Tag Archives: Andrew Bynum

Your 2018 Eastern Conference Champions…

This article is dedicated to myself for giving my heart and soul to the Sixers even though I’ll be getting nothing in return for a couple years. Also, to the recently released Sixer Chris Johnson, because we all know he never had a shot…pour one out for the homie.

Flashback to Draft Night 2013

The Philadelphia 76ers are coming off an abysmal and disappointing season which ended in the firing of head coach/broadcaster extraordinaire Doug Collins and the release of President and acting GM Rod Thorn. We legit had Thorn running this team in the front office and Doug Collins slowly dissipating any chemistry left on the floor. What’s even more absurd is that as a fan, this duo was actually creating a sense of optimism for the franchise the previous two years. Seems silly right?

Oh yeah, one more thing. We had that whole Andrew Bynum trade really not work out in our favor. We dealt our franchise player (if you can call Andre Iguodala one) as well as the walking double-double Nikola Vucevic. I absolutely was in love with Vucevic when he was a Sixer, such a rare type of talent at the center position, and Doug Collins didn’t even put his ass on the floor during the playoffs. Sorry, just letting out some frustration. I think throughout this article you’ll notice I will do that. As a Sixers fan releasing pent up negative energy in a healthy way is step one in the twelve steps to admitting you’re a Sixers fan.

To sum this digression up: Andrew Bynum while with the Sixers played 0 games and averaged 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 0 blocks per game. In comes the dark and mysterious figure that is general manager Sam Hinkie. To be honest, I knew very little about Hinkie when he was hired as GM. I knew he came from the Rockets organization and he was very into analytics. He also wasn’t Rod Thorn so Hinkie had that going for him. I was on board.

So back to Brooklyn and the Barclays Center. Typically an NBA franchise that has recently fired their head coach hires a new one before an important event like the draft. But obviously the Sixers are no typical franchise with Hinkie at the helm. Sam Hinkie legitimately didn’t care who the future coach would be; this draft was all his. Now obviously the Sixers ownership is involved, but they have basically given Hinkie the only keys to the castle. He makes every decision and the only one that he answers to is god; and even god is like “dude, whatever you gotta do to make this Sixers team competitive is alright with me…”

The Sixers roster before the draft featured a bunch guys with mediocre skills. It was non-descript to say the least. But we had one silver lining and that was 23 year old All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday. He seemed like a legit building block and a guy Hinkie would be able to put pieces around and go forward wi…..and he’s gone! While everyone was salivating at the prospect of Anthony Davis and Nerlens Noel playing alongside each other in New Orleans and blocking around 35 shots a game, Hinkie was behind closed doors dealing for the injured Kentucky product (Noel) as well as a future first round pick.

There was a lot of discrepancy in the reporting of this deal during draft night. While all of the facts were being sorted out, the Sixers were on the clock and had selected Syracuse point guard and future rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams, aka MCW, aka “the Sultan of Steals”, aka “the Prime Minister of Passing” (none of these other nicknames have stuck like MCW unfortunately). After the selection of MCW this basically confirmed that Jrue Holiday was on the move. I had trouble wrestling with this new direction Hinkie was steering us in. But the team was going nowhere and had zero shot of winning anything with just Jrue Holiday, and while the concept of bottoming out and possibly getting Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker was appealing, it was a long way away from next year’s draft.

MCW-and-Noel

By the end of the night I was on board and fully immersed in what I refer to as “Hinkieball”. It’s like “moneyball” except completely different and not involving baseball. Hinkie had completely changed the course of the franchise for the better in about 15 minutes. 15 minutes! That’s a fourth of an episode of Homeland! Hinkie moved Jrue Holiday for what would have been the #1 overall pick if healthy (Noel) and a top three protected first rounder next year from the Pelicans in addition to completely overhauling the cap situation. At the end of the 2013-14 season they had an astounding $36 million available. Teams would kill for a cap situation this good. Literally, Mitch Kupchak would go out on a murdering spree in LA right now to give the Lakers just half as good a cap situation as Hinkie has gotten for the Sixers.

So finally the 2013-14 season is upon us. Sixers fans are ready for the tanking extravaganza to begin. We have our several boxes of tissues to wipe away tears that we were to experience in the upcoming months. We also have our slop buckets to collect all the vomit induced from the sickening feeling of watching Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes take a combined 50 shots a game. I actually want you to keep reading so I’m not going to go into actual detail about the Sixers 2013-14 season.

