Cavs’ Outlaw on Mobley: ‘He’s extremely talented and has a lot of gifts’

Versatility: the quality or state of having many uses or being able to do many different kinds of things.

After two summer league games, versatility is the one thing we have seen out of the third overall pick in this year’s draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Evan Mobley. Against the Magic on Wednesday night, Mobley’s versatility was on full display.

The 7-footer had 14 points(5-15 FG, 1-3 3pt), seven rebounds, and six assists as the Cavaliers(1-1) defeated the Magic(1-1) 94-84 in Las Vegas. The fifth overall pick by the Magic, Jalen Suggs, led Orlando with 16 points, eight rebounds, and five assists.

Mobley scored in all different ways on Wednesday night. He scored in the post, midrange, and made a three. 

At times, Cleveland was running their offense through Mobley, and according to Cavs Summer League head coach J.J. Outlaw, while Mobley worked a lot from the left elbow, he can work from anywhere on the floor.

“He’s extremely talented and has a lot of gifts,” Outlaw said. “He’s good with the ball anywhere. I just wanted to make him as comfortable as possible when he got his touches.”

Mobley added: “I feel like my game is very playmaking, and I saw a lot of reads tonight; guys were cutting, and they were able to finish.”

Outlaw believes that the rookie will be a big part of what Cleveland does this season.

“He’s going to be an extremely integral piece for us throughout the season,” he said. “And his willingness to share the ball and then also be able to get his own shot when he wants it is extremely important.”

The 20-year-old Mobley oozes with potential. Although it’s only Summer League, and most of the guys he’s playing against won’t be in the NBA, you can see that he checks all the boxes.

Cleveland continues their Summer League schedule on Friday against the Pelicans.

Cavs’ Allen: ‘We have some really talented, young, and hungry players in this locker room’

The Cleveland Cavaliers have officially signed center Jarrett Allen, the team announced on Friday.

According to reports, it’s a five-year deal worth $100 million.

“We spent the last few years maintaining our financial and roster flexibility to put ourselves in a position to acquire and now re-sign a player of Jarrett’s caliber,” said Altman said via a press release. “Since his arrival, Jarrett has fit seamlessly into our culture, and almost instantly, he earned the respect of his coaches and teammates. We took another positive step forward in our pursuit of sustainable success with this signing, as we see Jarrett as an integral piece of our future moving forward.”

The 6-11 center was acquired from Brooklyn as part of a three-team trade back in January. Last season, in 63 games for the Nets and Cavaliers, he averaged career highs in points (12.8), rebounds (10.0), assists (1.7), and minutes (29.6).

Allen, 23, also ranked fifth in the NBA in field goal percentage (.618), ninth in blocks (1.43), 13th in rebounds (10.0), and tied for 19th in double-doubles (25).

Additionally, the four-year veteran was one of only three players in the NBA with at least 10.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.0 blocks, and a 60% field goal percentage. Selected by Brooklyn in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2017 NBA Draft, Allen has increased his average in points, rebounds, and assists in each season since entering the league.

Cleveland has some decent young talent in Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Evan Mobley, Isaac Okoro, and Allen is excited about the future.

“It can’t be overstated enough that the coaching staff and front office wanted me to be in Cleveland long-term,” said Allen via a press release. “I will forever be grateful for this opportunity, and it’s an honor to continue representing the Cavs and becoming more entrenched into this community. I’m also excited about improving with my teammates. We have some really talented, young, and hungry players in this locker room, and I can’t wait to get back on the court with them to see how far we can take this thing.”

It should be interesting to see what the Allen and Mobley combination looks like on the court. For now, Cleveland is excited about having these two bigs grow together.

 

Cavs’ Altman: ‘There’s some real game-changers at the top of this draft’

The Cleveland Cavaliers received the number three overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft as a result of the NBA Draft Lottery, which was conducted virtually on Tuesday night. 

The 2021 NBA Draft will be held on Thursday, July 29th.

The Cavaliers’ 2021 lottery pick will mark the 22nd lottery pick the Cavs have owned all-time and their first time selecting third overall since the current lottery format was introduced in 1985.

