Tristan Thompson the Key to Cleveland’s Success?

The postseason makes it a habit of highlighting the big play of hustle players and the big failures of superstars. For the Cleveland Cavaliers the biggest name to emerge for them was not LeBron James (we know who he is) but Tristan Thompson. Thompson was close to a double double machine for the Cavs during the regular season but spotty playing opportunities limited his chances to actually produce in a meaningful way. During the regular season, in 82 games, Thompson averaged 9 points and 8 boards. In the playoffs with Kevin Love sidelined Thompson would average over 40 minutes per game while leading the team in rebounding. As a result, the 4th year youngster is getting paid.

So many times we will see young players shrink under the pressure of the NBA Finals. Yet, against the Golden State Warriors and their hyper focused small ball attack we saw Thompson average 12 points and 13 boards per game while shooting 53% from the floor. Thompson showed up big time against Golden State and Cavs management couldn’t ignore that from the Canadian import who went 4th overall in 2011.

Yahoo!Finance reports so Cleveland decided to make Tristan Thompson a priority, banking on what he did as a a precursor of his future output. After all, if Thompson can succeed in the Finals then living up to his new contract shouldn’t be hard. IT didn’t hurt that Thompson shares an agent with LeBron James.

Kevin Love: Let’s Finish What We Started.

The hottest buzz this free agency period in the NBA has been concerned with what Kevin Love was going to do said Ivan Ong. Love had a predictably rocky first season with the Cavaliers and we say predictably because big men always struggle with LeBron James, at least for awhile. We saw that it took Chris Bosh awhile to get acclimated to his new role as the third wheel but he eventually got there. So it surprised us more than a little bit to hear Kevin Love quickly re-commit to Cleveland without even sitting down with other teams.

Before Love announced that he would be coming back to Cleveland to “finish what they started”, he had more than a couple of good reasons to ditch the team. Coach Blatt had made it a routine to bench him in the fourth quarter, he was getting up barely more shots than JR Smith, and his rebounding was taking a big hit thanks to LeBron’s shameless stat padding.

Aside from all the negatives, Love had many big name franchises begging for his services with blank checks, ready to pay him whatever he wanted. Yet Love stayed solid and refused to back down from his commitment to Cleveland. Love told reporters that he just “wants to help his guys win” and you know what, we believe him. After years losing in Minnesota, Love is smartly picking the winning way this time around.

Spurs Re-Sign Green, Trade Splitter, and Pursue Aldridge

According to Yahoo Sports, the San Antonio Spurs are making some off-season waves. The Spurs have agreed to the maximum allowable contract for Kawhi Leonard (although it has not been signed yet), signed Danny Green to a good for the Spurs deal of $45 million for 4 years (even though other teams courted him), and are expected to keep Tim Duncan out of retirement with a deal that is favorable for the Spurs. They may also get a bargain rate for Manu Ginobili if he decides not to retire. They traded Tiago Splitter to get rid of his contract and clear salary space. Now the Spurs are in a position to pursue LaMarcus Aldridge, one of the premier free agents this off-season, and have a legitimate chance to land him. Fans like Sam Tabar know that the Spurs have the money, but they also still have the key players from their last championship. If Aldridge signs with the Spurs, which it looks like he may do, they are a danger to any other team in the league. The Spurs designed their team so that contracts would expire at the same time so that they could sign and keep their hot players, and so they could pursue a big name free agent if one was available. If LaMarcus signs with the Spurs it could mean that Leonard and Aldridge are the new faces of the franchise.

Monta On His Way?

Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis is a free-agent this summer and is engaged in serious discussion with the Indiana Pacers. It looks as if his time in Dallas will be done, when Ellis decided to opt-out of his contract in June it made it an unlikely scenario for him to resign with the Mavs. This is sad news to some Mavericks fans, who although they did not experience the success they had hoped for over the last two seasons, did see the potential excellence that Ellis provides at guard. His speed and explosiveness were an exciting compliment to the aging Dirk Nowitzki. If the team was able to form a better defense around them they could have been a championship partnership. However, Doe Deere understands that injuries and other issues held them back and led to Dallas’ first round exit from the playoffs.

The Pacers, who missed the playoffs last season, still have a talented roster and could be contenders in the Eastern conference with some effective moves this off season. The addition of Ellis would bolster Indiana’s back court and give them another scorer to go along with rising star Paul George.

Chicago Blackhawks Begin to Blow up Roster.

The Chicago Blackhawks are one of the rare franchises that seems able to blow up their roster after every championship and not really miss a step. The Blackhawks have been winning Stanley Cups every other season for the past six years and Chicago fans would likely be fine with that trend going forward. Jettisoning good players has been a part of the NHL salary cap system for awhile, but you never want to give up elite young talent. Unfortunately Chicago just dealt one of their premier young players in Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Saad is only 22 years old and he is coming off of a 52 goal, 74 point season with the Blackhawks. Set to become a restricted free agent, the Blackhawks had made resigning him a priority in their book. Fans like Brad Refiler know that unfortunately it appears that Saad wanted more money than Chicago was willing to pay and this forced them to deal the player while they could still get something for him. Saad and teammate Alex Broadhurst were dealt for Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp and an additional fourth round draft pick.

Artem Anisimov is likely the biggest name that Chicago is getting back and they’ll focus on signing him to an extension, the other players will likely see little ice time. Anisimov is a 6’4 player that specializes in the penalty kill, something the Blackhawks have had major issues with these past few years.

