Cleveland Cavaliers can’t make a Decision on moving Dion Waiters

dion-waiters-clevelandWe’re now just a couple of weeks away from the 2014 NBA trade deadline. And the Cleveland Cavaliers are one of the more likely teams to make a huge deal before the February 20th deadline. Going further, this could mean moving starting shooting guard Dion Waiters, whose attitude has apparently worn thin on teammates and coaches.

Despite his immaturity and clashes with team star Kyrie Irving, this is no easy decision for the Cavaliers. After all, they invested the fourth overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft on Waiters. It’s not like he’s been a bad player either, averaging 14.2 PPG and shooting 38.1% from beyond the three-point line. On top of this, owner Dan Gilbert also loves Waiters’ talent

So will Cleveland actually move a player who could bring them back something significant? Gilbert may not want to do this. However, the driving force behind getting rid of Waiters is the team’s record, which is a miserable 16-32. And shaking up the roster by trading their shooting guard could have a very positive effect on the Cavs.

dion-waiters-cleveland-1They were built to win this season and, at the very least, grab a playoff seed in the extremely weak Eastern Conference. Veterans like Andrew Bynum, Earl Clark, and Jarrett Jack were brought in to provide bench depth and experience on what was supposed to be a good team. The Bynum experiment blew up in the organization’s face, but he did serve a purpose since Cleveland was able to deal his expiring contract for two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng.

Unfortunately, not even Deng has been able to spark a turnaround with this struggling club. In fact, Deng seems repulsed by what he’s seen in Cleveland so far. He reportedly told a friend “the stuff going on in practice would never be tolerated by the coaching staff or the front office back in Chicago. It’s a mess.” Deng was particularly offended by how certain players talk to head coach Mike Brown, threaten not to play after halftime, and when Waiters was kicked out of practice, yet still played starter’s minutes in the next game.

The latter point is very telling of the root of Cleveland’s problems. Waiters seems to feel entitled and shows little respect for Brown. None of the players seem to have quite the star power to keep him in check either. Deng is new to this situation and is probably just trying to play out the season so he can leave in free agency, while Irving is an All-Star, but doesn’t yet have the accomplishments to help control a locker room.

Obviously the team that’s been assembled isn’t getting things done on the court. So Cleveland either needs to move Waiters while they have a chance, or accept another year without the postseason and look towards the draft…again.

Golden State Warriors complete Impressive Turnaround

stephen-curryLast week saw the Golden State Warriors eliminated from the NBA playoffs after losing to the Spurs in six games. And while the Warriors wanted desperately to beat San Antonio and advance to the Western Conference Finals, they can’t be too sad about the way things turned out.

This is especially true when you consider that Golden State’s young team went from a non-competitive 23-43 record in the lockout-shortened season to a 47-35 record in 2013. Thanks to a strong regular season effort, the Warriors had the opportunity to dismantle a heavily-favored Denver Nuggets team in the first round. They also gave the Spurs a run for their money, before succumbing to a rash of injuries and makeshift lineups.

So where does this put Golden State now? Well, according to general manager Bob Myers, the Warriors organization no longer has to chase pipe dreams and take incredible offseason risks just to be competitive. He said the following regarding the turnaround:

I think that sense of desperation has passed. I think that whereas when you’re trying to do anything to get over the hump you do sometimes chase things that may be difficult to acquire. Whereas now, doesn’t mean we’re satisfied, it doesn’t mean we think our work is through, but we can be prudent and patient with opportunities as they come along.

What’s the best word to describe a 180? People do enjoy watching this group of players play. They do enjoy watching our games on TV and seeing what the crowd brings. They do enjoy watching our coaches get the most out of the players we have. What does that say? Well, if you’re a player in the NBA and you’re witnessing all these things, it does make it a desirable place to go and be a part of.

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota TimberwolvesIf Myers sounds really confident, it’s because the talent that he’s assembled in Golden State gives him reason to be. First off, there is sharpshooter Stephen Curry, who averaged 22.9 PPG, 6.9 APG, 4.0 RPG and shot 45.3% from 3-point territory. Now he may not have had the best playoff series against San Antonio, but Curry will no doubt be better prepared next time around.

Then there is David Lee, who had one of his best seasons yet after averaging 18.5 PPG and 11.2 RPG during the regular season. They key for Lee will be getting healthy since he played sparingly in the San Antonio series and will soon undergo surgery to repair his torn right hip flexor.

Klay Thompson is yet another integral part of this ballculb. He combined with Curry to make Golden State a very dangerous team with his 40.1% shooting from 3-point land and 16.6 PPG.

From here, the Warriors have a roster full of strong role players and talented youngsters. Jarrett Jack (12.9PPG, 5.6APG) and Carl Landry (10.8PPG, 6.0RPG) provided big contributions last year and could do the same in 2014, if they’re re-signed.

klay-thompsonStarters Harrison Barnes (9.2PPG) and Andrew Bogut (7.7RPG, 1.72 BPG) will be back again next season. Golden State will be hoping to see Bogut on the floor more next year since he was injured throughout most of 2013. Rookie reserves Rookie reserves Draymond Green, Festus Ezeli and Kent Bazemore should also play prominent roles on next year’s team too.

Based on everybody that will be coming back in 2014, it’s easy to see why head coach Mark Jackson doesn’t want the roster to change much. “I don’t want to overreact because we had a great year. I want to build on it,” he said. ”This is a great offseason to challenge every one of them to come back better. And I’m excited about it. I have no problem coming back with the same group, but this is truly a business.”

The players are definitely in place for the Warriors next season. But the main thing will be ensuring that everybody is healthy when the postseason comes around. Curry (ankle), Lee (hip flexor) and Bogut (knee) all had their ailments last year. However, this core group needs to stay on the court in order for Golden State to make another great run in 2014.