This is considered a deep draft, and Cleveland, if they keep the pick, has a chance to get an excellent player.

“There’s some real game-changers at the top of this draft,” Cavs GM Koby Altman said after the lottery. “But it also puts us in a position to capitalize on different opportunities throughout the landscape of the NBA with this position.”

Altman also expects to get some calls from other teams about the third pick.

“We know what pick we have,” Altman said. “We know what calls we will probably get on it. We’ll figure out what we can potentially do with it.”

Coming into the lottery, Cleveland, who was in the fifth-place position, had an 11.5% chance of getting the number one pick, so they should be happy with three. 

Now, what they do should be interesting. Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham is probably going number one to Detroit. You have the Rockets at two, and many mock drafts have them grabbing USC’s Evan Mobley, so that leaves G League Ignite’s Jalen Green, Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs, or maybe even a trade. 

Cleveland has options. Do they continue to add young players, or do they try to trade for an established veteran? We’ll find out in a few weeks, but Altman’s phone will be getting many calls.

The full results of tonight’s Draft Lottery are as follows:

1. Detroit Pistons

2. Houston Rockets

3. Cleveland Cavaliers

4. Toronto Raptors

5. Orlando Magic

6. Oklahoma City Thunder

7. Golden State Warriors

8. Orlando Magic

9. Sacramento Kings

10. New Orleans Pelicans

11. Charlotte Hornets

12. San Antonio Spurs

13. Indiana Pacers

14. Golden State Warriors

Listen below as Altman reacts to getting the third pick in this year’s draft:

Cavs’ Okoro named to NBA All-Rookie Second Team

Cleveland Cavaliers guard/forward Isaac Okoro has been selected to the 2020-21 NBA All-Rookie Second Team, the league announced on Thursday.

Okoro becomes the 20th rookie in franchise history to earn All-Rookie Team honors.

After being selected No. 5 overall by the Cavaliers out of Auburn in the 2020 NBA Draft, Okoro went on to appear in a team-best 67 games (all starts), averaging 9.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 32.4 minutes. Okoro (646 points, 62 threes, 62 steals, 24 blocks) became just the third rookie in franchise history to record at least 500 points, 50 threes, 50 steals and 20 blocks in a single season, joining LeBron James (2003-04) and Kyrie Irving (2011-12).

The 20-year-old led all NBA rookies in minutes per game while also ranking in the Top 10 among rookies in steals per game (sixth), points per game (eighth) and assists per game (10th). His 32.4 minutes averaged was the highest by a Cavs rookie since LeBron James in 2003-04 (39.5) and the most by any NBA rookie since 2017-18 (Ben Simmons 33.7 and Donovan Mitchell 33.4).

Okoro scored in double-digits on 35 occasions this past season, which was tied for sixth-most among 2020-21 rookies. He posted 20 points or more three times and one 20-10 game. Over the final 13 games of the regular season, he averaged 15.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 34.9 minutes.

Here is the complete list of the 2020-21 All Rookie Teams:

Cavs’ Altman on Porter Jr.: ‘I think the change of scenery was needed for both parties’

Former Cavs guard Kevin Porter Jr. was supposed to be one of the key pieces for Cleveland this season. The former 2019 first-round pick showed a lot of promise for the Cavs and averaged 10.0 points per game as a rookie. Cleveland hoped he would take that next step in Year two. 

However, last November, Porter was arrested and charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle after he was involved in a car accident in Ohio. Ultimately, the charge was dismissed, and Porter plead guilty to a lesser charge. 

Porter, who was away from the Cavs due to personal reasons to start the season, would finally join the team in January, but it was not for long.

According to The Athletic, Porter grew angry when he entered the locker room and realized the team gave his old locker to Taurean Prince, who was acquired in a trade Wednesday. Sources said Porter, whose locker was moved to the wall where the younger, end-of-bench players reside, began yelling and at one point threw food. General manager Koby Altman came into the locker room and confronted Porter, and the player remained combative with Altman.

The 21-year-old Porter would eventually be traded to the Rockets in late January for a second- round draft pick. 