Free Agent Frenzy

July 1st has hit and the NBA free agency is underway. The NBA off season is one of the most exciting parts in sports today. The moves and contracts that are made in just a couple of days can completely change the face of the NBA. One of the biggest moves in recent history was Lebron James deciding to take his talents back home to Cleveland, Ohio. While he is staying put this summer, there are still many big names out there that may be on the move.

The biggest name might be Lamarcus Aldrige. Aldrige gave his former team, the Portland Trailblazers notice that he is most likely not going to return. Your text to link…. To find his new home he has meetings setup this week with the Rockets, Mavericks, Spurs, Knicks, Raptors, as he just finished his first meeting with the Lakers last night. Another marque free agent that may be on the move is Detroit Pistons center, Greg Monroe. According to Facebook Monroe has been getting a little impatient in Detroit and wants to go to a contending team. He will also be meeting with the Trailblazers, Lakers, and Knicks.

While there may be plenty of players looking to jump ship there are also ones who are coming close to resigning with their same teams. Your text to link…. Kevin Love is a name that comes to mind. He is a free agent this year, but will most likely resign with the title contending Cavaliers. Another big name is Marc Gasol. Gasol has been loyal and content in Memphis and plans on going nowhere this summer.

DeAndre Jordan Visiting Several Teams

DeAndre Jordan will be one of the most sought after players when free agency opens on July 1. The Los Angeles Clippers Center, despite having problems making free throws, will be visiting several teams including the Lakers. Jordan was selected All-NBA Third Team and is only 26 years-old. The big man will likely get a max contract with someone but the big question is who.

Broderick Turner, reporter for the Los Angeles Times, stated that Jordan has three teams besides the Clippers interested in him and that he will visit all three teams and give the Clippers the last shot at signing him. Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant has reportedly already called Jordan to try and get him to play with the Lakers.

The New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks, and the Dallas mavericks are all interest in Jordan. The clippers however are in the best position to sign Jordan. He is currently on the team and plays an important role. Brad Reifler suggested that he also has some very good players on the court with him in Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. The Clippers also had a pretty good season last year and finish just behind the NBA Champions the Golden State Warriors in the standings. All of the teams interested can offer Jordan something different. Where he decides to go will be an indication of the direction he wants he career to go over the next several years.

Is Aldridge Headed Home?

NBA free agent LaMarcus Aldridge is one of the most sought after free agents this summer. The San Antonio Spurs will take their shot at persuading him to join their roster when they meet this week. Though San Antonio is not a premiere city like some of Aldridge’s other options: Houston, Dallas, and LA; the Spurs are a premiere franchise. Coach Greg Popovich and the long time trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili have amassed an incredible record together. Although they exited the playoffs in the first round this year, they are only one year removed from a championship. It is almost a guarantee that if Aldridge goes to San Antonio he is going to win a lot of basketball games. But, there are a number of factors that Keith knows will surely play into his decision beyond just the team’s recent successes, one of those being an opportunity to return home. Even if he doesn’t end up with the Spurs, the chances that LaMarcus Aldridge is a Texas resident next year are high. He grew up in Dallas and went to school at the University of Texas in Austin. All of the Texas teams look to be championship caliber next season and he could find a welcome return to the Lone Star State with any of the three. For now, the suiting carries on and many teams remain in suspense, waiting to see if this superstar will choose them.

LaMarcus Aldridge Ponders Future After Portland.

According to Zeca Oliveira, LaMarcus Aldridge, or LMA for short, is probably one of the most underrated big men in the entire NBA. Aldridge has the ability to rebound, defend, spot up, post up, and even stretch the floor with his mid range jumper. For all of those abilities Portland still hasn’t been able to seriously contend in the playoffs with him as their franchise icon. Aldridge also feels frustrated by Portland as a franchise and so it makes sense that the two would part ways. Now Aldridge is looking at an uncertain future.

Sources close to Aldridge have already claimed, with certainty, that a reuniting sequence of events to bring Aldridge back to Portland is almost impossible. According to these same sources New York Knick’s Carmelo Anthony has already started ringing Aldridge up. Though Aldridge would fit in wonderfully in New York, right now it appears that the big man is looking at Los Angeles and Houston.

The Lakers are a team in full on rebuilding mode and they look to have enough money to bring in a guy like Aldridge while keeping things simply. Aldridge would join Kobe Bryant, for at least a few years, alongside new draftee D’Angelo Russel and second year youngster Julius Randle. That could looks good today and for years down the road and it could be enough to convince Aldridge to risk L.A. and give the silver and purple a shot. We’ll see, however.

Bo Ryan Leaves a Legacy Behind

Bo Ryan is going to retire after spending years as the head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers basketball team. He’ll coach the next season before he calls it quits. Ryan is in his late 60s right now.

While Wisconsin fans are bound to be sad about the news, they should really be happy that Ryan is going to stick around this year. He almost retired at the end of last year, when his team was beaten by Duke for the national title. However, some people close to him told him not to retire right at the end of the year. Coaches are often worn out then, especially after a run like Ryan had, so retirement sounds nice. In a few months, it may not be looked at the same way.

Ryan is going to leave a legacy behind. Doe Deere pointed out that Ryan has won more than 70 percent of his games. He’s never missed the NCAA tournament. While Wisconsin never became as prolific as Kansas, Duke or Kentucky, he made them excellent year in and year out, and they were a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten. He changed the face of Badger basketball forever.

The real shame here is that he did not manage to win the national title and then retire. That would have been far more poetic and fitting. However, those types of endings only happen in movies, and Ryan should be proud of all he’s done.