Lauri Markkanen has said he wants a fresh start with a team other than the Chicago Bulls, and he will officially get one now.
Markkanen was sent to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday as part of a sign-and-trade deal that also involves the Portland Trail Blazers. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Markkanen has agreed to a four-year, $76 million contract with the Cavs. The Bulls will get Derrick Jones Jr., a lottery protected future first-round pick from Portland and a future second-round pick from Cleveland. The Blazers are getting Larry Nance Jr. in the deal.
ESPN Sources: Cleveland’s acquiring Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen in three-way sign and trade with Portland. Bulls get Derrick Jones Jr., POR’s lottery protected future 1st and Cavs’ future second-rounder. POR gets Larry Nance Jr. https://t.co/CgN3mhaLHY
Markkanen posted career-lows across the board last season with the Bulls, averaging 13.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 25.8 minutes per game. The 24-year-old was reportedly hoping to join another team, but that never came together.
A Ben Simmons trade still does not appear imminent, but the Philadelphia 76ers guard has been attracting interest from at least five teams.
According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Cavaliers, Pacers, Timberwolves, Kings, and Raptors have all showed interest in Simmons. Notably, these teams are all interested in Simmons as a playmaking forward, not as a guard.
The Sixers are said to have not made any significant traction on a Simmons deal, as no interested team has been willing to part with the sort of All-Star caliber player the team wants as part of any trade. However, executives around the league overwhelmingly believe Simmons will be dealt prior to the start of next season.
Philadelphia has made its asking price clear for Simmons, and they’re not compromising so far. They don’t have any real need to. The 25-year-old is still an elite defender, and a creative team could have plenty of use for him despite his flawed offense.
There are said to be as many as six teams interested in Sexton, but it makes sense that the Knicks are at or near the top of the list. The Knicks had a huge turnaround in their first year under Tom Thibodeau, and it is not a secret that they are looking to add a star player this offseason. They are also weak at the point guard position.
Sexton averaged 24.3 points per game in his third season with the Cavs. The 22-year-old has emerged as one of the top scorers in the NBA, which is why there is plenty of interest in him around the league.
The Cleveland Cavaliers may be trying to get their revenge on LeBron James this offseason.
Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reported on Friday that Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso is a target for the Cavaliers in free agency. Fedor also mentions Indiana Pacers guard TJ McConnell as a target but notes that some in the organization prefer Caruso.
Caruso, 27, is due for unrestricted free agency. Cleveland is already mostly set in the backcourt with young duo Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. But Caruso, a career-long reserve, could play the role of the Cavs’ third guard with strong defensive chops that neither Sexton nor Garland quite has.
Of course, the Cavs are not in contention and would be a downgrade from competing for championships with James on the Lakers. The ability to vie for a title does seem to be a big consideration for Caruso. But armed with plenty of cap space, Cleveland might be able to offer Caruso some money that he simply can’t refuse.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a talented young core they’re trying to build around, but questions about whether they can coexist and whether the team can afford to keep all of them continue to loom.
Much of the talk surrounds third-year guard Collin Sexton, the team’s leading scorer in 2020-21. However, two figures within the NBA told Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that they believe the Cavaliers should consider trading Sexton.
There are a couple reasons why Sexton would make sense as a trade candidate. The expectation is that Sexton will eventually seek a max contract, and that may be impossible for the Cavaliers to accommodate if they sign restricted free agent Jarrett Allen long-term while also keeping Kevin Love’s hefty deal on the books.
There have also been longstanding concerns over whether Sexton, a ball-dominant guard, can coexist with point guard Darius Garland, who made significant strides this season. Pluto’s two sources liked the idea of a backcourt consisting of Garland and Isaac Okoro, Cleveland’s first-round pick in 2020 who is both stronger than Sexton defensively and less reliant on needing the ball.
Sexton trade rumors aren’t new, but the time is coming for a decision to be made. Sexton will be eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of 2022, and will almost certainly demand a big salary increase. Add in the fact that Sexton doesn’t seem to be fitting in with his teammates, and a trade may be the smart move for the organization’s long-term future.
