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#pounditThursday, January 20, 2022

Articles tagged: Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavs working on trade with Lakers for Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo in street clothes

The Cleveland Cavaliers are working on a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers for a Ricky Rubio replacement.

The Cavs are in serious talks with the Lakers about a trade for Rajon Rondo, Shams Charania reported on Thursday.

Rondo has played sparingly this season. The veteran guard is averaging 3.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 16.1 minutes per game this season. He recently entered health and safety protocols.

The Lakers have used Rondo so little this season that they likely find him expendable. They also recently signed Darren Collison to provide more depth at the point guard position.

For the Cavs, Rubio was averaging 28.5 minutes per game this season. But he suffered a torn ACL on Tuesday night and is out for the season.

The Cavs entered Thursday 20-14 and in solid position to make the playoffs in the East.

Photo: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Cavs teammate wonders if LeBron James could return to Cleveland

LeBron James warming up

LeBron James was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers, left once, returned to the team, and then left for a second time. Now one of James’ former Cavs teammates seems to think that the story may not be finished just yet.

Retired NBA big man Kendrick Perkins openly wondered on Twitter this week whether James could potentially return to the Cavs again.

“I wonder if Lebron James would consider demanding a trade back to Cleveland?!” wrote Perkins. “I mean the Cavs do have nice squad! Don’t mind me tho and Carry on…”

At 19-12, the Cavs have a much better record this season than James’ 16-16 Los Angeles Lakers. Cleveland’s roster is also rife with young talent. Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, Lauri Markkanen, Darius Garland, and Isaac Okoro are among their young phenoms who are all age 24 or younger. Additionally, the Cavs have been winning without last season’s leading scorer, 22-year-old Collin Sexton, who is out for the year with a torn meniscus.

When it comes to Perkins though, it is worth noting that he works for ESPN and is a hot-take specialist. But he might be more privy to James’ mindset than most, having been teammates with James on the Cavs for two seasons.

In any case, it seems more likely that James would leave the Lakers in free agency in 2023 than that he would demand a trade from them. But the best indicator would probably James’ own comments from earlier this year on how he sees the rest of his NBA career playing out.

Photo: Dec 9, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) warms-up prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzles at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN analyst has interesting suggestion for LeBron James

LeBron James in his Lakers uniform

The Los Angeles Lakers are going nowhere fast and speculation is beginning to rise that LeBron James may be interested in some new (old?) scenery.

If that does indeed turn out to be true, where might LeBron go? Retired NBA star and current ESPN analyst, Kendrick Perkins, has a suggestion.

This isn’t the first time LeBron going back to Cleveland has been suggested. In fact, that’s become fuel for many debates recently. It’s something that has engulfed Twitter and even Bill Simmons has taken note. So, might Perkins be onto something?

LeBron is no stranger to throwing his weight around when it comes to desired destinations. He maneuvered his way back to Cleveland previously, while taking similar tactics in moves to Miami and Los Angeles. Only this time, the speculation hasn’t been fueled by LeBron himself — it’s been all outside noise.

On his end, LeBron has stated he wants to ride out his career in Los Angeles.

“I truly hope that I can finish my career with the Lakers,” James told the SmartLess podcast earlier this year. “However many years that is, if it’s four, five, six, whatever, seven. I hope I can continue to play the game. I love being in LA, my family loves being in LA.”

That commitment came before the Lakers left the gate with a 16-16 record this year. The Cavaliers, by contrast, are 19-12, have an impressive young roster and are clearly headed in the right direction. Outside of just the hometown vibes, that is undoubtedly appealing to LeBron.

For now however, this is nothing more than conjecture with a pinch of salt. But there’s a lot of time left for that to change. The NBA trade deadline is Thursday, February 10 at 3:00 p.m. ET. We’ll see where things stand come that time.

Photo: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Cavs coach thinks referees are disrespecting his team

JB Bickerstaff

If JB Bickerstaff had a least favorite animal, it would probably be the zebra.

After a close loss the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, the Cleveland Cavaliers coach expressed displeasure with the way that the referees have been treating the team this season.

“We matched intensity, but what we have to do and have happen is match consistency,” Bickerstaff said, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “That’s in our performance, that’s the referee’s performance, that’s in all aspects of the game. We saw it tonight, we saw it the other night. We have to find a way … to earn people’s respect, where it is consistent. That’s what this league is about. This league is about your reputation and you earn your reputation. Those guys have earned their reputation. What’s right is right. I thought there were some calls that were definitely missed tonight that favored [Brooklyn], and that’s wrong. Our guys deserve better than that.

“We have to continue to keep pushing and keep scrapping until everybody in the league gives us that respect,” he went on. “The scrap, the toughness, the way that we compete, people should respect that. But I don’t think they’re watching. I don’t think they’ve seen the reputation that we’ve earned around the league. If you talk to other coaches, the teams we faced, there’s a respect there that we deserve, and that our guys have earned. But too many times there’s been critical moments where the consistency hasn’t been the same one end to the other end.”

The Cavs, who have been a lottery team for the last several years, are sitting at .500 now. They have been playing some scrappy, inspired ball, and many of their losses have been narrow defeats by single digits. But the Cavs have very few stars on their roster and are one of the youngest teams in the league with an average age of 25. That pales in comparison to star-studded squads like Brooklyn and Golden State, to whom Cleveland’s last three losses have all come to.

Still, the Cavs are competing despite losing one major piece for the season. Bickerstaff obviously thinks that they have earned better than what the referees are giving them right now.

Photo: Nelson Chenault-USA Today Sports

Former Cavs player throws shade at team, city of Cleveland

Kevin Porter Jr

One former Cleveland Cavaliers player sounds extremely happy to be thousands of miles away from there.

