Cavaliers Rumors

John Beilein Not Expected To Coach Cavs Beyond This Season

John Beilein is not expected to remain the Cavaliers‘ head coach beyond the end of the 2019/20 season, according to a report from Shams Charania, Kelsey Russo, and Jason Lloyd of The Athletic.

The Athletic’s report indicates that the terms and timing of Beilein’s departure aren’t known, but “momentum is building toward his exit.” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst suggest (via Twitter) that the Cavs and Beilein have discussed the possibility of him stepping down during the All-Star break. Though no decision has been reached, it’s possible he has coached his last game for the Cavs, Woj adds (via Twitter).

According to Charania, Russo, and Lloyd, several factors are contributing to Beilein’s tenure in Cleveland likely coming to an early end after he signed a five-year contract with the team last spring. Beilein, a longtime college coach who joined the Cavaliers after a successful run at the University of Michigan, hasn’t fully adjusted to or gotten comfortable with the NBA, people with knowledge of the situation tell The Athletic.

His son Patrick Beilein’s resignation from his head coaching job at Niagara in October has also taken a toll on the Cavs’ coach, per The Athletic. The younger Beilein stepped down for personal reasons before coaching his first game at Niagara.

On- and off-court issues for the Cavaliers have piled up during Beilein’s first year as well. The club sits dead last in the Eastern Conference with a 14-40 mark, and a report in December suggested that Beilein’s coaching style was alienating some players. About a month later, the 67-year-old head coach was at the center of a mini-controversy when he reportedly told his players they were no longer playing “like a bunch of thugs.” Beilein said he had intended to say “slugs” and apologized to the team.

On top of all that, the Cavaliers have struggled this season to balance developing their young prospects with keeping their veteran players happy. Kevin Love has publicly expressed his frustration with the situation in Cleveland multiple times this season, and both Love and Tristan Thompson reportedly wanted to be moved before the trade deadline. Both players remain on the roster.

Since it sounds like Beilein’s departure – if and when it happens – will be mutually agreed upon, the two sides may have to work out a buyout agreement of some sort — it seems unlikely that the Cavs will pay him for the next four years.

If Beilein steps down during the season, associate head coach J.B. Bickerstaff would likely be first in line to assume interim coaching duties, according to The Athletic. Charania, Russo, and Lloyd say that Bickerstaff would also be a strong candidate to become Cleveland’s next permanent head coach.

Bickerstaff has previously served as the head coach of the Rockets and Grizzlies. In both instances, he was an in-season replacement for a head coach who was fired, having succeeded Kevin McHale in Houston and David Fizdale in Memphis.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cavs Trade Away Tyler Cook's G League Rights

  • The Canton Charge and Oklahoma City Blue completed a trade sending Tyler Cook to the Thunder‘s G League affiliate and Vince Edwards to Cleveland’s NBAGL team (Twitter link). Both players have some NBA experience, with Cook having spent time with the Cavaliers this season on a two-way deal, a standard contract, and a pair of 10-day pacts.

Cavaliers Notes: Thompson, Drummond, Sexton, Altman

Tristan Thompson could help solve the Raptors‘ rebounding issues, but a buyout in Cleveland appears unlikely, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. The native Canadian is among 12 players averaging a double-double, with 11.8 PPG and 10.3 RPG. With an expiring contract, he was expected to moved before the deadline by the rebuilding Cavaliers, who snagged his replacement by trading for Andre Drummond.

However, a source tells Grange that neither side plans to pursue a buyout. The Cavs want to hold onto Thompson’s Bird rights for a potential sign-and-trade this summer, while the veteran center believes his best chance to secure a new contract above the mid-level exception is to play out his current deal.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • Drummond made two 3-pointers in his debut with the Cavaliers, more than in any of the 591 games he played for the Pistons, but coach John Beilein doesn’t sound ready to endorse the idea of Drummond as a long distance shooter, relays Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “When they go in, it’s always OK,” Beilein said. “But I think I have to understand who he is a little more. I know he had tried a few, he didn’t shoot any against us I don’t think in any of our games, but if you have a five that can shoot it, it does help a great deal. I think it’s still under some type of watch to see whether we’re going to continue to allow it.”
  • Even though he wasn’t an original choice for the Rising Stars game, the decision to have Collin Sexton replace Tyler Herro on the U.S. roster validates the progress he has made this season, Fedor adds in a separate story. Sexton has been the target of criticism since he came into the league, Fedor notes, and there were suggestions that the Cavaliers should try to trade him before last week’s deadline. However, Sexton has cut down on his turnovers and leads the team in scoring at 19.7 PPG, which ranks third among second-year players behind Trae Young and Luka Doncic.
  • Despite a 13-40 record, general manager Koby Altman tells Fedor he considers this season to be a success because of the development by Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. “If we’re gauging the success of those guys, I’m in a good space,” Altman said. “I’m excited about our future because of where they’ve come from Day One — first game of the season to where they are now and where they’re going.”