2013 sixers

Here are the highlights:

  • We beat Miami in the season opener and MCW locked up the rookie of the year award on day one of the season. (Editor’s note: also this. Fuck this.)
  • Sam Hinkie acquired every second round pick in the next three NBA drafts at the trade deadline.

…..and that’s about it.

Also just for a good laugh here are some actual guys who appeared in a Sixers uniform last season.

  • Daniel Orton
  • Lorenzo Brown
  • James Nunnally
  • Adonis Thomas
  • Darius Johnson-Odom

Those five guys could play against you and some friends in pickup ball at the local JCC and you’d probably only lose by a couple buckets.

Finally, last season was the most awkward I have ever felt about the game of basketball in my life and I wouldn’t wish that kind of suffering upon any of my enemies. It was just weird watching a bunch of not-quite fringe NBA players play bad basketball and hoping that they lose night in and night out. It’s hard to sit there and root for your team to lose, but that was truly the only way to get better. It was also the first time as a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan where losing was not only tolerated but encouraged. It’s crazy to think that this little middle-aged white guy from Houston had completely mesmerized a city that is known to have no patience and is absolutely heartless when it comes to their sports teams’ successes or failures. (Obligatory cliché “snowballs at Santa Claus” joke).  But for real, we threw batteries at J.D. Drew for saying he didn’t want to play here. We’re the craziest fan base in the whole world and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it.

Anyway we won 19 games last season and finished with the second best odds at landing the #1 pick in June in addition to the Pelicans pick, which ended up being #10 overall. This was going swimmingly for Hinkie and the front office. Sixers fans could finally see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. We ended up landing the third pick, which locked us in at getting Wiggins, Parker, or Embiid. All three of those guys would excite the fan base and reinvigorate the team. Then the Joel Embiid injury threw the whole top of the draft for a loop. Was there a real possibility that the Sixers would take a flyer on an injured big man and sit him for the entire season? I truly couldn’t fathom going through another year like the last.

So obviously and without hesitation, Sam Hinkie took Joel Embiid and put a dagger through the heart of every Sixers fan. To add insult to injury, he traded for Dario Saric and stashed him away overseas, thus twisting the dagger that he had already thrust inside us. What everyone wanted to believe was a one year rebuilding plan ended up being a multiyear process. After hundreds of expletives hurled by me at friends, family, religious statues, and TV media personalities, I finally began to cope with what was going on with my beloved Sixers franchise. In one year Sam Hinkie had gathered a pretty impressive stock. Four top twelve picks (MCW, Noel, Embiid, Saric), approximately $35-40 million in cap flexibility, and the likelihood of gathering another top three pick in 2015. He also acquired Joel Embiid’s Twitter handle, which has been All-Star caliber. The dude hits up Kim Kardashian and Rihanna on Twitter just because. As far as I’m concerned, Joel is the man and we all wish him a speedy recovery.

This brings us into the present and the 2014-15 Sixers squad. It’s definitely been easier to mentally prepare for this current season then it was for last. I’m used to seeing just terrible basketball run across my TV screen, but now it’s being brought to an all-time low. Last year, miraculously we won 19 games. This was largely due to having a combination of Turner, Hawes, Thad Young, and MCW. After Turner and Hawes were dealt at the deadline the team began to plummet down the standings. Not because they were great players, but because instead of acceptable NBA players taking 15-20 shots each a game; those shots were replaced by the likes of Casper Ware and Byron Mullens. This year, the Sixers have no decent veterans who can average 12-15 points a game. This is the reason they are without a win 10 games into the season.

Reasons-The-Sixers-Will-Still-Be-Terrible-Justin-Ford-USA-TODAY-Sports
via Rantsports 

This was the Sixers 2014 opening night starting lineup:

  • PG Tony Wroten
  • SG Chris Johnson
  • SF Hollis Thompson
  • PF Nerlens Noel
  • C Henry Sims

Seriously, this is no misprint. These guys can all call themselves NBA starters. I mentioned above that Chris Johnson was let go, and this is no accident, he really is a dreadful player. Johnson was brought into training camp one week before the season started. The Sixers roster is so pitiful this year, that Brett Brown legit had no other options at the two guard spot but to start a guy who just joined the team a week ago.

