Clippers trade Baron Davis to Cavaliers for Mo Williams

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This is why they are the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s about compounding mistakes.

The Clippers and Cavaliers have agreed to a trade that sends point guard Baron Davis and a 2011 first-round pick to the Cavaliers for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon, according to Marc Spears at Yahoo.

This is a huge win for the Clippers. They have been trying to get out from under Baron Davis’ contract — he is owed $28.6 million for the two seasons after this one — almost since the day Davis signed a five-year deal three years ago. Mo Williams is owed $18 million over the next two years. With Moon’s $3 million expiring contract, the Clippers save about $9 million for next season.

The Cavaliers get… I don’t know why they did this. They get a first-round pick this season that likely going to be in the 7-10 range and they said this is the primary motivation. This is a draft considered to have some nice role players in it but no stars. Are they really willing to pay $9 million in salary for the chance to draft a role player?

The problem is the Cavs also get Baron Davis. Who will be a disaster for them, on the court and in the locker room. Sure, Mo Williams has his own issues, but Davis brings a larger, more expensive set of them. Yes, Davis is playing better this season (13 points, 7 assists per game), but he was always better when he was engaged and motivated (he’s good when engaged). Blake Griffin did that for him this season — Davis dropped weight and was in the best shape in years. He loved running and feeding Griffin ally-oops. But even with all that his balky knee was giving him problems.

But that is not the Davis the Cavs will be getting. Trust me, they will soon have disinterested Baron — the one that jacks up threes early in the shot clock despite the fact he shoots under 30 percent from three. The one that coasts through games without energy. The one that is little more than an orange traffic cone for the opposing team to dribble around on defense. The one that shot 37 percent two years ago and 40 percent last season, but kept firing away at a crazy pace. And remember, Davis played for Byron Scott with the Hornets back in the day and that did not end well.

The Clippers get Mo Williams, who in and of himself is inconsistent. But he can shoot the three, and the Clippers need that. They have Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and the slashing Eric Gordon to get points inside. They need to stretch the floor. Williams can do that.

The Clippers will miss that first-round pick but freeing up that salary will give them a lot more flexibility to get a quality player than the pick would have. The Clippers have their young core, they need to go out and get some better players to go around them. This move gives them the flexibility to do so.

It’s a smart move for the Clippers. For the Cavs… well, that’s why they are the Cavs.

Marcus Smart on Game 7: ‘It’s not going to be pretty’

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Game 7s are not pretty basketball. Everyone is tight, shots clank off the front of the rim, and players tend to think rather than just react, sucking the flow out of the game. It’s a game for grinders.

Marcus Smart is good with that, and he told Chris Forsberg of ESPN the team is preparing for this style.

“It’s not going to be pretty. You got to be able to get down and get dirty. You can’t go out and try to look pretty. You have to be ready for a dogfight. We got to be ready to come up with our nose bloodied. We got to be ready to come out with our mouth bloodied. We have to come out ready to fight.”

If Boston is going to win this game, they will do so with the physical, smart, and unrelenting defense that carried them all season. That’s their grit. Without Kevin Love (out with a concussion) the Celtics have one less scorer to worry about, but things do not necessarily get dramatically easier — LeBron James is going to get his buckets, but can the Celtics keep George Hill, Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith and the rest of the role players from helping out with big nights of their own.

Which one of these teams is better positioned to win a grinding, sloppy game? Who is willing to dive on the floor and give that little extra effort? A case can be made either way, but Sunday night will decide it.

Report: Warriors’ Patrick McCaw cleared, will be available for Game 6

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We haven’t seen Golden State’s Patrick McCaw on an NBA court since March 31, when he was undercut by Sacramento’s Vince Carter and took an ugly, nasty spill.

McCaw is finally cleared by the team doctors and will be active on Saturday night for Game 6 against Houston, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The Golden State Warriors are planning to activate swingman Patrick McCaw for Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

McCaw, on paper, would help the Warriors — he’s a 6’5″ switchable defender who can provide some offense in transition. That’s especially true if Andre Iguodala is out for Game 6 (his status is a game-time decision). McCaw played about 17 minutes a night for the Warriors during the regular season.

However, the idea of taking a second-year player who has not been on a court in six weeks and throwing him into Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals — a win-or-go-fishing game for Golden State — is risky, at best. Don’t expect him to get on the court unless this is a blowout.

Kevin Love in concussion protocol, listed as out for Game 7

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As if winning a Game 7 on the road against a younger, more athletic team that has not lost on its home court all playoffs was not difficult enough, things just got harder for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kevin Love has a concussion and is not expected to play in Game 7 on Sunday.

While it is technically possible for Love to clear out of the concussion protocol in 24 hours, it is highly unlikely. He would have to pass a rigorous physical test and have no concussion-related symptoms, something cleared by both the team doctor and a league-approved neurologist. This is something that tends to take days if not weeks to get over.

Love was injured just five minutes into Game 6. Love had set up position in the midpost and was setting a screen for George Hill, who was curling out to the arc. Jayson Tatum was trailing Hill and he banged heads with Love. It wasn’t pretty.

Love spent a few minutes on the ground, went straight to the locker room, and did not return to the game.

LeBron James is going to have to carry even more load in Game 7, and now more pressure falls on George Hill (the bellwether for this Cavs team), J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson and others to step up without Love there to space the floor and get buckets.

Report: Raptors interview Spurs’ assistants Ettore Messina, Ime Udoka for coaching job

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It’s not officially a coaching search until some Spurs’ assistants are interviewed.

So it looks like the Toronto Raptors’ search is underway.

Raptors’ president Masai Ujiri fired Dwane Casey right after Casey’s peers voted him Coach of the Year for leading the Raptors to 59 wins and the No. 1 seed in the East. That said, after several frustrating years of running into the brick wall that is LeBron James in the East, maybe the Raptors did need a new voice and some changes to try to take the next step (especially with Boston and Philadelphia coming on fast in the East hierarchy).

But if you’re going to fire a 59-win Coach of the Year kind of guy, you better have an impressive replacement in hand or at least a clear plan.

Ujiri reportedly wanted Mike Budenholzer, but the former Hawks’ head coach took the job in Milwaukee after meeting with Toronto.

The leading candidate for the job is still considered to be Nick Nurse, the Raptors’ assistant who was in charge of their changed and improved offense last season. The Raptors also interviewed two other internal candidates, assistant coach Rex Kalamian and G-League coach Jerry Stackhouse.

Casey, by the way, is the target of the Detroit Pistons.