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#pounditWednesday, December 2, 2020

Articles tagged: Cleveland Cavaliers

Report: Andre Drummond, Cavs far apart in extension talks

Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond’s marriage to the Cleveland Cavaliers could prove to be a brief one unless both sides can come to a middle ground.

Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reported on Monday that Drummond and the Cavs have been far apart in preliminary extension talks. The two-time All-Star will be a free agent in 2021. He also has a $28.75 million player option this offseason but is all but certain to exercise it.

Drummond, 27, was acquired by the Cavs in a trade with the Detroit Pistons in February. He made only eight appearances for them before the NBA’s shutdown in March but had his usual production of 17.5 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.

Cleveland is rebuilding, and it remains to be seen how Drummond fits into their ultimate future. He is one of the league’s best rebounders but is limited offensively and can be played off the floor by opponents. Drummond also was upset that he got traded by Detroit, so he might not be too attached to Cleveland anyway.

Report: Cavaliers believe they have pieces for Ben Simmons trade

The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the middle of another rebuilding phase, but they may be able to accelerate it very quickly with a trade for a young star.

According to Chris Fedor of cleveland.com, the Cavaliers have interest in Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons, and believe they have enough pieces to interest Philadelphia in a potential trade. The Cavaliers will pick in the top six of the upcoming draft, and have also stockpiled assets on their roster that could interest the Sixers.

Fedor lists last year’s fifth overall pick Darius Garland as a possible piece that could interest Philadelphia.

It’s hard to say how realistic a Simmons trade is. There has been plenty of talk about his ability to coexist with Joel Embiid and the lack of success the Sixers have had with the two players as their centerpieces, even though Embiid has downplayed any tension. In addition, with Simmons unlikely to play again this season, there’s something of an excuse for the Sixers if they don’t go far in the postseason. It’s fair to ask whether Philadelphia would really want to trade Simmons at this point coming off an injury unless someone gives them a huge haul.

There has been talk in the past that some within the Philadelphia organization would be open to trading Simmons, but it’s never been realistically explored. Perhaps the Cavaliers are serious about trying to test the Sixers’ resolve.

Report: Andre Drummond, Cavs have mutual interest in extension

Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond was openly unhappy after the Detroit Pistons traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers back in February, but that seemingly had more to do with the way his former team handled the situation than anything else. Now that Drummond has spent a few months as a member of the Cavs, he may be enjoying himself enough to stick around for the long haul.

Drummond announced earlier this week that he will exercise his $28.75 million option for the 2020-21 season, which was expected given all the uncertainty surrounding sports at the moment. However, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reports that Drummond and the Cavs have both shown interest in working out a long-term contract extension.

One potential complication could arise if the Cavaliers find themselves in position to draft former Memphis star center James Wiseman. As Fedor notes, Cleveland may prefer having more flexibility for the future rather than give Drummond a max contract extension if they’re drafting his eventual replacement. Drummond and Wiseman also share the same agent, which could potentially make the situation even more complicated.

Drummond is still just 26, and the Cavs haven’t seen a whole lot of him. He appeared in eight games for Cleveland before the season was suspended, averaging 17.5 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. Drummond will be able to sign an extension with the Cavs in October, but it may make more sense for them to see how things play out next season.

While the Cavs have just 19 wins this season and won 19 games all of last year, Drummond seemed more bothered by the way the Pistons handled the trade than he was about being sent to a struggling franchise. Depending upon how the market shakes out with all the financial uncertainty surrounding sports leagues, Drummond may find that he wants to remain in Cleveland more than the Cavs want him to stick around.

Collin Sexton: Cavaliers will be back in playoffs next season

The Cleveland Cavaliers took the NBA by surprise at the trade deadline back in February when they decided to become buyers despite having no shot at postseason contention. Collin Sexton appreciated that approach from the team, and he is confident it is going to pay off in the very near future.

In a recent interview with Morten Jensen of Forbes, Sexton said he understands that things have been a lot different for the Cavs since LeBron James left to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, but the 21-year-old does not like to use the term “rebuild.”

“Every day we’ve got guys coming to work and working their butt off, so we don’t look at [the rebuild] too much, because we all put in that work and we have a full team of hard workers so we’re going to do whatever it takes to change it around, and turn this rebuild into winning,” Sexton said.

