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#pounditFriday, September 30, 2022

Articles tagged: Cleveland Cavaliers

John Beilein to remain with Cavs following ’emotional apology’ to players

John Beilein

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein has publicly expressed regret over the term he used during a film session with his players this week, and he has apologized to the team privately as well.

Beilein met with his players prior to Thursday’s shootaround and delivered what was described to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski as an “emotional apology.” Cavs general manager Koby Altman was also at the meeting, and the team is standing behind the first-year head coach.

Beilein told Cavs players during a film session on Wednesday that they were no longer playing “like a bunch of thugs.” He later explained to Wojnarowski that he meant to say “slugs” and was complimenting his players on no longer moving slowly on the court. Since “thug” is a term with negative racial connotations, players reportedly did not react well to Beilein’s use of it.

The drama from this week’s film session is just the latest in what has been a rough first season for Beilein in Cleveland. The Cavs are 10-27 on the year, and Kevin Love recently blew up at Altman during a practice over his frustration with the team. A report last month also said Cavs players are unhappy with the way Beilein is running the team, so there will likely continue to be tension in Cleveland even if players accepted Beilein’s apology for the “thugs” remark.

John Beilein apologizes for inadvertently calling Cavs players ‘thugs’ in meeting

John Beilein

The Cleveland Cavaliers are rebuilding and have endured a rough season, which became even more complicated on Wednesday due to a poor choice of words by John Beilein in a film session with his players.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the first-year Cavaliers head coach left his players stunned when he told them during a Wednesday film session they were no longer playing “like a bunch of thugs.”

“Thug” is a term with negative racial connotations, so Beilein’s use of the term did not go over well with the players, who reportedly were silent after the words came out.

However, Woj spoke with Beilein, who told the reporter he did not realize his choice of words at the time. Beilein says that he actually meant “slugs” rather than “thugs.” The comment was supposedly intended as a compliment to his team for no longer being slow moving on the court.

Cavs GM Koby Altman, who is black, was alerted to Beilein’s remark and spoke with the coach. Beilein then reached out to his players to apologize and clarify what he meant.

The Cavs are 10-27 this season. Kevin Love recently acted immaturely and yelled at Altman over the weekend. Plus a report last month said players were unhappy that Beilein was running the team like a college program. Adding this matter on top of everything, and you have to imagine the 66-year-old is already on the hot seat.

Report: Cavs could have difficult time trading Kevin Love

Kevin Love

The Cleveland Cavaliers are open to trading just about anyone on their roster, and Kevin Love is the player that should interest contending teams the most. If the Cavs don’t lower their asking price, however, a deal involving Love may not happen.

The Cavs could have a difficult time trading Love because of both his contract and what the team wants in return for him, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic reports. Cleveland is reportedly seeking a first-round pick in any trade for Love, but interested teams may actually want the Cavs to include a first-round pick in the deal to entice the acquiring team to absorb the 3 1/2 years and more than $90 million remaining on Love’s contract.

One executive told Lloyd that he believes the Cavs will eventually get a first-round pick for Love as long as they are willing to take back a significant amount of salary. Cleveland would have to get creative if they go that route, as they have no salary cap space and do not want to dip into the luxury tax again.

Teams can’t even begin trading players until Dec. 15, and the deadline is Feb. 6. That means there is plenty of time to work out a deal for Love, and the asking price could come down significantly as the deadline nears. Keeping Love on the roster makes little sense for Cleveland in their current rebuilding phase.

Love reportedly has his sights set on being traded to one team, but a number of contenders are expected to discuss a potential deal with the Cavs.

Kevin Love reportedly wants to be traded to a contender

Kevin Love

The Cleveland Cavaliers are planning to listen to trade offers for Kevin Love when teams can begin trading players on Dec. 15, and it is not exactly a surprise that the All-Star big man does not want to join another rebuilding team.