On Friday, Cavs GM Koby Altman discussed what happened with Porter in Cleveland. 

“It was challenging; it was a very difficult decision that we had to make,” Altman said at an end of the year Zoom conference. “A lot of it I’m going to keep private. Obviously, I’m not going to go too deep into the weeds. It wasn’t for a lack of effort from both parties. We spent a lot of time, a lot of resources trying to make it work, trying to reingratiate him to the team…

“I think the change of scenery was needed for both parties. We wish him nothing but the best in Houston. I know him personally. We scouted him extensively. I knew some of the background when we took him, and it was a calculated risk, and it didn’t work out.”

Porter played well in Houston, including scoring a career-high 50 points against the Bucks in April. In 23 games with Houston, Porter averaged 16.7 points, 6.4 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per contest. He seems to be a piece that the Rockets will build with next season. 

It would have been nice to keep Porter in Cleveland, but it does appear the Cavaliers did everything in their power to make it work, and unfortunately, things did not go their way. However, if Porter continues to get better, he could be the one that got away.

Cavs’ Lindsay Gottlieb headed to USC

Cavs assistant Lindsay Gottlieb is going back to the college game. Gottlieb will be the new head coach for the USC women’s basketball team, it was announced on Monday.

Gottlieb, 43, will finish out the season for Cleveland, which ends on Sunday night in Brooklyn against the Nets.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Gottlieb got a six-year deal at USC.

Gottlieb, who was hired as an assistant by then Cavs head coach John Beilein in 2019, was the first NCAA women’s head coach to be hired by an NBA team. Before coming to Cleveland, Gottlieb was the head women’s basketball coach at Cal. After Beilein’s departure, Gottlieb continued as an assistant under J.B Bickerstaff.

On Monday, both Gottlieb and Cavaliers GM Koby Altman released statements:

Gottlieb:

“I am very thankful for the opportunity to serve as an assistant coach with the Cavaliers for the last two years. This has truly been a basketball dream come true for me to work not only in the NBA, but hand-in-hand with this incredible coaching staff that has taught me so much. I’d especially like to thank Koby Altman and J.B. Bickerstaff for believing in me and providing an inclusive environment to enhance my coaching acumen. This is a very special group of players who have a tremendous amount of talent and work ethic, and it was an honor to work and develop relationships with them as well. The vision of this organization is what attracted me to Cleveland, and I look forward to seeing the continued development of this team and all that these guys can become in the future.” 

“This was a very difficult decision and even tougher to say goodbye, but the opportunity at USC was something I could not let pass. What I see is a program steeped in tradition with a history of excellence and one of the nation’s strongest brands. I look forward to becoming part of that legacy and helping bring the Women of Troy back to national prominence.”

Altman:

“Lindsay Gottlieb has been a tremendous asset to this organization since joining us two seasons ago, and I couldn’t be more excited for this incredible opportunity ahead of her at the University of Southern California. Lindsay brought an extensive coaching and culture-building background to Cleveland that fit seamlessly with the existing direction in place for this team. What really stands out about her time with the Cavaliers was how well she was able to communicate with our players, while demonstrating different perspectives on a daily basis that helped change the outlook of the game for many of our guys. We were fortunate that she was willing to leave her position at Cal to join us, and we are not surprised that she has remained a sought after Head Coach at the highest level of women’s college basketball. Lindsay will always be part of the Cavaliers family and we wish her, along with her husband Patrick and son Jordan, the very best as they embark on this new journey back in California and at USC.”

Doncic gets ejected, but Dallas still rolls over Cleveland

The Dallas Mavericks(40-28) got one step closer to avoiding the Play-In Tournament, and the Cleveland Cavaliers(21-47) got another step closer to more lottery balls on Sunday night.

Despite Luka Doncic getting ejected due to a flagrant 2 foul on Collin Sexton, Dallas routed the Cavaliers 124-97 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Dallas beat the Cavaliers for the second time in three days. The Mavericks defeated Cleveland 110-90 in Dallas on Friday night.

Dallas has won four straight, and the Cavs have now lost ten consecutive games for the second time this season.

