Cleveland Sports Insiders

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Brown needs to be held accountable for Bennett’s colossal failure

ABWhere do we go with Anthony Bennett at this point?

His performance so far has been historic — historically bad.

A recent piece circulating the web helps outline just how bad it’s been.

Trust me, there’s no sugarcoating this — it’s been awful.

In 31 games this season, Bennett is averaging 10.4 minutes, 2.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. Even worse is his PER of 1.1, which is the lowest ever recorded by the No. 1 overall pick in his rookie season. To make matters even more embarrassing, Kwame Brown is the next on the list, but it’s a sizeable gap; Brown’s PER as a rookie was 11.2.

Given his struggles, many have been clamoring for Bennett to join the Canton Charge for a stint in the NBA D-League. It would be embarrassing as Bennett would become the highest drafted player to ever play in the D-League. (Hasheem Thabeet, the No. 2 overall pick in 2009, currently holds that honor.)

Yet, could there be some positives to a Bennett D-League stint? Might he start to finally regain some of the confidence that has eluded him thus far as a rookie?

I’m still not ready to go that far. Here are three more numbers to look at: 20.3, 17.4, 17.4. These numbers are the minutes per game respectively for C.J. Miles, Earl Clark and Alonzo Gee. Continue reading


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Deluded Ralph on the Luol Deng Trade and Business Sense

From childhood, I, Ralph-onse James de Rothschild, have always had a healthy respect for business sense. Regaled on my grand-uncle’s knee with epics of Cleveland oil baron John D. Rockefeller, the glory of business acumen was impressed upon me from when I was but a tender babe. ‘He rose from obscurity to business greatness,’ grand-uncle misted. ‘Get back to the mines,’ my grand-uncle continued – Wisdom that guides me to this day.

Yet while these tales molded me in youth, I have outgrown these fables and have acquired my own eye for big business – namely, I have a friend who owns a used video game store, I watched ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ and have played Roller Coaster Tycoon. So I feel uniquely qualified to commend the Cavaliers’ business savvy in trading for Luol Deng, since it gives the Cavs a better chance to make the playoffs, and if they make the Playoffs, LeBron will love us again and come back.

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500 words or less…on the Cavs losing by 44

44, my favorite number

44, my favorite number

In an effort to provide new content every day, CSI has created a new daily column called 500 words or less. The point of this avant-garde work of art is to give our daily readers a quick thought or two on something topical in Cleveland sports, or really, anything that happens to pop into any of our writer’s minds at the time. The hope is that it’s daily. The hope is that it’s in the morning. The hope is that it’s worth five minutes of your time every day. How will it evolve? Who knows, but it sure is a start. Oh, and the italics doesn’t count in today’s post.

I can’t tell a lie, 44 is my favorite number. We all have strange reasons for our favorite numbers, but mine is straight forward. When I was nine, I read Hank Aaron‘s autobiography, Aaron. “The Hammer’s” wore 44, and that number has stayed with ever since. As a youngster, I wore 44 or 8 (or 4 in a pinch) in every sport I played, and it always finds its way onto my lottery tickets.

On Sunday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers got blasted by, you guessed it, 44 points.

The loss is a little bit historic, as 44 should be. Continue reading


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The Sunday Drive with Luol Deng, Greg Roman and the brilliance of Aaron Craft

Deng Debut (Russell Isabella / USA Today Sports photo)

Deng Debut (Russell Isabella / USA Today Sports photo)

With the NFL playoffs plodding along with the Cleveland Browns once again not a part of them, it’s time to look around and find an NFL team that’s just tolerable to watch. I’ve been trying, but so far, to no avail.

I can never back the New England Patriots for any reason. I so loathe the greatness of Tom Brady, and I’d like to tell you there is sense in what I just said, but it begins and ends with one word: Michigan.

Ugh.

I tried to support Seattle yesterday, and their fanbase is interesting to me for many reasons. Every time they showed Pete Carroll yesterday though, I wanted to punch him in the mouth. Why? He’s such a low-level individual, and if you put him up side-by-side with Jim Tressel, they wouldn’t be in the same moralistic neighborhood. Of course, success is rarely measured by morals, but following a team for me is in this instance. I just can’t stand Carroll.

The 49ers have a head coach named Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), and I don’t like him. They also have Colin Kaepernick, who I do like, and a team overall that I do like. But it’s San Francisco, and they have a head coach who played for Michigan. Ugh.