This whole scenario is so so sad. The Sixers are not guilty of tanking, as much as obliterating any chance possibly winning basketball games. The Sixers are comprised of MCW, Nerlens, and the longest list of D-list celebrity NCAA players who you may or may not remember when they were on a team that was a 12 seed in the tournament. However, second round pick K.J. McDaniels has been a true bright spot for the team and could actually be an integral part of this Sixers team in the future. Early reports on Nerlens Noel are good as well. He obviously needs to develop his body and gain weight and muscle, but his defensive skills are evident and he and Embiid in the frontcourt are not going to be a friendly sight for opponents in the future.

But why be on board with Sam Hinkie and the direction the franchise is going? Is it because we have no other choice and that believing in something is better than not believing at all? I think that’s true for the most part, but I also do personally believe in this plan. Having beyond awful basketball for the next two to three years is a fair sacrifice so that the Sixers are able to prosper for the next ten years after. I also believe in Brett Brown as a head coach. He’s coaching a bunch of college level guys and trying to get them to play together and improve on a night-to-night basis. His record as a coach is not even close to a direct correlation for the caliber of coach he will become when there is finally a real NBA team in front of him. Right now it’s really no fun being a Sixers fan. But if I had the chance to go back to draft night 2013 and stop Sam Hinkie from trading Jrue Holiday and dismantling the franchise I love so dearly; 100 out of 100 times I’m letting him dial up the Pelicans and make that deal.

Keep calm and Hinkie on my fellow Sixer fans, greener pastures are coming.

@jeff_berest

Deng Trade A Victory For Chicago

luol-deng-trade-target

Lets begin the breakdown of this big trade by quickly looking at the actual components of the trade, which are tricky in their own right to understand for a casual fan.

Cavaliers receive Luol Deng

(That’s the easy part)

Bulls receive Andrew Bynum, the right to swap picks with the Cavaliers in 2015, unless the Cavs pick is 1-14 (lottery protected),the Kings’ first round pick, which is top 12 protected this year and top 10 protected the next three years, and two future second round picks from the Trail Blazers

Allow me to give a little detail on these assets. First, the Bulls are expected to waive Bynum immediately. The troubled big man is on a unique contract where only $6 million is guaranteed, but if he is still on the roster after January 7th he receives an additional $6 million. The Bulls have no intention of dealing out that type of cash for a guy who doesn’t seem interested in playing professional basketball at a high level.

I predict that the Bulls will exercise the option to swap picks with Cleveland next year. I know this is probably bad luck to say, but next season with a healthy Rose and a solid supporting cast (which I will address later on here), the Bulls should have a better record than the Cavs. But at the same time, the East is still likely to be pathetic next season and the Cavaliers have a good shot of making a run into the postseason in 2015.

That Kings pick will likely not be utilized in this loaded 2014 draft as the Kings, currently 10-22, will probably not climb out of the bottom 12 in the standings this season. But this is a franchise that has come under new ownership and has already shown a willingness to be aggressive. With Rudy Gay, Isaiah Thomas and DeMarcus Cousins, this Kings team may find itself outside of the top 10 next season, which would give the Bulls an extra first rounder.

Those 2015 and 2016 second rounders from Portland may seem insignificant, and they probably are, but as I talked about over the summer, stockpiling second round picks can have a potentially huge benefit for a team in terms of cap flexibility and having valuable trade assets.

So what does this all mean for the Bulls?

Well for one thing this trade must be considered a massive win for the franchise. This was a team that, even with Deng, was headed for the lottery. The best case scenario for the Bulls this season would have been a first round slaughtering at the hands of either Miami or Indiana. Trading Deng officially signals the waving of the white flag for this 2013-14 squad. Bring on the tanking.

People who may be confused by the Bulls’ unwillingness to take a flyer on Bynum need to understand that this was purely a cost-cutting move by the Bulls. By trading Deng and waving Bynum, the Bulls are saving themselves about $15 million dollars this year. They are able to get under the luxury tax threshold, a big deal for Jerry Reinsdorf. Had the Bulls paid the tax this year, it would have started the clock on them for the incredibly horrible repeater tax penalty. If you are curious what that last sentence means, click here because I don’t feel like explaining it but trust me this move is big time for the Bulls financially.

The real reason this deal was a victory for the Bulls is that Deng simply was not going to resign here this summer. According to sources inside the team, the Bulls and Deng had been quietly negotiating a contract extension. Deng’s camp reportedly turned down a 3 year/$30 million dollar deal. Deng and his representatives reportedly were asking for $14-15 million a year, a justifiable price for a two time All-Star who is only 28 years old.

