Cleveland Cavaliers

Lebron James’ major motion picture debut may have been a comedy, health but that doesn’t mean he’s lost his flair for drama.   On Friday, sickness the saga continued when the Cleveland Cavaliers fired head coach David Blatt after being flanked and then obliterated by the Western Conference’s two top teams.  From one angle, pilule you could chalk it up to close not being good enough for the Cleveland front office who saw the writing on the wall for the Cavs to come out of the East again only to lose to the Warriors, Spurs or Thunder in 6 games.  But there’s always more to the story, and in this case, much more, in the form of an Adrian Wojnarowski story alleging that Lebron and company have had a version of this succession plan in place since day 1.  Woj, the master NBA Insider, purported that David Blatt never stood a chance against Lebron’s camp, who had moved on this season from their first choice in former Golden State head coach Mark Jackson, and had been clamoring for the promotion of assistant coach Tyronn Lue for months.  On Friday, Team James got their wish, when news of Blatt’s firing broke at 3:08 pm and Lue was quickly contracted to a multi-year deal reported at 3:17.

No one will argue that Blatt made mistakes and likely wasn’t the right person for a job that quickly went from developing a young talented roster over time to managing superstar personalities under win-now expectations as soon as Lebron decided to take his talents back to Northeast Ohio.  But with Blatt’s 30-11 record and the Cavs firmly atop the Eastern Conference, how much of a difference will a coaching change make?  And is there any evidence that Tyronn Lue can coach, and implement a new system with the current roster given only months until the playoffs?

Luckily for Bulls fans, these questions didn’t bother Cavs management, and we only had to sweat a few minutes imagining facing a Thibs coached Cleveland team at least four times a year.  It seemed all too perfect for Thibs for a moment since Lebron has consistently supported him over the years based on his time with Team USA, and lauded the tough Bulls defenses he had to face (yet easily destroyed) in the playoffs as far back as his first year in Miami.   While Lebron in a Thibs defense is a scary thought, maybe Thibs didn’t see the stars aligning in Cleveland where he would have had to manage two superstars covering up an awkward feud, a volatile ownership, and a point guard yet to play a full season in his entire career.  I think he’s seen that movie before.

However, it’s possible that a lack of the real coaching you would get from Thibs is part of why we never saw that 3rd, 4th or 5th promised championship from Lebron in Miami, or in his first stint in Cleveland, or even last season.  Lebron has always relied on his talent, of which he has a lot, and never really benefited from real coaching.  Dating back to Little Dru’s Dad at St. Vincent-St. Mary to Mike Brown to Erik Spoelstra to David Blatt, he’s always been somewhat of a player-coach. And maybe that’s what’s lacking in Northeast Ohio, where nothing is given and everything is earned.  But Tyronn Lue has been given the opportunity, and what comes next is, yet again, really up to the King.

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The holidays are here and that means food, drugstore family and football.  No wait, this is Christmas and that means food, family and BASKETBALL.  It’s easy to get confused because Christmas is to the NBA what Thanksgiving is the NFL.  An annual tradition that dates back to 1947 of all day basketball folly.  In 2011, the slate of games grew to 5, tipping off at 11am, and has stayed as large and as long ever since.

This year we’re looking at anything and everything from coast to coast match ups, a Finals rematch (or preview), East vs. West face-offs, and a Staples Center showdown, all complete with the requisite NBA Christmas uniforms, which I am not mad about this year.

If you’re looking to pick and choose when to watch vs. when to eat, sleep or spend time with the fam, here’s the game by game rundown.

11am CT New Orleans at Miami

A match up of the somewhat surprisingly intriguing Heat vs. the under performing Pelicans.  The Brow is always a fun watch and seeing him take on Hassan Whiteside in the paint shouldn’t disappoint.  But New Orleans is ravaged by injuries and an inability to adjust to the new coaching staff.  While I’m much more partial to New Orleans for eating, drinking and dancing, I’d pick Miami in this one.

