Welcome to the third installment of Right Down Euclid’s “Weekly Roundtable.” Every Friday Chris Manning and I sit down and discuss the latest trending topics concerning your Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA. We answer three questions concerning the hometown Wine and Gold and two questions surrounding the league.
Today we will be discussing the latest media attention that Kyrie Irving has been receiving, Andrew Bynum trade rumors, concerns about Dion Waiters’ summer league play, best free agent acquisitions this week and an under-23 Olympic team.
First Question: What do you think of Kyrie Irving’s recent media attention concerning his Olympic play, a bet with Kobe Bryant and how he injured his hand during summer league practice?
Zachary Kolesar: Irving has created quite the stir this past week, but the most important story surrounding the Cavaliers point guard to me has to be how he performed on the Olympic select team. Yes, Irving hitting his hand on a padded wall out of frustration at a summer league practice in Las Vegas causing him to break a bone in his right hand is definitely bizarre, but there is not much concern there after the point guard successfully underwent surgery on Wednesday. A video surfaced online of Irving showing off his impressive handling skills, dipping and dodging through the likes of James Harden and Kevin Durant. Irving’s play was so notable that Team USA officials are already saying that Irving could be at the helm of the men’s team in Brazil come the summer of 2016.
Chris Manning: On the former, I love that Kyrie is putting himself out there. That fact that he’s challenging Kobe is awesome, even if it’s not likely that he’d beat the Black Mamba one-on-one. Along with his hilarious Uncle Drew Spots, this is the second time Kyrie has put himself out there, and then garnered media attention in a matter of months. He’s a emerging star, and while he’ll ever become a popular is LeBron was, he could easily become the face of all Cleveland sports. As for the latter, it’s a shame that he injured his hand, and it’s even worse that he did it by punching a wall. It is an accident, though, and considering he’ll be back before the season, the injury isn’t that big of a deal. Let’s just hope that injuries do not plague his career. After all, this is Kyrie’s third major injury in three years.
Second Question: Would the Cavaliers be making the right choice in trading for Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum?
ZK: Although a trade between the Cavaliers, Lakers and Orlando Magic is not imminent, there are definitely enough rumors floating around for us to discuss the possibility of Bynum coming to Cleveland as an impact player. Right now the 24-year-old center is a fourth option in Los Angeles behind Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash and he has made comments on how he wants to be the type of player that the responsibility of winning or losing a ring lands on him. I would prefer not to give up Anderson Varejao to land Bynum, but it would go along with the young core Cleveland is trying to build. If Bynum commits to the team long term, then I would definitely sign him up, but other than that I think we have a good thing going with Tyler Zeller.
CM: Depends on the deal. If they have to give up Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson, then I say no. Giving up a guy who averages a double-double and a the future of the four position is too much to give up. But if they give up Thompson and picks only, then I say pull the trigger. Getting Andrew Bynum would be a huge coupe, as legit centers are hard to come by. The other disclaimer I have about this trade is making sure Bynum is signed long-term. Without a set deal in place, then this deal cannot be agreed on.
Third Question: Dion Waiters had a very impressive showing during the Cavaliers summer league so far. What worries you the most?
ZK: Although head coach Byron Scott mentioned how Waiters needs to drop 10 pounds, I don’t think his weight (listed at 215 pounds) concerns me the most. His shot selection, however, was very poor in the three summer league games he appeared in. He sat out the final two games of the exhibition series due to a sore knee. Waiters hardly went to the hole and settled for a lot of outside shot, shooting at a 30.0 percent clip. His form is not quite there yet, but there is no need for alarm. It’s only summer league and Waiters didn’t work out for one team during pre-draft workouts. Look for him to be in tip-top shape come training camp in September.
CM: Waiters being in playing shape is my biggest concern. I’m expecting him to be playing 25-30 minutes a game, and he doesn’t seem like he’s ready to do that right now. To play for Byron Scott, a player needs to be in shape. Coach Scott is known to ride his players hard, and make sure they’re in excellent shape. His game should short itself out, but if he has no gas tank, then he’s pretty worthless. For the Cavs sake, let’s hope Waiters knows he has to get in shape.
Fourth Question: What was the best free agent acquisition this week around the NBA?
ZK: After losing out on some big name free agents this summer, the Dallas Mavericks landed shooting guard O.J. Mayo who spent the first four seasons of his career with the Memphis Grizzlies. In the last eight days the Mavericks acquired center Chris Kaman, forward Elton Brand, two guard Dahntay Jones and point guard Darren Collison. Adding Mayo along with the cast of other role-playing free agents was big for the Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki. Mayo has expressed interest in playing point as well, making his value to the Mavs that much greater.
CM: I loved Antwan Jamison signing with L.A. He’s a savvy veteran who has put up 20 and 8 consistently in his career. He also signed cheap, which makes the deal even better. Coupled with the acquisition of Steve Nash, this move makes the Lakers a contender. They’re deep, and I think they’re right up there with the Thunder and Spurs in the West. Right now, they’re my favorite in the West, and they have to be a favorite to win a title.
Fifth Question: Should the Olympic committee lower the Olympic basketball age limit to 23 years old and under?
ZK: Although I don’t agree with Kobe on a lot of things, I have to take his side on this argument. David Stern’s proposed 23-and-under age limit that he would place on the Olympic basketball team to preserve the health of veteran NBA stars, who went down often last season in a condensed 66-game schedule, does not make much sense at all. This would give some players the possibility of playing in the Olympics for Team USA only once (or twice) in their lifetime. Some players who develop into stars later on in their career would miss out on the wonderful opportunity of representing their country in the Olympic games.
CM: No. David Stern’s push to implement this is ridiculous. Why should he limit a player to one or maybe two Olympic appearances? His argument that it protects wear and tear is ridiculous. Kobe Bryant said it best: every player is going to be active in the offseason, so why not have them watched by real coaches instead of playing in rec with some random guys? I’m not in favor of that rule at all.
Make sure to check back next week to see what Chris Manning and Zachary Kolesar have to discuss at the “Weekly Roundtable.”