Giannis Antetokounmpo drives through all Cavaliers for dunk (video)

Leave a comment

Giannis Antetokounmpo is undeniable.

Watch this video. He’s the only Bucks player in sight on the court. All five Cavaliers appear. Antetokounmpo dunks anyway.

He dribbles past Jordan Clarkson then through David Nwaba and Tristan Thompson. Nik Stauskas and Brandon Knight are shading close enough to narrow his potential path. None of it matters.

Antetokounmpo scores inside unlike anyone anyone we’ve ever seen.

Cavaliers lose one star, lock up another, sure don’t break even

Getty Images
3 Comments

NBCSports.com’s Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

It’s nice to feel wanted.

Particularly if you’re the Cavaliers, a small-market team that has been shunned by most stars. LeBron James was the shining exception, but even he left again.

LeBron’s second exit didn’t hit as hard. He already made good by leading Cleveland to the city’s first championship in several decades. Experiencing his departure once already also softened the blow, as Cavs fans and personnel seemed more primed and accepting this time. It’s difficult to summon that much outrage twice.

Still, in the aftermath of LeBron signing with the Lakers, the Cavaliers were in a certain state of mind when they found another star who wanted to stay. That’s when they signed Kevin Love to a four-year, $120,402,172 contract extension.

Admittedly, that’s hard to turn down. When a star picks a market like Cleveland, there’s a logic to the team just signing him then figuring out the rest later.

But it’s such a fleeting victory. If 30-year-old Love declines significantly during the next few seasons, as many players do at that age, fans will forget all about him embracing this team. That’s why the Cavs should have resisted indulging in that instant gratification.

Love’s extension could work. Out of LeBron’s shadow, maybe Love shows the all-around excellence he did with the Timberwolves. Maybe he leads the Cavaliers to the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, which would be quite the satisfying result the season after LeBron leaves. Maybe, even if Love is overpaid, Cleveland trades him for value like the Clippers did with Blake Griffin.

But it’s such a narrow path to success. After years of aging and injuries, I’m not convinced Love still possesses the athleticism necessary to play like did with in Minnesota. The supporting cast that was holding back LeBron doesn’t seem like a playoff outfit to me. And I don’t like the idea of holding out hope for a sucker/risk-taking team, especially with one potential Love suitor already having traded for Griffin.

Still – despite high enough disaster potential and low enough upside that I wouldn’t have given Love this extension – I get it. It could pay off long-term, and it definitely made the Cavaliers feel better right now.

They sure didn’t find a star small forward who wanted to join them, though. So, they took fliers on Sam Dekker and David Nwaba. The prices were cheap enough. The Clippers paid a portion of Dekker’s salary to trade him to Cleveland, and Nwaba signed for the minimum.

But Dekker and Nwaba are slight downgrades from the previous small forward.

No. 8 pick Collin Sexton might lead the Cavs into a new era. For now, he’s the big youthful exception on a team that’s relatively old for its limbo position.

The Cavaliers are probably at least a couple seasons from finding a direction, and this offseason didn’t help.

Rodney Hood accepting the qualifying offer is a step toward the Cavs squandering an asset. That’s not to say they should have paid him whatever it took to lock him up long term. He might not be worth what he demanded. But this is a negative outcome for Cleveland. Only one player – Spencer Hawes with the 76ers – has ever accepted his qualifying offer then re-signed with the same team the following year. And Hood can now veto any trade, making it more difficult to get value for him before his 2019 unrestricted free agency.

Even if Hood doesn’t want to stay, at least Love did. And in another feel-good story, Channing Frye returned on a minimum contract. The respected veteran seemingly could have had his pick of better teams, and he chose Cleveland.

But likely overpaying Love and attracting a nice guy can’t paper over the biggest development of the offseason.

LeBron is gone.

Offseason grade: F

It’s official, Cavaliers sign David Nwaba to one-year, $1.5 million contract

Getty Images
Leave a comment

We’ve known this was coming for a while, and it’s a good fit, but on Saturday it finally became official.