Houston Rockets swingman Kevin Porter Jr. spoke with reporters this week and has some shade for the Cavs and for the city of Cleveland.

“My upbringing is different, so basketball was kind of that escape,” said Porter, per Salman Ali of ClutchPoints. “When I was in Cleveland, I couldn’t really use it as an escape. Coming here [to Houston] I can enjoy it again. The weather too. It’s not cold. It’s not 12 inches of snow.

“I’m just in a better space, better role, and I’m just being used better,” Porter added on the difference between the Rockets and Cavs. “They both thought I could be a special talent, but Houston knew how to utilize and nurture me.”

The 21-year-old Porter began his career with the Cavs in 2019. But his time there was marred by a lack of playing time and a number of legal troubles that he got into. The Cavs finally traded Porter to the Rockets last season after an outburst in the locker room.

Porter has since been thriving in Houston, averaging 16.6 points and 6.3 assists per game since he was acquired. He is clearly not the only NBA player who has felt strongly about Cleveland either.

Report: Cavaliers interested in potential Ben Simmons trade

Ben Simmons

The Philadelphia 76ers do not appear to be making significant progress in Ben Simmons trade talks, but it sounds like the Cleveland Cavaliers are at least staying on their radar.

The Cavaliers have been mentioned as a possible suitor for Simmons, and NBA reporter Marc Stein says they are monitoring the situation. What’s perhaps more surprising is that Stein mentions Lauri Markkanen, whom the Cavs recently acquired in a sign-and-trade, as a potential trade piece.

This isn’t the first we have heard of the Cavs having their eye on Simmons. They were among several teams listed a while back as being interested in Simmons as a potential playmaking forward rather than a guard.

Although he was a liability offensively in the postseason, Simmons is still just 25 and has plenty of room for development. The biggest reason a trade market for him has yet to really take shape is that the Sixers have attached a high asking price to him. Rival teams have thus far been unwilling to meet it, which makes sense given how badly Simmons wants out of Philly.

Simmons is reportedly planning to skip training camp if he’s not traded. He could face a massive fine if he goes that route, but it does not sound like that is going to deter him.

Report: Cavaliers ‘making progress’ on Kevin Love buyout

Kevin Love

The Cleveland Cavaliers are making significant moves late in the NBA offseason, and might have another big one to come.

An NBA source told Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the Cavaliers are “making progress” on a contract buyout with forward Kevin Love. However, the source added that the negotiations could still fall apart, and nothing is close to finalized yet.

Love has two years and $60 million remaining on his deal with Cleveland, and does not fit well on a team currently rebuilding and getting younger. The veteran turns 33 in September and injuries limited him to 25 games last season. His role with the Cavaliers looks even further limited now that the team brought in Lauri Markkanen, a much younger stretch four who could occupy a similar role.

Love could certainly find a role on a contender if he is bought out, as a handful of teams were said to be interested in trading for him earlier in the offseason. With his contract less of an issue in a buyout scenario, he may attract even more widespread interest if and when he does part ways with the Cavaliers.

Lauri Markkanen traded to Cavaliers as part of three-team deal

Lauri Markkanen

Lauri Markkanen has said he wants a fresh start with a team other than the Chicago Bulls, and he will officially get one now.

Markkanen was sent to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday as part of a sign-and-trade deal that also involves the Portland Trail Blazers. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Markkanen has agreed to a four-year, $76 million contract with the Cavs. The Bulls will get Derrick Jones Jr., a lottery protected future first-round pick from Portland and a future second-round pick from Cleveland. The Blazers are getting Larry Nance Jr. in the deal.

Markkanen posted career-lows across the board last season with the Bulls, averaging 13.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 25.8 minutes per game. The 24-year-old was reportedly hoping to join another team, but that never came together.

Nance averaged 9.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game last season. While acquiring him is not exactly a huge splash for Portland, it should make Damian Lillard at least slightly more pleased about the team’s offseason.

Ben Simmons reportedly receiving trade interest from these teams

Ben Simmons

A Ben Simmons trade still does not appear imminent, but the Philadelphia 76ers guard has been attracting interest from at least five teams.

According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Cavaliers, Pacers, Timberwolves, Kings, and Raptors have all showed interest in Simmons. Notably, these teams are all interested in Simmons as a playmaking forward, not as a guard.

The Sixers are said to have not made any significant traction on a Simmons deal, as no interested team has been willing to part with the sort of All-Star caliber player the team wants as part of any trade. However, executives around the league overwhelmingly believe Simmons will be dealt prior to the start of next season.

Philadelphia has made its asking price clear for Simmons, and they’re not compromising so far. They don’t have any real need to. The 25-year-old is still an elite defender, and a creative team could have plenty of use for him despite his flawed offense.

Report: Knicks showing most interest in Collin Sexton

Collin Sexton

The Cleveland Cavaliers appear to be open to trading Collin Sexton this offseason, and it should come as no surprise that the New York Knicks are reportedly among the potential suitors.

The New York Knicks have been the “most aggressive” of the teams pursuing Sexton, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

There are said to be as many as six teams interested in Sexton, but it makes sense that the Knicks are at or near the top of the list. The Knicks had a huge turnaround in their first year under Tom Thibodeau, and it is not a secret that they are looking to add a star player this offseason. They are also weak at the point guard position.

Sexton averaged 24.3 points per game in his third season with the Cavs. The 22-year-old has emerged as one of the top scorers in the NBA, which is why there is plenty of interest in him around the league.

Sexton has one year left on his rookie contract, and Cleveland may not want to make a massive financial commitment to extend him. There has been talk that they could try to package him with another star player to create maximum flexibility going forward.