Welcome to the thirty-second installment of Right Down Euclid’s “Weekly Roundtable.” This Friday Jerry Bulone and Dan Pilar sit down and discuss the latest trending topics concerning your Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA. The combination of rotating RDE duos answer three questions regarding the hometown Wine and Gold and two questions surrounding the league.
Today the discussion revolves around Kyrie Irving’s impressive weekend, Cleveland’s ESPN game against the New Orleans Hornets, inactivity at the trade deadline and the losers and winners on Thursday.
First Question: What was Kyrie’s most impressive feat during All-Star weekend?
Jerry Bulone: I think it has to be the All-Star Game on Sunday. The biggest reason is that he seemed liked he belonged. The big stage as usual had no effect on him. While he did not technically “start,” he played starter minutes and played well. That’s a lot for a 20-year old in his second year to pull off, and Kyrie did it with ease. That’s more impressive than the Three-Point Contest victory because while I am glad he won the contest, but that is no indicator of his stardom. I mean Craig Hodges won the thing three straight times!
Dan Pilar: He certainly held his own during the All-Star Game. Like Jerry said, he didn’t receive a lot of minutes, but he did do a damn good job out their with the minutes he did receive. It just looked like he belonged out there, you know? And prior to that, so many players around the league were tweeting about him and mentioning him in interviews. The entire league – players, coaches, fans – now know what Irving is capable of.
Second Question: How did you think the Cavaliers performed on a national stage for the first time since LeBron’s return to Cleveland on TNT?
JB: I thought they performed well, and showed us they are right on track in this massive rebuilding process. Kyrie led the way (as usual), Tristan had his solid double-double performance and Waiters continued his nice shooting month in February. The bench didn’t play as well as it has been, but played good enough. I realize that the Cavaliers were at home and playing against one of the Western Conference’s worst teams, but I still think it was a good win. The Cavaliers are 8-6 in their last 14 games; the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer and closer with each game.
DP: It really felt great seeing them Wednesday night. All season the Cavs have played down to the level of their opponents, but against the Hornets they were able to get the win. Waiters really impressed me shooting, like he had all month. Tristan wasn’t great, but good enough down low to free up other players. Zeller is still struggling defensively, and Robin Lopez pointed that out. He continues to struggle with the transition from NCAA to NBA, but he’s going to be a great player for us one day I believe.
Third Question: Did you think there was a move for the Cavaliers to make before the trade deadline?
JB: Yes I do. I think the player the Rockets got from the Kings, Thomas Robinson, would have been a good pick up for the Cavaliers. I think Robinson is a good young player and the asking price was pretty low for a player drafted fifth overall this past year – right after Dion Waiters. This is usually the type of value Grant looks for. I also think they should have moved Speights. I understand he is playing well, but make no mistake that he will opt out of his contract, and will ask upwards of $8 million a year. I just don’t see the Cavaliers shelling that out for a backup forward.
DP: Man, the Sacramento Kings. Wow. I don’t know what to say about them. They drafted a player I thought they had no business drafting in the first place, and then they trade him away halfway through his rookie season. I’m so glad ownership is changing for the Kings because they are an embarrassment. But the Rockets are doing a great job at getting young talent via trades, and that is something that is hard to do with the new CBA in place. They have a pretty decent core of guys right now, but if they add some depth in the next year, I can see them competing for a four seed in the West.
Fourth Question: Which team was the biggest trade deadline winner?
JB: I think there is no true winner, but if I had to choose I would pick the Bucks by default. They got J.J. Redick who will provide some great shooting off the bench and can also provide as an insurance policy if the Bucks lose Monta Ellis in free agency this offseason. This move may not put them in the championship hunt, but they made themselves better, which is more than anyone else can say after yesterday’s deadline
DP: Yes, the Bucks did well. Not only J.J. Redick, but they got Gustavo Ayon, who is a talented second-year big man. I can’t say that Redick will stay in Milwaukee, but the likelihood of them keeping both Reddick and Ellis next year is unlikely. But I thought OKC did well. They shipped out a back-up point guard, Eric Maynor, for a second-round pick, and they dished another second-rounder to the Knicks for Ronnie Brewer. Brewer may not be a flashy pickup, but he adds depth to an already dominant team. I like that trade.
Fifth Question: Which team was the biggest trade deadline loser?
JB: I am going to say the NBA and us fans. You know it’s a bad day at the office when the big move was the Bucks acquiring Redick! All the talk of Josh Smith or Dwight Howard or any of Boston’s aging stars in the end was just that: talk. The inactivity in a sense was mind-boggling. I mean, most deadline trade talk doesn’t materialize, but for nothing to happen is pretty rare. Also, there is usually a surprise player, or surprising move, that happens right at the buzzer, but again: nothing.
DP: It was really an uneventful NBA trade deadline, but that means that the new CBA is working. The new CBA was put in place to prevent franchises like Miami from forming these “mega” teams. With the new luxury tax and cap rules, it isn’t as easy to make a deal like it was in the past. Yes, it sucks for the fans during this time, but it makes the NBA more competitive. So ipso facto, it’s good for the NBA and fans.
Make sure to check back next week to see what Jerry Bulone and Zak Kolesar have to debate at the “Weekly Roundtable.”