Meet the New New Cavs Big Three
What a week this has been in the NBA, especially if you're a Cleveland Cavaliers fan. With what happened with the team in the beginning of the new year, this week the Cavs became very active in the NBA landscape.
Remember at the beginning of the season when the Cleveland Cavaliers assembled what was considered to be the new “Big 3” in PG Kyrie Irving, the resigning of the Cavs’ original golden boy, SF LeBron James, and trading for the big-time big man in PF Kevin Love. Fans as well as members of the media were already picking the Cavs as the favorite to not just win the Eastern Conference but the NBA Championship. Well things did not exactly go as planned as the Cavs a 19-18 record in the Central Division, 6.5 games back of the 25-12 Chicago Bulls. But the biggest monkey wrench thrown into the works was a knee injury to LeBron that has sidelined him for a couple of weeks.
So in order to patch the leaky holes in their sinking ship, the Cavs made two big trades this week. On Monday, they first made a three-team trade with the New York Knicks and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Cavs shipped SG Dion Waters to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a protected 2015 first round pick. Then they shipped two reserve players (PF Louis Amundson & C Alex Kirk) and a 2019 second round pick to the New York Knicks for SG/SF Iman Shumpert & SG/SF J.R. Smith. Then this past Wednesday, the Cavs made another trade with the Denver Nuggets. The Cavs sent their recently acquired protected 2015 first round pick plus another one (acquired back in 2013 from the Memphis Grizzlies) in exchange for Nuggets C Timofey Mozgov.
When you breakdown these trades, you can see that they both benefit the Cavs greatly. With the Monday 3-team trade, the Cavs were able to receive a stout defender in Shumpert plus a viable scorer in J.R. Smith who can come off the bench. Then with the Mozgov trade, the Cavs got a big man who can rebound and block shots in the key. So who knows what the rest of the season holds for the Cavs. But with the trade deadline coming up in the next month, who’s to say the Cavs are done making moves.
Nope, this is not referred to the assault rifle. Rather it’s to the player which that nickname (yes, it’s a nickname surprisingly enough) belongs to: F Andrei Kirilenko. Back on December 11th, Kirilenko was dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers from the Brookyln Nets, along with PG Jorge Guiterrez, a 2020 second round pick and cash consideration, in exchange for PF Brandon Davies.
However since the completion of the trade, Kirilenko has not reported or been in contact with the 76ers. Then on Friday, January 9, the 76ers have suspended Kirilenko for failing to report to his team. Because of the suspension, Kirilenko will not be receiving any income from the $3.3 million he is due to make this season. To throw an even bigger twist into the whole scenario, there are reports that Kirilenko did not want to join the 76ers was because he wanted to be closer to his family (Kirilenko has not played since November 11 due to family matters).
Regardless of the situation, the 76ers do not plan to release the player known as “AK-47” as of this moment. But until he suits up in a 76ers uniform this season, Kirilenko could kiss that $3.3 million salary good bye.
Nope, they’re still voting on which players will make the cut. Instead, the NBA came out this past Wednesday to announce the lineup of events that will be taking palce during All-Star weekend. This time around, the All-Star Games is going to be played at the Mecca of Basketball, the world famous and the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
First the weekend kicks off on Friday night, February 13, with the Sprint Celebrity Game at 7 p.m. ET where you’ll see some of the popular entertainers as well as past and present athletes square off with one another. Then following that will be the BBVA Risings Stars Challenge at 9 p.m. ET where the NBA’s 2015 rookie class lace up against the NBA 2015 sophomore class.
The action still continues on Saturday, February 14, with a marathon of skill events over at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET. First up is the Shooting Stars where teams consisted of current NBA players, NBA legends, and WBNA players compete in timed competitions of short and long-range shooting prowess. Then next is the Taco Bell Skills Challenge right after that as the NBA’s top guards compete in two-round timed obstacle courses that is made up of dribbling, passing, and shooting stations. After that are two timeless events that have always been a part of All-Star Weekend. Up first is the Foot Locker Three-Point contest where we see the NBA’s best three point shooters try to sink the most 3-pointers in a timed limit. Then it’s the fan favorite Sprite Slam Dunk contest where NBA players take flight and wow the masses with skill, elegance, and rim-rocking slams.
Then finally, All-Star Weekend concludes on Sunday, February 15, with the 64th NBA All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden. Tip off will be at 8:30 p.m. ET. So if you want your favorite NBA player to get in on all this action, you better start voting now and often.
Finally, I would like to give my condolences both to the Scott family and Tarpley family for their losses. This past Sunday, fomer ESPN Sportscenter caster and NBA analysts Stuart Scott past away at the age of 49 after a long bout with cancer. He brought an urban flare as well as a charismatic energy that drew in the younger crowds, such as myself, to tune in every night to Sportscenter. Then this past Friday, former Dallas Mavericks big man Roy Tarpley, passed away in a Dallas hospital at the age of 50. Tarpley played with the Mavericks from 1986 to 1995. During that time, he averaged a double-double in 4 consecutive seasons (1987-1991). However he developed a substance abuse problem during his career and was suspended multiple times, including missing 3 entire seasons (1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94). Thoughts and prayers are with both families and may they get through these tough times in one piece.
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