The LeBron-less Cleveland Cavaliers are now in that awkward place between contending and rebuilding, which forces them to fill out their roster with bargain bin veterans and a few young players for good measure. They’ll fight for a playoff spot, but without any lofty ambition, Cleveland needs to go as young as possible. The team owes that much to itself, as fresh starts aren’t given so much as made. If the Cavs really want to start over, they have to put themselves in a position to do so.
They’ve taken the slightest step in the opposite direction this morning. According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, the Cavs have signed Joey Graham to a two-year deal.
Signing Joey Graham is not damning. In fact, it won’t hurt the Cavs at all; Graham is a perfectly serviceable combo forward (more 4 than 3, really), and should give them some decent depth. However, at 27, Graham is what he is. He’s not getting any better, he won’t be around for the long haul, and frankly, it seems like he’d be a more intriguing piece for a veteran team.
The Cavs already have a few young frontcourt players, but this intermediate period should be about finding players and strategies that work for the future. Graham doesn’t. Even though he’s a fairly decent player, he’ll be out of Cleveland in two years, and he won’t make much more of a dent there than he did at his last few stops. He’s usable but unimpressive, and right now, the Cavs need something else. Even a guard they could send to the D-League would have more long-term impact.
Enjoy Joey, Cleveland. He’s a reasonably effective player. Yet given where this team is right now, I’m not sure he’s the right one.
Joakim Noah hasn’t set foot on an NBA court since Feb. 4, and his season was all but ended when he had knee surgery at the end of February. It was a $72 million gamble that has not worked, and left New York with an anchor o a
Tomorrow it will be official he is done for the season, but not because of the Knicks or his injury.
During his recovery, Noah violated the NBA’s drug policy and will pay for a 20-game suspension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Noah tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement that is prohibited under the outgoing Collective Bargaining Agreement, league sources said.
Noah, 32, is expected to serve 10 games of the suspension to finish out the 2016-17 regular season and 10 games to start the 2017-18 season, league sources said.
The National Basketball Players Association’s investigation concluded that Noah hadn’t “knowingly or willingly” violated the policy and cooperated fully with the league’s probe, league sources said.
Over-the-counter supplements could be something put in his regular workout recovery drinks that he was unaware of, although we are unsure of the details.
Traditionally, the player has to be healthy enough to play before the league starts the suspension. Noah has been out for more than a month, but if a league doctor says he is healthy enough to play the then the clock on the suspension can start. But that is interesting.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.
Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.
His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.
Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.
Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.
As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.
Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.
Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.
Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.
Maybe a little too pumped.
That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.
Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.
(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)