When big news breaks in the NBA, the Right Down Euclid staff is here to provide expert analysis on story lines that are debate-filled. In this edition of “Countertop Conversation,” Co-Editor Zachary Kolesar and staff writers Trevor Magnotti and Kevin Stankiewicz will be discussing some of the big offseason stories for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Zak Kolesar: I thought at first that it might have been someone trolling me on my Twitter timeline, but when I noticed that initially the Cavs official website listed Tyrone Corbin as the greatest player to don the No. 23 Wine and Gold jersey, I thought to myself, “How childish.” It’s not often that we get to discuss journalistic values here on Right Down Euclid, but I think as an official NBA website you have to take your business seriously and put fan bias aside. As deliverers of the news, our job is to be as accurate as we can be. This poor decision was laughed about all over the interwebs, so if that was the mission, then their goal was accomplished.
Trevor Magnotti: The relationship between Cleveland and LeBron James is by far the most bizarre in sports. I don’t understand how a city can be incredibly bitter about something that happened THREE YEARS AGO to the point that he’s treated like Voldemort with “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” discussion. If that weren’t ridiculous enough, fans also are simultaneously clamoring for the Return of the King That Will Never Happen next summer. Seriously? That makes no sense to me whatsoever. It’s like someone whose significant other broke up with them and three years later is engaged but still talks about their ex all the time. Yes, he was great. Yes, the way he left was terrible. However, that doesn’t mean you need to cling like this. He may have been a 10, but just appreciate the time you spent together, move on, and enjoy the perfectly good 8 you’re currently dating (Kyrie Irving). My name is Trevor Magnotti, and I’m here to be your Dr. Phil, Cleveland fans.
Kevin Stankiewicz: I can’t believe the Cavaliers would stoop that low. Considering he is your all-time leading scorer and led you to the franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals Birth, I do not think there is any question regarding him being the greatest player to ever wear No. 23 for the Wine and Gold. Zak, to your point, I could not agree more. This is the official website of the team and they must have better judgment than this. The King’s cloud will always hang over the franchise unless they acknowledge his greatest instead of acting like he never existed. Shame on them.
ZK: So we can all agree that the Cavs’ website made a bad ethical judgment; good. With that said, let’s move on to the next order of business: the return of Andrew Bynum. Lately news has floated around coach Mike Brown’s camp that Bynum would not be ready to play by the first preseason contest and will most likely not appear in any preseason games in October. Personally, I think that as a team watching over a potential franchise star, you have to be precautious. I don’t think seeing Bynum in preseason is extremely important, but I don’t want to be sitting two months into the season without seeing our prized offseason center. Sooner rather than later, but I’m not too concerned about not hearing that he won’t see too much action in the preseason.
TM: At this point in his career, preseason shouldn’t mean anything to Andrew Bynum. With his knees the way they are, you can’t waste basketball mileage on games that don’t mean anything. Also, Bynum is talented enough that I don’t think he is going to need a whole lot of time to get comfortable in the Cavs offense. I expect Andrew Bynum to play in exactly zero preseason games and will actually be slightly upset if he does play. Also, I’d go as far as to say that a meaningless regular season game will not see an Andrew Bynum appearance. This team is good enough to handle a random weeknight game at Philadelphia without Bynum, and I’d expect this conservative approach to really benefit Bynum’s health.
KS: I agree with both of you gentleman. I would be upset if late December was the first time we saw Bynum. But in the same token, I would not rush. Preseason is even less meaningful in the NBA than it is in the NFL. There is no sense in risking his long-term wellbeing this season by having him play against the Bobcats on Oct. 15th in Canton. And with what Trevor suggested, I would love to see Mike Brown explore the route of sitting Bynum out during meaningless games. This reminds me of an approach Greg Popovich has taken in recent years with Tim Duncan. This has been effective in keeping Duncan fresh throughout the course of the 82-game season and I would love to see this tried out with Bynum.
ZK: Very good second point to the conversation, Kevin. With media day wrapped up for the Cavaliers camp, I want to make the last point about our fearless leader — Kyrie Irving. Jeff recently wrote a post on how Kyrie is the exact model of a leader that we want to build a team around. Do you guys agree with this point or have you not seen enough of Irving to judge his leadership skills yet?
TM; Kyrie’s saying all the right things around this time that you like to hear going into the season. He seems committed to not only giving his all for the team, but making sure he does what he can to lift his teammates as well. Kyrie isn’t exactly the most vocal on-court player, but that is where Tristan Thompson comes in. Thompson showed real leadership potential at the end of last season, being the glue that tried its damndest to keep the team from dissolving. If Kyrie and Thompson can take a two-man approach to the leadership aspect of the team, with guys like Anderson Varejao providing guidance as well, the Cavs will be fine.
KS: Yeah, I tend to agree with Trevor. Kyrie is not the most vocal leader out there, but he sure does lead by example. Some would argue that you need a vocal leader in the fourth quarter, but Kyrie does it by example. We saw it on numerous occasions throughout his first two seasons when he would take over games in crunch time. We need leaders by example first and foremost. Anderson Varejeo, Mike Brown and others are there to provide the leadership vocally.