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.

Geeking out on NBA prospects: R.J. Barrett almost dunks from free throw line, Zion Williamson does

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Duke is stacked this coming season. STACKED. They should have three lottery picks in next year’s draft. (Does that mean they are the team to beat in the NCAA? That’s not the way basketball works. But that’s another discussion.)

Duke is in Toronto for a series of preseason exhibition games, and at the end of the workout likely No. 1 pick next June, R.J. Barrett tried to show off by almost dunking from the free throw line.

Then freak of nature Zion Williamson showed him how it’s done.

That’s worth more looks.

Damn Zion is a freak of nature. Can we just put him in the next dunk contest now?

Nancy Lieberman says more women need to follow coaching footsteps in NBA

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Whenever we discuss women assistant coaches in the NBA, the topic is usually Becky Hammon getting job interviews or being moved to the front row of seats in San Antonio. Occasionally it’s a discussion of Nancy Lieberman’s job in Sacramento — or the fact she is now a head coach in Ice Cube’s Big3 — or Jenny Boucek in Dallas.

However, when Lieberman discussed women coaches on the CBS Sports Network, she was asking a bigger question:

Who steps up next?

She has discussed the NBA version of the “Rooney Rule” before. Currently, it’s not anywhere near becoming a reality, whatever you think of the idea.

However, there needs to be real opportunities for women to get a foot in the NBA door, and more of them. Including at the entry level. There are qualified women out there, but it can be tough to crack the “old boy’s network” of the NBA coaching carousel — head coach and assistant. It exists in part because head coaches (and GMs) usually hire people they trust and worked with before, and right now those are men. Give women a chance at those entry-level positions and the dynamic starts to change.

Lieberman has been a groundbreaker her entire career. She and others are doing in the NBA again, but she’s right, the big win is changing the dynamic for the next generation. And the one after that.

In no-brainer move, Nets reportedly guarantee Spencer Dinwiddie’s $1.65 million contract

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Spencer Dinwiddie has worked hard at his game — I remember seeing him struggle some at his first Summer League and someone I trust telling me “watch this guy, he’s got the drive, he will make it” — and he is now a solid rotation NBA point guard that Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson can trust. He averaged 12.6 points per game last season with an above-average PER of 15.9.

He’s also on a steal of a current contract, so it makes sense the Nets are picking that up (it technically didn’t have to be guaranteed until Halloween). Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN had the report.

https://mobile.twitter.com/wojespn/status/1029496077320257536

Next summer, Dinwiddie is a free agent. While he’s not going to break the bank, he’s a young, solid backup point guard that a lot of teams could use and he’s going to get a nice pay raise.

Carmelo Anthony on his role with Rockets: “Let’s just let it play out”

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From the moment it became clear Carmelo Anthony was going to join the Rockets — which was a long time before he actually signed the contract on Monday — the questions started:

Would he accept a reduced role with the Rockets? Maybe come off the bench? Be Olympic ‘Melo and blend in with the team?

Coach Mike D’Antoni said he spoke with Anthony and said the player is open to coming off the bench, but he’s not sure what ‘Melo’s role will be. When ambushed by TMZ trying to walk to his car, Anthony said basically the same thing.

“Let’s just let it play out, though. I don’t even know what’s going on. I just signed, let it start first.”

Anthony coming off the bench, being the fulcrum of the offense when James Harden and Chris Paul are on the bench makes some sense (CP3 and Harden are better and more efficient shot creators than Anthony at this point). It’s a chance for Anthony to get his touches and help the other two rest. However, the idea of Anthony starting the first and third quarters and getting heavy touches then but sitting more later is not out of the question.

At the end of close games, D’Antoni is more likely to lean on James Ennis — a long, switchable defender who can shoot threes in the Trevor Ariza mold — than Anthony. It will be just a better fit. Will Anthony roll with that? Will it cause problems in the locker room?

Let’s just let it play out.