Cavaliers front office just looks, acts stunned

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cavaliers.jpgFirst, team owner Dan Gilbert stepped up to the mike (well, sort of, there was no podium so he just looked exposed).

“Obviously we’re very disappointed…it’s one of those things that you can’t believe it,” he said in a televised press conference.

Then General Manager Danny Ferry took the stage and didn’t sound like a guy that had been working on a Plan B.

“I think Dan and I need to sit down and review things. Then we’ll go from there,” Ferry said.

If there was one over-arcing feeling from the post-season press conferences for the Cleveland Cavaliers front office, it was that everyone was stunned. Disappointed, for sure, but caught off guard by the loss to the Celtics in round two. Shell shocked. After the first round of the playoffs they thought they were on the way to a title.

Now they are looking at a crazy amount of potential changes in one season – a coach, the best player in the game, a $20 million center all could be gone. Or not. There are a lot of variables.

What we know is right now Mike Brown has not yet been fired as head coach. Pretty much everybody knows that is what is going to happen, but Gilbert said that he wants to evaluate everything to do with the team — “we’ll look at the music we play in the arena” — then start going down whatever path they choose. Brown will not join them on that path, but nobody was going to say that today.

The bigger question is if Danny Ferry will be on that road. He had a defensive minded coach but kept giving him players like Shaquille O’Neal and Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams — not exactly defensive stalwarts. He has spent to rebuild the roster, but has he done it wisely enough?

The biggest question is LeBron James and what he decides to do. And nobody knows that right now. Probably not even James. He will not make a decision until early July at best.

But he impacts every other decision for the Cavs. He will have some sway — maybe a ton of sway — in the search for a new coach. Same with potential free agents to be brought in. He dramatically impacts the revenue the franchise will pull in from ticket sales and sponsorships, changing the equation on the payroll expenditures short and long term. While the coach and general manager will be the first decisions to be made, no other dominoes can fall until LeBron makes his decision.

Gilbert said that he thinks the Cavaliers are in the middle of the sweepstakes for LeBron (he’s right about that).

“I think this is the best franchise for him to play at,” he said.

Gilbert did seem to have one direction he wanted to follow — he wants a team built more for the playoffs.

“I guess if there is one takeaway here, is having the best regular season record in the NBA is not as important… as we thought it was, as I thought it was,” he said.

He sounded sincere, talking about trying to learn from the franchises mistakes. He also sounded stunned.

Father trolls son with signs at NBA games saying he will join dad when grades improve

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As a father who has threatened to take things away from my daughters if some behavior/school situation didn’t change (then felt bad when I had to follow through on the threat), I appreciate parents willing to follow through on what they say.

But this guy is taking it to a new level.

This father showed up at two nationally televised games this week with a sign and a message for his son.

Good on Dad for following through and not caving and taking his kid to the games, but the signs are a kicker.

As Matt Moore points out at CBSSports.com (who gets the hat tip for finding this, he better never do this to his son), how much time does this dad have, he was in Charlotte for the Cavaliers game, then in Houston. Did he spend a Spring Break traveling the country to go to NBA games and troll his kid? (It makes you wonder if it’s real.)

Steven Adams, Enes Kanter with another Russell Westbrook for MVP video

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I don’t know if Russell Westbrook is going to win the MVP award this season — Sunday night’s showdown with James Harden didn’t clear up the picture. This year’s four-way race (also with Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James) is one of the most interesting and even ones in decades.

If Westbrook doesn’t win, don’t blame Steven Adams and Enes Kanter.

The Stash Brothers, the roommates, are doing their best with videos to promote him. And take subtle jabs at Westbrook’s fashion sense.

Dennis Schroder insists reeling Hawks OK despite seven-game skid

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ATLANTA (AP) — Dennis Schroder insists the Atlanta Hawks will be fine when their three injures starters return.

The point guard also believes the Eastern Conference playoff standings are too tight for the Hawks to wait for Paul Millsap, Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha to return from their injuries.

Schroder said the Hawks must snap their seven-game losing streak with their current limited roster, which will be without the three starters for at least one more game.

“I’m saying now we have to change something,” Schroder said Monday. “We can’t wait until they come back. Maybe it’s too late then.”

The Hawks are in a three-way tie for fifth in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. They are only 2 games ahead of eighth-place Miami, which currently has the final playoff spot, and 2 + ahead of ninth-place Chicago.

The Hawks see they could drop out of the playoff standings if they don’t quickly end the losing streak.

“The NBA isn’t easy,” Schroder said. “You’ve got to win games to make it in the playoffs.”

Coach Mike Budenholzer said Millsap, the four-time All-Star who has missed five straight games with left knee tightness, and the other two injured starters will not play in Tuesday night’s home game against Phoenix.

Bazemore, who has missed four straight games with a right knee bone bruise, said he hopes to return for Wednesday’s game at Philadelphia.

Sefolosha, held out against the Nets with a right groin strain, was seen working on an elliptical machine at the portion of Monday’s practice open to media. There is no timetable on Millsap’s return.

Before the losing streak, which matches the team’s longest of the season, the Hawks were competing with Toronto for the fourth seed in the East and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Home-court advantage is now a distant dream.

Atlanta is tied with Milwaukee and Indiana for fifth following Sunday’s 107-92 loss to New Jersey, which owns the NBA’s worst record.

The latest ugly loss left Atlanta in what Bazemore described as “a dark time.” Even so, he insists the players’ spirit is not broken.

Bazemore pointed to players taking extra shots after practice and said “My teammates are still laughing. … We’re still alive and kicking.”

Budenholzer’s message is for players to avoid trying to do too much to fill the void left by the injured starters.

“I think to some degree we’re all pressing,” Budenholzer said. “Coaches pressing, each guy individually. It comes from actually a good place. They want to win. They want to have success and it’s just remembering that the best way for us to have success is to do it as a group and do it together.”

Budenholzer said rookie Taurean Price, who had 17 points, six rebounds and three steals in his first start against the Nets, likely will remain in the lineup against Phoenix.

Ersan Ilyasova and Tim Hardaway Jr. combined to make only 8 of 30 shots against the Nets. Atlanta’s depleted bench was outscored 46-7 by the Nets’ backups.

Budenholzer said Bazemore is “very close” to playing and could be cleared after “another good day.”

Bazemore said has done “pretty much everything” on the court in testing his knee, including change-of-direction drills.

“I’m starting to feel good,” Bazemore said. “… Things are trending in the right direction.”

Sixers’ Ben Simmons throws down impressive dunk in pregame workout (VIDEO)

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Consider this a look at what might have been this past season. Or a look into what will be next season.

Philadelphia has shut No. 1 pick Ben Simmons down for the season as they wait for the Jones fracture in his foot to heal properly, but he is traveling with the team and working out on its current road trip. Before the game in Indianapolis, Simmons got in a workout on the court.

Then casually threw down a between-the-legs, off the backboard self alley-oop.

What does that mean? Nothing. Other than next season in Philadelphia could be a lot of fun.