Love wants to be traded to a contending team if the Cavs move him, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. Several teams are expected to be interested in Love, but Charania notes that the trade market may develop slowly between Dec. 15 and the deadline on Feb. 6. Some potential suitors could opt to wait to see if they remain in the playoff hunt over the next two months or so before trying to make a major move like acquiring Love.

Love signed a four-year, $120 million deal with the Cavs after LeBron James left to join the Los Angeles Lakers. He knew he was going to become probably the best player on a rebuilding team filled with younger guys, but he said he wanted to remain in Cleveland even if LeBron left. His name was thrown around in trade rumors before the Cavs ultimately decided to try to build around him, and that has not panned out.

Injuries have been an issue with Love over the past few years, as he has not played in more than 60 games in each of the past three seasons. However, he is averaging 16.1 points and 10.5 rebounds through 18 games this season, and there should be plenty of demand for a big man who can knock down outside shots.

Report: Cavs players unhappy with John Beilein running team like college program

John Beilein

Things are not going well for the Cleveland Cavaliers in their first season under new head coach John Beilein, and the issues for the team are apparently a lot more complicated than simply not having enough talent to string wins together.

Cavs players are unhappy with the way Beilein is running the team and have begun tuning him out, according to a report from Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Players are irritated that Beilein, who had no previous NBA coaching experience prior to taking the Cavs job, is trying to create a college environment at the professional level. One unnamed player said Cleveland’s assistant coaches, like JB Bickerstaff, are “definitely more prepared for the NBA.” Another Cavs player said the team has been ignoring Beilein.

“Guys drowned out his voice, and when guys start searching for the next in line for help, I believe you’ve lost them,” the player said.

The Cavs have lost 10 of their last 11 games to fall to 5-15 on the season, and that has exacerbated the issues players are having with Beilein. Some of their frustrations stem from simple things like the way the former Michigan coach harps on fundamentals, but they also feel Beilein’s offense is not suited for the NBA. The Athletic report notes that the problems Beilein is having connecting with his players “are not limited to one demographic,” meaning both younger players and guys who have been in the league longer are having similar experiences.

More specifically, some of the terminology Beilein uses in his system has not been well-received by the team, as players seem to think naming plays after wild animals is something that should not be done in the NBA. One example would be Beilein referring to a curl as a “polar bear.” One Cavs source told The Athletic, “you don’t go pro to do that kind of thing.”

There were bound to be growing pains with Beilein after he spent so many years coaching in college, and the 66-year-old will likely learn a lot in his first season on the job. The bigger question will be whether or not he can adapt, as we saw a previous coach run out of Cleveland over similar issues connecting with NBA players.

10 teams that need to nail the NBA Draft

Danny Ainge Celtics

The NBA Draft is important for every team. It’s a chance to bring new, young talent into the organization. Teams that consistently get it right often line themselves up for years of success. Remember, before all the Kevin Durant hoopla, the Golden State Warriors were built almost exclusively through the draft process, with both Splash Brothers among the team’s first-round picks.

However, some teams need draft success more than others. They may be facing a long rebuild if they can’t keep the continuity going, or an even longer one than they’re already in if they get things wrong. Here are ten teams that really need to nail the NBA Draft, or the futures of their franchise could get quite bleak.

10. San Antonio Spurs

It’s been two years since the Spurs made it out of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, a rather unprecedented drought for the Gregg Popovich era. The Spurs always find players somewhere, even as they lose veterans. LaMarcus Aldridge, 34 in July, is the next big name to face the aging curve, and San Antonio really need an infusion of young talent on the roster here. This will only be the third time since the selection of Tim Duncan No. 1 that the Spurs will draft in the top 20. To keep the immensely successful run going, they need to get the 19th pick right.

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Report: Cavs had large group attend Darius Garland workout

Darius Garland

The Cleveland Cavaliers appear to have serious interest in Darius Garland as the NBA Draft approaches.

