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#pounditThursday, June 24, 2021

Articles tagged: Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavs reportedly interested in signing Alex Caruso

Alex Caruso

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.

Could Collin Sexton be trade candidate for Cavaliers?

Collin Sexton

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.

Report: Cavs coaches were ‘ordered’ to praise Collin Sexton when he was a rookie

Collin Sexton

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.

Anderson Varejao reportedly making surprise return to NBA

Anderson Varejao

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.

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.

Here is how Cavaliers are handling Kevin Love outburst

Kevin Love

Kevin Love threw an extremely bizarre temper tantrum during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ loss to the Toronto Raptors on Monday night, and the team is reportedly handling the matter internally.

Love apologized to his Cavs teammates after the game, and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports that the team is focused on moving forward.

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.

If you remember, Love also had some negative issues last season with the Cavs that created headlines. He doesn’t seem to be doing the best job of leading a young team.

Andre Drummond, Cavaliers agree to contract buyout

Andre Drummond

The Cleveland Cavaliers were unable to trade Andre Drummond prior to Thursday’s deadline, but the two sides are still parting ways.

Drummond and the Cavs have agreed to a contract buyout, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. That means the 6-foot-10 center will be free to sign with any team he pleases.

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.

We know the New York Knicks are in a great position to sign Drummond, but the big man may have to decide between money and playing for a contender down the stretch. If he prioritizes winning a title, we probably know which team is the favorite to land him.

JB Bickerstaff reacts to criticism of handling of Andre Drummond

JB Bickerstaff

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.

One thing is for sure: Cleveland will have a hard time dealing Drummond if this is what most teams think of him.

Report: Cavs committed to trading Andre Drummond, possibly to this team

Andre Drummond

The Cleveland Cavaliers pulled Andre Drummond from Sunday’s lineup and attributed it to giving the big man rest, but it sounds like Drummond may have played his final game with the franchise.

The Cavs are working to trade Drummond and have committed to not playing him again, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst. Cleveland general manager Koby Altman discussed the situation with Drummond and his agent Jeff Schwartz and the two sides arrived at the decision together.

Drummond is playing on a $28.7 million expiring contract, so trading him will not be easy due to NBA rules with matching salaries. Wojnarowski reports that the Cavaliers are gauging the market for Drummond but have not had serious discussions with any team. Cleveland has not entertained the idea of a contract buyout.

The Toronto Raptors are one team that has been mentioned as a potential Drummond suitor. Shams Charania of The Athletic confirmed that on Monday, citing sources who say the Cavaliers and Raptors have been engaged in active talks about a deal that would send Drummond to Toronto.

Charania also reported that Drummond was pulled from the lineup before Sunday’s game in part because of his “attitude and play” recently.

Drummond is having a solid season with 17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He has also been linked to one other Eastern Conference contender. We can expect trade talks to heat up in the coming days.

Kevin Porter Jr. traded by Cavs to Rockets following outburst

Kevin Porter

The Cleveland Cavaliers made good on their plans to trade Kevin Porter Jr. following a locker room outburst.

Porter Jr. has been traded to the Houston Rockets for a future protected second-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Porter, 20, was the No. 30 overall pick in 2019. He averaged 10.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game as a rookie last year, but has had numerous off-court issues.

Porter was arrested in November on suspicion of possessing a gun and marijuana following a one-car accident. The charges were later dismissed. He was also accused of punching a woman in the face in a separate incident, which you can read about here.

The Cavaliers were trying to help Porter take care of off-court issues this season, which is why he had not played. But he had an outburst in the team locker room after learning his locker had been given to a newly acquired player. The Cavs began plans to move Porter after that.

Porter was also suspended two games for conduct issues as a freshman at USC.

Kevin Porter Jr. expected to be traded or released by Cavs following outburst

Kevin Porter

Kevin Porter Jr. has not played this season due to personal reasons, and it sounds like his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers is coming to an end.

Porter is expected to be traded or released by the Cavs after he had an outburst in the locker room on Friday, according to a report from The Athletic. The 20-year-old reportedly became irate when he entered the locker room and realized his old locker had been given to Taurean Prince, whom the Cavaliers acquired in a trade on Wednesday.

When Porter saw his locker had been moved closer to the younger players and bench players, he began yelling and at one point threw food. Sources told The Athletic that general manager Koby Altman came into the locker room to confront Porter, who “remained combative.” Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff heard the commotion from his office and was “shocked and disgusted” when he entered the locker room.

The Cavaliers spent the weekend trying to trade Porter, though it does not sound like they have any takers yet.

Porter was on the bench for Friday night’s game against the New York Knicks, which was the first time he was with the Cavaliers for a game this season. Bickerstaff said Porter was not at practice on Monday.

Porter was arrested back in November on suspicion of possessing a gun and marijuana following a one-car accident. The charges were later dismissed. He was also accused of punching a woman in the face in a separate incident, which you can read about here.

In his freshman season at USC, Porter was suspended for “conduct issues.” He missed two games.

Porter averaged 10.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game as a rookie last year. He may have trouble finding work due to his off-court issues.