Surprisingly enough, the Atlanta Hawks were competitive for much of game two. They were able to move the ball while limiting mistakes, actually managed to get to the rim and the line with some consistency, and scored almost 100 points against the Magic’s defense. They made six of their 11 three-point attempts. They shot 97% on their 31 free-throw attempts. They had twice as many offensive rebounds as Orlando did. Jamal Crawford and Al Horford both had bounce-back games.
Just how close?
a text message from Indiana Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard undid an agreement on a blockbuster deal for George the Cavs were just starting to celebrate, a moment that now lives in infamy within the organization.
On draft night, as the Chicago Bulls were finalizing a deal with the Wolves to move Butler, the Cavs were feverishly trying to assemble a three-team trade with the Pacers. The Denver Nuggets had a strong desire to acquire Kevin Love and became a legitimate trade partner with Indiana. The Nuggets were willing to include wing Gary Harris and the No. 13 pick in that night’s draft to get Love, and the Cavs would reroute the assets to Indy for George, sources said.
But they couldn’t complete the deal. Indiana was working on another option with the Portland Trail Blazers, sources said, as they were offering a package with three first-round picks for George. Eventually, everyone moved on and the Nuggets traded the No. 13 pick to Utah in a package for Trey Lyles.
On the afternoon of June 30, the sides thought they had a deal. On a conference call between the teams, everyone tentatively agreed. George to the Cavs, Love to the Nuggets, Harris and other pieces to the Pacers, sources said.
Plans were put in place for a call to be arranged between George and Gilbert, an important step before the trade would become final, sources said. The front office began making other plans to complement George as free agency was about to begin.
But then Pritchard, who had been on the conference call when the deal was tentatively agreed to, sent the message that his team was backing out, sources said. There was no deal.
The teams tried to save it, but shortly thereafter, news broke that George was being traded to Oklahoma City.
I’m always skeptical of reports that a trade that never happened was close. Just because one team – or two teams in a three-team trade – thought the deal was close doesn’t mean the other team was actually close.
Heck, just because one team thought the trade was agreed upon doesn’t even mean the other team actually agreed. According to this report, Pritchard “tentatively agreed.” What does that mean? The Cavaliers and Nuggets might think that was purely a procedural delay. Pritchard might have considered it contingent on other factors. A simple misunderstanding could easily be painted as something more nefarious – one team backing out of an agreed-upon trade.
But there are a lot of details here, lending credence to the notion a deal was actually close. So, let’s break down each team’s involvement:
The Trail Blazers entered the draft with three first-rounders – Nos. 15, 20 and 26. But they lacked cap room for George, so they would have had to send salary to Indiana. With Portland’s numerous bad contracts, maybe that offer wasn’t as good for the Pacers as it appears here.
The Nuggets wound up signing a star power forward (Paul Millsap) without losing Gary Harris, so they came out ahead by not completing this deal. Given how much of free agency is decided before July 1, did Denver really not know it’d land Millsap or just prefer Love that much?
And then there are the Cavs, who have been thrown into disarray since this trade fell through. Would Kyrie Irving still have requested a trade with George in Cleveland? The Cavaliers would have had a better chance of winning a title, but Irving would have been further overshadowed – a key component of his trade request. Would LeBron have been more likely to re-sign next summer? There was so much on the line.
Whether or not Pritchard actually agreed then backed out, it’s easy to see how the Cavs are having a hard time letting this one go.
Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. are showing nearly no limits in their effort to promote their upcoming fight.
McGregor has repeatedly stoked the flames of racism, making himself a villain to some and a hero to others – but, more importantly, drawing attention from both sides. He also wore a No. 23 Warriors jersey.
Hey, I wear No. 23 for the Warriors, Draymond Green apparently thought to himself. So, Green posted on Instagram to inform everyone he was supporting Mayweather:
McGregor responded in the comments:
C.J. Watson previously wore No. 23 for the Warriors, and this isn’t the first time McGregor has referenced the guard in relation to Mayweather:
Why does McGregor keep bring up Watson?
Martin Rogers of Yahoo Sports in a 2013 article on Mayweather domestic-violence victim Josie Harris:
The altercation happened when Mayweather returned to Harris’ property at 5 a.m. on September 9. Police had already been summoned following a verbal dispute hours earlier, but Mayweather came back. Harris says she was asleep on the living room couch when she woke up to Mayweather, holding her cell phone, yelling at her about text messages from NBA guard C.J. Watson.