The Cavaliers are picking No. 5 in the draft. Zion Williamson is expected to go No. 1 overall, while Ja Morant and RJ Barrett are in contention to go over the next two picks. Garland is among the players believed to be in the mix to go No. 4 or around that range — prime for the Cavaliers.

Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto said in an article published on Monday that the Cavaliers had at least five people at a private workout for Garland over the weekend in Los Angeles. He concluded his article saying he thinks “something is up” between the Cavs and Garland.

Another item connecting the Cavs and Garland has to do with the former Vanderbilt player’s agent. Garland is represented by Klutch Sports, the agency that represents former Cav LeBron James and current Cavs JR Smith and Tristan Thompson.

Garland only played in five games this season as a freshman for Vandy before injuring his knee. He averaged 16.2 points per game and is said to be recovered from surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

Cavs reportedly want to trade up for RJ Barrett

RJ Barrett

The Cleveland Cavaliers may be zeroing in on their next potential superstar.

Appearing Friday on 92.3 The Fan’s “Bull & Fox,” Cleveland’s.com Joe Vardon reported that the Cavs have “supreme interest” in trading up to draft 18-year-old RJ Barrett and believe they have the assets to do so. Vardon specifically notes the team’s confidence in their ability to move JR Smith’s expiring deal.

Barrett, who put up 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists a contest in his lone season at Duke, is one of the blue-chippers in this year’s class and is unlikely to still be on the board after the New York Knicks select at No. 3. Cleveland, meanwhile, holds the No. 5 overall pick.

That said, Barrett appears to prefer a big-market landing spot, so he might not be thrilled about the possibility of ending up in Northeast Ohio.

Dan Gilbert thinks Cavs ‘killed it’ with Kyrie Irving trade

Kyrie Irving

The Cleveland Cavaliers would have had a much better chance of winning another championship with LeBron James if they ignored Kyrie Irving’s trade demand, but team owner Dan Gilbert does not regret the way the situation unfolded.

In an interview with Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer this week, Gilbert said the Cavs had no choice but to trade Irving two years ago because he was threatening to undergo knee surgery and skip the season. Irving ended up missing the playoffs last year with the Boston Celtics because he needed two knee procedures, so Gilbert feels that is proof there was an actual issue. He also believes Irving will leave Boston as a free agent this summer, and that is one of the reasons he is pleased with the outcome of the trade.

“I don’t know, but I think Kyrie will leave Boston,” Gilbert said. “We could have ended up with nothing. Looking back after all the moves (GM Koby Altman) made, we killed it in that trade.”

The Cavs got the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick in last year’s draft as part of the Irving trade, and they used it to draft Collin Sexton. The point guard averaged 16.7 points per game and earned All-Rookie Second Team honors this year. Cleveland also got Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic in the deal. Both Thomas and Crowder were traded months after the Cavs acquired them, and Zizic serves as the team’s backup center.

You can look at the Irving trade a number of different ways. If he truly was going to sit out the entire 2017-18 season and then leave via free agency, the Cavs made the right choice. If they could have somehow convinced him to play one more season, they would have had a better shot at winning another title with LeBron.

Even if the Cavs didn’t “kill it” with the Irving trade, the All-Star point guard clearly had problems with his teammates in Boston this season. That has to make Gilbert feel better about the Cavs moving on from him when they did.

Cavs hire JB Bickerstaff as associate head coach

JB Bickerstaff

JB Bickerstaff was fired as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies this year following a 33-49 season, but he was not unemployed for very long.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers have hired Bickerstaff to join new head coach John Beilein’s staff. Wojnarowski also notes that Bickerstaff drew interest from several prominent teams for assistant coaching roles, but he was intrigued by the idea of helping Beilein adjust to the NBA.

Bickerstaff was an associate head coach with the Grizzlies before being promoted to head coach in 2017. He was an assistant coach and interim head coach for the Houston Rockets prior to that.

Unlike Bickerstaff, Beilein has no prior experience coaching in the NBA. Bickerstaff should be a valuable asset for a 66-year-old coach making the transition to the pros.