1:30pm CT Chicago at OKC

The NBA so wanted Derrick Rose vs. Russell Westbrook to mean what it used to.  Unfortunately three knee surgeries has taken its toll on one much more than the other.  Despite this, the Bulls beat the Thunder earlier in the season behind a great game from Rose, who has since lost his facemask, the height of his hair, and his shot.  Both teams are playing under new head coaches who made the jump from college ball, but OKC is surging, while the Bulls count their lucky playoffs stars that they’re in the East.  I want to take the Bulls to turn it around and bring this one home because they always seem to surprise me on Christmas but without Joakim Noah, I have little faith this holiday season.

4pm CT Cleveland at Golden State

Get out the eggnog early because this is going to be good.  You can call it a Finals rematch or a Finals preview, but the top teams in each conference are at full strength with Cleveland seeing the return of Kyrie Irving this week, and they’re about to go at it.  Golden State boasts one of the best crowds in the NBA, who have been getting to games an hour early just see Steph Curry warm up.  And Lebron, well he’s mad.  Golden State makes history with every win so I’m picking the Warriors, if only to hope for a Riley Curry sighting at the post game press conference.

7:00pm CT San Antonio at Houston

Eat dinner quickly so you can be on the couch for an in-state battle of two completely opposite teams.  The Spurs quietly have the second best record in the NBA with only two less wins than the Warriors.  Pop is still sitting during games since it’s not April, and Kawhi Leonard shows us nightly how much bigger, stronger and faster he is than other top shooting guards in the league.  He’ll face another one in James Harden on Friday, but Harden’s Rockets have not done anything quietly this season.  Already working with an interim head coach and Dwight Howard trade rumors, the Rockets have been incredibly mediorcre so far, and outright bad at times.  They are however coming off of a 3 game win streak and have the talent to put on a show at home.  But if NBA fans know one thing, it’s to never bet against the Spurs.

9:00pm CT Los Angeles at Los Angeles

Many family Christmas gatherings may be able to relate to this match up – two passive aggressive siblings, living under the same roof, cut from the same cloth, with so little in common on any level.  On one end of the floor, the Lakers are a mess.  In the midst of the Kobe retirement tour, they boast two young stars in the making in Randle and Russell, who go in and out of the lineup for no apparent reason.  Kobe may score 34 points, or he may have 3 or 4 air balls.  Meanwhile, the Clippers are as good as they’ve ever been, but it doesn’t look to be good enough.  Their team is filled with controversial players who have never made it quite as far as they should have, and it doesn’t look like they ever will after the first few months of the season.  Kobe will be looking to go out with a bang in his 16th Christmas game, but I’d still take the Clippers to use the holiday to get their season back on track, as they continue to chase the shadow of the Warriors.

And that’s a wrap on Santa’s gift to all NBA fans this year.  Wishing you a very merry NBA Christmas, from our SDI family to yours!

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Noah and Butler

Alright, cialis alright, sovaldi sale alright! Who’s ready for some legitimate Bulls basketball? (raises hand eagerly) Preseason is fine and dandy, but it’s like going to get Froyo and just having some taste-test samples – you love some, you like some, but ultimately you want to put your favorites all in one tub and experience the magic! So maybe I enjoy Froyo too much, but I am also ready for the Chicago Bulls to run the floor of the United Center on Tuesday kicking off the new season. Who better to challenge our favorite men in red but the defending Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers? Let the rivalry continue!

Remind me, why do we care about the Cavs?

Here’s the skinny, Cleveland currently is and has been the favorites of the Eastern Conference – which is the Bulls conference. First and foremost, they have Lebron James the four-time NBA MVP. He’s a freak of nature when it comes to basketball and my favorite player to hate because he’s always on the opposing team. The Cavs as a whole have crazy depth (we’re talking Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson) and can suffocate their opponents on offensive AND defense. Question is, will the Bulls new offensive-minded approach be enough to overpower the Cavs? Well, we’ll just have to find out.

Keep Your Eyes On: Lebron James and Jimmy Butler

Despite the few Derrick Rose hopeless romantics left in Chicago, we all know this Bulls team is going to be led by Jimmy Butler. He signed his big boy contract this offseason and now we need the man to perform. Butler always plays Lebron James tough since his professional game was developed under Thibodeau who preached defense. Lebron James, is rumored to not be practicing after a back injection, but he claims he is healthy and ready to go. Lebron James with the flu is still tougher to play than most guys in the league so Butler has his work cut out for him – per usual.