But the Bulls know better than anyone that Deng’s best days are likely behind him. Having spent the last few years being treated like the Energizer Bunny by Tom Thibodeau, Deng is just not worth that kind of extension. All those minutes will eventually catch up with Deng. For all the cries of Luol being a true warrior, there’s only so many NBA minutes a body can handle and Deng is likely approaching his limit.

The bottom line is that instead of Luol Deng walking away this summer for nothing in return, the Bulls were able to clean up their cap sheet while acquiring valuable assets in draft picks.

I’ve seen on Twitter that some people are concerned that this trade will alienate coach Thibs and Derrick Rose, two relentless competitors who will wonder why the team just shipped off its starting small forward for no immediate on court help. Rose has been very open and honest about his feelings on rebuilding, but it should not be too hard for the pair to see the long term benefits of this move. The Deng trade foreshadows some future personnel moves that this team is going to make.

First, with Carlos Boozer heading into the last year of his contract next year, the Bulls will probably amnesty the power forward. With only one year left on the deal the dollar figure is finally something that Reinsdorf can swallow.  With both Deng and Boozer off the books, the Bulls will be able to pursue a free agent in what is going to be an absolutely loaded class of guys.

The trade also means that the Bulls, who sucked already, are now going to REALLY suck. They’re going to suck their way into a lottery pick of what is being called the best draft since 2003.

The 2014-15 Bulls will potentially consist of Rose-Noah-Gibson-Butler-Mirotic-Lottery Pick X-Free Agent X, a core that is good enough to challenge anyone in the East let alone the whole NBA. Rose and Thibs love Deng, as all true Bulls fans do, but they will understand that this trade does not mean the team is taking on a rebuilding project the size of the ones going on in Utah and Philly.

The Bulls can also use this trade to further develop the young assets that are already on the roster. Jimmy Butler can move back to small forward, his natural position. Tony Snell, who has showed brief flashes of potential, will get the chance to play a lot of minutes for this now shorthanded Bulls wing. And maybe even Marquis Teague will rejoin the team as he hasn’t even been getting big minutes over in the D-League.

So what’s left to root for this NBA season? There’s a couple of things.

First, root for the Kings. It’s completely unlikely, but if they can somehow right the sinking ship over in Sacto to the point of being mildly respectable, the Bulls would pick up another pick in this incredibly loaded draft.

Second, root for the Bobcats. Remember Tyrus Thomas? Well in case you forgot, when the Bulls traded him to the Bobcats they received a future first round pick which is top ten protected this season. That means that if the Bobcats pick falls anywhere between 11-30 it belongs to the Bulls.

Finally, root for Deng and the Cavs. Luol gave this franchise everything he had over the last nine years and I wish him nothing but the best in Cleveland this year and where ever he may be in the future. I hope he proves to be the missing ingredient for a promising-yet-disappointing Cavs team that has lacked both consistent play from the small forward spot and a positive veteran presence in the locker room.

Rose HaShanah: Derrick’s and other NBA Stars’ Hopes for the 2013-14 Season

Derrick-Rose

Hey Guys,

While the NBA regular season does not begin until late October, there are certainly a number of players who are trying to make amends for past disappointment.

Whether it’s playing for your next contract or just playing to recapture some pride, a new season always brings in a sense of innocent optimism.

In the spirit of the Jewish New Year, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some individuals who surely have something to prove in the upcoming 2013-14 campaign.

Rather than daydreaming in synagogue, I decided to compile this list for your enjoyment.

1375845868000-AP-Pistons-Jennings-Basketball-1308062325_4_3

5) Brandon Jennings: Detroit Pistons- While Jennings didn’t necessarily get the big deal he thought deserved, at least he got himself out of Milwaukee.  Bucking the trend of improving shooting percentages from year to year, Jennings saw his numbers plummet across the board in 2012-13.  Nevertheless, it wasn’t all his fault. Bucks management didn’t do him any favors when they brought Monta Ellis in from Golden State.  Albeit dynamic and athletic, the two guards stepped on each others’ toes and couldn’t mesh in Milwaukee.  In Detroit, Jennings has the likes of Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond to align forces.  Coupled with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on the perimeter, Jennings should have more structure in place in the Motor City.  Hopefully, Brandon will step up to the challenge and lead the Pistons back to the playoffs.