Rather than hold a fire sale at the trade deadline, the Cavs acquired star big man Andre Drummond in a trade with the Detroit Pistons and held onto Kevin Love. Drummond is set to become a free agent this summer and has not committed to re-signing with Cleveland, but Sexton is very optimistic about the 2020-21 season. When asked when he thinks the Cavs will return to the playoffs, Sexton said “next season.” Was he serious?

“Yes. Next season,” he said emphatically.

The Cavs are currently 19-46 with the NBA season suspended. Sexton is averaging an impressive 20.8 points per game, but the team still has a very long way to go. Even if Drummond re-signs, Cleveland is far from a lock to make the playoffs barring a big offseason move or two.

It’s unclear how much of a negative impact John Beilein had on Cavaliers players before he parted ways with the organization, but the Cavs recently showed they believe in JB Bickerstaff going forward. While Sexton isn’t going to admit he doesn’t expect Cleveland to contend next season, he could have just as easily provided a more vague response.

Cavs sign head coach JB Bickerstaff to multi-year extension

JB Bickerstaff

All indications when JB Bickerstaff took over as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers last month were that he was not doing so on an interim basis, and the team has now confirmed that.

The Cavs have signed Bickerstaff to a multi-year extension, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic reports.

Bickerstaff had previously taken over as the interim head coach of the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies, so he had plenty of experience in the role. The Cavs had reportedly planned to make him their head coach eventually, but the plan came to fruition much earlier than expected after John Beilein stepped down.

Beilein was a bad fit in Cleveland from the start, as his college ways simply did not transition to the NBA. He was unable to connect with his players all season, and the situation reached a boiling point when he referred to them as “thugs” — something he apologized for and said was inadvertent. Bickerstaff has more experience in the NBA, so it is no surprise that the Cavs see him as better suited for the job going forward.

Did Kevin Love sabotage John Beilein as Cavs head coach?

Kevin Love

John Beilein didn’t work as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and it sounds like Kevin Love did him no favors.

Beilein officially resigned during the week after going 14-40 as the Cavs’ head coach, and he was replaced by JB Bickerstaff. Beilein had issues with some of the players, and there were complaints about Beilein running things like a college program.

At first, much of the criticism about Beilein’s tenure was aimed at the coach, but on Thursday, Charles Barkley said the players were to blame. Barkley is not the only one hinting at that.

During Thursday’s edition of the “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” podcast, Windhorst and co-host Tim MacMahon talked about how Love seemed to undermine the hiring.

Windhorst said Love showed up for training camp at effectively the last minute. MacMahon also talked about how Love was against Beilein.

“Kevin Love did everything but rent a billboard saying Beilein sucks,” MacMahon said. “There was zero percent chance of Beilein, and it wasn’t gonna work regardless, but with Kevin Love around that was gonna be a complete disaster. Because he was gonna make it clear how much he thought this coach was over his head, and he was gonna be right.”

Whether Love was against the Beilein hire or not, it was clear this season that Love had issues with the Cavs. Love screamed at the team’s GM in early January and was seen getting upset with another player. Love exhibited poor leadership, which likely contributed to the team’s poor record, and Beilein’s difficulties connecting with the players.

Charles Barkley defends John Beilein, calls out Cavaliers players

Charles Barkley

John Beilein’s tenure as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers did not go well, and Charles Barkley believes a big part of that is due to the team’s players.

Barkley spoke on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” Thursday night, which was the first day of games since the All-Star break. Barkley said the Cavs players tried to get Beilein fired. He equally blamed the veterans for not being good leaders, and the young players for thinking they were too good to do what Beilein was asking of them.

“I want to call out the Cleveland Cavaliers. I thought what they did to Coach Beilein was ridiculous, unprofessional,” Barkley said on TNT. “I think the veterans on that team were not leaders. I think the young guys who can’t play think they’re better than they are and they tried to get that man fired.”

Beilein was unable to connect with his players or get them to buy in. The complaints from players had to do with practicing too hard, watching too much film, and Beilein trying to implement a college culture.

The blame for the issues probably falls on both parties. The players — and especially the veterans — maybe could have made a better effort to give Beilein a chance. And Beilein maybe could have worked harder to build trust first before implementing his complete culture.

