Things have gone about as poorly as expected for the Cleveland Cavaliers without LeBron James this year, and the bad start is costing head coach Tyronn Lue his job.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Cavs players were informed on Sunday that Lue will be let go in the wake of the team’s 0-6 start.
Lue was facing a tall task this season with a stripped-down roster that had to figure out how to win without the best player in the game, so it seems like owner Dan Gilbert was looking for an excuse to fire him. It would be extremely difficult to judge any team after six games, let alone a roster like the one LeBron left behind in Cleveland.
Lue took over as the Cavs’ coach during the 2015-16 season, and he led the team to an NBA championship and three NBA Finals appearances. He finishes with an overall record of 128-83
Almost no one would give the Cavaliers a chance to repeat as Eastern Conference champions this upcoming season, and rightfully so. With LeBron James having left and both the Celtics and Raptors improving, the Cavs will have to fight just to reach the playoffs.
Tristan Thompson doesn’t see it that way.
While speaking with reporters on Thursday, Thompson was blatantly annoyed with the notion that the Cavs will fade into oblivion without LeBron. He feels Cleveland is the team to beat in the East until future notice, and he illustrated his point by noting how the other the top teams in the conference fared last season.
Technically, he’s right — emphasis on the “technically.”
With the return of Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving seemingly healthy, and Jayson Tatum looking like a star in the making, the Cavs are nowhere near Boston’s level in terms of talent. They’re also well behind the Raptors, 76ers and Pacers, to name a few. If you put any stock into Las Vegas win totals, you’ll notice the Cavs are expected to win around 30 games.
Draymond Green can tell you that Thompson is still fighting — literally — like Cleveland has a chance to get back to the Finals, but it’s just not happening. While you have to admire him for trying to stay positive and take on a leadership role, Thompson must have an idea of what the upcoming season is going to look like.
The Cleveland Cavaliers lost a franchise player in the offseason, but it looks like they might be aggressive in obtaining what they hope would be another one.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Cavaliers are in pursuit of Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler, who has asked to be traded.
The Cavaliers are not one of Butler’s reported preferred destinations, though they could still offer him a max contract and pair him with another former Minnesota star in Kevin Love. That said, he doesn’t have a no-trade clause, so it’s not really up to him if the Timberwolves decide to go ahead with something.
The Cavaliers, of course, are looking for a new anchor after LeBron James departed via free agency. Butler isn’t James, but he can be a franchise player. It remains to be seen if Cleveland would be willing to make a deal without assurances of Butler committing to them long-term, as he can opt out of his contract after the upcoming season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers no longer have use for the iconic LeBron James banner that used to hang outside the Sherwin-Williams Global Headquarters building in downtown Cleveland, and they now have an official plan to replace it.
On Friday, the Cavs unveiled the new banner that will hang where LeBron used to be depicted doing his patented chalk toss. The new design, which will be unveiled next month, features the sandstone Guardian of Transportation statue, which is one of Cleveland’s most iconic landmarks.
A closer look at the new image will show that it is a mosaic that is comprised of thousands of photos of fans showcasing their pride for the city of Cleveland. Those who want to be a part of the new banner can submit their photos for consideration through the Cavs’ website until Sept. 21.
“Our goal was to create a meaningful offering of public art to celebrate The Land and all those who support and love this city and region,” Cavs CEO Len Komoroski said in a statement, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. “Our hope is that it stirs the emotion and sense of pride, community and celebration of our city in a personal way for those invested in The Land.”
LeBron’s latest departure from Cleveland was not met with quite as much hostility as his first, but the people of Cleveland certainly don’t want to see him on a massive banner downtown. The replacement plan should appease the masses.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the process of rebuilding their roster in the post-LeBron era, and they made another addition to their roster on Sunday.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavs have acquired small forward Sam Dekker in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Dekker, a former No. 18 overall pick by the Houston Astros, is entering his fourth NBA season. He appeared in 73 games for the Clippers last season — all but one off the bench — and averaged 4.2 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. There was some talk about L.A. potentially using Dekker as trade bait to move up in the NBA Draft back in June, but that never materialized.
The Cleveland Cavaliers said goodbye to LeBron James this offseason for the second time in four years, and there has been some talk that Kevin Love could be the next to leave town. It does not seem like that is the team’s plan — at least for now.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst report that the Cavs have signed Love to a four-year, $120 million extension.
The new contract is somewhat surprising, as many expected the Cavs to either trade Love or the star forward to aim for a big year statistically before heading into free agency next summer. Love has already won a championship, however, so it makes sense that he is opting for financial security.
Love still could be traded at some point, but that has seemed like a longshot all along. The four-year extension indicates the Cavs want him to become the face of their franchise rather than getting rid of everyone and starting over.