David Nwaba is a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This is a one-year, $1.5 million contract. This gives Cleveland 13 players on guaranteed contracts, plus restricted free agent Rodney Hood (who will end up playing for the Cavaliers next season, the question is will it be for a new contract or for the qualifying offer of $3.4 million).

Nwaba is a quality pick up for the Cavaliers, he looks to have developed into a solid NBA role player. He’s a wing out of Cal Poly SLO of the Big West who showed promise for the Lakers a couple of seasons ago (spending time in the G-League as well) but got squeezed by the numbers, ended up in Chicago last season where he averaged 7.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game playing 23 minutes a night. Then he got squeezed by the numbers in Chicago as well and became a free agent.

He’s going to have to carve out minutes in Cleveland. J.R. Smith will start at the two, likely with Jordan Clarkson behind him (to play next to rookie point guard Colin Sexton), at the three it will be a mix of Cedi Osman, Kyle Korver, and Sam Dekkar. There are minutes to be had there, and Nwaba is plenty familiar with having to prove himself to get run. Nwaba will find a role.

Bulls reportedly pull David Nwaba’s qualifying offer, indicating bigger move

2 Comments

David Nwaba‘s excellent athleticism, impressive motor and passable 3-point shooting have turned the 25-year-old shooting guard into a rotation-level player. The Bulls might like to keep him long-term, but he at least would’ve provided value on his qualifying offer next season.

Yet, Chicago is pulling that $1,712,601 qualifying offer.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Why would Chicago do this? I see two possibilities:

1. Nwaba has agreed to an offer sheet the Bulls wouldn’t match, and as a favor to him, they’re preemptively pulling the qualifying offer to expedite his exit.

2. Chicago is preparing for a larger trade or signing that requires Nwaba’s cap hold to be removed.

My guess is No. 2, especially because the Bulls also dumped Jerian Grant (in a three-way trade with the Magic and Hornets).

We’ll see what’s next for Nwaba, who becomes an unrestricted free agent. Probably more significantly, we’ll see what’s next for Chicago.

Report: Bulls warned by league to stop resting healthy players

10 Comments

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sent out a memo to all 30 teams recently saying that while developing younger players is a legitimate way to improve a team (especially late in the season for those out of the playoff chase) he would not tolerate tanking. That led to plenty of questions around the league about where that line is, especially for the franchises in the eight-team tankapaloza going on at the bottom of the NBA standings right now.

Chicago has rested veteran center Robin Lopez for six straight games and wing Justin Holiday five of the past six, instead starting David Nwaba (and playing heavy minutes for their young guys such as Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and Lauri Markkanen who could be part of their future). That has crossed the line and the NBA league office warned the Bulls, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

After the NBA issued a warning to the Chicago Bulls this week about resting healthy players, the franchise now plans to play veteran starters Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday more extensively the remainder of the season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Bulls have lost 14 of their past 17 games and publicly stated in mid-February that they would begin sitting Lopez and Holiday….

The NBA and commissioner Adam Silver formally informed team owners about resting healthy players – perhaps an effort to diminish the league-wide verbiage of “tanking” – after the league moved up the start of this season to spread games out for coaches and players. The Bulls changed course on their plans to continue sitting Lopez and Holiday in the past day, league sources said.

Bulls president John Paxson discussed the issue with Nick Friedel of ESPN.

What exactly is “adhere to their recommendations” in practice? Do the Bulls start Lopez and Holiday, but play them 15 minutes or so a night and then get the young guys in? Exactly how much do they have to play them, because the Bulls currently would head into the lottery in eighth, giving them a 9.9 percent chance at a top-three pick. You can be sure they would like to “improve” those odds.

The Bulls didn’t go the full Mark Cuban and tell everyone tanking would be good for them, but their front office did say at the All-Star break they had instructed coach Fred Hoiberg to prioritize playing the young guys.