John Beilein resigns as Cavaliers head coach

John Beilein

John Beilein’s tenure as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers is officially over.

As expected, Beilein resigned on Wednesday, just 54 games into his first season as the Cavs’ head coach. The organization said Beilein would be reassigned to a different role within the franchise.

“This was a very difficult decision for me, but I want to be clear – this was my decision to step down and I truly appreciate the understanding and support of the front office during this time,” Beilein said in a team statement. “I find losing very challenging and this year has taken a much bigger toll on me than I expected. I grew concerned for the consequences this toll could potentially take on my own health and my family’s well-being down the road. I was not certain I could be at my best for the remainder of the season and in the future. That would not be fair to the players, coaches and support staff.”

The Cavaliers did not explicitly confirm it, but Beilein’s statement mentioned J.B. Bickerstaff’s readiness to take over the head coach role. He is expected to get the job going forward.

The Cavs have a 14-40 record this season, a rate of losing that Beilein simply isn’t accustomed to. His fundamentals-first approach was not a good fit for the NBA, and he caused further issues for himself when he inadvertently referred to his players as “thugs.” Though he will remain with the organization for now, a return to college could be a possibility once the season ends and jobs open up at that level.

Report: Cavs players taunted John Beilein by playing songs with word ‘thug’

John Beilein

John Beilein was unable to make it through a full season in his first year as an NBA head coach, and his inability to relate to his players appears to have been the biggest reason for that. While Beilein insisted he misspoke last month when he called his players “thugs,” that was ultimately the beginning of the end for him with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Athletic published an in-depth look at what went wrong with Beilein in his first NBA coaching gig, and it’s clear the infamous film session on Jan. 8 became a huge issue for Cavs players. During that session, Beilein called his players “thugs,” and he later apologized and said he meant to call them “slugs” in reference to their slow play. Several players didn’t accept the explanation or the apology, according to The Athletic.

Even after Beilein apologized, some Cavs players reportedly began taunting him by intentionally playing songs that included the word “thug” when Beilein was present. They apparently did this on numerous occasions.

Instead, multiple players began playing songs that included the word “thug” whenever Beilein was within earshot, sources said: Bone Thugz-n-Harmony’s “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” and Tupac’s “Thugz Mansion” among them. As the team boarded the bus a few days after the incident, one player was intentionally playing Trick Daddy’s “I’m a Thug” with Beilein a few feet away. Other players blasted songs with the word “thug” loudly during workouts in the facility. Players did this to make light of a very tough situation, according to one team source.

One player told The Athletic that what bothered him the most was Beilein “not owning that he said it.”

Beilein was already having issues with players before the “thugs” incident, as the team was said to be unhappy with the way he was trying to create a college-style environment at the pro level. Even Shaq unloaded on Cavs players for being so sensitive about Beilein’s criticisms, but the damage was done at that point. Some coaches simply aren’t cut out for the NBA, and that may be the case with Beilein.

JB Bickerstaff expected to replace John Beilein as Cavs head coach

JB Bickerstaff

The Cleveland Cavaliers and John Beilein are working on a buyout agreement that would end the coach’s time as the Cavs head coach, and J.B. Bickerstaff is expected to become the new interim head coach, according to reports.

There has been talk since Sunday night’s All-Star Game that Beilein was considering stepping down as the Cavs’ coach during the All-Star Break. The Athletic reported on Tuesday that the two sides are in advanced buyout talks that are expected to commence by Wednesday, and possibly later on Tuesday.

Bickerstaff, who has served as an interim head coach twice previously during his career, is expected to take over, according to numerous reports.

Bickerstaff served as an interim head coach in Memphis and Houston previously and is likely to be the Cavs’ coach when they hold practice on Wednesday.

The Cavaliers are 14-40 and entered the All-Star break with the worst record in the Eastern Conference. This is Beilein’s first season as an NBA head coach after his successful stint at Michigan.

There have been talks about issues with Beilein working as an NBA coach since December. A report at the time said players did not like the way Beilein was operating the team like a college program. There was another moment when Beilein received negative publicity in January when he inadvertently called his players “thugs” instead of “slugs.”