The guy in the general manager’s chair may have changed but the directive from ownership has not:
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert had laid out the playoffs as the goal.
That may not happen this year — Cleveland is currently the 11 seed, four games out of the last playoff spot in the East. It is possible they climb back up, but the Cavs would be foolish to make short-term moves with an eye on the eight seed, where they get swept by the Pacers or Heat.
David Griffin is the guy in the interim GM chair since Chris Grant was fired, and he told the News-Herald look for the Cavs to be buyers at the trade deadline, but with the long term in mind.
“I don’t see how you get better and win more games selling,” Griffin said. “We’re going to buy to the extent that it makes us better for the long haul. I don’t think we’re going to do anything that’s an act of desperation. I think we’re going to be willing to buy the right asset at the right price. We are dedicated 100 percent from top to bottom to getting better and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Pretty generic GM stuff, but the idea is a good one — Cleveland needs to add talent to the roster. They tried that with the Luol Deng trade but right now there isn’t an infrastructure in place to take advantage of what Deng can do.
Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $65,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Monday’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $8,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Monday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Cleveland needs a culture change, something that will be tough for Griffin to instill in a few months. But maybe he can make a move that starts to change the feeling in the locker room, and from there on the court. The problems in Cleveland are not going to be solved between now and the trade deadline, but Griffin might be able to take a step in the right direction.
Philadelphia had its chance. It got the ball with 27.5 seconds left in a tie game in Atlanta, a chance for Jimmy Butler to ice another game and… nothing. The Sixers had a shot clock violation after a scrambled play (watch the video above).
That left 3.5 seconds for Trae Young, and that’s all the time he needed.
Young’s floater has improved over the course of the season, and he was quick enough to get in a position where Butler could not block his shot. And he drained it.
The combination of a Sixers team that looked flat coming off their win over the Celtics, combined with Young’s energy was too much. Atlanta has played better since the All-Star break and teams sleep on them at their own peril.
Boban Marjanovic was 0-of-6 from three in his career before Saturday night. Then this happened.
Boban is just fun. Basketball should be fun.
I don’t know what’s going to happen with his free agency this summer, but you can bet the fans in Philly want him to stick around.
Lonzo Ball has played in just 99 games through his first two NBA seasons, 60 percent of the possible games. His rookie season, it was shoulder and knee issues that sidelined him for 30 games.
This past season, he went down on Jan. 19 with a sprained ankle against the Rockets, a severe one that also had a bone bruise, which slowed the healing. Ball has been shut down for the season because of it.
The Lakers are concerned that his Big Baller Brand shoes may have contributed to the ankle issues, something Ball confirmed the Lakers talked to him about in an ESPN story by Ramona Shelburne and Paula Lavigne.
[The January injury] marked his third separate ankle injury, which left the Lakers searching for what could be the root issue of his troubles — including asking about his Big Baller Brand shoes.
“Yeah, they talked to me,” Lonzo Ball told ESPN two weeks ago. “They asked me about it, and I told ’em, ‘I feel comfortable. If I wasn’t comfortable, I wouldn’t play in ’em. If I didn’t play in [his signature BBB shoes], I’d play in Kobe [Bryant’s signature Nike shoe]. I work out in [LeBron James’ signature Nike shoe], but that’s because they’re heavier.”
Lonzo also said he told the Lakers he was open to making adjustments — “just minor things,” he said — to his Big Baller Brand shoes if needed.
There are trainers around the league who believe a lot of foot and ankle issues in the NBA are about poorly designed or ill-fitting shoes (that can include major, trusted brands, but the player wears something that does not fit his needs).
Whether the ZO2 is part of the problem or not is impossible to say from the outside.
However, Ball recently severed some ties with the Big Baller Brand over the business manager’s handling of his money. Ball also deleted pictures of himself wearing Big Baller Brand gear from his Instagram. What does that mean? We’re not going to speculate here, but take your own best guess.
Malcolm Brogdon is out for the remainder of the regular season, likely the first round of the playoffs, and maybe longer with a plantar fascia tear. Nikola Mirotic is out likely through the end of the regular season (and maybe a little longer) with a thumb fracture. The injury bug that the Bucks avoided much of the season is catching up with them.
And Pau Gasol can now be added to the list, according to ESPN’s Malika Andrews.
Gasol is going to play a limited role for Milwaukee, but his depth along the front line would have been helpful as the Bucks try to rest guys and get right for the postseason.
If these injuries — particularly Brogdon, who is an important glue piece for them — lingers into the second round of the playoffs for Milwaukee, it could mean an earlier end to the season than they hoped.