Tag: Alex Kirk

Cleveland Cavaliers v Memphis Grizzlies

Report: Cavaliers, perhaps willing to trade Dion Waiters, target Kosta Koufos


The Cavaliers have made no secret about the desire to upgrade their center depth.

A six-game win streak doesn’t eliminate that need.

Timofey Mozgov was Cleveland’s first well-publicized target. But with Mozgov content in Denver and locked up for next season, the Nuggets probably aren’t trading him.

So, the Cavaliers are aiming a little lower.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Cleveland, sources say, has been inquiring with the Memphis Grizzlies about the available of reserve center Kosta Koufos among their various trade pursuits.

Sources say that the Cavs are well aware landing a quality big man likely depends on selling on potential trade partners to take back polarizing shooting guard Dion Waiters. Cleveland rates Waiters’ talent highly, but sources maintain that the Cavs have let a number of teams know they are prepared to surrender him if they can acquire a difference-making center in return.

Koufos, by contrast, is an unrestricted free agent next summer whose camp, sources say, has made it known to Grizzlies management that it has less than pleased with the limited role carved out for the 7-footer over the past two seasons.

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Koufos for Waiters straight up would work under the league’s cap rules, and that would be an intriguing deal. Cleveland could also absorb Koufos with its trade exception.

This could be related to the Cavaliers’ reported interest in Tayshaun Prince, though any Prince-to-Cleveland deal would get complicated. The best I can come up with: Prince and Koufos for Waiters, Lou Amundson, James Jones and Alex Kirk. The Grizzlies would have to waive Kalin Lucas first. Cleveland would have to use $3 million of its $5,285,817 trade exception. And the deal couldn’t happen until Dec. 19. Otherwise, it seems viable.

Koufos, averaging 3.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 14.1 minutes per game, is posting his lowest numbers in four years. With Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph healthy, the Grizzlies just don’t have much use for him.

But how much do they need a shoot-first guard with selfish tendencies? Waiters is talented, and it might be worth buying low on a young player under contract for next season. But for a Grizzlies team trying to win now, I wouldn’t risk disrupting chemistry and sacrificing frontcourt depth just to get Waiters.

LeBron James leaves Cavaliers rookies hanging out to dry (video)

Cleveland Cavalier's Scrimmage

Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal:

Rookies Joe Harris and Alex Kirk entered the court a little early prior to the Cavs’ Wine & Gold scrimmage on Oct. 1. They were pranked by LeBron James, who told them to lead the team onto the floor, but then he held back everyone else.

LeBron gets no points for originality. Effectiveness? Perfect 10. The classics are classics for a reason.

Cavaliers sign undrafted Chris Crawford to two-year contract

Chris Crawford

He’s not Ray Allen, but the Cavaliers might have found another guard.

Chris Crawford didn’t generate much draft buzz after four years at Memphis. He scored 20 points in his summer-league debut with the Rockets and then fell off.

But somewhere along the way, he impressed Cleveland.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

A 6-foot-4 guard, Crawford made 37 percent of his 3-pointers in college. He also shot just 9-for-35 (26 percent) in summer league, though that’s a small sample.

I have to think that’s the skill that intrigues the Cavaliers. In most areas, Crawford is unspectacular, though decent.

Will he make the roster, though?

As I see it, Cleveland already has 13 players mostly locked in:

  • LeBron James
  • Kevin Love
  • Kyrie Irving
  • Anderson Varejao
  • Dion Waiters
  • Tristan Thompson
  • Mike Miller
  • Shawn Marion
  • James Jones
  • Matthew Dellavedova
  • Brendan Haywood
  • Joe Harris
  • Dwight Powell

John Lucas III, Malcolm Thomas, Erik Murphy and Alex Kirk also loom with small or no salary guarantees. Lucas, Thomas and Murphy – acquired from the Jazz for use in a later trade – still hold value for their ability to facilitate deals. I’m not sure whether the Cavaliers will keep any of those three into the season to lengthen the window for making such a follow-up trade, but that could squeeze out Crawford.

NBA teams can assign a few players waived before the regular season to their D-League team as long as another D-League team doesn’t hold their rights. This allows an NBA team to more closely control a player’s development, but other NBA teams are free to sign that player.

Crawford might be a candidate for that route, but if he were definitely headed to the Canton Charge, there would be no point of giving him a two-year contract. Though I suspect that second year is fully unguaranteed, it indicates Cleveland’s openness to keeping him on the NBA roster.

Kirk is in the same boat, and likely both wind up waived and in the D-League. But there’s still a chance either plays his way onto the NBA roster.

Of course, if Ray Allen decides to suit up for the Cavaliers, they’ll find room for him much more easily.

Which NBA team has best under-23 players?

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Michael Carter-Williams

The Bucks finished an NBA-worst 15-67 last season.

Being bad stinks, but it’s a lot worse when you’re trying to be good. That’s why Milwaukee’s season was much more problematic than that of the 76ers, who went a similar 19-63.

But the Bucks realized the hole they’re in, so now they’re truly rebuilding. And owner Marc Lasry thinks they’re doing a good job.

