ESPN's Brian Windhorst, formally the Cavaliers Beat reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Akron Beacon Journal, joined ESPN 850's "The Really Big Show" Wednesday morning. The topics: The Cavs overall, LeBron James (of Course), and Dion Waiters.
Let's get the LeBron stuff out of the way first. Co-host Aaron Goldhammer asked Windhorst if there was anything to be read into about LeBron tweeting about the Cavs/Blazers tilt last night (a game that was not on National TV).
"Look, all it does is confirm what I've told you, and what you already know, which is that he watches the Cavs closely. He has a very good relationship with Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving.......He still has interest in the Cavs, and is aware of what's going on at all times"
Now, all of this began and ended with him saying there wasn't a whole lot to be read into by him tweeting, but Windhorst continued to push that LeBron said the Cavs have a good young core, that he is close with Tristan and Kyrie, and that the Cavs definitely have a chance to sign him. I'll take it, I'll accept it, but I will NOT get hooked by it. My expectation level is zero, but we'll see what happens.
When the conversation moved to Dion Waiters trade rumors, and if Windhorst expects Waiters to remain with the team:
"Yeah... you know... The Cavs had a problem with Dion, with meshing with Kyrie, so they made some changes, and the changes have worked. That's what you do, just because a player has a bad week, or gets into a fight with a guy, you don't trade him, and by the way these sorts of things happen all the time that we don't find out about, and teams just make changes and push through it....That's what the Cavs have done, and what they've done has been working. Waiters is playing great. Irving was the player of the week.... This idea that the Cavs feel like they have to trade Dion, or he's on the block, or they have to get him out of there, I mean, that is ridiculous.... The person that would write a story that Dion wants out of Cleveland, or that the Cavs are intersted in trading him obviously hasn't paid one iota of attention for the past three weeks where Dion has been fantastic."
You know me, so you probably know I loved this whole thing. Windhorst did say that obviously the Cavs will listen to Waiters trades that get them a superstar, but absolutely crushed the idea otherwise. I especially love the bit about the locker room spat, which is one of the sillier stories to become big stories in a while. Competitive guys get in arguments sometimes, and especially when they're flailing, as the Cavs were early in the season. The idea that Dion is some malcontent because there was a locker room argument is nothing short of laughable. Dwyane Wade got in a fight with Erick Spoelstra right on the bench. Russ Westbrook and KD have gotten into it too. It happens.
For his part, Dan Gilbert chimed in on the Dion rumors as well:
Now, this can be whatever you want to make of it. Certainly our own David Zavac didn't love it:
Never heard it talked about positively when owner has control over personnel decisions. Gilbert good at making money. He a scout, too?
Never heard it talked about positively when owner has control over personnel decisions. Gilbert good at making money. He a scout, too?— David Zavac (@DavidZavac) December 18, 2013
I'm not bashing him, or saying he's wrong, I just completely disagree. Mike Brown said immediately after the game that they definitely weren't trading for Omer Asik, and it was hailed as great quote (and it was glorious), not undermining his boss. The immediate slant is that the owner is overriding the GM, and with several tweets floating around that Dan likes Dion, and prefers not to trade him, I can certainly see that as a possibility, but it's not the ONLY possibility.
For his part Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico said that the Cavs aren't looking to move any core players,
While Windhorst, Amico, Gilbert, Brown, and Dion himself continue to insist otherwise, The Akron Beacon Journal's Jason Lloyd has still held strong to his prediction in recent weeks that Waiters will be gone by the trade deadline because he doesn't mesh with Kyrie. If the Cavs do that, it would be incredibly disappointing. For all of the mind reading people do about his attitude, desires, and will to play a certain way, Dion has gone to the bench, and is playing a style of basketball that is helping the Cavs win games. He has unique skills that are hard to find in the NBA, and he is scratching the surface of his potential. He and Kyrie did well to set each other up with good looks last night, and Windhorst's comparison of how they're used: Both getting long stretch to work alone, and closing together, to how the HEAT use LeBron James and Dwyane Wade as something that is developing and beginning to work is something to keep an eye on.
The trade talk and LeBron speculation is likely to continue heating up. Hopefully the Cavs play does as well.