Collin Sexton was the most important piece the Cleveland Cavaliers received in their trade three years ago that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. The point guard struggled a bit in his rookie season, but the Cavs did something that seems unheard of to assure his confidence was not shaken.
The Cavs acquired the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft as part of the Irving deal, and they used it on Collin Sexton. According to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, Cleveland executives were so determined for Sexton to become the face of the franchise that they ordered coaches to not be too hard on him.
When Sexton struggled at times during the 2018-19 season, Lloyd says Cavaliers coaches were “ordered to continue playing him no matter what.” The team’s support staff was also told to “continually praise” Sexton. Lloyd also notes that the Cavs put serious effort into getting Sexton onto the NBA All-Rookie teams and into the Rising Stars games.
Sexton has turned into one of the best scoring guards in the NBA. He is averaging 24.3 points per game this season, but Lloyd believes the franchise is playing a dangerous game. Cavs ownership wants Sexton to be a superstar and the face of their franchise, likely to prove they won the Irving trade. Sexton is a talented player, but very few people believe the 22-year-old will ever be Irving.
The Cavs are 21-45 and once again eliminated from postseason contention. They’ve been a disaster since LeBron James left a second time. There have been reports that Sexton’s teammates are unhappy with his style of play, which could be a product of the way the team treated him like royalty from the jump.
It’s been four years since Anderson Varejao played in an NBA game, but it appears the veteran center is coming back to the league.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Varejao is expected to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the remainder of the season, likely to provide frontcourt depth.
13-year NBA veteran Anderson Varejao plans to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the remainder of the season, sources tell @TheAthletic@Stadium. Varejao is returning to the franchise with which he’s spent 12 decorated years.
To say this came out of nowhere would be an understatement. Varejao wasn’t even on the NBA radar, having last appeared for the Golden State Warriors in the 2016-17 season. The 38-year-old last played professionally in Brazil in 2018-19. We’d heard chatter that he might want to return to Cleveland, but that was two years ago.
Varejao was a favorite among Cleveland fans, putting together a long and successful career with the Cavaliers between 2004 and 2016. He probably won’t contribute much this season, but it’ll be nostalgic for some just to see him suiting up for the team.
Love’s mind-boggling play handed the Raptors a free basket late in the third quarter. It was unclear exactly what he was upset about, but he may have been expressing his displeasure over some no-calls. You can see the video here.
Love’s Cavaliers were playing shorthanded as seven players were out. They also were on the second game of a back-to-back and arrived in Tampa at 3:00 a.m. the day of the game. A lot of factors were not working in their favor, so Love’s seemingly immature outburst was the last thing they needed.
Drummond should draw plenty of interest. He is averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game this season and is just 27. It’s possible that he could get a multi-year deal, which is rare for players who have their contracts bought out.
Cleveland Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff is taking a measured approach to a wave of criticism over his team’s handling of center Andre Drummond.
The Cavaliers have decided not to play Drummond while the team tries to trade the veteran center, who is in the final year of his contract. This event inspired Draymond Green to criticize a double standard where he feels teams can get away with behavior that individual players cannot, a stance backed by LeBron James.
Bickerstaff refused to criticize Green for the remarks, instead taking the criticism in stride.
“Nobody’s opinion should be muted,” Bickerstaff said Wednesday, via ESPN. “Obviously there’s conversations that we’ve had with our guys as far as this process goes that everybody’s not privy to. But again, guys have a right to speak their voice and organizations have to do what’s best for the organization. I think that’s kind of how it works and it shouldn’t be a two-way street, so to speak.”
Bickerstaff also praised Drummond for his professionalism in handling the situation.
Bickerstaff is in an awkward spot here, as he doesn’t want to come off as opposing the players. As he said, we don’t really have a perfect idea of how the Cavaliers have handled this internally.