Cavs Notes: Drummond, Sexton, McKinnie, Bolden

Heading into the trade deadline, no Pistons player had been with the team longer than Reggie Jackson — except for Andre Drummond. So when Detroit swung a deal that sent Drummond to the Cavaliers, it made sense that Jackson would be among those most affected by the move.

“He was my best friend on the team and it’s been like that for five-and-a-half years. He acclimated me when I first got to Detroit and we built a great friendship and brotherhood,” Jackson said of Drummond, per Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “That’s my guy forever, so it was a tough day seeing he got traded to the Cavs but wishing him nothing but the best for him and his family.”

As Drummond gets acclimated to his new home in Cleveland, here are a few more Cavaliers-related notes:

  • Second-year Cavs guard Collin Sexton has been added to the U.S. roster for the Rising Stars game in Chicago this weekend, the league announced today. Sexton will replace Heat guard Tyler Herro, who is nursing a right foot injury.
  • Alfonzo McKinnie‘s new four-year contract with the Cavaliers includes a $1.5MM guaranteed salary for the 2019/20 season, according to Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights (Twitter link). That’s significantly more than the $623K McKinnie would have received had he signed a prorated minimum deal. And that’s likely a big reason why he was willing to tack on three team-friendly, non-guaranteed years at the minimum. Cleveland was able to exceed the minimum and go up to four years using the mid-level exception.
  • Following the expiration of his 10-day contract with the Cavaliers, Marques Bolden rejoined the team’s G League affiliate, the Canton Charge, per JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (Twitter link). Since Bolden just signed a single 10-day deal with Cleveland, he’d be eligible to sign a second one between now and the end of the regular season.

Forbes Releases 2020 NBA Franchise Valuations

The Knicks have had a miserable 12 months, finishing the 2018/19 season with a league-worst 17 wins, missing out on their top free agent targets, and then firing head coach David Fizdale and president of basketball operations Steve Mills during the 2019/20 season.

None of that seems to have had a noticeable impact on the team’s market value though. Once again, the franchise is considered the most valuable of any of the NBA’s 30 clubs, according to a report from Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. The Lakers and Warriors aren’t far behind, having both surpassed the $4 billion mark for the first time this year.

For the first time, all 30 NBA teams have a perceived worth of $1.3 billion or more, per Forbes’ annual report. Every team’s value increased by at least 6% since Forbes put out their 2019 valuations last February, with a handful of franchises jumping by 20% or more.

The NBA-wide average of $2.12 billion per team in 2020 is also a new record — that league-wide average surpassed the $2 billion mark for the first time. NBA franchise values are up almost sixfold over the last decade, according to Badenhausen.

Here’s the full list of NBA franchise valuations, per Forbes:

  1. New York Knicks: $4.6 billion
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: $4.4 billion
  3. Golden State Warriors: $4.3 billion
  4. Chicago Bulls: $3.2 billion
  5. Boston Celtics: $3.1 billion
  6. Los Angeles Clippers: $2.6 billion
  7. Brooklyn Nets: $2.5 billion
  8. Houston Rockets: $2.475 billion
  9. Dallas Mavericks: $2.4 billion
  10. Toronto Raptors: $2.1 billion
  11. Philadelphia 76ers: $2 billion
  12. Miami Heat: $1.95 billion
  13. Portland Trail Blazers: $1.85 billion
  14. San Antonio Spurs: $1.8 billion
  15. Sacramento Kings: $1.775 billion
  16. Washington Wizards: $1.75 billion
  17. Phoenix Suns: $1.625 billion
  18. Denver Nuggets: $1.6 billion
  19. Milwaukee Bucks: $1.58 billion
  20. Oklahoma City Thunder: $1.575 billion
  21. Utah Jazz: $1.55 billion
  22. Indiana Pacers: $1.525 billion
  23. Atlanta Hawks: $1.52 billion
  24. Cleveland Cavaliers: $1.51 billion
  25. Charlotte Hornets: $1.5 billion
  26. Detroit Pistons: $1.45 billion
  27. Orlando Magic: $1.43 billion
  28. Minnesota Timberwolves: $1.375 billion
  29. New Orleans Pelicans: $1.35 billion
  30. Memphis Grizzlies: $1.3 billion

The Raptors are among this year’s big “winners,” with their value rising 25%, from $1.675 billion a year ago to $2.1 billion this year following their first NBA championship. The Clippers also had a noteworthy bump, moving from ninth place on Forbes’ list to sixth after landing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George last summer.

