Is Andrew Wiggins two years away from two years away from being a Raptor? (No)

On Thursday morning, the NBA’s oracle Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves had agreed to a trade, in which Cleveland would send Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a protected first to Minnesota for Kevin Love.

The deal itself is nothing short of historic. Trading a 25-year-old superstar in his prime is almost as crazy as severing two back-to-back first picks in one fell swoop. And yet, the deal makes sense for both teams. Love joins LeBron James to form the most formidable team in the Eastern Conference, while the two prospects gives Minnesota a foundation in which to build on for the future. Both teams got what they wanted.

But this is a Raptors site, and being that it is such, we don’t care about the well-being of the Timberwolves, nor Cavaliers. Minny squandered over a decade of Kevin Garnett and Kevin Love, while the Cavaliers inexplicably lucked into four (!!!) number one overall picks in the span of 11 years, over which time they’ve landed LeBron twice. TWICE! Fuck the Cavs, and to a lesser extent, fuck the Timberwolves as well.

That being said, this deal does pose both short and long-term implications for our beloved Dinos. How could it not? The trade will see a title contender in the East get even stronger, while Maple Jordan and his disappointing side-kick Maple Bill Wennington (wait…) flock Westwards.


Short term: the crack in the Raptors’ window has closed (entirely)

Had the Cavaliers just rolled into the season with LeBron, Irving and a rag-tag cast of spare parts, I could have been convinced the Raptors had a shot to maybe win a game or two against them in the playoffs. It could have been argued that LeBron might have needed more time to gel with his teammates, and that their ball-starved offense would fail to mask their non-existent paint defense. If that were the case, the Raptors’ superlative chemistry and depth had a fighting chance.

But then again, one team had LeBron. And now they have Love.

I realize that the general opinion on Love’s abilities is somewhat divided. Some believe him to be a perpetual loser who pads his stats and plays James Harden-esque defense. Others believe Love makes up for his lack of rim-protection by being a phenomenal rebounder, and is an uniquely talented force on offense. One of those two groups is dumb (hint: it’s the first.)

If you have any doubts about the new holy trinity in Cleveland, answer me this: say LeBron runs a pick-and-roll with Love. LeBron’s too dangerous when he drives, so the opposing big sags back in the paint while LeBron’s man shades him towards the help. But then LeBron pops a pass to Love, who slipped the screen and is now wide open above-the-break. However, the defense is alert, and another defender on the wing quickly rotates over to Love so he can’t get the shot off. Love sees this, and being the gifted passer that he is, he alertly swings it over to Irving, whose man rotated over to Love. Now Irving is headed to the basket with a full head of steam and no one in front of him. Meanwhile, Love has a mismatch and LeBron is crashing the glass. Oh, and Mike Miller and another three-point shooter is parked in either corners, so send help at your own peril.

Good luck.

Barring any injuries (which is the biggest chink in Cleveland’s armor), the Cavaliers should run away with the Eastern Conference. Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol joining the Bulls is somewhat interesting, but aside from them, no one else is close, and that includes the Raptors. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry is a cute tandem, but come on.


Long Term: OMG Raptors can haz Wigginz?

If I’m not mistaken, here’s how the theory of how this helps the Raptors’ chances of landing Wiggins in the future: Wiggins wouldn’t have passed on a chance to play with LeBron in Cleveland, but now that he’s on the shitty Timberwolves, he’ll want out! His contract runs out after four seasons which means…OMG WIGGINS TO RAPTORS IN 2018!

Except, that assumes Wiggins hates playing in Minnesota/loves the Raptors so much that he turns down a max extension in year three, and again in year four, signs his qualifying offer for year five just to reach unrestricted free-agency, and then sign a smaller maximum with the Raptors at that point. If that’s the path he chooses, his agent should never represent another client ever again.

If anything, the move to Minnesota affords Wiggins more room to grow. All three of LeBron, Waiters and Irving boasted usage rates over 25 percent last season, which is a complicated way of saying Wiggins would have never saw the ball in Cleveland. In Minnesota, he gets to cut his teeth without respite — it’s not like the Timberwolves are contending anytime soon. He’ll have a point guard in Ricky Rubio who is willing to spot him the ball, and in rather spectacular fashion (Rubio even made Derrick Williams look good!) Under the guidance of an above-average coach in Flip Saunders — or whomever he bills as his replacement — Wiggins can live the life of a regular lottery-selected rookie. He can fly without fear of falling.

And if Wiggins does indeed pan out like the superstar many think he’ll become, why would he turn down tens of millions to jump ship to Toronto? Who knows how the Raptors will look in four years? Will they have enough cap room to accommodate Wiggins? Who else will still be on the team? Or if he’s a bust, why would the Raptors want him? Or more importantly, ask yourself when was the last time a number one pick (who didn’t bust) took the fast-track to unrestricted free-agency to sign elsewhere under the last two CBA’s? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

The likelier path for Wiggins to land in Toronto would have been if he stayed on Cleveland, and saw his stock diminish from not having the ball. Then, provided that the Raptors had something of value to the Cavaliers, they could have worked out a trade. Of course, the Cavs were smart and quickly dealt for Love, an asset worth more than anyone currently on the Raptors (except Bruno, because y’know, Brazilian KD). That window has closed too.

But hey, Bennett is probably up for grabs. Anyone interested in him?

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  • Marz

    I don’t know if Love to the Cavs completely seals the window on our chances. I’d say the Wade-Bosh-LBJ tandem in their first year is better, and they hit a lot of rough patches at the beginning. Cleveland may grow into a better team as the years progress, but right now they’re not as good as Heat-Year-1 and their coach is worse.

    • DDayLewis

      I think the fit is better with Irving, Love, LeBron. They occupy different parts of the floor and with some decent offensive coaching (Blatt has a very strong reputation), they should gel quicker than the Heat trio.

      • tank

        Thats bogus. Cleveland has no Pat Riley or Dwayne Wade who were champions and knew how to win. Cleveland and including the coach have never even been to the playoffs in the NBA. Good luck on winning the championship in the first year.

        • DDayLewis

          They now have LeBron, who “knows how to win”.

          • tank

            Lebron can’t compensate for 4 other starters lack of playoff experience. Plus Lebron is going to be playing all sg/sf with Cleveland where he was playing sf/pf with the Heat. DDaylewis you really disrespect Team basketball. Also really have a lack of appreciation of what Bosh can do compared to Love. Bosh is an all round better player then Love in my opinion. His defense is way better then Bosh. I watched Amir go off on Love this year for 20 points in a half. I can tell you that Amir would never go off for 20 points in a half against Bosh.

            • DDayLewis

              I have a lot of appreciation for team basketball, hence why I think the Spurs are still the best team in the NBA.

              LeBron will have Mike Miller, Anderson Varajeo and perhaps Shawn Marion as fellow members of Cleveland’s top-eight that have playoff experience. If Ray Allen joins, that’s 5 out of 9. Obviously Love and Irving not having their feet wet isn’t ideal, but this won’t be a team without experience.

