Cleveland Cavaliers Eye Kawhi Leonard in Trade

kawhi-leonard-cavs-1Kawhi Leonard has announced his desire to be traded from the San Antonio Spurs. Leonard’s trust in the team eroded during the 2017-18 campaign based on how they dealt with his quadriceps injury.

Many potential suitors are lining up to land the former Finals MVP. This includes the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are dangling what few assets they have in hopes of getting the superstar forward.

According to Cleveland.com, the Cavs have made calls to San Antonio in hopes of making a deal. This comes amid the uncertainty on what LeBron James will do in the offseason.

Can Cleveland Pull Off This Trade?

kawhi-leonard-cavs-2The problem for the Cavs is that they don’t have enough pieces to compete with Boston or the L.A. Lakers, both of which are rumored to be in the Kawhi sweepstakes.

They have All-Star forward Kevin Love, Brooklyn’s first-round pick (eighth overall), and a few young players. Love is the most-attractive piece here, but he also plays the same position as San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge.

That said, it’s hard to see Cleveland having enough to land Leonard, who, when healthy, is one of the league’s top-5 players.

Should Cleveland Even Try to Make This Deal?

Trading for Leonard now is tricky, because he has just one year on his contract. He’s most interested in playing for the Lakers. But if the Spurs trade him elsewhere, then it might just be a one-year rental.

Therefore, Cleveland needs a long-term commitment that Leonard would even be interested in re-signing. Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto highlighted the dangers in making this deal without a commitment:

“Trading for Leonard for one year with no commitment to his future is a risk for any team. Oklahoma City did that for Paul George, shipping Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to Indiana last summer. George had a year left on his contract. He said he wants to play in L.A. Oladipo and Sabonis have helped revive the Pacers and will be part of the team for the next few years.”

Another side to consider is if Leonard is truly over his quadriceps injury. L.A. is reportedly cautious on the deal, because they don’t know if he’ll be healthy. That said, Cleveland could make this deal only to end up in another Isaiah Thomas situation.

Why do the Cavs Want Leonard?

There’s a sense of mystery on why Cleveland is so interested in Leonard. Is it because they want to bolster their roster in a last-ditch attempt to keep LeBron. Or are they simply hoping to be competitive after he leaves?

The latter makes little sense, considering that the Cavs would have to give up a major piece(s) just to get Leonard. But adding him alongside LeBron could make them stronger contenders to dethrone the Golden State Warriors. They’ll also have to stave off an improved Boston Celtics team in the East.

Germany’s Loss to Mexico Shows Difficulty of Repeating as World Cup Champs

germany-mexico-world-cupGermany comes into the 2018 World Cup looking to defend their title. But they’ve gotten off to a rocky start in their quest to do so.

The Germans lost to Mexico 1-0 in Sunday’s match. This puts Germany last in their group, and they’ll need at least a win and a draw in their next two matches.

Many expect the Germans to still make it out of Group F — despite it being considered the 2018 Cup’s “Group of Death.” But if they don’t advance far in the World Cup, then they won’t be the first defending champion to do so.

Let’s look at how poorly some recent champions have fared in trying to repeat as champs. Also keep in mind that you can bet on World Cup matches and futures here at GTBets.

No World Cup Champ has Defended Their Title in 56 Years

germany-mexico-world-cup-1Pele’s Brazilian team beat Czechoslovakia in the 1962 World Cup, thus defending their title from 1958. Little did Pele know that his squad would be the last to do so for the next five-plus decades.

Defending champs haven’t just failed to repeat since then —they’ve actually done badly. This is especially the case in recent years, with the 2010 and 2014 champions going out in the group stage.

Germany coach Joachim Low believes that his team is different, saying, “That shouldn’t happen to us.” But recent history doesn’t inspire much confidence in this statement.

Their loss to Mexico puts Germany’s backs to the wall. They play a tough Sweden squad, which is leading Group F after a victory over South Korea. And the South Koreans don’t have a bad team either, ranking 57th in the world.

A Look Back at Previous Defending Champs

Here’s the history on how defending World Cup winners have done in their repeat attempts since Brazil defended in 1962:

1966, Brazil – Pele and the Brazilians tried for no. 3 in a row. But their star was hurt in an opening win over Bulgaria. They lost their next two matches against Hungary and Portugal to go out in the group stage.

1970, England – After defeating West Germany to win the 1966 World Cup, England once again faced their nemesis in the 1970 Cup final. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but lost 3-2 in overtime.

1974, Brazil – The Brazilians barely made it out of the group round. Their World Cup ended in the second round (four-team round robin) with a defining 2-0 defeat to the Netherlands.

1978, West Germany – The West Germans made it out of the first group stage. But they lost all of their second-round group matches against Austria, Italy, and the Netherlands.

1982, Argentina – Diego Maradona’s debut at the World Cup didn’t necessarily mark success. Argentina advanced out of the group stage. However, they lost in the second round group stage with defeats to Brazil and Italy.

1986, Italy – This year marked the World Cup’s switch to a single-elimination format after first-round group play. Italy finished second in their group and were defeated by France in the Round of 16.

1990, Argentina – Maradona led his team to the 1986 Cup title. He nearly did it again in 1990, but was denied with a 1-0 loss to Germany in the final.

1994, Germany – This German team lost 2-1 in the quarterfinals to Bulgaria. Later, coach Berti Vogts would say his squad “wasn’t a true team.”

1998, Brazil – The Brazilians made it to the final against host country France. But Ronaldo got sick before the match and played poorly en route to a 3-0 loss.

2002, France – After the upset victory over Brazil on their home soil, the French were a huge letdown four years later. They failed to score a single goal in group play and were bounced with losses to Denmark and Senegal.

2006, Brazil – This year marked a replay of the 1998 Cup Final. France’s Thierry Henry netted the winner that stopped Brazil short on yet another repeat attempt.

2010, Italy – A loss to Slovakia, and draws to Paraguay and South Africa ensured that Italy didn’t make it out of group play.

2014, Spain – La Roja had a horrible start after losing 5-1 to the Netherlands. A 2-0 loss to Chile in the next match sealed their fate. The Spaniards at least went out with a 3-0 victory over Australia.