Is Lasry right? Do the Bucks really have the best collection of players under age 23?

Here’s how I rate the NBA’s top dozen teams by the collective value of their under-23 players:

12. Thunder

  • Jeremy Lamb
  • Steven Adams
  • Perry Jones
  • Andre Roberson
  • Mitch McGary
  • Josh Huestis
  • Grant Jerrett
  • Semaj Christon

This is a deep group of players who could become long-term NBA starters, but Adams is the only one I think gets there. Still, there’s a lot of talent between McGary, Lamb and even Jones. And maybe Roberson, who has a knack for doing the little things, ends up better than all three.

11. Raptors

  • Jonas Valanciunas
  • Lucas Nogueira
  • Bruno Caboclo
  • DeAndre Daniels

Valanciunas is on track to become an All-Star, but there’s no guarantee he gets there and he’s the only under-23 Raptor of significant value. It’s not ideal to put all your eggs in one basket.

10. Hornets

  • Bismack Biyombo
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
  • Cody Zeller
  • Noah Vonleh
  • P.J. Hairston

This list includes multiple players – Vonleh, Kidd-Gilchrist and Biyombo – I know I’m higher on than most. So, I struggled to rank Charlotte, and I’m not sure whether I overcompensated or undercompensated for my personal preferences. Zeller really looked more comfortable late last season, and between him and Vonleh, I think the Bobcats have a strong future at power forward.

9. Jazz

  • Enes Kanter
  • Trey Burke
  • Rudy Gobert
  • Dante Exum
  • Rodney Hood

Burke and Exum could each become one of the NBA’s better guards, though it’s unclear whether they can reach that level together. Kanter hasn’t panned out as hoped, though it’s soon to close the book on him. Gobert, as Zach Lowe of Grantland detailed, has intriguing upside, though he didn’t play much last season. Essentially, it’s easy to find reasons for optimism, but just as easy to find reasons for pessimism.

8. Wizards

  • Bradley Beal
  • Otto Porter

It might not be long until Beal is the NBA’s best shooting guard, and though I don’t think he ever hits that level, he’s still very good. Porter had a rough rookie year, but I’m not giving up him yet.

7. Magic

  • Tobias Harris
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Evan Fournier
  • Aaron Gordon
  • Elfrid Payton
  • Roy Devyn Marble

Outside of Oladipo, I’m not that high on any of these players – and I’m not even totally, absolutely, 100 percent sold on Oladipo. But it’s a deep collection of young talent, and I bet at least one other player emerges as quality.

6. Timberwolves

  • Shabazz Muhammad
  • Anthony Bennett
  • Andrew Wiggins
  • Zach LaVine
  • Glenn Robinson III

Wiggins has incredible potential. He went No. 1 in a loaded draft, after all. LaVine has tremendous upside, but he’s extremely raw. Maybe Bennett, who was awful last season, capitalizes on his impressive summer and turns around his career.

5. Bucks

  • Brandon Knight
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • Jabari Parker
  • Damien Inglis
  • Johnny O’Bryant III

Lasry’s Bucks didn’t quite make it to the top spot. There’s a major disconnect between Antetokounmpo current production (not great) and potential (great), and I want to see more from him before I’m convinced he’ll bridge that gap. I would have taken Parker No. 1 in the draft, though I essentially viewed him and Wiggins as a tossup. Knight made major strides next year, and I’m interested to see whether he continues progressing as he settles into a larger role.

4. Pistons

  • Andre Drummond
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
  • Tony Mitchell
  • Spencer Dinwiddie

Drummond is a singular force individually lifting Detroit so high on this list. Underrated for what he already does, Drummond has potential to become the NBA’s top center – and it’s not a far climb. Caldwell-Pope, who could be a nice 3&D threat next to Drummond, boosts the Pistons, too.

3. Cavaliers

  • Kyrie Irving
  • Dion Waiters
  • Joe Harris
  • Alex Kirk

Irving is already a two-time All-Star, a true offensive game-changer. I think his defense could come around to at least competent now that Cleveland is ready to win. I’m not big on Waiters, but he has talent, and the Cavaliers are here due to Irving anyway.

2. 76ers

  • Michael Carter-Williams
  • Tony Wroten
  • Nerlens Noel
  • Joel Embiid
  • Dario Saric
  • K.J. McDaniels
  • Jerami Grant
  • Pierre Jackson
  • Adonis Thomas

Carter-Williams just won Rookie of the Year, and he’s a good athlete with great size for his position. Noel, for my money, was the best prospect in the 2013 draft ignoring his injury. We’ll soon see how much that affected him long-term. Embiid would have gone No. 1 in this draft if healthy. And Saric has impressed in the World Cup. The 76ers might be years away, but I like where they’re going.

1. Pelicans

  • Anthony Davis
  • Austin Rivers
  • Patric Young

Davis is just that good. He could be the NBA’s third-best player as soon as this season, so if you can get him, you do. Worry about depth or hedging bets later. Davis is the real deal.