              And I also think Bosh is a better, or at least comparable player to Love, albeit they play different styles. However, I should remind you that Bosh changed his game significantly in four seasons with the Heat, and he actually had an average defensive reputation during his time in Toronto.

              LeBron could easily see time at the four if Blatt chooses to play smallball, which is pretty much the norm in Europe where he’s coached.

              • sleepz

                I don’t think you can ask or expect Love and Irving to do what Bosh and Wade did defensively for Miami, right away. That will be an adjustment for both players.

                • DDayLewis

                  I agree. But they have more complimentary offensive games, which could ease that transaction elsewhere.

              • tank

                We will find out during the year who is right. First off Allen and Marion currently don’t play with the Cavs so that line up is not correct currently. Secondly Love doesn’t have the tools to be the kind of defensive player that Bosh is currently. Thirdly Lebron has lost 20 pounds so I highly doubt he will be playing much power forward and he is most dangerous at power forward because of his quickness advantage. I think most of the things I’m saying are factual and not actually opinion.

                • DDayLewis

                  You’re right. Marion and Allen aren’t on the Cavs yet. But the team isn’t finished building just yet either.

                  Why couldn’t LeBron play power forward if he’s 10 pounds lighter?

            • sleepz


        • IMO

          Lebron knows, but still missing a Pat Riley

        • Matty Rosales

          Cleveland has the staff and the players to make a championship run. What’s gonna differentiate them between a contender and a pretender is how they respond to Blatt’s defensive schemes. If Blatt can teach Kyrie to become a much more effective Primary defender (he has the tools) and can teach KLove to trust his team mates and make the proper rotations (he also has the tools), then through leading by example, the rest of the team should follow suit in becoming a well balanced offensive and defensive juggernaut. Lebron and Blatt have a lot of work to do to lead this team, but they both have experience winning at the highest levels.

      • sleepz

        Disagree entirely. Wade, Bosh and Lebron were all essentially in their primes when they teamed up. All were hungry and were able to tailor their games for that specific goal of winning. Love and Irving are both very talented players, but defence will get you further than offence when you are a team coming together (remember that Garnett, Allen, Pierce Celts team?).

        I’m curious to see what Love and Irving are going to do when they have to defend with levels of energy they have never had to previously. Lebron ain’t having them be lounge on that end of the floor. I feel that transition is going to be much harder and I don’t expect them to win anything next year or even reach the Finals. when Miami came together, they knew and had a sense of how they had to play to win and their defence for the first 3 years was maniacal. I don’t see the Cavs being able to do that.

        • DDayLewis

          I more so meant fit in terms of their offensive games. In terms of defense, it probably will be an issue unless they make another move.

          I disagree with the other stuff. Why wouldn’t Irving, Love and the rest of the team “want it”? How much did Bosh “want it” when he sat out extra games to let his nose heal while the Raptors slowly slipped out of the playoffs?

          What I take into consideration is their on-court play. I don’t like to speculate about players’ personalities or psyches because I don’t know them and I don’t know how.

          • MoPeteRules

            They wanted it badly enough that they all took pretty significant pay cuts. It was all or nothing for them! This new trio is making max money, and so they’re missing that sense of desperation that existed with the Miami big three.

            • DDayLewis

              What “significant” paycuts? They took ~2 million off per year. It wasn’t a Dirk Nowitzki situation.

              • MoPeteRules

                If they all signed max extensions with their respective clubs, they would have made near 20 million each! And Dirk isn’t in his prime anymore, but they certainly were in 2010.

                • DDayLewis

                  Dirk passed up on a max offer from the Rockets. And they signed near max-deals anyway. They didn’t take “significant” paycuts like you said

                • MoPeteRules

                  Well maybe I was a bit wreckless with my adjectives, but my implication was that they took less money to balance the books, which made their commitment to winning quite clear. That’s just my take anyways, of course it can be taken with a grain or bottle of salt.

                • DDayLewis

                  I think it’s a bit different in this case just because:
                  A) Irving signed his deal before any of this went down.
                  B) Love has an injury history, so I can’t blame him for trying to get his.
                  C) Irving and Love are young, and haven’t quite made their money yet. Bosh, Wade and LBJ got theirs before coming together, so a modest discount was palatable

          • sleepz

            Not saying Irving and Love don’t want it, but they haven’t shown they are able to defend at that level to win rings. Yes, Bosh turned into a better defensive player in Miami than he had previously shown here but Wade had been a defensive menace (arguable the best shot blocking 2 in history of the league) for much of his career and already had a ring when Lebron showed up. He had already demonstrated those abilities that are needed to win titles.

            Not saying Cleveland won’t get to that level, but don’t think it happens this year,

  • Gravy Train

    What about Derozan and Johnson + 2016 1st for Bennett and Wiggins? also, there has to be another player involved with the Cavs/Wolves trade as Bennett and Wiggins are about $4 M short of the Love salary.

    • DDayLewis

      Trades aren’t made in a vacuum. The Raptors clearly intend to build with their current core. There’s no way they’re dealing the team’s young main scorer and its best big man for two kids just because they happen to have Canadian passports.

    • webfeat

      Why the heck would the Wolves make that trade???

  • Eunys

    Why can t people wait until we see what those guys are capable of? Just speculating because they happen to be canadians!!!! It is just insane that people would want to trade Demar and even Ross for one of those guys!!! Think with your brain not with the heart

  • Vimsanity

    Kyrie, Kevin Love, Mike Miller, James Jones, RayRay (maybe), even LeBron and Waiters jacking up 3s. Man, these guys are gonna shoot the lights out. Kyrie and Love are just like better shooting versions of Wade and Bosh, albeit with weaker defence. The Cavs are a big, defensive-minded center (i.e. Ibaka, Chandler) away from being in the dynasty conversation for the next 5-6 years. That’s pretty messed up, considering they literally had the first pick in this year’s draft.

    • SR

      Exactly. Hard to believe the pessimism re: this Cavs roster. I think you can pretty easily argue they’re better than last season’s Heat roster, which didn’t have much trouble making it through the EC to the Finals. The Heat had more players with more accomplished careers, this Cavs team has more players who are better players right now.

  • VanCity Raps

    I completely agree with this article. It’s a little far fetched to think Wiggins will be here any time soon. However, one thing that was not mentioned is the incredible amount of endorsement dollars Wiggins would be lined up to receive if he ever decided to head home. Corporate Canada would be lining up to sign “Maple Jordan” especially if he can live up to his hype and maintain his “good kid from Canada” image. This would easily offset any loss he’d take on terms of his NBA salary. So maybe his agent wouldn’t be so stupid after all.

    • Jae

      This is the right answer. Can’t think about only the salary dollars in today’s market.

    • Minks77

      is it too late to dead this stupid “Maple Jordan” handle?

    • Raptor Jesus

      Could be worse. Captain Canuck or some such bullsheet. Jordan is perfect example but a legit outlier for my next point.