Big Bench Mob: 

Joakim Noah has been demoted to come off the bench according to Coach Hoiberg and Nikola Mirotic will be starting in his place. JoNo’s never been the team’s most prominent offensive player, but after a career low season in 2014-2015 and a new offensive minded coach, Noah needs to add something else to the mix. Apparently, that something else is going to be coming off the bench, but I mean Taj Gibson AND Noah off the bench is rather intimidating to other team’s reserves. I kind of love the depth.

Masked Man:

This is definitely day-to-day, but as of right now Derrick Rose is slated to play in the home opener at the United Center on the 27th. Before the orbital fracture during practice (aka breaking his face) I was so optimistic about Rose this season, getting a healthy chance. Now he’s rocking a mask that looks incredibly uncomfortable and I would imagine it’s so hot and sweaty under there. Regardless, we’re not going to get top notch DRose for the home opener, but we may at least hear his name called during introductions. Also, totally unrelated to actually playing basketball, please enjoy the irony of Rose’s Addias 6 slogan “Never Break” – it’s too much for my heart to handle.

Two years in a row our Bulls have kicked off their home opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers. You know those NBA schedulers are adding fire to the already existing rivalry on purpose. Tip-off is at 7PM on the 27th, be at the UC or tune in! Time to #SeeRed Bulls babes.

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You might be friends with Luol Deng off the court, tadalafil but unless you’re sporting the crimson and gold these days you’re an obstacle between Lou and the hoop. After playing his entire career as a Chicago Bull, Deng-er-ang will host his old teammates at his new Cleveland arena for the first time Wednesday night (SIGH).

As a fan it’s absolutely tough to consider Deng an offensive threat instead of our favorite gangly player, but as he so gently put it “it’s just another game.” Don’t expect Deng to be all rainbows and sunshine against his old friends, this competitor is coming out to win. Lucky for Los Bulls, Joakim Noah has taken Chi-town pride to the next level. Expect nothing less than a gritty Eastern Conference match-up friends.

What You Need to Know:

  • Dengerang is Crankin in Cleveland: The Cavaliers are only 3-3 since acquiring Deng the first week of January, but individually he’s averaging just under 18 points a game – not too shabby after being shipped off to a new city. It’s unfortunate the uniforms are so ugly.

    via ivanov_22 Instagram

  • Prideful Pack: HAM of the Week Jo-No has taken the team under his wing emotionally since the trade and the Bulls surprisingly have gone 6-2. Considering they lost their best scorer when they shipped off Deng (Rose was already out for the season) they’ve shown some serious resilience as a team. They are most definitely NOT tanking the season.
  • Kyrie Irving may like to dress up like “Uncle Drew”during his free time, but this dude doesn’t mess around when it comes to basketball. He’s averaging 21.6 points a game with a side of some sick crossovers. He is the future of the Cavalier organization at this point. Within the sports realm there have been plenty of heated discussions on the topic of Kyrie Irving versus Derrick Roseas the top point guard. The answer is easy in my book, a healthy DRose could school Mr. Irving.

    Irving via nba_memes_quizzes Instagram

  • Best Match-ups: PG DJ Augustin hasn’t been with the Bulls for too long, but he’s made a solid impression so far. With Kirk Hinrich’s hamstring injury, Wednesday night will be a true challenge for Augustin as he takes on Kyrie Irving at point guard. Mike Dunleavy will get a full serving of Luol Deng and his lanky arms up and down the court; we’re going to need some hot sauce out of Mikey.
  • Restructured Roster: If you’ve been keeping up on your Bulls news you’ve noticed that the Bulls traded away Marquis Teague, the second year PG (he just wasn’t panning out) and picked up Toko (Tornike) Shengelia from the Brooklyn Nets. The trade created more cap space for the Bulls come the summer and Toko is a 6-foot-9 forward that we’ll consider a project for Coach Thibodeau over next three months. It’s unlikely Toko will get any playing time against the Cavs, but Thibs is full of surprises these days so we’ll have to wait and see.