Screen-Shot-2013-07-10-at-8.54.28-PM

4) C Andrew Bynum: Cleveland Cavaliers- Needless to say, Bynum’s time with the Philadelphia 76ers was a complete waste of time for all parties involved.  Unable to find his way onto the hardwood, Bynum certainly didn’t receive his share of Brotherly Love from pissed-off Sixers fans.  Now supposedly healthy, Bynum signed a one year pact with a suddenly much-improved Cavs squad.  Whereas Philly was looking for Bynum to be the franchise’s savior, Bynum should just focus on staying on the court in Cleveland.  If he can do so, a squad also featuring Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Anthony Bennett can make some hay in a weak Eastern Conference this upcoming season.

nba_howard_kh_400

3) C Dwight Howard: Houston Rockets- While last year wasn’t as bad as the 2011-2012 “Dwightmare,” Howard’s time in the City of Angels was hardly heavenly.  Battling shoulder and back injuries for the duration of last season, Dwight was unable to play at full strength in his time in purple and gold.   Throw in the fact that he was ostracized in Head Coach Mike D’Antoni’s offensive schemes and you can see why Dwight bolted for H-Town this off-season.  Playing in Houston, Dwight will have the opportunity to be a focal point of the team’s offense as well as tandem with James Harden.  Look for Dwight to have a great season in the Lone Star State.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Minnesota Timberwolves

2) PF Kevin Love: Minnesota Timberwolves- Anytime David Kahn isn’t signing your paychecks anymore, one should celebrate.  For the Oregon native, there is certainly more to be optimistic about heading into this upcoming season.  For one, Love is healthy and slimmer.  Last season, Love was ravaged by both hand and knee injuries. Furthermore, the overall T-Wolves roster should be stronger.  With Ricky Rubio healthy, Nikola Pekovic resigned and Kevin Martin in town, I see Minnesota sneaking into the playoffs.  With Love’s future up in the air, GM Flip Saunders better hope Love and his teammates have a rebound season.

derrick-rose

1) Derrick Rose: Chicago Bulls- For Bulls fans’ sake, I hope he’s really back. While the Bulls were competitive this season, they didn’t necessarily intimidate opponents night in and night out.  Rather, they’d pester teams into taking bad shots and would eke out some disgusting victories.  With Rose back at the helm, Bulls fans hope the days of 78-73 games are over.  While many will question Rose’s rehab schedule, he can make his naysayers eat their respective words on October 29th in Miami.

A New Year signifies both the literal and figurative flipping of the calendar.  For many, the mere, physical act of seeing time elapse makes a player forget about his disappointments and shortcomings.

While I should probably be reflecting on my own shortcomings, I hope that you enjoyed this list and would love to hear who else you’re expecting to see bounce this upcoming season.

L’Shanah Tovah,

-Stav

Jump Ball: Injured Centers (POLL)

Oden may actually be back in the NBA very soon with this decision. (USATSI)

Three players that will undoubtedly generate a lot of buzz regardless of what they do on the court this season are Nerlens Noel, Greg Oden and Andrew Bynum. All are extremely talented seven foot centers with varying histories of major knee injuries. Noel, coming off a brutal ACL tear, is the youngest and probably the healthiest. Oden has only played 82 career games because of several surgeries while Bynum played as many games as Derrick Rose last year because of chronic issues in both knees. Noel will start his career as a 76er, whereas Bynum left Philly to help bring the Cavs back to prominence. Many are reporting that Greg Oden will choose a team next week. Regardless, it’s a fairly safe bet that at least one of these guys will be able to play 50+ games of high quality basketball season. So here’s our question to you, readers:

 

Buy em, Sell em, Hold em with the Stavster: Central Division (Part Deux)

Can Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond Revitalize Basketball in Detroit?
Can Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond Revitalize Basketball in Detroit?

Hey Guys,

I’ll skip my normal spew of warm-up bullshit because I assume you read my previous post.  One of the biggest reasons why I’m still writing for the site is because Bick and Jake let me write about things nobody cares about (ie. Boris Diaw’s family history, buying/selling imaginary NBA stock, etc.).

I look at my assignments as an opportunity to educate and entertain my loyal audience.  Today, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Anyways, let’s get on with the show.

P.S. Sorry for the spew of warm-up bullshit.

Milwaukee Bucks: Sell

Teams in the Eastern Conference are doing one of two things: 1) Trying to contend and actually put up a fight or 2) Completely jump ship and start over.  Naturally, the Bucks aren’t really doing either of those two things.