      To your excellent point about dollars. In the world of Stalin-esque caps on salary the uncapped earnings potential of endorsement is king. No matter what you think, Grant Hill will top his career earnings ($140mill) hawking terrible shoes, cavity inducing lemon lime syrup, and using Ahmad Rashad’s old dressing room.

  • robertparish00

    I know I am going to get a lot of hate but I don’t get the Love over-hype. I always thought his stats were padded as the best player on a bad team. Maybe I just don’t like crybabies. Plus why is he signing long term-Lebron has a 2 year deal and this is probably Jesus Shuttlesworth and Mike Millers last year.

    • DDayLewis
      • Truth Teller

        How many playoffs has Love been a part of? I forgot because hes been in so many.


        The other 3 guys 23 and 12 mattered. Love’s didn’t do shit.

        • DDayLewis

          You’re missing the point. No one can “pad” their stats to those sublime levels. It’s such a ridiculous argument.

          • Truth Teller

            No one is saying Love is bad though. But I highly doubt he will get even close to those #s next year. I doubt he will even get 20PPG.

            • DDayLewis

              That’s a normal shift for the reallocation of his possessions. Similarly, he should see a bump in efficiency. What his previous stats and performance has demonstrated that he’s very, very good.

              • Truth Teller

                No one said hes bad. Good =/= not overhyped.

                • DDayLewis

                  Top-15 = very, very good, but I see your point.

          • robertparish00

            Bargs was what, 22 points and 6 rebounds a game in 2010. Everyone knows he should have had at least 6 more rebounds if he showed effort for the minutes he played. So yeah Love is a good player, but stat padding happens on crap teams. Especially when you get to be chucker numero uno.

            • DDayLewis

              Except Love’s produced at an All-NBA level for three seasons and Bargs had a hot quarter season.

    • otiswolf1

      i agree completely. let’s see how Kevin Love plays when the games actually mean something. Will see if that double/double is just a stat stuffer, or can he do it and have impact on a winning team.

  • NoD

    The Cavs will be leaning hard on Varajeo on D. If he goes down like he has been known to, they will struggle to get stops against the good teams.

    • DDayLewis

      The Cavs will probably go out and grab another big. Woj said on the radio this morning that they’re looking to add Mozgov

      • RaptorFan

        I hope they do get Mozgov…’s T Ross’s turn to dunk on him! LOL

        • DDayLewis

          I dunno man.

          The Cavs’ problem currently is rim protection. Love and Thompson both ranked in the bottom-four last season in opponent field goal percentage at the rim last year.

          Mozgov, on the other hand, posted a mark similar to Tim Duncan and Dwight Howard. Not saying he’s at that level, but I’d be worried.

      • Roarque

        How does the salary cap issue impact the Cavaliers bringing in more pieces? Won’t LBJ plus Kyrie plus Love add up to $55 Million in annual salary starting in 2014/15?

        • DDayLewis

          They have exceptions and stuff. Mozgov doesn’t make too much and could be theoretically had as long as salaries match up.

    • Minks77

      If? more like WHEN he goes down

  • MoPeteRules

    Maybe it’s my unbounded optimism for the Raptors talking, but I’m still not convinced about Cleveland. The Bosh-Wade-LeBron tandem was much more heralded, particularly since each of these players showed that they were able to carry their respective teams to the playoffs. It just had that feel of a mega-stacked team with a clear road to the finals. Which they accomplished through their four year relationship. And it’s clear that the LeBron squad this year is super talented. But I don’t love the depth of the Cavs. You could argue that Mike Miller and James Jones are still worthy contributors. Aside from Kevin Love, a front line of the oft injured Andy Varejao, Tristan Thompson and Brendan Haywood doesn’t really sound all that intimidating. Again, it’s clearly a good team and I’m blatantly underselling them, but I just can’t handle too many forgone conclusions about this bunch. I think our Dinos will give them a run for their (significantly high) money.

  • Matty Rosales

    If you watch KLove’s defensive game, it is very selfish. The reason why his DReb numbers are so beastly is the same reason why the TWolves FG% at the rim last year were so low: he doesn’t rotate on defense. He sticks on his man to box him out each and every possesion, and relies on the primary defender to stop the ball. Seeing as how Kyrie is THE WORST primary defender at his position, Love offers no secondary help defense, and Varajeo isn’t exactly a stud either, the ample amounts of offense will be offset by the porous defense of 2 of the big 3. The offense should never be a problem with this team, however, it’s gonna take some serious philosophical changes on the parts of Kyrie and KLove to really make them a true championship contender.

  • Roarque

    1 So TimW was right and Toronto will not be good enough to get out of the East for another 3-4 years by which time Kyle and Co will be too old to help Andrew Wiggins when he finally comes charging in on his 30Million dollar white charger.
    The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
    2 Defense wins in the post season and Toronto has one and is getting better and better at playing D
    Bruno really is the next KD
    I pick door two

    • DDayLewis

      With Love, LeBron, Irving and whomever else in the East, no other team is good enough to escape the East

  • Saskatoon Raps Fan

    Yes the cavs have to be considered the favorite in the east. But I don’t think they are anywhere near as unbeatable as the heat were (in conference at least).

    I’m sorry but Irving just isn’t that good yet and love hasn’t done shit yet. It’ll come down to how much playing with lebron will elevate their games. Cuz on their own neither could get their teams as far as bosh and nowhere near as far as wade. They are definitely still weaker than Miami was

  • Minks77

    It’s not stupid to question Kevin Loves game. Zach Lowe has pointed out his pedestrian 3pt numbers and how they effect the team overall and his inexcusably bad D. People say his injuries were “freak” injuries and not an indicator of future glass man tendencies but they said the same thing about Bogut at one time. Lastly, stupid is to not look at his teams lack of success both over the course of multiple seasons and in end of game situations where Minny has been AWFUL.

    I’m not saying he’s a not a very good player. Far from it. But to dismiss concerns or criticisms out of hand is stupid.

    This season, and especially y2, is going to tell us a lot about Irving and Love. They are both going to have to sacrifice and change their games a lot. Bosh and Wade (both older and better over a longer period) were mature enough to figure it out. KL/KI and Waiters haven’t ever given anyone reason to believe they “get it”. Cleveland will be a top 4 team in the East and could very well make the Finals but the Larry o’Brian trophy is staying in the West for the next year or so.

    • DDayLewis

      Zach Lowe also considers Love to be a top-7 player. Maybe he’s not the right selection to appeal to authority.

      • Minks77

        I don’t see how his ranking protects him from legit critique

        • DDayLewis

          it doesn’t. But the guy making the critique still thinks he’s a top-10 player.

          And I think you might be referring to Kirk Goldsberry’s piece from yesterday. In that piece, he doesn’t criticize Love, only that he notes Love’s three-point shooting means he cant crash the glass.

          • Minks77

            Oh for sure KGs post made it into my line of thinking but Lowe has written about Love a couple of times both recently and over the past year.