The Cleveland Cavaliers signed Kendrick Perkins at the end of the regular season last year to provide depth and veteran presence during the playoffs, and it appears as though they have no use for the big man now that LeBron James has moved on.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavs waived Perkins on Tuesday.
Cleveland had decided to pick up Perkins’ option for next season last month, but that was before LeBron left to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now that the Cavs are going to struggle to even reach the postseason next year, it makes no sense to keep a player like Perkins on the roster.
Perkins, 33, did not play a single minute in the playoffs, but he made his presence felt in a number of other ways.
Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman is still trying to put the pieces of his franchise back together after LeBron James chose to leave for Los Angeles, and he got some valuable advice from the one person who understands more than anyone in the world how he might be feeling.
In a fantastic behind-the-scenes look at LeBron’s latest decision and the ripple effect it has had across the league, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne revealed that Altman received a call from Miami Heat general manager Andy Elisburg the morning after James announced he will sign with the Lakers.
“I called him and said, ‘Well, did the sun come up this morning?'” Elisburg recalled asking Altman. “And he said, ‘Yes, it came up.’ And I said, ‘Well, I just want to let you know it’s going to come up tomorrow too.'”
Elisburg said he was “so angry and emotional” when LeBron left Miami in 2014 that he thought he was having a heart attack. But once the initial shock wore off, he realized there was nothing he could have done to change LeBron’s mind. He relayed that message to Altman.
“I came in the next day around 9, 10 o’clock in the morning, went to the whiteboard, started putting down names and building the roster like we’d always done,” Elisburg told Altman. “You have to realize, it always ends. It never ends the way you want it to end, but it ends, and you have to start again.
“But no matter what, it was an incredible four years. You won a championship, you know? Nothing takes that away.”
Altman said he appreciated Elisburg’s words of wisdom.
“He said he wouldn’t have given up his four years with him for the world, and I feel the same way,” the Cavs GM said. “To have four years of the Finals under my belt and the experience of working with the best player maybe ever … it’s incredible.”
Bad breakups always involve intense emotions, and we saw the most infamous example of that when Cavs owner Dan Gilbert blasted LeBron with his infamous letter in 2010. Heat president Pat Riley also had somewhat of an ugly breakup with James, and it may have provided LeBron with his “secret motivation” when the Cavs won the NBA Finals two years ago. This time, it’s almost as if everyone knew what was going to happen. That probably didn’t make it any easier for Altman, but the perspective from Elisburg seems like it was helpful.
The Cleveland Cavaliers may not be trying to blow up their roster, but they certainly look poised to make some changes ahead of next season.
According to Terry Pluto of cleveland.com, the Cavaliers are aiming to move winger Kyle Korver via trade if possible to clear his salary off the books and move him to a better fit. Korver is due $7.5 million over each of the next two seasons, with $3.4 million of it guaranteed for 2019-20.
Pluto believes the Los Angeles Lakers could be a good fit for Korver, given the presence of LeBron James and their lack of quality perimeter shooting, but that is only speculation.
Korver is a very good role player, but he’s not good enough to be a focal point on a new-look Cavaliers team. It makes sense that they’d try to move him, which makes him different from one of his teammates who looks more likely to remain.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly open to trading Kevin Love now that LeBron James is signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, but teams that are thinking about low-balling them with a trade offer probably shouldn’t waste their time.
Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer spoke with a well-known NBA executive who questioned how motivated the Cavs are to part ways with the player who is now their biggest star.
“Unless they get blown away by an offer, I think they’ll open the season with Love,” the executive said.
Love is entering the final year of his contract, and he’s set to make $24 million. He also has a player option worth $25.6 million for the following season, but he seems unlikely to exercise it. According to the exec Pluto spoke with, the Cavs know they should be able to get more for Love if they wait until the trade deadline next season.
“Because I think he’ll be more in demand during the season by the trading deadline,” the executive said. “Kevin could have a very good year for the Cavs being the focal point of the offense. He is a talented player.”
Love was an All-Star last season and averaged 17.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. His scoring in Cleveland has never been anywhere close to the 26.1 points he averaged in his final season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Love could boost his stock a ton if he puts up big numbers with LeBron gone. He’ll only turn 30 this offseason, so he should have an opportunity to sign one more max contract.
The Cavs are making an effort to convince teams they are not looking to deal Love, and that could be more about timing than anything. They don’t want to look like they’re blowing everything up and starting from scratch now that LeBron left, as that would weaken their stance in trade talks. Even if they don’t plan on keeping Love through next season, denying that he is for sale makes sense from a business standpoint.