Mayweather and Harris were no longer together; the boxer had by then installed Jackson in his home and as his main love interest. But, according to Harris, it was not acceptable to Mayweather for her to see other men while living in a house he owned.
“Are you having sex with C.J.?” Mayweather yelled at Harris, according to the arrest report.
“Yes, that is who I am seeing now,” she replied.
Mayweather then grabbed her by the hair and punched her in the back of the head “with a closed fist several times,” according to the report. He then pulled her off the couch by her hair and twisted her left arm.
“All I heard is, ‘Who is C.J. Watson, C.J. Watson the basketball player?’ ” Harris says. “From there it was just … bad. I was powerless. He was holding me down. I couldn’t fight back. The kids were screaming and crying, ‘You’re hurting my Mom.’ ”
At one point, Mayweather yelled, “I’m going to kill you and the man you are messing around with,” Harris told police. “I’m going to have you both disappear.”
According to the arrest report, when Harris screamed for her children to call for help, Mayweather turned to them and warned he would “beat their ass if they left the house and called police.”
I don’t think Green realized the context. He responded to McGregor in the comments by hyping his superiority to Watson and talking about boxing:
Knowingly or not, making light of domestic violence is on brand for the NBA.
But what does that actually mean?
Much of Irving’s disenchantment with James was rooted in game play, sources said. James, as a once-in-a-lifetime talent, controlled the ball more than any other forward perhaps in league history.
But there were ancillary issues that bothered Irving, too, such as how James’ good friend Randy Mims had a position on the Cavs’ staff and traveled on the team plane while none of Irving’s close friends were afforded the same opportunity.
In registering his preference for a trade, league sources said, Irving divulged to Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert that he’s become increasingly uneasy about a future that includes a roster constructed to complement LeBron James — a roster that could be devoid of James come free agency in 2018.
Irving wants to take his show away from James so he can grow his career (his on-court acclaim and notoriety, his brand, his voice) outside of James’ shadow.
Numerous people who’ve talked to Irving over the past month have said to cleveland.com that he told them he wanted to leave to grow his career, and it was the message Irving sent to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert when he asked to be traded last week.
These can all simultaneously be true. There needn’t be one singular reason Irving wants a trade.
It can also be true that former general manager David Griffin might have soothed Irving’s discontent. It can also be true that the Warriors’ dominance influenced Irving, as he might have been more willing to remain in a secondary role if it were more likely to result in a championship.
But so much of this comes back to LeBron, a massive presence around whom everything in Cleveland revolves.
Being the top player on a team means so many things – dictating on-court action, having the supporting cast built around you, influencing team staff, building a larger sponsorship presence. Irving can’t get any of that while playing with LeBron.
Irving led the Cavs in shots and usage percentage last season, but that happened only because LeBron allowed it. LeBron obviously retook control in the playoffs. There’s no question whose team this is.
There is also no indication Irving is fighting that. He’s not trying to usurp LeBron’s power, and Irving has molded his game the last few years to fit with LeBron.
But now Irving his exercising his own power so he can get even more the only place possible – somewhere away from LeBron.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said he had the NBA’s hardest coaching job. Following that thinking, former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin might have had the most difficult front-office job.
Not only did he face the same championship-or-bust pressure and oversee the same players (and their egos) as Lue, Griffin also reported directly to Dan Gilbert, the Cavs’ sometimes-difficult owner. The Gilbert aspect is often discussed, as is working with great/brilliant/passive-aggressive LeBron James. But it has probably been undersold how high-maintenance Kyrie Irving – who requested a trade – also was for Griffin before the general manager was ousted last month.
Over the previous few months, the Cavs had been worried about Irving’s mindset. They knew at times he’d grown unhappy with playing a secondary role on the team. Griffin had several conversations with Irving throughout the year, sources said, trying to find ways to work on the situation.
After the season, there was a desire to arrange a meeting to clear the air from all sides, sources said, but it didn’t take place. Unlike most teams, the Cavs did not have postseason exit meetings with their players.
What followed was a whirlwind, with the Cavs putting forth a series of trade packages looking to acquire either Butler or George. Some of these talks included Irving, which upset him even more when he found out about it, sources said. Previously, Griffin had worked to keep lines of communication with Irving open, but now Irving was in the dark.
Either way, there’s no guarantee the Cavs keeping Griffin would have placated Irving. But it seems an experienced voice running the front office could have only helped.
If only Cleveland had Phil Jackson to insist on exit meetings. Maybe this would have been smoothed over a month ago.