Their troubles started when they traded Lew Alcindor (editor’s note: that’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar!) to Los Angeles in 1975.  Half-kidding.  Joking aside, the organization has had a rough past 24 months to say the least.

In 2011-2012, the Bucks were actually a little bit interesting.  Brandon Jennings looked like he was taking the next step, Drew Gooden was shooting like 80% from the field and Ersan Ilyasova became a household fantasy name.

Then, management thought it was a good idea to deal for Monta Ellis.  They shipped former No.1 pick and oft-injured Andrew Bogut to Oakland for Ellis’ services.  That plan didn’t work out too kindly.

Throughout their season and a half together, the two proved that they could not co-exist in the backcourt.  Maybe because neither of them could make a jumper.

This was just the start of the treachery.  Milwaukee dealt Tobias Harris for a shitty couple months of J.J. Redick.  Harris proceeded to blossom in his first real opportunity with Orlando.

The Bucks proceeded to make a “splash” and sign Orange Juice Mayo and let Monta walk.  Stavi approved this one.

Last week, Milwaukee signed Jeff Teague to an offer-sheet.  Despite Teague’s best efforts, Atlanta matched the contract and the Bucks are now looking like Deer in the Headlights.

Similar to the Deer that’s about to be run over and splattered across your windshield (gross), they’ve got no plan.  They’ve alienated Brandon Jennings to the point where they need to get him out of town. They’re sitting on some decent big-man prospects in Henson and Sanders. For God’s sake, they let Mike Dunleavy walk!  There’s just no cohesion.  While I like buying a grab bag once in a while at a estate sale (Dave), there’s no point of sinking my money into this one.

Detroit Pistons: Buy

Last season, Bikshorn and I made a wager on the Pistons to win 30 or more games.  Naturally, they won 29 thanks to Andre Drummond taking a 20 game breather.  Like last year, I will be buying the Pistons again.

While the jury’s still out on what type of impact Josh Smith will make in Motown, I think that the combo of Drummond and Greg Monroe is too lethal not to take a chance.  In a league where size does matter, the Pistons have plenty of it.

In terms of the backcourt, I believe the return of Chauncey Billups to Detroit will reap major dividends.  Although he’s not the player he used to be, his experience will hopefully rub off on Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey (gasp).

Yes, I know management replaced Yid Lawrence Frank for Maurice Cheeks.  It’s a bummer, but the team clearly needed a facelift.  Gotta support MOTs (editor’s note: Men of the Tribe, or Jews).

On the whole, I don’t see the squad scoring a ton of points.  I think that they’ll grind out games by living in the paint.  It will be interesting to see if J-Smoove left his need to take jumpers in ATL.  If Smith has his heart set on winning, the Pistons could be a nice surprise in a weak Eastern Conference.

I’m thinking 43-39 this season.  Somebody’s gotta win the games the Celtics, Sixers, Magic, Bucks and Bobcats are trying to lose.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Buy

Speaking of facelifts, the Cavs have had quite the past 3 years.

1) That LeBron fellow flocked to South Beach, leaving the city of Cleveland in shambles.  Did you know that an entire city shuts down if their star player heads for the exits?  At least Detroit had the tanking of the auto industry as an excuse…

2) Cleveland proceeded to be terrible the following season so David Stern made things right and gave owner Dan Gilbert a consolation prize in Kyrie Irving.

3) The franchise drafted Thompson and Waiters in successive years, seeing moderate growth in the former during his second year of play.  Look for Waiters to make a considerable leap.

4) The Cavs shocked the world and selected PF Anthony Bennett, the most NBA-ready prospect, last month in this year’s NBA draft.

5) Last week, Cleveland inked highly-talented, oft-injured C Andrew Bynum to an incentive laden 2-year contract.

Let’s take a look at it from a different angle:

2009-2010 Starting Lineup: G Mo Williams, G Anthony Parker, F LeBron James, F Anderson Varejao, C Shaquille O’Neal

2013-2014 Projected Starting Lineup: G Kyrie Irving, G Dion Waiters, F Anthony Bennett, F Tristan Thompson, C Andrew Bynum

In a nutshell, the Cavs circumvented the need to rebuild at the same time as the rest of the Eastern Conference.  Now, they have a shot to bring some excitement back to C-Town regardless if LeBron returns (or not) next summer. I buy reversals as you guys know by now.

Thanks for reading,

Stav.