            Side note: did they only recently start to animate Kirk goldsberry’s shooting charts? Never noticed before…

            • DDayLewis

              I think so, but man it looks cool. It’s scary to think Goldsberry’s work on Grantland and basketball in general is his side hobby. His analysis is so good.

    • DDayLewis

      And to clarify the comments in the post, I’m saying people who think he’s not actually very good are stupid. Those people usually exaggerate his shortcomings and makes it impossible to have a legitimate conversation about Love.

      • Minks77

        I agree, peeps generally fall into the ol black n white of HE’S THE BESTEST EVER vs HE’S THE WORST! BOOO!

        • DDayLewis

          Because of the internet

      • legit what?

        “Those people usually exaggerate his shortcomings and makes it impossible to have a legitimate conversation about Love.”

        Where does the “legit conversation” line get drawn with someone who uses statements such as:

        ” I’m saying people who think he’s not actually very good are stupid.”

        “One of those two groups is dumb (hint: it’s the first.)”

        • DDayLewis

          Ahh shit, I used the “s” and “d” words, didn’t I?

          • Yup

            If you’re going to ride around on your “legit conversation” high horse, yet use condescending and childish “s” and “d” words for those that disagree with you, comment is deserved. As for this mindlessly snarky retort of yours, thanks for legitimizing my conversation.

            • DDayLewis

              You’re welcome. I enjoyed this conversation on conversations. Very meta, and productive towards having the Love conversation in the first place.

              • Yup

                I have a new friend!! Warm fuzzies all over 🙂

                • DDayLewis


                  So you want to talk about Love?

                • Yup

                  Well, based on your comment in the article, you started out saying I’m dumb, so I’m not sure there’s much respectful conversation to be had. My point in the conversation about conversation. 😉

                  That said, though I agree that he’s immensely talented as an individual on offense, he has yet to show much as a teammate, except for those long outlet passes, which are a thing of beauty. As is often stated in critiques of DeMar, there are two ends of the game though, and his defense is pathetic. LeBron being LeBron, and Love probably maturing, much may change. We’ll see, but we all know that offense without defense doesn’t get a team far.

                  I look forward to seeing how that team develops (fan of the game), but I’m more optimistic than some how the Raps will stack up against both them and the Bulls, providing JV and Ross take it up a reasonable notch. Though I think the Raps will still be a year or two from legit “contender”, I believe they’ll have a better balance between offense and defense than both those teams, and will provide significant opposition.

                • DDayLewis

                  I’ve watched the same game everyone else has on Love, and I don’t understand why he’s perceived as such an erroneously poor defender. Based on watching him, he can’t contest shots and he’s a bad help defender. However, he gobbles up a tonne of defensive rebounds (not because he’s “cheating”, but because he’s insanely talented at rebounding). Most of that is corroborated by stats (rim protection via SportVU, rebounding with any rebounding stats).

                  But why is the point about rebounding overlooked? What does ever coach ever stress – defensive possessions aren’t over until you snag the rebound. Love is the third best defensive rebounder in the entire league. Or other aspects of defense, like post-defense? He does a great job using his weight+positioning to not allow guys to get past him (similar in style to Hayes, not as effective). Love ranked 43rd in points allowed per post-up last season, so there’s probably something to this.

                  He also doesn’t foul anybody, which could explain why the rim-protection numbers are so bad (although he’s just straight-up a bad shot-contester). But that also makes sense given that his teams have always needed him in the game because the Wolves have been shit for the entirety of Love’s career. I suspect more whole-hearted contests, free of too much worry for fouling next season. That’s not rooted in stats on the matter, more a product of deduction on how basketball works.

                  Putting aside the defense, of which most advanced stats grade him as average (RPM, DWS, DefEff) on the whole, Love’s is quite possibly the best offensive power forward in the game (Blake could challenge for this). Even having shot in great volume, and with disproportionate defensive pressure, Love has been lights out on above-the-break threes. He’s also a good post-up player, and someone who can facilitate offense from the high-post. To top it off, he has those outlet abilities (as you noted) and is a tremendous offensive rebounder. All of this corroborated by both data and scout-based observations.

                  And then the final point: Love is 25 years old. Statistical studies point to big men peaking in terms of defensive effectiveness in their early-mid thirties, so on the whole, Love should improve. The script is flipped for offense, but given Love’s development in three-point shooting, it’s not unreasonable to believe any impending decline in offensive abilities should be curtained, as opposed to a player like Amar’e Stoudemire).

                  All this says nothing of fit. His game compliments well with both David Blatt’s coaching tendencies (movement, euroball, spacing), as well as Irving/LeBron’s talents. Irving and Love are both fantastic shooters, so running a pick-and-pop with those two is a dicey proposition for any defense unless they flood the strongside with a temporary third defender. Given that they’re good passers, that leaves a three-on-two elsewhere in favor of the Cavs, who could count LeBron as one of the three, as well as a number of good spot-up shooters. His lack of rim-protection is a worry, especially coupled with Tristan Thompson (who was somehow worse at challenging shots than even Love himself), but the Cavs have multiple assets to which they could use to acquire a rim-protector (Ian Mahinmi, Timofey Mozgov for example).

                  This also doesn’t touch on the weakened state of the Eastern Conference. LeBron’s teams havent finished lower than 2nd in 6 seasons, and now he has two more stars flanking him with a number of decent role players. Injuries could always be a concern (Irving, Love have both missed major chunks of time) but as can be said for their closest rivals in the Bulls, who have Rose, Noah, and Pau’s health to worry about, in addition to a crazy minute-allocating coach in Thibs at the helm.

                  Your turn.

                • Yup

                  All good points, though most of what I may differ with, I have little knowledge to argue. There’s no doubting his rebounding prowess, but I hope to see more of him, now that he’s in the East, on a good team, to evaluate how he does it. He certainly seems to have that special skill of knowing where the rebound is going often. You’re right that such skill adds to his team offering on defense, but he still needs to offer reasonable resistance one on one, and some semblance of help defense. Rebounding skills don’t help when the other team has clear paths to the basket more often than not.

                  I’m not sure where you get your knowledge, and confidence, of Blatt’s ability to run a team in the NBA though, and how he’ll adapt in a different world of basketball. His entire 12 years as a player was in Israel, and 23 years as coach, has been in Europe, mostly in Israel as well. Again, I’m curious and look forward to seeing how well he adapts before I can even imagine what his tendencies and style will be.

                  If they get a rim protecting C, they’ll get more of my attention as a powerhouse to be reckoned with, but I don’t know what assets you speak of to get someone of significance. What assets? Except for the vets LeBron is gathering around him, what do they have to offer? They certainly don’t have anything to offer Indiana to get their solid backup (all he is anyway), nor Denver for their solid backup. Both teams have these guys at good prices for solid backup Cs, and don’t need anything Cleveland can offer, I don’t think. I know these are “examples”, but who else? Rim protecting Cs that don’t embarrass themselves on offense, at low prices, are at a premium, and I don’t see what these Cleveland assets are you speak of. Thompson? To get who? Waiters? To get who?

