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#pounditSunday, August 14, 2022

Articles tagged: Cleveland Cavaliers

Report: Rick Pitino, Cavaliers have mutual interest

Rick Pitino

Is Rick Pitino eyeing a job in the NBA now that many of the college basketball coaching vacancies have been filled? That could be the case.

Veteran NBA reporter Peter Vecsey reported on his Patreon page Saturday night that Pitino and the Cleveland Cavaliers have spoken. He says there is mutual interest between owner Dan Gilbert and Pitino, though it’s unclear for what kind of position. You can read the full report at Vecsey’s Patreon.

Pitino, 66, has been coaching in Greece since December. He led Panathinaikos to a Greek Cup victory and is coaching them in the EuroLeague playoffs.

Pitino was fired by Louisville in Oct. 2017 after being involved in a scandal involving the payment to a recruit who ended up at the school. He previously got into trouble with the NCAA and has a championship and Final Four appearance vacated over a sex scandal.

One of the best college coaches ever, Pitino has won two national championships — one in 1996 and Kentucky and another in 2013 with Louisville, which was vacated. He had two separate coaching stints in the NBA. He coached the Knicks for two seasons from 1987-1989. He coached the Celtics from 1997-2001 before resigning in the middle of his fourth season.

After being tied to some coaching vacancies, Pitino said earlier this month that he was not interested in leaving Europe for a college job. In October, he did express interest in returning to the NBA.

The Cavaliers are looking for a new head coach after parting ways with Larry Drew, who replaced Ty Lue, who was fired after an 0-6 start to the season.

Report: Juwan Howard is candidate for Cavaliers job

Cleveland Cavaliers logo

The Cleveland Cavaliers are beginning their hiring process for a new head coach, and one prominent name is in the mix.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard is a target in the coaching search, but the list of candidates is “expansive.”

Dallas assistant Jamahl Mosley is also a candidate, while Utah’s Alex Jensen and Portland’s David Vanterpool are also set to be interviewed once the team is able to work around their playoff schedules.

The Cavaliers parted ways with head coach Larry Drew last week. This search sounds like it may take a while and include a lot of names.

Doc Rivers amusingly hints at Cavaliers’ tanking ambitions

Doc Rivers

The Cleveland Cavaliers have had a rough year in the first campaign of the post-LeBron James era, and there are a lot of people who think it may well be by design.

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers is not necessarily one of those people. He’s also not denying it, either.

The Cavaliers are 19-54. That isn’t even the worst record in the East, however, as the team below them has had to answer tanking questions even more awkwardly and directly than the Cavaliers have. Cleveland at least has some bright spots, and they’ve even managed to win two of three, including a win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

NBA finds no wrongdoing in Cavaliers’ Patrick McCaw signing

Cleveland Cavaliers logo

No rules were broken by the Cleveland Cavaliers in their signing of restricted free agent Patrick McCaw, an NBA investigation concluded.

The league announced that there was nothing wrong with Cleveland’s handling of McCaw. The Cavaliers signed the restricted free agent to a two-year non-guaranteed offer sheet before waiving him after just three games, sparking speculation that Cleveland did him a favor to allow him to become an unrestricted free agent as quickly as possible.

McCaw has since joined the Toronto Raptors, and the league has determined that there was no circumvention or conspiracy. That effectively closes the matter.

Cavs had anti-Steph Curry shoe policy during rival with Warriors

Stephen Curry

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors developed quite the rivalry before LeBron James left his hometown a second time, and that apparently led to some strict footwear policies.

In a feature he wrote this week for Bleacher Report entitled “The Politics of Kicks,” Ric Bucher shed some light on how seriously NBA players take their sneakers. While plenty of players who don’t have their own shoe deals wear the signature shoes of other players, it is apparently frowned upon to do so when you’re going against said sneaker endorser. For example, Draymond Green told Warriors third-string center Kevon Looney he could not wear James Harden’s Adidas shoes during a game against the Houston Rockets last season.

Looney recalled equipment manager Eric Housen replacing his shoes before the game without his knowledge.

“Draymond says you can’t wear them,” Housen told Looney. “They’re James Harden’s shoe, and he says you can’t wear the shoe of a guy you’re playing against.”

Green said the policy is “not a team rule at all,” but he believes it’s impossible to gain the respect of an opponent if you’re wearing his shoe. The Cavs apparently felt the same way, as they had a strict policy regarding Stephen Curry’s Under Armour shoes over the past several years.

It was understood more than plainly stated, leaving one member of the Cavs’ Finals roster last year unaware of the rule—but only, perhaps, because he never considered wearing UAs. Another former Cavalier texted: “There was no way anyone on [Cleveland] the last few years would wear [them], for the obvious reasons.”

It became very obvious that Curry was not the most popular person in Cleveland’s locker room, and that is no surprise given how often the two teams squared off. While you might think changing up footwear on principle is a bit excessive, it makes sense for a player to avoid doing anything that might give his opponent a mental edge.

