In my daily scan of various NBA websites, I’ll often scroll through some of the chat sessions to get a sense of what kinds of questions fans are asking. Some of the queries directed to the writers are compelling, but there’s always a few which are asinine. One guy asked why the Cleveland Cavaliers don’t disengage in trade talks with Minnesota about Kevin Love, and deal for Anthony Davis, Al Horford or DeMarcus Cousins instead. I was impressed with the restraint shown by Basketball Insiders’ Bill Ingram. I would have said “Anthony Davis is an MVP candidate who’s only 21 years old. He’ll be traded the same day Vladimir Putin is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. As for Horford or Cousins, you better be prepared to send half your team, or to hear “Go away”.”
Anyway, there won’t be any more silly questions like that to deal with. The Deal has finally happened, or it’s unofficially official. Kevin Love will become a Cavalier, and Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a first-round draft pick are off to Minnesota. [20-second timeout: There's a lot of chatter about Philadelphia getting involved. Apparently they plan to send Thaddeus Young to Minny, with Anthony Bennett remaining a T'wolf only long enough for the trade paperwork to be rubberstamped by the NBA before ending up in the City of Brotherly Love. We have to wait until at least August 23 before all will be revealed. I think Minnesota will end up in great shape after all this, though they are still 2 years away from the playoffs.]
The Cavs are going all-in for this season, and one can certainly understand their thinking. LeBron is on board for only two years, and has lost a ton of weight, but not his lust for championships. King James wants Kevin burying 3-balls and grabbing an insane number of boards. With Kyrie Irving handling the ball, the Cavs have a Big 3 of their own. Flesh out the starting five with Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson (or others…who knows? first-year coach David Blatt has a surfeit of options) and Cleveland should have a 50-win team to cheer, once the new guys are all on the same page.
Where does all this sound and fury leave our Toronto Raptors? A number of early-bird forecasters were on board with the Raps being Atlantic Division repeat champions, but I suspect they now think that’s our ceiling. There’s no doubt our team’s path to the Eastern Conference championship just got a lot tougher. Now that Cleveland stories suck up all the oxygen, I suggest the Raps will return to their usual spot in the newsworthiness index of NBA writers, just above belly-button lint and the Sacramento Kings. We don’t have any stars, our roster is stable – B-O-O-O-RING! We’ll fly under the radar, just like last season. There are worse places to be.