Your Take Away Piece: 

“It’s going to be very strange seeing Deng in a Cavaliers uniform instead of repping the black, red and white, but change is inevitable. I’ve got to get over it sometime and what better way than with a Chicago Bulls win in Cleveland.”

Chicago Bulls Women’s Grey Yolo Cutoff Midriff Long Sleeve by Sportiqe, Clark Street Sports: $49.99

What’s Next: 

The Bulls tip off in Cleveland at 6 PM. Be sure to tune into Comcast Sportsnet to catch Deng and Noah going head to head for the first time in their NBA careers. It’s going to be a throwdown.

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After months of trade rumors, doctor the Chicago Bulls ended an era when they wheeled and dealed their two-time All-Star small forward Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers late Monday night.

Initially, seek you might be thinking the Bulls front office has lost their marbles. Deng has been the most consistent offensive player on the Bulls the past few years, ampoule he’s led the entire league playing a ridiculous amount of minutes, he’s a stifling defender and he has a heart of gold.

It wasn’t always pretty, but Lou gave Chicago his all throughout his 10 year journey and embodied the Bulls gritty defense-minded approach. Unfortunately, our love for Luol Deng is not enough to keep him in Chicago. There are plenty of reasons why the Deng-er-ang was sent off to hang with Kyrie Irving and the Cavs. It’s business, baby.

To give the Bulls’ organization some credit, they did try to keep Deng in Chicago by offering him a 3-year, $30 million extension last week. However, Deng declined the offer which then led to plan B – the trade.

Deng is 28, leading the team in points scored, but he’s also be ailed by quite a few injuries this season and in past years. The game takes a lot of wear and tear on the body. John Paxson, Chicago’s VP of Basketball Operations, addressed the media immediately Tuesday morning to discuss the big move. He explained just how hard of a decision it was to trade Luol and the amount of respect the organization has for the NBA player.

Chicago has been through the ups and downs with Deng and he has always proven the toughest of soldiers, playing through sprains, muscle tears and spinal taps. The city is forever grateful for his time here and we wish him nothing but greatness in Cleveland (unless he’s playing the Bulls of course).

What the Bulls got in Return:

I know what you’re thinking, “ditching Deng better have been worth it,” or maybe that’s just what I was thinking. The Bulls picked up center Andrew Bynum, three future draft picks and the right to swap 2015 first round picks with the Cavs. Los Bulls already have a solid center in Joakim Noah, so they will release Bynum before the Jan. 7 deadline (tonight). This will clear up about $12.3 million to go with the $14.3 million they saved by trading Deng.

The draft picks are what really sweetened the deal. The Bulls now have a boatload of draft picks coming their way in the next few years. This is great news because the 2014 draft is deep with talented players and the Bulls could really get some quality guys.

What This Means for the Bulls:

The fun has only just begun for the Chicago Bulls’ front office. This trade absolutely signifies a new era in Chicago basketball and a time for rebuilding, but it’s not going to be a complete overhaul. They still have serious talent in Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. Yes, trading Deng means the Bulls won’t be doing much winning this season, but the goal is to develop the young players we do have like Tony Snell and find the the guys who can truly take the Bulls to a championship upon Derrick Rose’s return.

DRose is still the center of Chicago’s universe. The organization’s goal is to find the best players to compliment Rose. We need a team who no longer plays under Derrick, but rather a team who plays well WITH Derrick.

Expect the Bulls to amnesty Carlos Boozer this summer, this will cut another $16.8 million for the Bulls spending, which would hopefully allow enough salary cap room for the signing of an elite caliber free agent. All these deals give the Bulls quite a bit more wiggle room when it comes to the limitations of players they can sign.

These are absolutely long shots, but players like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Greg Monroe and even LeBron James could potentially be attainable. The Bulls have cap space and with some tempting rookies, Chicago may be able to conjure up some sign-and-trade deals.

Losing Deng is no easy feat. It’s going to take the team some time to bounce back after their silent leader was traded away, but I bet Joakim Noah is even more upset that the poor guy has to live in Cleveland.

Farewell Luol, we’ll miss you and your Dengerous wingspan.

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