                  All that said, LeBron is an “X” factor and the SOME, but he can’t defend 5 guys at a time, the Cavs have little else to speak of at that end, and old legs in Miller, Jones, possibly Allen, aren’t going to make much difference at that end,,,,, so I have serious doubts they can defend many teams, no matter how good their Big 3 is offensively. I’ve been wrong before though, many times, haha, but we’ll see.

                • DDayLewis

                  I think Love’s rebounding numbers will stay largely the same. Cleveland’s defense will probably force more misses than Minnesota’s did last season, if anything other than moving from the West to the East. That should increase the number of rebounds available, which may bump Love’s numbers a tad. Not sure how the rate rebounding stats will be affected though. It will probably depend on how much time he spends at center.

                  I admit I’m only familiar with the peripherals of Blatt’s career. He has had tremendous success in Europe, capturing championships and whatnot. Based on this video analysis by Coach Nick, Blatt’s sets are creative and should help the Cavaliers’ offense stay on the vanguard (read: not Mike Brown).

                  But there is a certain amount of uncertainty with that as well. We can’t be sure how his game will translate to NBA basketball given the elevated skill-level and athleticism.

                  They are pick-neutral going forward (owe two future, is owed two future), and can deal away a total of five picks in the 2015 draft. They also have a young, somewhat promising big in Tristan Thompson (although he’s probably not going anywhere thanks to Rich Paul) and Dion Waiters, who has talent. That should be more than enough to net a backup rim-protector.

                  Take Mahinmi with Indiana, for example. He has two more seasons left at $4 million per year, but Indiana is going to be hurting for offense next season. A trade of Mahinmi for Waiters gives them both short and long-term benefits. If anything, that’s a coup for Indiana given how much talent Waiters has.

                  There’s not much of an argument to be made that supports the notion of Cleveland’s team being a defensive Juggernaut. But then again, if they eventually ink Marion, that’s two very good defensive wings, and if they land a rim-protector, there’s potential for a top-10 defense. Also, having such a successful offense should hold positive impact on defense, as they’ll rarely need to defend in transition.

                  Having said all this, none of this is certain, which is why they play the games.

                • Yup

                  You think Cleveland would trade Waiters to get Mahinmi? The same guy the Spurs spent 3 years trying to make serviceable, then the Mavs another 2 years before trading him for bit parts? The guy who’ll never be more than a backup, because his biggest rim protecting prowess comes from continuing to be a fouling machine on par with Amir in his worst years? I don’t think so.

                  At the end of the day, unless the Cavs make some actual roster moves that help their defense, I maintain they have nobody but LeBron to offer more than token defense, which makes their ceiling limited.

                • DDayLewis

                  No, you asked me what assets they had to procure a rim-protector. I provided an example and in that example, I cited that Waiters’ value probably far exceeds Mahinmi’s. Unless they move Varajeo (who is Amir-esque when healthy), or Thompson (not happening), they can only stand to add a backup rim protector because there’s not enough minutes to go around.

                  I agree with you in that their defense – barring any more moves (which is extremely unlikely) – will have plenty of holes, which would ultimately limit how good the team will be. However, I have confidence in that a well-constructed team scheme and the chance to contend will spur the otherwise poor defenders to play better on that end.

    • LuckyMystery

      Was Kevin Garnett just a stat stuffer on Minny also. What a dumb comment

  • Slap Dog Hoops

    First of all, the window was never really open to begin with. Lets face it: the Raptors benefited from a weak Eastern Conference winning their division with 48 wins–a number that the Phoenix Suns had, yet failed to make the playoffs in the West. They lost in the first round to an old, slow and broken down Brooklyn Nets team. Now they come into this upcoming season with basically the same team with no real impressive additions. They could have made a splash in the off season using their assets of expiring contracts to acquire themselves a veteran that could have brought them a step ahead, but chose not to. Now with not only the Cavs, but also the Knicks having quite the impressive off season, the Raptors find themselves on the outside looking in.

    • Minks77

      That’s one way of considering it, the other is to look only at the post Gay numbers and you have a very impressive team, both by offensive and defensive metrics. Raps also run 10 deep which admittedly is more useful in the regular season than post but it is still an overall positive. Last point: they lost to an old but not totally broken down Nets team (JJ was healthy and he was the key factor on their side) that had a huge experience edge and more size on the wings and it still came down to the raps shooting themselves in the foot on a last second play in a game seven.

      I don’t know what kind of job you have but saying “they could’ve done x,y,z and been so much better’ is silly. If not go get a job in the league and show us all your team building genius. Look forward to it almost as much as I look forward to the results of this “impressive” summer the Knicks have had.

      The one point I totally agree with you however is that the “window” as it is is not truly open. This is a playoff team but not a real contender. No way. My rose coloured glasses are actually Raptor red and still, no way jose.

    • RyGuyFly

      There were no veterans to take us a step ahead. All we’re missing is a starting SF, and the only legit options were Parsons and Ariza. We got rid of Novak and Salmons, and managed to get assets in return which is great because aside from Salmons defensive play, they were holding us back. We also signed James Johnson to defend against SFs which was one of our biggest weaknesses (that and length in the front court). The Nets may have been old and slow, but they were also bigger and stronger, they overpowered us with their strength and overall playoff experience at every position except PG where Williams seemed lost at times.

  • otiswolf1

    I’m not drinking the Cleveland kool-aid just yet. Kevin Love is a proven stat stuffer on non-playoff team. but with expectations set to NBA championship level for the Cavs, we will see what he’s made of. This Cleveland team has no playoff experience at all besides Lebron, and we all know that King James will not, can not win it alone. I still believe that Chicago is tops in the Eastern Conference, with Toronto right behind them. Team chemistry will be a huge deciding factor this season, and that is what separates Chicago, Toronto and Cleveland.

  • RyGuyFly

    The current cavaliers roster is not contending for a championship this year and will probably finish between 3rd and 6th in the east. After analyzing all the potential lineups as they stand, I think the east will look like this (most wins not playoff seeds):

    1. Bulls (if Rose is healthy all year)
    2. Knicks
    3. Raptors
    4. Wizards
    5. Cavaliers
    6. Hornets
    7. Hawks
    8. Heat, maybe Nets

    The Bulls are the only team in this group that look like they might be able to compete in the west and the Cavs won’t even finish that high in the standings unless they play Irving, Love and LeBron for at least 40 minutes/game each. They have no depth at PG or PF assuming that Thompson starts at center. I could see the Cavs slide out of the playoffs with the immense lack of depth right now, and that core won’t be a perennial contender for long if they have to play 40 minutes a night, 82 nights a year, then turn it up a notch for the postseason. LeBron really fucked that team in the long run if they made the Love deal for him. The deal puts them closer to the playoffs but without some significant defensive acquisitions like possibly Marion, and a pass-first 3-and-D guard to share the load with Irving and Waiters, I think it puts them further away from a championship.