They are playing the Carolina Panthers, and I truly have nothing to say about them…and I could keep analyzing…but I realized one thing.

I could care a less about any of these teams. I hope you enjoy the games better than I do.

Let’s get driving. Continue reading


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The Cavaliers acquire Luol Deng, and what it means

Deng vs. Waiters (Eric P. Mull-USPRESSWIRE)

Deng vs. Waiters (Eric P. Mull-USPRESSWIRE)

The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired Chicago Bulls small forward Luol Deng for Andrew Bynum’s contract, a first rounder, and two second rounders. The Cleveland Cavaliers are clearly trying to go after the playoffs with this move, as Deng is a massive upgrade to the roster. The Bulls are clearly focusing their attention on the future, as the loss of Deng hurts their already depleted roster with Derrick Rose out for the year. The draft picks allow them to acquire talent in the coming years, while Bynum’s expiring contract allows them to drop below the luxury-tax threshold, which will save them in the ballpark of $15 million.

Let’s take a look at the “assets” that the Cavaliers are losing, before we take a closer look at Luol Deng. Continue reading


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The Sunday Drive with Bynum trades, New Coaches and BASEBALL!!!

Bynum and Gasol (photo: NBA)

Bynum and Gasol (photo: NBA)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: an Andrew Bynum for Pau Gasol trade makes zero sense unless you foolishly believe that the Cleveland Cavaliers can either be a factor in the playoffs or sign Gasol long-term. If you honestly believe that the Cavaliers can do either, than I have a bridge to sell you.

I am not saying that the Cavaliers should call it a season and just start losing basketball games for the sake of losing. What I am saying is that every team needs to weigh how much one player can improve a team in the short-term, vs. the long haul.

What will it cost to get Gasol? If it were just Bynum, I’d be all in. The move saves the Lakers money, and it would give the Cavs a player to keep Anderson Varejao‘s minutes down. That would be a win-win for the Cavs and the Lakers.

Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, a proposed straight up trade can’t be made since the Cavaliers would have to add another player to it to make it work monetarily. It’s been reported that the Lakers want Sergei Karasev in the deal to give them a piece that they can use in the future, but Bynum and Karasev still wouldn’t get the trade done.

The Cavaliers would have to include one other player along with Bynum and Karasev to make the deal work, and that player would likely be a throw-in, such as Henry Sims. Some wouldn’t consider that a throw-in, some may not. Either way, what short-term or long term goal does this achieve for the Cavs?

Nothing positive.

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Bynum for Gasol doesn’t make sense

Bynum and Gasol (photo: NBA)

Bynum and Gasol (photo: NBA)

The rumors have been circulating for a couple of days now that the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers might partner up for a deal that would send one disgruntled center to the Lakers, while sending another disgruntled big man back to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Reports are everywhere that Andrew Bynum and Pao Gasol may change teams.

There are some reports out there that this deal isn’t going to happen, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m just not a fan of this trade.

Why?

The move will definitively help the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers would presumably make the trade, then immediately release Bynum. This would allow the Lakers to get themselves under the Cap, and would ultimately save them over $20 million dollars. On top of that, the Cavs would have to trade them a couple of more assets to get the deal done. Ideally, the Lakers would probably like another expiring contract, as well as a first round draft pick and perhaps someone like Sergei Karasev.

The Cavs would get Pau Gasol for the rest of the year.

Will the Cavs be a better team? Of course they will, this year. In an Eastern conference that doesn’t boast many good teams, it could even get the Cavaliers into the playoffs.

Great.
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The Sunday Drive with Bynum, Ubaldo, JRam and Wendle

Jose Ramirez (photo courtesy of Lianna Holub)

Jose Ramirez (photo courtesy of Lianna Holub)

I’m stuck in the holiday lull.

Christmas is over, and I feel like I’m in a holding pattern for New Year’s Eve. One group of family has left for home, and another group is heading North for more fun and spirits.

I’m in need of some meaningful sports, and I’m not talking about NBA theatrics with a known enigma like Andrew Bynum.

I’m talking about games that mean something. Perhaps there’s a rivalry game in which the Browns could knock the aforementioned rival out of the playoffs. Oh wait, the Browns have to lose that game.

