Latest posts by Sam Amico (see all)
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Lots of random dribbles on the Cleveland Cavaliers heading into free agency week.
1. Most teams seemed to take a breather after the wild few days surrounding the NBA draft. Many will get back at it as soon as Sunday night. Teams can begin negotiating with free agents Saturday.
2. The Cavs, of course, still have yet to hire a general manager, or whatever they plan to call the next man in charge. It sounds as if they have given Chauncey Billups the weekend to think about the position.
3. But who really knows? The Athletic reported the Cavs offered Billups a five-year contract. Yahoo Sports reported no formal offer was made. And Billups’ former teammate, Richard Hamilton, told 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland that Billups “is excited” about running the team and will take the job.
4. Either way, again, I’ve been told Cavs star LeBron James admires Billups and would be supportive of the hire.
5. I’m not really sure why some fans seem to get agitated that a star player has a say in things. But some fans certainly do. Would you rather the best player in franchise history be ticked off all the time about the front office and roster? I say get as much input from James as he is willing to provide.
6. James has never stuck his nose in the front office dealings. He’ll give a thumbs up after a move he liked, he’ll calmly speak his mind when there’s something he doesn’t. But he doesn’t interfere to the degree fans and media like to pretend.
7. Anyway, there are no known candidates for the job in the event Billups decides to stay with his cushy TV gig. That job and that job alone is said to be what is taking Billups so long to decide about the Cavs.
8. I would like to see assistant general manager and current acting point man Koby Altman be considered for the job — or at the very least, be brought back in the same capacity. Altman is a sharp guy who’s been around since the Chris Grant administration, and has gained serious respect from his peers in less than a week. He is all about the Cavs, all the time. It’s the type of man you want around the team.
9. It’s true Altman has not yet made a trade. It’s true the roster remains the same after one of the offseason’s busiest weeks. But guess what? No trades are better than bad trades — and a lot of lousy offers were made to the Cavs. It was as if opposing execs thought they could rip off the new guy, and perhaps steal star point guard Kyrie Irving. Altman didn’t budge.
10. I also like how Altman and the Cavs put out a release with comments from Altman after the draft. Very professional from all involved. The last thing a team wants is to stay silent when its fan base has been so loud and supportive.
11. As for deals, I can tell you the Cavs are really trying — with owner Dan Gilbert, Altman and Canton Charge GM Mike Gansey leading the way. But again, you can’t force another team to make the deal you want. You need a cooperative dance partner. If you don’t find one, you don’t dance.
12. Bottom line? The Cavs didn’t find one, but there’s another dance this week.
13. Reserve forward Channing Frye is one player the Cavs came close to moving in several packages. He seemed upset after hearing that some executives around the league told me they think Frye and Richard Jefferson could be bought out and talked into retirement. It doesn’t mean it will happen. It’s just what the people I talked to believe. Since they are in the NBA transaction business, I trust their word and still do.
14. Frye, Jefferson, Deron Williams, Kyle Korver, James Jones and Iman Shumpert — all are reserves who may not be back with the Cavs. In fact, I’m so sure Williams won’t be brought back that I’ll start a lacrosse website if he returns.
15. Now, aside from Williams and Korver, all of those listed above are men who helped bring the Cavs a championship in 2016. All are men who helped the Cavs get back to the Finals this year. So no one is discounting them or giving them reason to feel disrespected. But after Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors, the Cavs MUST upgrade the bench. That is something Gilbert, Altman and the rest are determined to do.
16. But let’s face it, has anyone in the East really improved after the draft? Chicago actually got worse after trading Jimmy Butler. The Indiana Pacers are still holding on to Paul George (though I expect that to change this week). So the Cavs could bring back the same cast and likely reach the Finals for a fourth straight year.
17. How ’bout that?
18. But don’t get too flustered if nothing happens right now. Kevin Love was acquired by the Cavs in August back in 2014. James Harden was traded by the Oklahoma City Thunder on the day before the regular season back in 2012. Big moves often take time to make.
19. It does stink that former GM David Griffin is no longer with the team. I don’t understand how things like that happen. A major part of the issue seemed to be a personality conflict between Gilbert and Griffin. Gilbert likes to meddle in basketball affairs. Some fans don’t agree with that, but I can assure you most would do the same if they owned the team. I don’t always agree with Gilbert, but I always admire his passion and strong desire to improve the club.
20. So that’s where we stand. The Cavs are entering the free agency period and another week (or months) of trade talk. I have heard of plans to visit with Sacramento free agents Rudy Gay and Tyreke Evans, as well as Toronto’s P.J. Tucker, who has supposedly indicated he’d come to Cleveland for the minimum. But that news comes from opposing execs and not team sources, and the Cavs don’t really have any money. They will likely have to ship out salary to bring some in. That is proving to be difficult.
21. Finally, the Cavs are likely to revisit several conversations that they had last week. As Cleveland.com suggested, I would not be totally shocked if New York star Carmelo Anthony became a member of the team before the season ends. I could see Dwyane Wade getting bought out by the Bulls and joining as well. I doubt it — but nothing shocks me anymore.
22. The Cavs are also figuring out what to do with former draft pick Cedi Osman out of Turkey. He is 6-foot-8 and 22 years old. The Cavs are open to trading him, or bringing him to training camp. Either way, Osman is viewed as sort of the Cavs’ secret bargaining chip. A lot of teams are interested (including the Pacers), but the Cavs won’t just give him away.