Kevin Love to Cavs in place

It’s the worst-kept secret in sports, and now details are leaking out about the trade of Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers that will be announced later this month. Compensation will include Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a protected 2015 first-round draft pick. Minnesota will not be able to unload the J.J. Barea, Luc Mbah a Moute or Alexey Shved contracts in the deal. Also, Love will reportedly opt out of his contract in 2015 and re-sign with the Cavaliers with the terms including a five-year, $120 million-plus contract extension. I’m assuming this is just a verbal commitment, which could of course unravel, though it’s very likely Love will keep that commitment.

This will give the Cavs the next NBA “big-three” combo of Lebron, Love and Kyrie Irving, with young talents like Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson complimenting them along with veterans like Mike Miller and possibly Ray Allen. The only piece missing is a rim protector, but the Cavs have plenty of assets to make more moves.

It’s a calculated risk for the Cavs, and the fans in Cleveland are split a little on this one, as many want to see Wiggins develop into a superstar in Cleveland. But these opportunities rarely present themselves in the NBA, and the Cavs would be foolish to pass on Kevin Love. With Indiana facing a down year after the tragic Paul George injury, the path to the Finals in the East may be pretty easy for the Cavs. But you can’t take anything for granted in the NBA. It will take time for these three stars to mesh, but if they do this team can be a powerhouse.

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Cavs and Kyrie Irving stun Thunder

Kyrie Irving continues to make his case as one of the the best point guards in the NBA. Consistency and defense are still issues, but that’s true with most young players. Still, we’re seeing a player that is becoming a force in the NBA, and last night’s stunning Cavs win over Oklahoma City will raise even more eyebrows.

Great Ricky Rubio pass

Watch this and you’ll get an idea of why Ricky Rubio is creating so much buzz.

That said, Kyrie Irving is putting on a show in Cleveland and looks like a future all-star and Rookie of the Year candidate.

Hat Tip: Eddy Rivera

Five questions about the Cavs

Kyrie Irving stands with NBA Commissioner David Stern after being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft in Newark, New Jersey June 23, 2011. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

In dire need of NBA-related content, ESPN is running a series where they ask their blogger network to answer five questions about a specific team. I’m still waiting for my invite, so in the meantime, I’ll answer the five questions about the Cavs. Why the Cavs? Because that’s the favorite team of TSR’s owner, silly.

1. Who should start at PG for the Cavs?

Cleveland has three option with Kyrie Irving: 1) give him the keys immediately, and either bench Baron Davis or trade him, 2) let Davis tutor Irving, or 3) try to play the two together. I fully support option #1. Irving is going to go through some growing pains, but the more he plays the faster he’ll get up to speed. There’s no sense in stunting his growth or asking Davis to be a tutor, which is not something he’s suited for. If this were an affable elder statesman like Steve Nash or Jason Kidd, I could see doing the mentoring thing, but this is Baron Freaking Davis we’re talking about. Trade him.

2. Who should start at SF and PF for the Cavs?

The folks over at ESPN seem torn about whether or not to start Anderson Varejao at power forward, but to me he’s the best center on the team — why are you bringing him off the bench at PF? So then you have to decide between Antawn Jamison, Omri Casspi and Tristan Thompson. I’d give Jamison the veteran nod and let Casspi/Thompson battle it out for the other forward position or play the better matchup.

3. J.J. Hickson for Omri Casspi and a draft pick: Good trade or bad?

Let’s keep in mind that the draft pick that was included is lottery protected in 2012, top 13 protected in 2013, top 12 protected in 2014 and top 10 protected in 2015-2017. If, by 2017, the Cavs have not acquired the pick, they get the Kings’ second round pick. In other words, if the Kings continue to stink, this may end up being a Hickson-for-Casspi swap. But chances are Sacramento will have one good season in the next six and either make the playoffs or nearly make the playoffs. In that case, this pick could end up being in the #11-#16 range.

So is it a good trade? It depends on Casspi. Hickson showed some potential while in Cleveland but was deemed expendable once the Cavs went after Thompson, who is a rather raw (yet athletic) power forward. Casspi is a grinder who showed some flashes in his rookie season but didn’t get much run last year even though the Kings desperately needed good play at SF. If he thrives in Cleveland, this trade will work out, but as it stands, it doesn’t look good.

4. Are the Cavs on the right track or the wrong track?

It mostly depends on Irving. If he turns out to be the franchise point guard that most of us think he is, then they’re on the right track.

5. Can we talk about the Cavs without talking about LeBron James?

I did just that for four questions, but the short answer is “nope.” LeBron and the Cavs will forever be linked, and until the Cavs are once again a playoff team, we won’t be able to discuss them without thinking about LeBron and The Decision.

Scouting Report: Kyrie Irving

First, watch these highlights of Irving’s stint at Duke…

Irving reminds me a little of Chris Paul. He has that same speed and ball control, and while his vision may not be on par with Paul’s, it’s pretty close. He’s great on the break and does a nice job of making the right decision in transition or when he dribbles into the lane. He made 18-of-39 three-pointers (46%) while at Duke, which isn’t a huge sample size, but it appears that he has an NBA-ready jumper. He also nailed 90% of his free throws and shot a terrific 53% from the field.

NBADraft.net says Irving is “a facilitator who shows the ability to make those around him better … Great vision and passing skills … Great burst. Has the blow by speed to get past defenders off the dribble … Good decision maker. Looks to make the right play instead of always trying to dazzle.” Conversely, the site says that Irving’s durability is a concern and that he “could struggle with the transition to the NBA game with just 8 games of NCAA experience under his belt.”

Meanwhile, DraftExpress says that Irving is “not as blazingly fast with his first step as Derrick Rose, John Wall, or even Kemba Walker, Irving plays at a very unique pace that keeps defenses consistently off-balance and allows him to get to the basket seemingly whenever he needs to. Able to drive left or right almost equally well, he has excellent timing on his drives, very good body control, and the ability to operate at different speeds.”

It may take a while for Irving to mature into a franchise point guard, but he has all the tools to get there. The Cavs need a player to build around and Irving is that guy.

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