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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.