Tim Hardaway Jr. led Dallas with 25 points; Josh Richardson added 20. Sexton had 24 points for Cleveland, and Mfiondu Kabengele poured in a career-high 14 points off the bench. 

The story of the night was the ejection of Doncic. Early in the third quarter, the third-year guard was battling for position underneath the basket with Sexton when Doncic appeared to hit Sexton in the groin. After the referees reviewed the video of the incident, Doncic was issued a flagrant 2 foul, which led to an automatic ejection.

Dallas led 68-57 when Doncic got ejected, but at the end of the third quarter, the Mavericks pushed the lead to 98-72.

After the game, Doncic, who is one technical foul away from a one-game suspension, and Sexton explained what happened, and according to both players, what transpired was not a big deal.

“After I saw the video, I knew I hit him, but it wasn’t nothing on purpose,” Doncic said. “That kind of stuff happens a lot in the games… two guys fighting for a rebound.”

Sexton added: “It was just a box-out play, and usually whenever someone is hand-checking, you punch down, swing down. It’s all good.”

Barring a collapse, it appears the Mavericks, who have four games left, will avoid the Play-In Tournament. The fifth-seeded Mavericks have a one-game lead over the sixth-seeded Blazers and a two-game lead over the seventh-seeded Lakers, so things look good for Dallas.

Regarding Cleveland, this team had a ten-game losing streak back in February and is undermanned right now without Darius Garland, Larry Nance Jr., and others, so with four games left, all against playoff teams, Cleveland might not win another game this season. Currently, they are in a four-way tie for the third-worst record in the NBA. Losing out might not be the end of the world, especially if it leads to more lottery balls.

Cleveland will host the Pacers on Monday night, while the Mavericks go to Memphis to battle the Grizzlies on Tuesday night.

Watch below as Doncic and Sexton talk Doncic’s ejection:

 

Mavs’ Doncic: ‘I think we are playing pretty well’

On Friday night in Dallas, one team was playing for the playoffs, and the other team was playing for pride, and the team that was playing for the playoffs, was the team that dominated.

The Dallas Mavericks(39-28) led the Cleveland Cavaliers(21-46) by 25 points at halftime and cruised to a 110-90 victory at American Airlines Center. Dallas continues to keep their hold on the fifth seed and has a one-game lead over the sixth-seeded Blazers and a two-game lead over the seventh-seeded Lakers.

Dallas has won three straight and nine of their last 11, while Cleveland dropped its ninth straight.

Luka Doncic had 24 points and eight rebounds; Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 20 points for Dallas. For Cleveland, Collin Sexton had a game-high 27 points. 

The Mavericks clinched the 2020-21 Southwest Division title. This is the fourth division title in franchise history and the first since 2009-10.

While winning your division does not mean as much as it once did, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle is happy with the accomplishment. 

“Listen, I think it’s something that’s always worthwhile,” he said. “It shows that you’re one of the better teams and certainly the best team in your region of the league and all of that kind of stuff. It’s a rivalry division; the southwest has been — talk about San Antonio, Houston, Memphis — these teams have a history of a lot of rivalry stuff, a lot of playoff stuff. It’s big. It’s big, and we’ll take it. Like I said, it’s important to get this win, try to get through this game unscathed, and get ready for Sunday.”

After starting the season 9-14, the Mavericks have gone 30-14 since, which Doncic discussed after the game.

“We just weren’t ourselves at the beginning,” he said. “We had a couple of new guys, and we had to get to know each other. But since then, I think we are playing pretty well.”

Dallas will play the Cavs again on Sunday in Cleveland, and while this another game Dallas should win, it’s always challenging to beat a team twice in a back-to-back situation, so the Mavericks cannot take anything for granted.

Notes: 

-The Mavericks improved to a perfect 24-0 when leading after the first quarter and a perfect 13-0 when holding their opponent to under 100 points. The Mavs are also now 36-2 when they build a double-digit lead at any point in the game.

-This was the 833rd win of Coach Rick Carlisle’s career, which moves him into sole possession of 15th place on the NBA’s all-time wins list. Carlisle passed Cotton Fitzsimmons (832) to move into the top 15 and currently sits at 833-687 (.548) for his career.