Although every franchise’s value increased, the Nets had the smallest jump, just 6%. The Magic‘s modest 8% increase resulted in the team slipping from 23rd on last year’s list to 27th this year.

It’s worth noting that when a franchise has been sold in recent years, the price often exceeds Forbes’ valuation, so these figures are just estimates.

Cavs Sign Alfonzo McKinnie To Four-Year Contract

FEBRUARY 10: Alfonzo McKinnie will earn a $1.5MM salary for the remainder of the 2019/20 season, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Following this year, however, McKinnie’s deal through the 2022/23 season is non-guaranteed.

FEBRUARY 8: The signing is official, the team announced in a press release.

FEBRUARY 7: After signing him to a pair of 10-day contracts, the Cavaliers are bringing back swingman Alfonzo McKinnie on a multiyear deal, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Since Cleveland still has its mid-level exception available, the team has the ability to lock McKinnie up long-term and has opted to do so, according to Kelsey Russo of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the two sides agreed to a four-year deal worth $7.2MM. We’ll have to wait for the full details on that agreement, but it sounds like McKinnie may receive more than the prorated minimum this year. The later seasons almost certainly won’t be fully guaranteed.

McKinnie, who was a rotation player for the Warriors team that won the West last season, was the victim of a cap crunch in the fall and was beaten out by Marquese Chriss for Golden State’s final roster spot. McKinnie was claimed off waivers by the Cavaliers, who released him in January before his salary for 2019/20 could become fully guaranteed. However, he remained in Cleveland’s plans, signing those two 10-day deals before agreeing to a long-term contract today.

In 35 games (14.3 MPG) for the Cavaliers this season, McKinnie has averaged a modest 4.2 PPG and 2.9 RPG on .414/.222/.704 shooting. While he has struggled with his outside shot, the 27-year-old has performed well on the defensive end of the court.

USA Basketball Announces 44 Finalists For 2020 Olympic Roster

USA Basketball has formally announced a preliminary group of 44 players who are candidates to be part of the program’s roster for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The final roster will only consist of 12 players, so most of these finalists won’t actually play for Team USA at the Olympics. Some will likely withdraw from consideration, while others simply won’t make the final cut. However, these players have all expressed interest in being involved in the process.

“This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in Tokyo,” said USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo.

“… Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we’ll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics.”

Although the U.S. men’s team has won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, the program had a disappointing showing at last year’s World Cup, finishing in seventh place. Team USA will be looking for a bounce-back performance in Tokyo this summer, with many players from that World Cup squad among the 44 finalists announced today.

Here’s the full list of players who are candidates to play for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
  3. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  4. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  5. Devin Booker (Suns)
  6. Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
  7. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  8. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  9. Mike Conley (Jazz)
  10. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  11. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  12. DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
  13. Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
  14. Kevin Durant (Nets)
  15. Paul George (Clippers)
  16. Draymond Green (Warriors)
  17. James Harden (Rockets)
  18. Montrezl Harrell (Clippers)
  19. Joe Harris (Nets)
  20. Tobias Harris (76ers)
  21. Gordon Hayward (Celtics)
  22. Dwight Howard (Lakers)
  23. Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
  24. Kyrie Irving (Nets)
  25. LeBron James (Lakers)
  26. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  27. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  28. Damian Lillard (Blazers)
  29. Brook Lopez (Bucks)
  30. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  31. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  32. JaVale McGee (Lakers)
  33. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  35. Victor Oladipo (Pacers)
  36. Chris Paul (Thunder)
  37. Mason Plumlee (Nuggets)
  38. Marcus Smart (Celtics)
  39. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  40. Klay Thompson (Warriors)
  41. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  42. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  43. Russell Westbrook (Rockets)
  44. Derrick White (Spurs)

Scotto’s Latest: Gallinari, Nunn, Pacers, Nuggets, More

When the Thunder and Heat discussed a potential Danilo Gallinari trade leading up to last week’s deadline, James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Kendrick Nunn, and draft compensation were among the various assets that came up in talks, league sources tell Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report. Miami reportedly wanted to extend Gallinari’s contract as part of a deal, but couldn’t agree to terms with his camp, which is one main reason the trade didn’t happen.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote last week that he believed the Heat could’ve acquired Gallinari without surrendering any of their young players like Nunn. So even though his name came up in discussions, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Thunder would have insisted on his inclusion, depending on what other pieces were involved.

