NBA AM: Kyrie Irving Committed To Cavs
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Some News And Notes: The lull after free agency has started to set in. Team USA’s minicamp in Las Vegas is the only real news happening around the league, but given how many guys are in Vegas competing for a chance to represent Team USA in the World Games next year, there is no shortage of chatter.
Irving Committed To Cleveland: To say the Cleveland Cavaliers felt the proverbial floor creaking under their feet was an understatement. They will surely never admit to having concerns about Kyrie Irving, but the writing was on the wall. Last season Irving started checking out; his frustrations were evident and there was growing doubt that unless the ship turned pretty quickly, keeping Irving in Cleveland long-term might become a problem.
When you look at the moves the Cavaliers made – firing Byron Scott, drafting some duplicate talent to create depth, spending on complimentary free agents that can contribute and, of course, gambling on Andrew Bynum – there is a win-now attitude being installed in Cleveland and much of that was done at the behest of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, because he knows all too well that stars in the NBA won’t tolerate losing for long.
Irving is in Las Vegas as part of Team USA’s minicamp, and was swamped by reporters asking about the rumors of his unhappiness.
Irving told HOOPSWORLD’s Yannis Koutroupis that he understood being the face of the franchise comes with rumors.
“It is a lot of pressure; a lot rumors. It comes with it,” Irving said. “That kind of stuff you just can’t worry about. It just comes with it; it comes with the territory. I kind of deflected it, that’s what you have to do. I’m happy to be to a Cleveland Cavalier. I’m a Cleveland Cavalier for as long as they want me there, that’s going to continue to be my journey.”
Irving is also pleased with the additions that the Cavs have made this offseason.
“They bring that veteran leadership that we needed over the past years,” Irving said. “We’ve had veterans, but the kinds of guys that were in different positions in their careers; now that we have veteran leadership and guys that can lead, myself and our young core that we have, we can accomplish something great. That’s what we needed on our team, winners.”
The Cavaliers won 24 games last season and just 21 the season before. The message from Cavaliers’ ownership was clear – The Cavs need to be in the postseason this year, and it’s clear they have been aggressive in trying to reach that goal.
Wall Nears Max Extension: Word from Washington is that the Wizards and point guard John Wall are nearing a five-year, $80 million contract extension.
Once complete, Wall will receive the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement and become the Wizards’ “designated” player, a designation that insures him a fifth year on his new deal.
The Wizards and Wall were never at odds on the value of his extension – what’s remaining is the actual details of the contract language, which is expected in the coming days.
Wall has had a significant voice in the Wizards’ offseason moves and continues to be actively consulted in shaping next season’s squad.
The Wizards became a different team with Wall on the floor last year, going 24-25 (.510) after his return from injury in January.
Wall missed 33 games last season and 16 games the season prior.
The Wizards and Wall have until October 31 to finalize his extension in order to avoid free agency next July.
Memphis Deep In The Value Bin: The Memphis Grizzlies were a pretty solid team coming into the offseason, however without a lot of fanfare, the Grizz have added to their depth in several interesting ways including some gems in the draft and some smart free agent moves.
Yesterday, free agent guard Mike Miller chose the Grizzlies over the Oklahoma City Thunder with reports saying he felt Memphis is closer to a Finals run than the Thunder and he might have a case.
The Grizzlies re-signed free agent Tony Allen, will return Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley. They have also added Nick Calathes (draft rights obtained from Dallas for a second-round pick), Jamaal Franklin (obtained in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft), Kostas Koufos (obtained in trade from Denver for Darrell Arthur), Janis Timma (2013 second round pick), Josh Akognon (claimed off of waivers) and Mike Miller (signed a two-year deal).
The Grizzlies get dinged a little on the coaching front, but what gets lost in the pro-Lionel Hollins debate is that fact that new head coach Dave Joerger has been with the Grizzlies since 2007 and has been the lead defensive coach for the team for a number of years. In 2011, Joerger was named lead assistant, so it’s not as if this is a random guy off the street. Joerger has been a core guy for the Grizzlies for several years and has a long history with all of his veteran players.
Lakers Rounding Out Roster: The Los Angeles Lakers have not been overly active in free agency, scooping up veterans like Nick Young, Wes Johnson and Jordan Farmar on the cheap.
As things stand today, the Lakers have 11 guaranteed contracts on the roster and are planning to bring several more veterans to training camp including guys like Shawne Williams and possibly Summer League stand out Chris Douglas-Roberts.
Sources close to the process say the Lakers might add one more guy before camp, but that their plan is to keep some roster room open in hopes of luring some talented guys that fall through the crack to L.A. because they have roster spots. The Lakers have expressed interest in Austin Daye and watched him work out on Wednesday, so he may be the one more guy added to the roster.
The Lakers won’t be big spenders, but they will have roster spots and that can be currency in its own right, especially for guys who want to play in Los Angeles.
The Lakers are currently sitting on $76.437 million in salary commitments, which puts them $4.68 million over the 2013-14 luxury tax line.
There has been talk that the Lakers would like to move off a salary or two to get under the tax line, but that’s not something that has to happen until the February 20 trade deadline.
We Want To Know:
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