Shootaround (Aug. 23) -- After much waiting, Cleveland Cavaliers pull off Kyrie Irving trade
This morning’s headlines:
- How Celtics-Cavs guard swap went down
- Report: Simmons cleared to resume full basketball activity
- Report: Winger accepts GM job with Clippers
What it took for Cavs to trade Irving — Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving’s wish was granted last night as he officially was dealt to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas and others. For weeks, talk had circulated about where Irving would land, which teams were in pursuit of him (there were many at times) and when the trigger would be pulled. ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin provides some insight into how the Irving trade went down:
The deal settled upon, nearly a month to the day since Koby Altman was named the team’s general manager, satisfied Cleveland’s short- and long-term goals of staying a championship contender in the now while saving for a rainy day in the future that could come pouring down in the summer of 2018 should LeBron James leave as a free agent.
Of course, the jewel of the trade in the Cavs’ eyes is the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first round pick — unprotected. That means if the Nets stink up the joint next season, Cleveland could end up with yet another No. 1 pick to use either to entice James to stay, or become the focal point of a franchise reset should James find somewhere new.
“Just felt right,” one Cavs front office source told ESPN when asked what finally led the team to settle on a deal with an Eastern Conference rival like Boston — the team they beat in the conference finals just months ago — after fielding phone calls from just about every team in the league inquiring about Irving.
As the Cavs sat on Irving’s trade request for more than six weeks, the stalemate led some around the league to wonder if Cleveland was willing to enter into the 2017-18 season with the point guard still on the roster, hoping to mend fences. After all, one of Irving’s mentors, Kobe Bryant, requested a trade in the summer of 2007, only to remain with the Los Angeles Lakers and tack on two more championships and three more NBA Finals appearances. Multiple Cavs players told ESPN they hoped Irving would remain on the team, believing they could work out their differences like a family and have another crack at beating the Warriors together.
In recent weeks, that idea became unrealistic, as Irving let it be known that he would rather not report to training camp than begin another season with Cleveland, sources told ESPN.
The delay, it turns out, was fueled more by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s preference to land a “big name guy” — which Thomas is — and the reality that the Celtics, with president Danny Ainge’s war chest full of assets, always could offer the most compared to any other realistic trade partner, sources told ESPN.
If Thomas isn’t ready to go by opening night, Cleveland has another new point guard with an All-Star past on its roster in Derrick Rose, who will be jumping at the chance to start in his place. As much as the Cavs would have preferred to have a long-term commitment from James as they entered into this crucial offseason, two of the key pieces they’ve added around him in Rose and now Thomas actually fit into the high level of urgency surrounding James pending free agency.
James may need next season to leave a positive impression on Cleveland should he decide to finish his career elsewhere, but Rose and Thomas — both in contract years and looking to get paid — need the year just as much to show that they still deserve premium compensation in this league.
The winner of the trade won’t really reveal itself until the Celtics find out if Irving will indeed sign an extension in Boston in a couple of seasons, and until the Cavs find out if Thomas can return to form and how that Brooklyn pick ultimately plays out.
Report: Simmons cleared for full basketball activity — The Philadelphia 76ers and their faithful have been waiting since Draft night of 2016 to see what No. 1 pick Ben Simmons can do in a real NBA game. His 2016-17 season was cut short by a fractured right foot, but according to Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times, Simmons has been cleared to resume full basketball activity:
In the wake of Ben Simmons dominating a pickup game Monday night in his native Australia, some folks wondered if the 76ers had told Simmons he could participate in such a contest beforehand.
An NBA source said Tuesday that Simmons “has been cleared to resume full basketball activity for some time.” Simmons, who missed his NBA rookie season due to a fractured right foot, scored 34 points Monday, including 17 in the fourth quarter.
— Tom Moore (@TomMoorePhilly) August 22, 2017
The source said center Joel Embiid hasn’t been cleared for fullcourt scrimmaging “as of yet.” Embiid, who is from Cameroon, worked with children as part of the NBA Africa Game earlier this month, but didn’t play in the Aug. 5 game.
The talented Embiid missed the final 2½ months of the 2016-17 campaign with a torn left meniscus after sitting out his first two seasons because of a pair of right foot surgeries. He underwent what the team called “successful minor arthroscopic surgery” on March 24.
In a release sent out by the team at the time, 76ers director of performance research and development Dr. David T. Martin said the Sixers “anticipate he will resume basketball activities this summer.”
Report: Winger agrees to take Clippers’ GM job — The LA Clippers’ offseason front-office remodeling job has its first new face in the mix. According to ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Clippers have gotten an agreement from former Thunder executive Michael Winger to become the team’s new GM:
Oklahoma City Thunder executive Michael Winger has reached an agreement in principle to become the general manager of the LA Clippers, league sources told ESPN on Wednesday.
The Clippers offered Winger the job late last week, and the sides have agreed on terms for a multi-year contract.
Winger, an assistant general manager/team counsel for the Thunder, will report to Lawrence Frank, the Clippers’ new president of basketball operations.
The Clippers have revamped the franchise’s front office structure in recent weeks, with Doc Rivers returning to full-time coaching duties. The Clippers will also hire former Cleveland Cavaliers executive Trent Redden as an assistant general manager.
Winger, 37, has spent the past seven years with Oklahoma City, working closely with executive vice president/GM Sam Presti. He’s developed a reputation as one of the league’s most respected young executives.
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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Andrew Wiggins has reportedly left his agent, which may impact how quickly he signs a contract extension with Minnesota … Happy 39th Birthday to former All-Star and Lakers legend Kobe Bryant … Marreese Speights is still glowing over his offseason move to the Magic … The Pistons’ new court was laid out for the first time at Little Caesars Arena …