Cavs players reportedly upset about Kyle Korver being traded

Kyle Korver

Kyle Korver wanted out of Cleveland as soon as LeBron James announced he was not re-signing with the Cavaliers, but that does not mean the sharpshooter’s teammates were indifferent about seeing him go this week.

Korver was traded to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday as the Cavs were warming up before their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports that the deal came together so quickly that the 37-year-old didn’t even have an opportunity to say goodbye to his teammates, many of whom are “upset” that Korver is no longer with the team.

Multiple Cavs players are upset with the trading of Korver, insofar as this is a team with very little outside shooting. Korver’s only averaging 6.8 points per game, but he’s still shooting .463 from the outside and is one of the greatest 3-point shooters in NBA history. Subtracting him from the team only makes it harder to win games, they feel.

It’s natural for players to be irritated when a teammate they feel can help them win games is traded, but should anyone in Cleveland’s locker room be surprised? The Cavs are 4-16 and appear committed to losing this season.

As Vardon noted, Korver met his wife in Salt Lake City and played for the Jazz from 2007-2010. The Cavs did him the courtesy of trading him to a place where his family will be comfortable, so they made up for not immediately parting ways with him when LeBron skipped town. Still, given some of the comments we heard JR Smith make about the team recently, any added frustration for Cavs players has the potential to create issues.

Cavaliers reportedly trade Kyle Korver to Jazz

Kyle Korver

Kyle Korver is finally free from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Cavaliers have traded Korver to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Alec Burks and a pair of future second-round draft choices.

As it became clear early on this season that the Cavaliers were not going to be a factor in the playoff race, Korver landed on the trade block. The long-range specialist was due $7.5 million and simply doesn’t profile as the type of player Cleveland needs right now. He hasn’t had much of a role with the Cavaliers, shooting his usual 46.3 percent mark from three-point range but in fewer than 16 minutes per game. Expect him to fill a larger role with the Jazz.

Cavaliers release statement on JR Smith situation

JR Smith

JR Smith has been openly pushing for the Cleveland Cavaliers to give him an opportunity to play elsewhere, and the team has confirmed that they will do just that.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Cavs thanked Smith for his contributions to the organization and announced that he is working with both the team and his representation “regarding his future.”

In other words, the Cavs are trying to trade Smith. At 33 and owed $14 million this season and $15 million next, that will not be easy. Smith has said he does not want his time in Cleveland to end with a buyout, but that may end up being the best possible solution for both sides.

Smith said a few weeks ago that he feels he is no longer welcome in Cleveland, pointing to the way he had been been removed from the rotation and was barely getting any minutes. He has played a lot more since then, but he wants no part of the rebuilding phase the Cavs have entered.

In an interview with Jason Lloyd of The Athletic that was published on Tuesday, Smith publicly called out the Cavs for intentionally losing games. That was likely the final straw and made the team realize there is no point in trying to keep him around.

JR Smith reportedly leaves Cavs, working with team on trade

JR Smith has made it clear that he no longer wants to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and it sounds like the team is in the early stages of granting the veteran swingman his wish.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports that Smith has left the Cavs to work out on his own, and he and the team have reached an “amicable” decision to part ways. A buyout agreement is not yet on the table, but Cleveland is said to be looking at possible trade scenarios.

Smith said a few weeks ago that he feels he is no longer welcome in Cleveland, pointing to the way he had been been removed from the rotation and was barely getting any minutes. He has played a lot more since then, but he wants no part of the rebuilding phase the Cavs have entered.

In an interview with Jason Lloyd of The Athletic that was published on Tuesday, Smith publicly called out the Cavs for intentionally losing games. That was likely the final straw and made the team realize they will do more harm than good by keeping him around.

Smith is 33 and is owed around $14 million this season and $15 million next, so trading him will not be easy. However, he told Lloyd that he doesn’t want his “legacy” in Cleveland to end with a buyout. Smith may end up having to soften his stance on that.

JR Smith publicly calls out Cavs for tanking

JR Smith

JR Smith admitted a few weeks ago that he would prefer for the Cleveland Cavaliers to trade him, but that probably won’t bother the team nearly as much as what he said on Monday.

In an interview with Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, Smith reiterated that he has no interest in remaining with the Cavs. The main reason for that, he says, is that the team is committed to tanking this season.

“I don’t think the goal is to win. The goal isn’t to go out there and try to get as many wins as you can,” Smith said. “I think the goal is to develop and lose to get lottery picks. I think that was always the plan.”

Smith certainly isn’t the first one to accuse the Cavs of tanking, but he is the only member of the team to speak publicly about it. At age 33, Smith says he has no interest in playing for a franchise that has different priorities from his.

“Not if the goal isn’t to compete, to win,” he said.

Lloyd goes on to note that executives around the NBA “shook their heads in disbelief all summer” at the idea that the Cavs could possibly compete in the Eastern Conference without LeBron James. That’s not a surprise, as one player from a rival team even trolled them over it.

Smith is owed $14 million this season and $15 million next, so he will be extremely difficult to trade. However, he said he doesn’t want his “legacy” in Cleveland to end with a buyout, so it’s unclear what possible resolution — if any — the two sides could come to.