While Gallinari remained with the Thunder for this season, Scotto suggests the Heat and Knicks could be among his potential suitors this summer. Miami clearly has interest, and created some cap flexibility for 2020/21 by moving Johnson and Dion Waiters last week. New York, meanwhile, will have cap space and is hiring veteran CAA agent Leon Rose as its new president of basketball operations. Gallinari is a CAA client.

Here are a few more noteworthy tidbits from Scotto’s look at the post-deadline landscape:

  • The Knicks and Pacers discussed a possible Marcus Morris trade. According to Scotto, a package that featured Aaron Holiday, Doug McDermott, and T.J. Leaf was “briefly kicked around,” but didn’t end up going far.
  • McDermott’s name also came up in discussions about a potential Pacers trade with the Bucks involving Ersan Ilyasova, says Scotto. It’s not known which team initiated those talks.
  • Before the Cavaliers traded for Andre Drummond, they called the Pacers to ask about Myles Turner‘s availability, per Scotto. Indiana has remained firm on keeping Turner, though many executives expect the team to eventually break up its Turner/Domantas Sabonis frontcourt.
  • The Nuggets discussed the possibility of trading Gary Harris, Malik Beasley, and Juan Hernangomez as part of a package for Bulls guard Zach LaVine or Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, sources tell Scotto. New Orleans set a very high asking price for Holiday, while LaVine was said to be “off-limits” for Chicago, so Denver didn’t get far on either front.

Cavaliers Sign J.P. Macura, Malik Newman To 10-Day Deals

The Cavaliers have signed guards J.P. Macura and Malik Newman to 10-day contracts, the team announced in a press release.

The transactions bring Cleveland’s total roster count to 17 players, which includes Dean Wade and Matt Mooney on two-way contracts.

Macura, 24, has appeared in 32 games with Cleveland’s G League affiliate, the Canton Charge. He’s averaged 14.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists across those contests, playing 30.1 minutes per game.

Newman, 22, has appeared in 31 contests with Canton this season, holding per-game averages of 17.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 30.9 minutes. He also spent time with the team during summer league in 2019.

Cleveland was active around the trade deadline last week, trading for star center Andre Drummond while sending Brandon Knight, John Henson and a future second-round pick to Detroit. The team has upcoming games against the Clippers on Sunday and Hawks on Wednesday before the All-Star break.

Macura and Newman will both be eligible to play in three games over the course of their 10-day deals, with Cleveland also visiting Washington the Friday after All-Star Weekend.

Cavs Notes: Drummond, Thompson, Lue, Post-LeBron Era

Andre Drummond thought he was being pranked when he heard about the trade to the Cavaliers, but now he’s excited for the opportunity, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Drummond went through his first practice with the team yesterday and is expected to make his debut tonight.

“I was truly excited to be somewhere I’m wanted, really happy to start a new chapter here,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to being with the guys. I’m just looking forward to playing in a Cleveland Cavalier jersey. Everything happens for a reason. I look at it as a bright note for me, for my family to start somewhere new and be with a great group of guys.”

Drummond quickly acclimated himself to his new surroundings, Fedor states. His new teammates were welcoming, including Tristan Thompson, who will move to the bench as Drummond becomes the starting center.

“I’m not taking anybody’s job, I’m just here to play,” Drummond said. “I didn’t come here expecting anything. I’m just here to do my job, whatever they need me to do, I’ll get it done.”

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The chance to add Drummond didn’t arise until Wednesday night, Fedor relays in a separate story. Cavs general manager Koby Altman told his staff to think about it overnight, and the consensus was that the price — the expiring contracts of John Henson and Brandon Knight plus a future second-round pick — was too good to refuse. “I’m sure Detroit has a plan in place in terms of what they want to do either with their cap space or with their future trajectory as a franchise, but our job is to make sure we’re exploring every opportunity out there and making sure we’re doing what’s best for our franchise,” Altman said. “Adding a talent of this magnitude is something that we couldn’t pass up and he also fits our timeline in terms of his age — he’s 26 years old — so he fits with some of our younger guys.”
  • As Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue prepares to return to Cleveland tonight, he tells Joe Vardon of The Athletic that he wishes he could still be coaching the Cavaliers. “What I tried to build there, I think the culture I tried to set … I thought we could do it together,” Lue said. “Koby being a young GM, me being a young coach, having young players. I won a championship there, so you have a chance and an opportunity to do something different, and you should have that leeway to be able to go through a couple challenging years. To win a championship and go to the (NBA) Finals should buy you a little time, you would think.”
  • Jason Lloyd of The Athletic examines why the Cavs have struggled so much after losing LeBron James for a second time, when they were believed to be in a better position than in 2010.