Thanks goodness for Ohio State football, and that game this coming Friday against Clemson. Fortunately for the Tigers, Woody Hayes won’t be patrolling the sidelines. Unfortunately for Clemson Urban Meyer will be there in his stead.

The Buckeyes will be agitated. The Buckeyes will be angry. The Buckeyes will be set to make a statement. Clemson will score their points for sure, but I really think we’re going to see why Urban Meyer is the best coach in the country. Look for Carlos Hyde to have his best day as a Buckeye, and look for Braxton Miller to go over 100 yards rushing, and 200 yards passing.

The Bucks defense will be more than good enough.

What are my predictions for this game?

Ohio State 48, Clemson 24. I don’t know that it’ll be that close.

Next week, while basking in the victory, we’ll take a look at what the Buckeyes look like heading into 2014. They’ll be better than this year if Braxton Miller comes back, and they’ll have a chip on their shoulder….but for next week…

…for today…let’s get driving…
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Quick thoughts on the Cavs post-Bynum

Will Bynum's departure help Thompson and the Cavs? (Thomas Ondrey/The Plain Dealer)

Will Bynum’s departure help Thompson and the Cavs? (Thomas Ondrey/The Plain Dealer)

The Cleveland Cavaliers are directly in the middle of the whirlwind of the news that Andrew Bynum is either suspended indefinitely from the team, or is on the trading block, or both. While that story will certainly play out over the next few hours, there’s another interesting tidbit that will take place as well.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have to play basketball. So where do they go from here?

Bynum had been starting for the Cavaliers, and had been averaging 20 minutes per game on the season, and 22.6 minutes in the month of December. He’s averaging 8.4 points, 5.3 boards and 1.2 blocks per game since the start of the year, and 9 1/2 points, 6 1/2 boards and a block since the start of the month.

The numbers certainly aren’t special in and of themselves, but when taken into account what his presence has meant for the team on several levels, including supplementing Anderson Varejao, his presence has certainly been important on the court.

Varejao, as much an injury concern as Bynum, has averaged almost 29 minutes a game, putting up 7.9 points and 8.8 boards a game on the season. When you put the two together as one center, you have some pretty elite numbers: 17 points, 14 boards and two blocks a game. You can also credit Bynum’s presence for allowing Varejao to play fewer minutes, thus keeping him healthy.

While Andrew Bynum has been a surprise, it’s not like he’s been a star, and for stretches, he’s not been a very good basketball player. Perhaps getting  Zeller more playing time allows this team to get better in the long run, and perhaps they lose a few more games this year and get a better pick next year.
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Cavs suspend Andrew Bynum

Bynum Suspended

Bynum Suspended

The Cleveland Cavaliers have suspended center Andrew Bynum for conduct detrimental to the team, according to Cavs General Manager Chris Grant.

The Cavaliers traveled to Boston on Friday night for their Saturday afternoon matinee at the Garden. Bynum didn’t travel with the team, and has been excused from all team activities indefinitely.

It’s currently unknown with regards to specifics of what happened with Bynum, but there are any number of rumors circulation, from Bynum wanting to quit basketball, to his refusal to be benched, to just Bynum being Bynum.

Whatever the reason, the Cavaliers are reportedly trying to “aggressively…trade Bynum,” according to former Cavs beat writer and current ESPN NBA reporter Brian Windhorst.

According to Bill Simmons, Bynum is looking to be traded to the Heat or the Clippers, and would “consider Bynum.” Consider the Bynum news to be in full fledged rumor mode.

We all know Andrew Bynum’s enigmatic history, from his issues in Los Angeles, to not playing in Philadelphia, and now this. With all of that said, it’s completely unknown what the reasons are for the suspension, if he’s truly on the trading block, or what teams he actually wants to go to.

I’m not happy about this, but will gladly wait it out to see the true story as it unfolks through normal media patterns, and not the rampant idiocy that some of these “reporters” resort to with regards to Twitter.

Of course, I say this, while hitting refresh on my twitter account with the fervor of a five-year old ripping open Christmas presents.

What I refuse to do is act surprised that a pro sports athlete acts or does something odd. This is the norm, not the exception.

Tune in to Cleveland Sports Insiders for more on this as it develops, and look, we aren’t here to break a story…but we are here to talk about it. Leave your comments below, and get ready for a podcast on this very subject in the coming hours.