The Cavs host the Kings at 3PM EST, in a routine regular season game devoid of much drama. Tyreke Evans will miss the game with lingering concussion problems. The Cavs have locked up their division and are within reach of locking up the division, so they have little to play for. The Kings are playing out the string. So this should be your regular, unspectacular game at the Q.
Except it won’t be at ‘The Q’.
It’ll be at ‘The Z’.
The Cavs are calling the Q (Quicken Loans Arena) ‘The Z’ in honor of today’s return home of Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Ilgauskas was traded to the Wizards in February as part of the deal for Antawn Jamison, then bought out by the Wizards. He had several suitors among the league’s championship contenders, but opted to return ‘home’ to Cleveland in order to finish what he started and win a title.
Brian Windhorst of the Plain Dealer reports on Twitter that the Cavs are going all out today, handing out t-shirts that say “Cavz,” ‘Z’ signs, and more. Cavs blog Fear the Sword reports they’ll be showing Ilgauskas highlights all day, all the way back to his rookie season in Cleveland.
It’s good that the Cavs are taking this opportunity to thank Z. Ilguaskas had brought in friends and family earlier this season to celebrate his record setting appearance as a Cavalier, only to have Mike Brown elect not to play him. Then the Cavs traded him in order to upgrade their team. It was a move that was necessary given the opportunity to win a championship and secure LeBron James long-term with the franchise, but it didn’t make anyone feel any better about it.
Ilgauskas elected to return after all that, and he’s been a huge part of the Cavs’ success, even if James was the catalyst. It’s a business, and all players, coaches, and executives know that. But you’ve still got to show appreciation for those who are loyal to you. And hey, maybe it’ll show James something about that, in preparation for his big decision.
There’s so much money floating around the Bay Area right now thanks to another tech boom, this price almost seems low.
If you have a suite for the Golden State Warriors home games this season — and those are pretty much sold out, the Warriors draw big from the Silicon Valley crowd — you can have the NBA championship Larry O’Brien Trophy visit your suite. All for just a couple grand. From Gilbert Lee, via ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
The best part is it includes champagne… do you get to spray each other with it as you hold up the trophy? Now that would be perfect (goggles included, of course).
Have an issue with this? Why? To the victor goes the spoils. The Warriors may be able to sell this package for years.
First, the Sixers nailed the Nike “statement” jersey.
Now, they have announced a new “Spirit of 76” promotion, with seven tribute nights this season honoring the history of the franchise and of the Philadelphia area (and there is plenty of history to honor).
The best part — the “Spirit of 76” court with the bell logo.
Here is the promo vid
I just hope the Sixers team can live up to all the hype.
When the Washington Wizards open training camp next Tuesday, starting forward Markieff Morris will not be on the court.
That’s because he will have surgery to repair a sports hernia, a story broken by Candice Buckner of the Washington Post and since confirmed by Chase Hughes at CSNMidAtlantic.com.
While we don’t have details on the surgery, often recovery time for this is just a few weeks, and Morris could well be ready for the start of the season.
Morris averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds a game last season, and the Wizards offense was 5.7 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the court last season. With him out, coach Scott Brooks can lean on Jason Smith or Mike Scott for traditional lineups, but don’t be shocked if he tries a little small ball with Otto Porter and/or Kelly Oubre at the three or four.
Morris also is in the midst of a felony assault trial in Arizona (one where he does not need to attend).
This is the season the 76ers make the leap from team with potential to playoff team fast on the rise.
That’s the plan in Philly, but there are a lot of questions for this team to answer. While a couple of these issues are answered already — Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz are cleared to play and practice with teammates — a couple big ones still hang around. At the top of the list is “how healthy is Joel Embiid?” Coach Brett Brown doesn’t even have that answer yet, reports Derek Bodner of The Athletic.
It’s this simple: The Sixers outscored opponents by 3.3 points per 100 possessions when Embiid was on the court last season, he was a dominant force defensively who scored 20.2 points a game. When he was off the court the Sixers were 11.5 points per 100 possessions worse. They need him to play and play consistently if the Sixers have playoff dreams. It’s unclear when Embiid will return, but know that the Sixers will be cautious with his minutes again when he does get cleared (he has played just 31 games in three seasons).
Does that mean more Jahlil Okafor? Maybe not, the Sixers are still willing to trade him.
The Sixers have shopped Okafor for most of a year and found no deal they like. Okafor battled knee issues last season and, after a summer working to get healthy, other teams will want to see him play a little before talking trade. If he comes to camp slimmed down and his knee looks right, it could revive trade talks. Using a back-to-the-basket game, he averaged 11.8 points a night shooting 51 percent last season, he’s efficient, and some teams could use what he does (off the bench).
It’s going to be an interesting season in Philly. Are they playoff bound?