Butler game from this past Saturday. It can be found by clicking here. I'll be at the Toledo - CSU Bracketbuster game this weekend as well...look for that.
Chemistry questions if no deal gets done...
My reasons in past posts for the Cavaliers to stand pat at this trade deadline revolved around my thought that the Cavaliers would have to move too many pieces of an already potent puzzle to add a player of significant value to the mix. By significant value, I don't mean Troy Murphy and I don't mean Corey Maggette, but more like players on the level of an Amar'e Stoudemire or an Antawn Jamison. Even with the reports indicating that the Cavaliers could be able to move Hickson and Z for Stoudemire, I still don't see how that's enough for Phoenix to end up going for the deal - even if Danny Ferry and Steve Kerr are bff's. But at this point, whether a trade ends up happening or not, the Cavaliers team chemistry will be challenged.
There has been a lot of talk to not break up this current roster because of team chemistry. While I have not made that claim specifically, I do buy into that line of thinking to some extent, though its not a deal-breaker for me. That said, and just a question, if team chemistry is a concern of yours at this point, would it be fair to argue that even if no trade is made team chemistry has already been disrupted some? I mean, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and JJ Hickson read the same reports on Sunday morning that we all did: 'LeBron has signed off on the deal to trade his teammates Z and Hickson.'
Not that we should feel bad for these million dollar pros, but seven footers have feelings too you know. And not only did they read the report that said your teammate and friend LeBron James is making moves to get rid of you behind the scenes, they also heard as much from a reporter - in Windhorst - that they know personally and trust to be reporting the facts. That part of it is something you don't see often with professional sports trades - the best player on the team publicly lobbying to trade his teammates - and I wonder, what happens to the chemistry of that locker room if no deal ends up getting done. And oh yeah, if Z does get sent out to Phoenix, he's going to want those DVD's back for sure, and no more handshakes.
My trade deadline prediction...
The Chris Broussard's and Brian Windhorst's of the world aside, it seems to me what a lot of these other media members do come trade deadline time is simply make up predictions based on what they hear and read - same things we hear and read - and on the off-chance they're right its passed off as if they broke a story that nobody else had. Guess their mailman really is friends with Danny Ainge's doorman after all. So my sources aside, since I don't have any, I've offered my StepienRules prediction on the Cavs trade deadline below.I think the Cavaliers want Antawn Jamison first and foremost, and they would like to get him for the price that Danny Ferry pays for all his trade: nothing. To me, there's too many questions with Stoudemire - the main one of which being his contract status - for Ferry to be comfortable moving for him.
On Friday I managed to fully ignore some of the NBA trade rumors erupting off the twitter wire. Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler to the Celtics for a box of basketballs being the main one. And you know who you are that reported that nonsense too. I won't put your name out there because you did write my favorite basketball book of all time about a basketball family from Jersey City, New Jersey, so we'll just decide to move forward as if that never happened...because that never did happen.
What did end up happening though, according to Cavaliers beat reporter Brian Windhorst, is that the Cavs have moved closer towards a deal with the Suns to bring Amare Stoudemire to Cleveland.
"Sources have indicated the Cavs have gotten "pretty far down the tracks" in talking to the Suns about Stoudemire. It has even gotten to the point that the sides have discussed small details like payment schedules and salary reimbursement options. At this time of year, because many contracts are pro-rated differently, there are such things to work out in a trade. Also, a source said that James has signed off on trading for Stoudemire."
Just a few hours ago, Brian updated that report in an interview with ESPN 850 WKNR by saying the proposed deal would involve the Cavaliers sending Zydrunas Ilgauskas and JJ Hickson to Phoenix for the services of the All Star Center Stoudemire.
He followed that interview up with a tweet saying that it won't happen today however, and the Cavaliers hope to hear back in the next couple days from Steve Kerr and the Phoenix Suns.
"Sources say no Stoudemire trade today, he’s playing in All-Star Gm for PHX after all. But Cavs hoping for yes or no by early in week."
As I mentioned on Monday, the good folks at Gray & Company Publishers have hooked me up with three free giveaway copies of the latest book by Terry Pluto and Brian Windhorst, LeBron James; The Making of the MVP. In addition to my review of the book, I announced the contest details here. As stated, the contest closes on Sunday February 28th, so if you'd like to submit your blog entry feel free to do so. But do know what your up against. While I did receive a number of entries to date, the current leader board is as follows...in no particular order:
My name is Shaqtimus Prime, King James Gospel - Cody:
"Since coming to Cleveland, Shaquille O’Neal has accepted an obviously lesser role than he has in previous stages in his career...Though his role, as well as his minutes, has drastically decreased this season, Shaquille O’Neal has makes arguably the biggest impact on any team in the National Basketball Association..."
Cavaliers Big Man Has an Even Bigger Heart, Thunder Treats - DiLo:
"...I can't tell you how happy it makes me as a fan to see one of our players step up and help out. When these guys go out of their way to put a smile on a childs face or lift a family that has fallen it restores my faith in humanity..."
Lebron James, the chemistry lesson, Farve Dollar Footlongs - Gene:
"The Cleveland Cavaliers are the best team in the NBA not because of talent, coaching, or depth.... They are the best team because they have chemistry, and LeBron James is the one that has brought it to the team..."
Not saying Chris Webber's the NBA version of Jay Glazer, but he did offer the following comment prior to tip-off on TNT tonight which sent twitter ablaze as the Cavaliers ran out to a 37-23 first quarter lead over the Orlando Magic:
"Kevin McHale actually called me when I was in the locker room getting ready for the show and said there may be a big trade coming for Cleveland and this might be the last time we see this starting line-up...I heard Troy Murphy"
Webber didn't say who the Cavs were supposedly looking deal in order to pry the Pacers forward away from Indiana, but J.J Hickson currently starts at the position Troy Murphy plays. Not saying Webber meant that as a one-for-one swap, but if he did, count me as a guy who's opposed to trading J.J. Hickson at all for Troy Murphy. In fact, I'm not so sure I'd want to see Murphy even start over Hickson if the Cavs were to acquire him some other way. And I don't know if Hickson heard those same rumblings prior to tip either, but if he did, he did everything he could tonight against the Magic to say you better not trade me.
I went into the Cavs - Nets game on Tuesday night pondering this question: could the best in the NBA's Developmental League beat the Nets?
Now I didn't rush to judgement here. I objectively watched the Cavaliers 104-97 win over the Nets, and I do contend that matching up with Brook Lopez - who totaled 23 points and 14 rebounds (mostly against Z) - and Courtney Lee - who led the Nets with 24 - would be difficult. And I do know the Nets played hard, hung in with the best team in the NBA, and gave their best effort. But I also know the Cavs could have cared less about all that. They laughed when Shaq passed it to Boobie out of bounds, and didn't seem bothered in the least by Z's brutal night from the field, or by the fact that the Nets were trying hard. They just did the Nets like you used to do your little brother - stiff arm down to his forehead and let him swing away as hard as he can while you're standing there laughing the whole time because he's too little to reach you to hit you.But joking aside, this is an honest question:
What if the Nets were actually forced to play the D-Leaguers on February 13th in Dallas in lieu of the previously scheduled D-League All Star Game - could they lose?