    Don’t get me started about the stupidity of this deal. Love wants out, he’s leaving either way, and we know he would like to play with LeBron. There are other teams he could choose, but the Cavs would still probably be in the top 3 for his services this offseason, but hey, let’s just give away 2 first overalls and another first rounder to a team with no leverage so we can guarantee a playoff series this year. Don’t make the argument that they didn’t want Wiggins in the first place, they picked him, and if he had a good year or two playing great D and showing some range on his shot, they probably could have gotten two 1st rounders for him. Griffin really needs to grow a pair and tell LeBron that they aren’t parting with any assets and now the priority for next offseason is to recruit Love, get down off your throne and under his desk Mr. King, it’s a long season and you won’t be alone down there.

    Offense might get you there, but defense wins championships.

    • DDayLewis

      When was the last time a team led by LeBron finished lower than second?

      • RyGuyFly

        My main points were the stupidity behind this deal, and that the players will not be able to maintain their level of play at 40+ minutes a game, there’s no depth, but sure, his nickname is King so his team has to finish in first place right…

        This is a team sport, LeBron just shed a bunch of weight probably for the same reason Tim Duncans been doing it, to maintain his level of athleticism at the expense of some strength as he declines with age. To answer your question it was 6 years ago, and that doesn’t affect my opinion in the least. LeBron couldn’t do it last year on a good defensive team that had 4 legitimate scoring options in LeBron, Bosh, Wade, and Allen, and those 4 surrounded by 3-and-D guys. I don’t know why you expect him to do better or even the same just because he went from playing with maybe the second best stretch big on a good defensive team to the best on an awful defensive team. Only one player can score at a time, and the bucket doesn’t matter if you can’t contain your opponent.

        They might come in second if JR Smith gets arrested or Rose/Noah sustains a serious injury, Lowry could blow out a knee or Valanciunas hurts his back, John Wall could break his ankle. It’s always a possibility, but as it stands they’re a middle of the pack playoff team with very little depth, Knicks and Bulls will be fighting for first as Raps and Wiz fight for 3rd. I just don’t see what you’re seeing in that roster.

        • Pong

          And what exactly do you see in the knicks roster that makes you think they can be #2?

          What you said about Lebron and his weight is somewhat true. But it’s not just for longevity reasons. He won’t be asked to play the 4 as much on the Cavs as he did on Miami, so he’s shedding some weight. Keeping the weight off makes him faster and more agile so that he can play his natural 3 position more. Keep in mind that Miami LBJ weighs more than most centers in the league, so shedding 10-15 pounds will not reduce his strength by much. I mean, he wasn’t as big his first time around on the Cavs, but he was still one of the strongest players in the league.

          My views regarding cavs and heat:

          – Kyrie>>>>chalmers

          – Waiters has the same style of play as wade. He’s not as good as a healthy wade just yet, but he’s better than a broken down wade like we saw in last year’s finals. Keep in mind that wade played like half the regular season games so his impact on regular season wins isn’t as much as you think.

          – Love>Bosh

          – Battier didn’t do much all of last season. He barely even saw playing time in the playoffs. Heat playing him at the 4 must have wore him down and that’s why he’s retiring.

          Miller, James Jones and soon Ray Allen are all going to Cavs, and they were part of the miami squad.

          • RyGuyFly

            Kyrie is better offensively than Chalmers, Kyrie has the moves, the quickness, the vision, and the shot, but until he plays adequate defense, and that’s a low bar, I’ll take Chalmers with his ability to force turnovers and hit the three anyday.

            Same for Bosh, not quite as good at passing or hitting the long ball as Love, but continues to improve, as rebounders they are equals, and again Bosh is the much better defender although not as strong.

            If the Cavs sign Marion and a decent 3-D combo guard, I think they could push for 2nd, maybe 1st if Varejao can tough out most of the season. If they don’t, I just can’t see it.

            I don’t doubt the force that is LeBron James, but he’s getting near the outer reaches of his prime, 3-4 more years and there could be some serious decline, not to say he couldn’t go another 8.

            • Pong

              Chalmers’ ‘ability’ to force turnovers is much more a result of Miami’s system than his actual defensive prowess. Miami’s system was all about taking risks on defence (gambling for steals) because they had the athleticism to do so. Like you said Kyrie already has the quickness. With a new coach, and LBJ in town, it’s going to help change his defensive mentality.

              There’s no way you can say bosh is equal to love as rebounders when Love is arguably the best rebounder in the league. I can’t speak much about Bosh’s defence. He’s definitely better than Love, but he did play center most of the time on miami. Not sure how Bosh would do defensively back in his natural 4 position.

    • Pong

      LOL what kind of ‘analysis’ did you actually do? Because you saying Tristan Thompson starting at center already shows your lack of research. They got Varejao starting at C, and he’s one of the better Cs in the east. Good passer, good defender in the pick and roll, excellent rebounder, etc. That shifts TT from the starting 4 spot to the backup 4. PG depth isn’t a huge deal either since Waiters is definitely good enough to play spot minutes as a PG.

      You’ve completely ignored in game management from your ‘analysis’. Not all 3 guys have to play on the court at the same time. With the right rotations in place, they could very well play standard ‘star’ player minutes. Look at miami. When they had the big 3, you think they had a lot of depth?

      • SR

        Once I saw the Knicks ranked #2 and the prediction that LeBron James would have the worst regular season of his career, even significantly worse than his rookie season on a weak Cavs roster, I ignored the rest of the comment.

        • Pong

          lol yea. If he thinks Cavs have depth issues, I’m not sure how he’s able to put knicks #2 when they’ve got their salary tied down by amare and bargs.

          • RyGuyFly

            First, Cleveland no depth, they will be forced to have at least 2 of their big-3 on the court at all times to win games.

            I have Knicks number two because I believe that a triangle offense featuring, Calderon, Melo, and Bargs on the strong side, with a combination of Smith with Shumpert or Hardaway on the weak side is pretty intriguing, not to mention the fact that they are better defensively, other than the Melo LeBron matchup… What does salary have to do with depth, the Knicks are 3 deep at every position with mostly NBA ready players, they can hit the 3 at every position, and as I said decent defensively.

            I put Thompson in the starting lineup because with the number of injuries Varejao has faced in the last couple years, it would be a good idea to limit his minutes and I couldn’t picture Haywood starting. Varejao will start some games, but not 82 of them.

            Miami didn’t have a lot of depth, but they were all 3-and-D guys, Battier, Allen, Lewis… the Cavs have the 3 but not the D.

            Any other questions about how I’m thinking, we could have a discussion and you could tell me where your coming from, or you can keep sending empty posts about how I’m an idiot.

            • Pong

              I did tell you where I’m coming from, in my response above…

              There’s no way they’re going to do the whole 6’9 TT at C again if Varejao is healthy. They could put Love at the 5 and have TT at the 4, but that would be situational.

