Latest posts by Sam Amico (see all)
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BY SAM AMICO
Cavaliers general manager David Griffin spoke to reporters at the NBA summer league in Las Vegas on Saturday, and here are the highlights (and several tidbits of analysis):
1. Griffin sounded relatively positive about the ongoing contract negotiations with power forward Tristan Thompson. “He’s restricted, we really like him,” Griffin said. “I think we’ll wind up getting something done.”
2. When asked if the Cavs and Thompson are getting close, Griffin said: “I don’t know about relatively soon, but I hope so.”
3. The Cavs are offering Thompson a deal that is reportedly for five years and about $80 million. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love enter next season with maximum contracts. It’s not often a team has three, and according to Griffin, “one near max player” to boot.
4. James, Irving and Love are without question max players. They are the type of guys around whom you build a team. Thompson is not. He’s a really nice “garbage man,” a determined rebounder, defender and role player. But $80 million is already more than he warrants for his role. Thompson and his camp should just take it and be happy.
5. Just to be clear, point No. 4 is me talking, not Griffin.
6. We’re now two weeks into free agency and no one can really offer Thompson a deal comparable to what the Cavs have put on the table. Even if another team does sign Thompson to a large contract, he’s a restricted free agent — so the Cavs could just match. It may come down to that.
7. I’m not here to bash Thompson or work any sort of angle to favor the Cavs. When it comes to all-out hustle, resilience and an uncanny ability to stay healthy, Thompson is tough to beat. But frankly, he’s not in much of a position to play hardball in contract talks. If he plays the open market, he runs the risk of not getting anything near what the Cavs are offering him. Then what happens?
9. Griffin on Smith and Dellavedova: “We’d like to bring both of them back if it can be worked out,” Griffin told reporters in Vegas. “In Delly’s case, the restricted free agency is a totally different process.” As for Smith? “He’s a player I’d like to have back. We just have to find a way to make it work.”
10. Then there’s the matter of trading Brendan Haywood’s contract. Griffin actually talked about it at length. His most telling statement: “When we acquired the Brendan Haywood contract we didn’t have three max players and one near max player. You needed the vehicle to go get a sign-and-trade (in free agency). Well, now we can’t even receive a sign-and-trade guy because we’re so far over the apron, we couldn’t do anything to get under the apron. So it didn’t enable us to go into this free agent market and do a sign-and-trade with anyone.”
11. In other words, the Cavs may just use Haywood’s contract to create a trade exception.
12. Griffin also talked about the Cavs’ need for a backup swingman-type. “I think if you look at our roster, even if you have J.R., we still need the (small forward) behind LeBron, someone who consistently takes some burden off him,” Griffin said. “We’re watching summer league to see if there’s the right piece there. We’re looking at the free agent pool and seeing if there’s a piece that makes sense there as well. We’re obviously limited in the vehicles we have to sign anybody. There’s high value targets you can’t afford because we just don’t have the vehicle to get them. Not being able to do a sign-and-trade hampered us quite a bit.”
1. I haven’t been too impressed with the Cavs’ summer team — and don’t really see anyone outside of maybe Joe Harris who will be much more than a D-Leaguer next season. And even Harris has shot 2-of-10 in each of the first two games. The Cavs are 0-2 after Saturday’s 76-75 loss to the Nets.
2. Meanwhile, Akron product Larry Nance Jr. gave a strong showing in just his second summer outing, playing above the rim and igniting the crowd in the Lakers’ 68-60 win over the 76ers. One of Nance’s more notable plays came on a massive pin-off-the-backboard block of Sixers rookie Jahlil Okafor. Nance, the No. 27 overall draft pick out of Wyoming, finished with eight points, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
3. I also really like what I’ve seen from undrafted Nets guard Ryan Boatright out of Connecticut. Boatright was fairly big news when the Huskies won the national title two years ago. But they failed to make the NCAA tournament last season, and everyone seemed to forget about him. Boatright led the Nets with 16 points on Saturday. He’s small, but tough and steady.
4. No. 2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell (Ohio State) has struggled a bit with the Lakers. Nothing terrible, but he looks like he’s really adjusting to the size and speed of the almost-pros in summer play. Russell scored 14 points vs. the Sixers, but went just 4-of-15 shooting.
5. Watch out for little Sixers guard Pierre Jackson. The guy can just flat-out score. He was a monster in the D-League and overseas (despite standing 5-foot-11 on a good day), and NBA scouts seem more intrigued than ever.
6. Other notable performers from Day 2: Bulls forward Doug McDermott and center Bobby Portis; Sixers forward Jahlil Okafor; Jazz guard Bryce Cotton; Pelicans guard Seth Curry; Mavericks forward Justin Anderson; Timberwolves guard Tyus Jones; Wizards guard Kelly Oubre Jr.; Spurs guard Kyle Anderson; Knicks forward Cleanthony Early; and yes, Knicks center Kristaps Porzingis.