Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Cleveland has emerged as an interested suitor, with the Cavaliers pursuing Hill to potentially slide into a dual-guard role, starting at either backcourt position or playing as a reserve, league sources said.
Short of that, Cleveland might be asked to part with Isaiah Thomas although two league executives told NBC Sports Boston on Friday night that the idea of Thomas being traded back to the team that drafted him with the 60th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, is “highly unlikely” at this time.
The bottom line is we’re at the halfway point of the season and Cleveland doesn’t look like a team that’s built to compete for a title, and hasn’t shown signs of that changing anytime soon.
So the Cavs are a mess.
And, unlike the mess they were at the start of the season, there is a real air of panic around their current messiness.
Is Isaiah Thomas going to get shipped off to Sacramento?
Unlikely. He’s an expiring contract (good), but the Kings aren’t very smart (bad), and though they might be tempted to buy out Thomas, trading Hill for Thomas after letting IT walk in free agency a few years ago makes the team look exactly how it should look: confused and rudderless. Although trading for IT and buying him out is the smart play, don’t expect the Kings to make it because they’re not a smart organization.
Neither, for that matter, are the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Having essentially turned the whole franchise over to LeBron, who has no idea what he’s doing in this sphere, the Cavs find themselves almost exactly where you’d expect a team assembled by an inexperienced GM with carte blanche to be: They have a slew of bad contracts, a ton of offense, a lot of brand names, and absolutely none of what it takes to win consistently or in high pressure situations. They’re a child’s strat-o-matic team.
Take, for instance, IT. The Cavs knew IT was injured and they knew he was a defensive liability, and yet they traded Kyrie for IT, only to have–based on their interest in the extremely overpriced George Hill–a severe case of buyer’s remorse.
And all this relates back to the Celtics because, dagnabbit, Thomas is still a part of the Celtics. The ‘tribute video’ flap demonstrates that. If IT didn’t mean anything to Boston, nobody would be arguing about tribute videos or anything like that.
Of course, the crazy thing would be if IT is traded, and thus he can get his tribute video on some other night because he won’t be on the Cavs roster when they come to town on the 11th.
Will the Cavs get DeAndre Jordan? Only if they send over the Netspick. It ain’t happening any other way. And what happens then? Will the Cavs get any assurance that LeBron will stick around after the chaos that he’s sown in his return has made contention impossible (just like what happened in Miami)? They will not.
Guys, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. The Cavs are a trash organization. They traded for IT, and almost as soon as he got back on the court they decided that they don’t want him, and they’re looking to trade for an overpriced PG to try out as his replacement. And sure, why not? Why not add yet another horrible contract to their pile of horrible contracts? They rolled out the Brinks truck for Kevin Love, and they haven’t used him appropriately since. They overpaid Tristan Thompson & JR Smith in order to make LeBron’s buddy happy, but is that going to keep LeBron on the Cavs? Of course not.
Now the Cavs have to make a pile of ‘win now’ moves because LeBron ain’t gonna wait for them to get better next year or the year after. He’s not going to wait for IT to get healthy. He’s not going to wait to see what the Netspick delivers. This is where the Cavs are at: They are going to have to trade the best asset they have outside of LeBron himself (Netspick), in order to get a short-term solution to a problem that was created by giving LeBron everything he wanted in the first place.
If you’re a Cavs fan, you have my sympathies–and my understanding. I’ve watched the White Sox follow this exact same routine for the last 20+ years. I watched the Vikings do it for better than a decade. Between those two teams, I got to enjoy one championship.
Page 2: Where Sherrod Blakely does some troubleshooting and I disagree
Normally, I see eye-to-eye with Sherrod when he talks basketball, but in a column yesterday on the Celtics’ recent two-game losing streak, he makes a few points that I feel are a bit off-the-mark
DEFENDING DOMINANT BIG MEN
The issue for the Celtics when it comes to their frontcourt, has to do with a lack of talented bodies and not a lack of talent.
Davis went off against the Celtics, and that’s something that the C’s need to mitigate–ideally by making sure that nobody else is able to go off at the same time.
But let’s not get too carried away when we talk about what Embiid did on Thursday night.
In his fourth game against the Celtics, Embiid finally had a good game. In three previous games against the Celtics he did not look good at all. So I’m going to say that Thursday night’s game was a fluke, not the other three games.
Boston’s offense has been pretty much hit or miss most of this season. Because of that inconsistency, figuring out a solution has been among the more daunting tasks for this coaching staff.
This I agree with. The Celtics’ propensity for falling into double-digit deficits and having entire quarters that provoke Lombardi-esque responses has been a problem all season long. However, I don’t think the Celtics need to do a whole lot to address this situation right now, as we kind of expected this before the season started, given the lack of experience on the C’s bench (and that was before Hayward got injured).
KYRIE IRVING FACTOR
On the floor, Boston has an offensive rating of 108.1 but falls to 97.5 when he’s off
Kyrie Irving has a lot of basketball gravity. That production difference is not from Kyrie’s scoring, it’s from what he does to the defense. When Kyrie’s got the ball, you’ve got five guys on the other team that all have to be thinking about him. And the more they have to worry about Kyrie, they less capacity they have to pay attention to the guy in front of them.
The Celtics, especially with Hayward out, need a healthy Kyrie to give Jaylen and Jayson room to operate.
NUMBER TWO SCORER NEEDED
You knew there would come a time in the season when not having Gordon Hayward around would be a major bummer…
Jaylen Brown has shown flashes of being capable of producing offensive explosions, but the second-year wing isn’t quite ready to take on that next-in-command load full-time. He averages 14.2 points per game which is second on the Celtics in scoring. Only three teams (Atlanta, Sacramento and Indiana) have a second-leading scorer who averages fewer points than Brown.
Okay, I disagree with this pretty strongly. The Celtics have won 34 games by having a balanced scoring attack outside of Kyrie. It is hardly reasonable to dismiss the evidence contained in 34 wins in order to focus on what happened with these two losses.
The lack of a definite number two scoring option is, for the Celtics, a huge advantage. Because they have three players (Tatum, Brown & Horford) who are each credible number two options.
In hockey, the goal of defense is to prevent scoring.
In baseball, the goal of defense is to prevent scoring.
In football, the goal of defense is to prevent scoring.
In basketball, the goal of defense is to limit scoring. You’re flat out not going to prevent it.
The best way of limiting scoring is by forcing the offense to do one of two things: (1) Make their best player shoot from his least successful location(s) or (2) Give the easiest shot to their worst player.
With teams that have obvious number two scoring threats, a skilled defense focuses on limiting those two players.
When a team like Boston has three potential number two options, you cannot limit all of them, and therefore the number two scoring option in any game is not going to be who Boston wants it to be, it’s going to be who the defense allows it to be.
That’s why Boston doesn’t have an obvious number two player in the points department: Because they’re going to let the defense pick which of Horford, Tatum or Brown are going to do the scoring that night.
The rest of the links
MassLive Boston Celtics news: Jaylen Brown thrilled about invitation to speak on education, social justice issues at Harvard | Boston Celtics rumors: Jarell Eddie, G-League sharpshooter, signing 10-day contract