              Calderon may be able to run the team a bit better, but he’s no way better than kyrie offensively or defensively.

              Bargs is a good man on defender, but he’s a terrible help defender.

              Seriously, i’m as interested in seeing the triangle offence on the knicks as you are, but considering the main additions are calderon and dalembert (for chandler and felton), you’re giving Fisher way too much credit if you think he can turn a sub 500 team into the 2nd winningest team in the east.

              • RyGuyFly

                Calderon is a huge upgrade on Felton, I think one of the main problems with the Knicks last year was the fact that everybody had to create for themselves. I realize Dalemberts a downgrade, but mainly on the offensive end, he can still hold his own under the basket, and I know its changed a little bit but that sub .500 team was also a 3rd seed the year before if I remember correctly. I know the conference was weaker then, but I feel that the team is stronger now, and they feature one of the better 3-point lineups if nobodies slumping.

            • SR

              Hehehe – admit it: you’re trolling.

              • RyGuyFly

                Killing time at work sir, but as a Raptors fan, if I was trolling, they would be #1, and I put them even with the wiz kids. I hope I’m wrong, I want “Il Mago” to continue to be known as that guy in primo pasta adds, and not an NBA level talent. I don’t claim to know it all or even much, but I will continue to watch and learn and enjoy these discussions.

            • Pong

              Ray Allen is a 3 guy, but he’s no 3 and D guy. Battier became a non factor last year. Lewis is a decent stretch 4 and that’s it. He’s not a 3 and D guy.

              • RyGuyFly

                I agree about Battier, and Lewis isn’t great, but he could adequately defend SFs. Allen was lacking the athleticism needed to defend his position probably because his age, but he was brought in to be a 3-D guy. All of these guys are better defenders than Miller and Jones though.

                • Pong

                  But miller and jones were part of the miami championship teams. Miller actually played a big role, jones to a lesser degree.

                • RyGuyFly

                  Miller played a big role in the first one, but an older Ray Allen replaced him for the second championship.

                • LuckyMystery

                  Sorry man you are just wrong. Please fucking stop. Mike Miller won back to back championships with the heat. Ray Allen was there for 1. The heat replaced Miller with Beasley.

                  The fact that you are seriously trying to sell people on the knicks over the Cavs show how retarded you are.

                  Chalmers over Irving? Did you eat a retard sandwich this morning?

                • RyGuyFly

                  You should check your facts if you’re going to call somebody an idiot… I know Mike Miller was there for both, I said he played a prominent role in the first one. Ray Allen took his place on the depth chart for the second one because of his superior defense. Check the season and playoff stats if you think l’m wrong.

                  Beasley wasn’t there for a championship, but your right about him taking over the 15mpg that Miller played the Year before, still lower on the depth chart than Ray Allen. You should probably just delete your post know it all.

                  And I said Chalmers over Kyrie defensively, Kyrie is better on the offensive end, and with LeBron being able to create offense for himself and others as good as most PGs, I give Chalmers the nod.

                  I’m not selling anybody on anything, but when the season rolls around NY could be good and Cleveland might not do fuck all. Could go the other way around too, but Clevelands lack of depth and defensive minded players won’t get them a championship this year.

                  I love that everybody jumped on my projection, because the main part of that comment was how stupid the Cavs management has to be to trade away assets to a team with absolutely no leverage.

                • LuckyMystery

                  I don’t need to check my facts, you just proved my point. You said Ray Allen “Replaced” Mike Miller. Ray Allen may have had a more prominent role, but he most certainly didn’t “replace” Mike Miller. Ray Allen has never been considered a good defensive player by anyone. Again I know Beasley wasn’t there for a championship. I know this because he REPLACED MIKE MILLER.

                  Giving the “NOD” to Chalmers is essentially choosing him over Irving. How do you not see this utter contradiction.

                  You straight out said the knicks and bulls would be 1 and 2 while saying the Cavs have no depth and would be a 4 or 5 at best, and continued to try and drill your point home. This is the exact definition of trying to sell people on an opinion.

                  Please explain How Love would end up in Cleveland through Free agency? This is what Lebron wanted. Do you seriously think it is a coincidence that he just happened to leave the last 2 first overall picks out of his fucking Essay.

                  This lack of depth you keep talking about is absolutely hilarious, seeing as both Marion and Allen will sign as soon as this trade is complete. If not them than 2 other players that will fit the mold. The Miami heat proved for 4 years you don’t need a good point guard to win championships, especially when you have Lebron. i think it is fair to say they will be able to supplement the minutes that Irving will sit on the bench. Other than that they are 2 or deep at every position depending on the lineup. With both Thompson and Love being able to play minutes at the 5 in small ball lineups. This works because they have a guy named LEBRON that can move to the 4.

                  It’s crazy how a little logic can help.

                • RyGuyFly

                  First off: If you read my first post, I said the Cavs would finish between 3rd and 6th. The projection is based on the Knicks being able to click offensively like they did 2 years ago with essentially the same core, except that now they have a better offensive system, with more shooting range and a PG that can actually create offense for others.
                  The Bulls will have trouble staying in 1st if Rose or Noah end up missing significant time. Then the Raps and Wiz will duke it out for the next open spot.

                  Just my opinion, which Pong and I were discussing. I don’t care if you agree with me, I wanted to understand why I should agree with you, because I don’t understand what everybody is seeing in this totally unproven lineup, and so far nobodies done a
                  great job other than to say you have three of the top offensive talents in the game which I already recognized.

                  Secondly: for the second Heat championship, after the Big-3, Ray Allen was the
                  next guy to get the ball, the role Mike Miller filled in the first championship, therefore, Ray Allen replaced Mike Miller in the depth chart as I said before. Ray Allen is not an elite defender, but was more than adequate at defending his position the first season with the
                  Heat, a better defender than Miller throughout his career, and the guy is close to 40, so its understandable that there was such a major decline last season.

                  As it stands, the Cavs are lacking depth, I’m not going to assume that anybody else is signing with them until they do. Right now, I don’t think that roster can’t be successful
                  without the Big-3 playing nearly 40 minutes per game each which puts a lot of stress on any players body no matter who it is. As I stated before, I’ll be inclined to change my mind if they sign both Marion, and a defensive-minded combo-guard, and yes I know that Ray Allen doesn’t meet that criteria.

                  How do the Cavs get KLove in free agency, if they want him, they can find a way. Maybe Wiggins or Bennett or even both have a pretty good season, maybe you can find a sign and trade deal involving just one of them, or get to keep your 1st rounder, maybe you
                  trade them away for picks and cap space. It’s stupid to give up assets for a player who has already demanded a trade, and refused to sign with his current team, especially so when you know he would love to play for your team with the “King” of the NBA. The possibilities are there, like you said, use your logic, and I repeat the fact that worst case
                  scenario: you have LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and all of that money that KLove was gonna command; to spend on free agents.

                  Anyway I’m done with this thread… I’m excited to see how these teams play. I don’t root for NY, I severely dislike Il Mago and his Pasta and Sauuuce, and I hope I’m wrong about them, because if I’m right, then my Raptors didn’t win their division. Hope we match up in the playoffs Cleveland.

            • Dev

              Knicks better defence? Calderon-smith-melo-bargnani-am are not even gonna start on the bench? Dismiss yourself please

              • RyGuyFly

                I could give you an answer if you clarify whether the lineup you just tossed together will be starting? or on the bench?
                I see them starting:
                with Hardaway Jr. and Bargnani being the first subs in.
                If the Knicks were to play Amar’e or Bargs in Melo’s place, they would have a pretty decent defensive lineup in my opinion.

    • Alex Vostrikov

      probably bargs had a gun to your head when you wrote this none sense…. knicks at 2???? LOL
      did you end up going down on him in the end????

  • ThePurpAndRed

    The Raptors, foreseeing this trade happening, planted Sam Mitchell inside the Wolves organization to whisper sweet nothings into Wigginz ear about the glory that awaits him in Toronto.

  • SR

    This Cavs team is going to be way out in front of the whole conference. “Kevin Love did nothing in Minnesota.” Minnesota was a sh*tty organization and a sh*tty team in a stacked conference. What had Chris Bosh done before going to Miami? Made the first round with a more competent organization in a weak conference. Kevin Love would have accomplished at least as much with the Raps as Bosh did.

    The Cavs are gonna be very good. Everything changes when you add LeBron – he’s not a complimentary piece, he changes EVERYTHING. He becomes the fulcrum of everything that happens for your team at both ends of the floor. Love and Irving are gonna look great playing with him, and Cleveland’s role players have a good mix of youth (existing pieces) and experience (new additions) that I think puts them ahead of last year’s Heat team which got exposed in the Finals – except for LeBron.

    A big question is the coach and how quickly he can be effective in the NBA. Even on that front, the Cavs have this going for them: it took Spolestra and the Heat a year to evolve the way they needed to in order to maximize LeBron, but now that lesson has been learned for everybody. The Cavs don’t need to repeat the process, the way to use LeBron and what kind of systems to build around him has been established and proven by four straight trips to the Finals. The Cavs are going to acclimatize way faster than the Heat did.

  • Dr. Scooby

    Man oh man, ‘denial’ ain’t justa river in Egypt.

    As it is now, Chicago and Cleveland are the cream of the crop in the East.

    Toronto, Washington and Charlotte are clearly 2nd tier.
    Miami is on the fence…Then the rest.

    No matter how much you love your Raptors, (at this time) don’t go placing bets on anything grander.

    • mountio

      Its really that simple. Id argue whether Char belongs in the 2nd tier (think they got a lot of good fortune last year and not sure Lance helps .. he might hurt given the volatility). Otherwise, bang on. Chi (assuming rose) and Cle in a class by themselves

      • Dr. Scooby

        Well Charlotte didn’t get a chance to draft the Brazilian KD, but they did manage to draft Noah Vonleh and add Marvin Williams in addition to Lance.

    • afrocarter

      Everybody forgets about Atlanta! They certainly belong in that 2nd tier, as well.

    • RyGuyFly

      I love how a team we’ve never seen before that is purely offensive minded with very little depth at this point is considered the cream of the crop.

    • sleepz

      I can’t put Toronto, Washington or Charlotte above Miami even without Lebron

  • Dev

    “Fuck the Cavs, and to a lesser extent, fuck the Timberwolves as well.” Rap of the day?

    • DDayLewis

      If only I had that kind of power.

  • m

    “would have never saw the ball” WTF. If you are going to write, learn to fucking write.

    • DDayLewis

      How can I learn to write without writing?

  • mountio

    Cleveland is legit championship contender with Love, and they were a legit championship contender without Love. I happen to be in the Love is overrated camp (I think hes a very good player .. but more like top 25, not top 10 or top 7 …), but hes at worst a very good player.
    However, Lebron is just that good that any team he suits up with is a contender. You have to remember how historically bad Wade was last year (when adjusted for his salary and the fact that it didnt allow his team to sign anyone else) – with an even reasonable performance from Wade, they win the title.

    • James

      Wade was not historically bad wtf are you talking about . Spolstra saved wade for the playoffs . When wade played he was exceptional . Dont get on the bandwaggon just yet buddy . Is cleveland better than miami in 2010 when they signed the big 3 ? Keep in mind playoff experience up until that point as well

      • Truth Teller

        I think the lack of experience will hurt them. Also they don’t have a lot of depth (albeit they have some old vets like Ray and Mike Miller). I think they should be the fave to win the East, so as long as they are in the finals they have a chance; but I don’t think they can beat the Thunder or Spurs.

      • mountio

        Did you see him in the finals? The last two games, he scored 10 pts (3 for 13) and 11 pts (4 for 12). 14 pts (5 for 9). DIdnt bring anything of note in terms of rebounds or assists. Lots of turnovers. The eye test suggests he was even worse.
        For a max guy, this is horrible performance.
        Yes, Wade had a couple good games early in the playoffs against crappy teams, but he was brutal when it counted.

        • DDayLewis

          Wade isn’t a max guy. Dude is earning $17 million which is about $6 million per year less than what he could be making. And the Finals showed Wade couldn’t sustain his health late into the season, which is unfortunate. But that doesn’t take away his performance when he did play during the regular season, which was quite good.

          • mountio

            Ummmmm … in my world, a guy making $18.7 mm (his salary last year), who is the 10th highest paid player in the league (essentially on par with LBJ, CB and Pau who all made just north of $19 mm in spots 7-9) is a max guy. Is it technically the highest that he could have made, ok, no. Im not sure where your $23 mm comes from (maybe its right, Im not sure), but if he made that, he would have been the 2nd highest paid player behind Kobe.

            Anyways – the point of “max” in this context is that he is taking up a considerable amount of cap space, and thus, beyond LBJ, CB and DW, the heat couldnt spend much on a supporting cast. As a result, each of those 3 DID NOT pull their weight. CB was solid enough. DW simply wasnt. I may not love Love, but I have zero doubt that he will bring considerably more to the table than Wade did last year.

            Yes, he played fairly well in the regular season – but only 65 games, regularly taking off b2bs and forcing his teammates (LBJ in particular) to carry a ridiculous load. And then, after taking all that time off, he still was AWFUL in the finals. From a mid level exception type guy, thats ok, but not from a max guy if you want to win a title

            • DDayLewis

              If you want to argue that Wade doesn’t produce like a max player, you and I are in agreement.

  • JHP

    I’ve worked in Minneapolis and it’s small town and cold. In more ways then just the weather. He’d be best to put in the time and then leave. Man first to Kansas and now to Minneapolis via Cleveland. He truly is hitting all the highlights.

  • IceManLikeGervin

    Lebron’s current theme music- I Need (Kevin) Love ..

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