-Cedi Osman had 22 points, five rebounds, and seven assists tonight. This is Osman’s fourth career game, recording 20+ points, five-plus rebounds, and five-plus assists.

 

Cavs’ Varejao on return against Blazers: ‘I’m not going to forget this day’

On Wednesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers(21-45) lost their eighth straight game as they fell to the Portland Trailblazers(37-29) 141-105 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Cleveland ended their five-game homestand 0-5.

Damian Lillard had a game-high 32 points, including six threes for Portland. Kevin Love led the Cavs with 18 points. 

However, this night was about the return of Anderson Varejao. The 38-year-old Varejao, who signed a 10-day contract with the Cavaliers this week, had one point, six rebounds, and one assist in seven minutes against the Blazers. This was Varejao’s first action in over two years(played in Brazil), his first time playing with the Cavs since 2016, and his first time on an NBA court since 2017. 

Varejao spent the first 12 years of his career with the Cavaliers and kept a home in Cleveland after his time with the Cavs was over.

When he entered the game midway through the fourth quarter, Varejao got a rousing ovation from the Cavalier faithful. After the loss to the Blazers, Varejao reacted to his return to the NBA.

“It felt great to be out there again,” Varejao said. “As I said before, I love Cleveland; I love the fans. Once again, they gave me the support I needed tonight.

“It has been a while that I played five-on-five or any type of contact in basketball in almost two years, but it felt great to be out there. To be honest with you, I was really surprised the way I felt.”

The 13-year veteran was also happy to have his wife and young daughter watch him play on Wednesday night. 

“My family was at the game,” Varejao said. “That was just very special for me to have my wife and my little daughter, Serenee, she’s one years old. I’m not going to forget this day. This is the first time I played in front of my daughter. Special day for me.”

You have to feel happy for Varejao. Not many players get the opportunity to end their career where it started and the chance to play in front of their family. Varejao is getting all of that right now.

Cleveland hopes to break their eight-game losing streak in Dallas against the Mavericks on Friday night.

Cavs’ Varejão: ‘I can’t wait to join my teammates and be reunited with the fans’

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed center Anderson Varejão to a 10-day contract, the team announced on Tuesday.

Cleveland have been ravaged by injuries, and the team was granted a hardship exception by the NBA in order to acquire Varejão.

Varejão, 38, returns to Cleveland, where he spent his first 12 NBA seasons, appearing in 591 regular season games (208 starts) with averages of 7.6 points on .512 shooting from the field and 7.5 rebounds in 25.0 minutes. The center from Brazil still ranks among the franchise’s all-time leaders in offensive rebounds (fourth, 1,479), defensive rebounds (seventh, 2Varejão was also a member of Cleveland’s back-to-back 60-win teams (66-16 in 2008-09 and 61-21 in 2009-10) and six playoff teams (2005-2010, 2015), including the franchise’s first ever NBA Finals appearance during the 2007 Playoffs.

“For more than a decade, I was blessed to wear the Wine and Gold and play for the organization’s incredible fans, who inspired me to give everything I had during each and every play on a nightly basis,” said Varejão. “I am so excited to return to Cleveland and be back in a Cavaliers jersey, continuing to build memories and representing the city and franchise that I love so much. I am so very grateful to Dan Gilbert and Koby Altman for this opportunity and am extremely thankful for the love and support from my wife, Stacy, and daughter, Serenee. I can’t wait to join my teammates and be reunited with the fans, both on and off the court.”

After a stellar career playing for F.C. Barcelona, which includes earning Brazilian League MVP honors in 2001-02, the 13-year veteran was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 30th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft before being acquired by the Cavaliers in a trade on July 23, 2004. He last played in the NBA for the Golden State Warriors, appearing in 36 games during parts of the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, as well as 17 postseason contests during the Warriors’ NBA Finals run in 2016. Following his stint with Golden State, Varejão played for Flamengo in the NBB (New Basketball Bazil) league in 2017-18 and 2018-19 and led the team to the 2019 NBB title.

Listen below as Varejao talks return to Cleveland: