Tag:Cleveland Cavaliers
Posted on: January 17, 2012 12:31 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 1:16 pm

Mike Brown says relationship with Lebron 'fine'

By Matt Moore

Coaches have to put up with a world of grief. Player egos, rookie mistakes, blown coverage, the media, P.R. engagements, travel, family, all of it at the same time. There's a reason they're paid what they are.

Mike Brown has to deal with more than his fair share. He was LeBron James'coach in Cleveland and failed to win a title. Everyone has their opinion on whether that was the fault of LeBron, Danny Ferry's general management, or Brown's coaching. And since then there have been a ton of rumors about the reason Brown was fired, the relationship between James and Brown, and how the entire situation was structured, how much leeway James had exactly. 

In an interview on Cleveland sports radio, Brown spoke about his relationship with LeBron. They apparently talked after everything went down in the summer of 2010, but haven't spoken much since then. And Brown describes the relationship as "fine." From Sports Radio Interviews:  
The perception was that somehow you and LeBron James didn’t get along. Talk about your relationship with LeBron James while you were here.  What was your relationship after you were let go and LeBron James made his decision? Have you talked since? How is your relationship with him today?

“We have been in contact after I had gotten let go. We had texted each other a few times. We emailed each other a few times. Now we haven’t talked in…I don’t know six, seven, eight months maybe? We haven’t communicate via text or email in awhile, but when I had gotten let go, probably within the next six-to-eight months after that we had been in contact a few times with each other. Our relationship was fine. It was a player/coach relationship probably a little bit more than that, but it was fine. There was not a time at all where he was dismissive of me or he didn’t do what I had asked him to do or anything like that. I thought we had a great working relationship.

I thought we had a lot of success. I understand the business. I understand how speculation and rumors float about and it’s something as you guys know it is what it is. There’s no need for me to fight it. I just let it go and as long as I am okay with the person I’m dealing with? It is kind of similar to here. Everybody was saying that Kobe [Bryant] has not approved of me or whatever. You hearing all this type of speculation. People don’t know Kobe and I? We had been in contact quite a bit before we even met face-to-face. We had been in contact via text and via phone, so he even asked me if he had to come out and say something publicly? I told him no. I said: ‘Hey I know I am good with you and you are good with me and that’s all I need.’ People can speculate because it is part of the business and I accept it.”
via Sports Radio Interviews » Blog Archive » Mike Brown doesn’t fault Dan Gilbert for letting him go in Cleveland, proclaims his relationship with LeBron James is ‘fine.’.

Brown's not going to say anything if his relationship was soured with Lebron, and given James' actions and general demeanor, it's difficult to see him ever having a strong relationship with a coach. 

But Brown clearly wants to move past it. He's with L.A. now, they're winning, and he does have the experience to handle the situation with Kobe Bryant as well as anyone outside of Phil Jackson. Brown's constantly under heavy shadows. LeBron James, Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant. But as time goes on, at least he can move away from Cleveland what has turned out to be an absolute disaster for all involved.

We like to think that all sports relationships are polar. They hate each other or they love each other. They got along great and had a close relationship or they were completely dysfunctional. But like most relationships in life, things are more complicated. It's not black and white, and it's not easy.

Maybe, after all that, "fine" is as good as it's going to get.
Posted on: January 11, 2012 10:27 pm

Scott says Varejao 'not going anywhere'

By Matt Moore

The Cleveland Cavaliers have a tremendous future. Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson both look good, they have some good supporting pieces, and with another poor year in terms of wins but not team quality, they'll have a great pick in a fantastic draft. Everything's looking up for the future. 

So why then is the team so hellbent on keeping and playing its veterans?

Anderson Varejao is having a a nice rebound season. He missed most of 2011 with injury, and has been back to the sort of gritty play that gets him mentioned as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate every season.  But for a team rebuilding trying to find a new foundation? He could be a tremendous trade chip for teams needing a viable center. He comes with a hefty price tag, being owed over $17 million between this year and next, before his contract becomes non-gauranteed in 2013-2014. 

But the Cavaliers? They're not selling. From the Akron Beacon-Journal:
“It would have to be an unbelievable person to get back,” Scott said when asked if the Cavs could part with Varejao. “I look at him as one of the guys you look at and say ‘He’s not going anywhere.’ I just feel that strongly about him and what he means to this team.”
via Cavs’ Scott on Varejao: ‘He’s not going anywhere’ - Cavs - Ohio.

The same problem with this line of thinking is what's wrong with the minutes Antawn Jamison is getting for the Cavaliers. It's great to try and win games, if you think you have a legitimate shot this season. But the Cavaliers know they don't. They need to be focused on the future, and that means making room for Tristan Thompson and cashing in on Varejao when his value is high. 

Varejao can make a huge impact for a contender should they choose to acquire him and send Cleveland picks and/or young players. He has more value to those teams than he does to the Cavs, as good as he is. There's certainly value to letting Irving and Thompson play with good players. And Jamison's experience does have value even if his schooting has gone completely. But  Cleveland should be ready to move towards the future. And it's unlikely that Varejao will be in a position to be a part of that. 
Posted on: January 4, 2012 3:53 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2012 4:00 pm

Paper reports Baron Davis has 'herniated d*ck'

Posted by Ben Golliverbaron-davis-pain

It's enough to make you squirm.

SBNation.com notes that the Charlotte Observer made an embarrasing typographical error in its Wednesday morning edition, writing: "Ex-Charlotte Hornet Baron Davis signed with the Knicks after being cut by Cleveland under the amnesty clause. Davis is recovering from a herniated d*ck."

The Cleveland Cavaliers had hosted the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday night.

According to WebMD.com, a "herniated disc" is a damaged bone in your spine that bulges or breaks open, causing back pain or numbness. That doesn't sound like too much fun. But a "herniated d*ck"? That sounds significantly, terrifyingly worse.

"Thanks Charlotte Observer for announcing my new injury," Davis joked on Twitter. "Still able to workout with it."

Davis then added: "That was a joke people. Excuse the person from the Observer who made a Typo... I was Just having fun. My Goldmember is not herniated."

Journalism site Poynter.org reports that the error was made during the editorial process.
Mike Persinger, the paper’s executive sports editor, explained the origin of the error in a blog post today. He said the writer first described the injury as a “herniated disc.” That made it past the first editor, but a second editor realized that isn’t the way the paper spells this injury. So the editor attempted to change it to “herniated disk.” Needless to say, things didn’t work out that way.

There was no third editor in the process to catch the typo.
Here's an image of the newspaper's error.

Davis has not yet suited up for the Knicks this season because of a back injury.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:01 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 5:53 pm

2011-12 NBA Season: Central Division Preview

Posted by Royce Young

We're less than a week away from the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season. After an interminable lockout and a rushed free agency period, here's a first look division-by-division preview at how the league is shaping up. We continue with the Central Division.

2011 Standings:
Chicago Bulls, 62-20, lost Eastern Conference Finals to Miami Heat
Indiana Pacers, 37-45, lost in first round of Eastern Conference Playoffs to Chicago Bulls
Milwaukee Bucks, 35-47, NBA Draft lottery
Detroit Pistons, 30-52, NBA Draft lottery
Cleveland Cavaliers, 20-62, NBA Draft lottery

Best team: Chicago Bulls

The Central really is left to the Bulls. It's their division for the next number of years and it's really hard to see anyone challenging that strongly. The Pacers are better than the 37-win team they were a season ago, but David West isn't going to make that much of a difference.

It's really more of a question of how much better the Bulls are than everyone else. Meaning, can they have this division locked up by the end of March? February even? And after that happens, it's about playoff seeding and home court advantage. This Bulls team has big goals in mind. They fell short in the Eastern Finals, but they're a year older and Derrick Rose has now tasted the sting of failure. This team will be driven and hungry to avenge last season's shortcomings, but it's just a matter of if they can beat the Heat.

Worst team: Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs will be the Central's worst squad again, but not The Worst, like they were last season. They aren't going to set any record losing streaks. They aren't going to flirt with the worst record in basketball history. They probably won't even flirt with the worst record in the Eastern Conference. But this is a group in a total rebuild. The rubble is still smoldering from "The Decision" and the franchise hasn't completely recovered. There are questions: Is Kyrie Irving a franchise player; is Tristan Thompson worth his draft slot; is Anderson Varejao's hair self-aware -- these are the things the Cavs will have to start answering before they begin the climb out of the hole and back into the postseason.

Biggest surprise: Detroit Pistons

I want to just say that the Pistons aren't a playoff team and move on. But here's the thing: This is the Eastern Conference. The conference where teams five games under .500 make the playoffs. The conference where if you win 30 games in this shortened season, it might be enough. The Pacers used this formula to get a postseason series with the Bulls and it feels like the Pistons could be next in line to make a small push. It's not a terrible core in Detroit: Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon, Greg Monroe, Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince. Is that a good team? No, not really. But if 30 wins could be enough for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, the Pistons might have just enough to claw their way in.

Three Best Players: Derrick Rose, Danny Granger, Joakim Noah

Do I need to explain why Derrick Rose is in this list? No, no I don't. But after him, there's really a lack of talent in the Central. Danny Granger is a good player and a former All-Star, but it feels a bit funny to have him listed as one of the three best players in a division.

It feels really funny to have Noah listed as one. But honestly, who else would you put there? Andrew Bogut, a guy still playing with one arm? Carlos Boozer? Brandon Jennings? Kyrie Irving? There's just not a lot of household names in the Central. Rose is a star among stars, but after him, pickings get slim. Noah is a supreme defender, excellent rebounder and makes a major difference on both sides of the floor because of his energy. When a guy impacts games as much as him, he has to be recognized for being a great player. It's not pretty like a Rose up-and-under or a Granger pull-up jumper, but Noah gets the job done and is an anchor for the league's best defense.

Biggest Question: Will Richard Hamilton really make that much of a difference for Chicago?

The Bulls were hunting a shooting guard. They wanted Jamal Crawford, didn't get him. They wanted J.R. Smith, can't get him. They wanted Arron Afflalo, couldn't afford him. They settled on Richard Hamilton, who was bought out by the Pistons and you know what, they might have gotten a steal in free agency.

Hamilton fills their need of providing a player that can score on his own, take pressure off Rose and add an extra much-needed dimension to the Chicago offense. Luol Deng is a nice third scorer, but he can't carry the weight of being the No. 2 option. Same goes for Carlos Boozer. Last season's playoff success for Chicago depended on two things: 1) Can Rose take over the game and 2) if he can't, can Kyle Korver or someone else make every 3-pointer they shoot? After that it was just about the Bulls trying to survive by dominating the glass or holding a team to 45 points or something. Hamilton will help alleviate some of that pressure. But it's just a question of if it's enough.

2012 Projected Standings:
1. Chicago Bulls
2. Indiana Pacers
3. Milwaukee Bucks
4. Detroit Pistons
5. Cleveland Cavaliers

Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:56 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 9:10 pm

Cavaliers use amnesty clause to waive Baron Davis

Posted by Ben Golliverbaron-davis-peace

The man who became the butt of hundreds of "he looks homeless" jokes is now officially without an NBA home, at least for the next few days.

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers have elected to waive uber-hipster point guard Baron Davis using their amnesty clause. The decision does not come as a surprise but there was plenty of speculation as to whether Davis would stay or go, given the lack of talent on Cleveland's roster and the fact that this is sure to be a rebuilding year. The paper reports he experienced back pain associated with a "bulging disc" and is "expected to miss at least several weeks."

Davis was on the books for $13.9 million for 2011-2012 and had a player option worth $14.8 million for 2012-2013. The Cavaliers get to remove both of those numbers from their books, meaning they are positioned to be a fairly major player in free agency during the summer of 2012. 

In the meantime, the 2011 NBA Draft's No. 1 overall draft pick Kyrie Irving should take on a major role. Irving is a polished all-around point guard who is mature beyond his years, and the Cavaliers have Daniel Gibson and Ramon Sessions to make sure his transition to the pro game is a smooth one.

Newsday reports that Davis might be headed to the Big Apple, as the veteran point guard and the New York Knicks share "mutual interest." For that to happen, Davis must go unclaimed during the blind amnesty bidding auction that is restricted only to teams that are currently under the salary cap. If he makes it through that process without being claimed, he would be an unrestricted free agent and could sign wtih any team. The Knicks, having given up on their pursuit of New Orleans Hornets All-Star point guard Chris Paul to sign center Tyson Chandler, are in desperate need of talented backcourt bodies. 

Davis, 32, was traded to the Cavaliers along with the draft pick used to select Irving by the Los Angeles Clippers last season in a deal that sent point guard Mo Williams to L.A. In 58 games for the Clippers and Cavaliers during 2010-2011, Davis averaged 13.1 points and 7.7 assists per game.
Posted on: December 12, 2011 10:59 pm

Steve Kerr: Dan Gilbert needs to 'get over it'

Posted by Royce Young

After the NBA's ridiculous handling of the Chris Paul situation in New Orleans, a lot of people have felt the need to vent. I know I have. I caught myself yelling at my dog yesterday saying things like, "How dare the NBA intervene and manipulate the league!"

Steve Kerr though, has a much bigger voice and when he talks, a lot more people than a dog listen up. Kerr is a TNT analyst now, but was the Phoenix Suns general manager for a number of years and a prominant player on a couple of Michael Jordan's championship Bulls. He knows the inside of the business. He knows how it all works. And he is fired up about the way the NBA blocked CP3's trade to the Lakers, most notably about Dan Gilbert who sent an email to David Stern the day it happened complaining about it. Via Sports Radio Interviews:
"It's such a crock that he would even mention that. That guy is a billionaire, they have been way over the cap while they had LeBron, way over the tax. He's still upset that he lost LeBron and he needs to get over it. LeBron gave that franchise the best seven years they have ever had. He was a free agent and he decided to leave. Nobody likes the way LeBron left, even he apologized for it the other night on TV but the fact is there is a thing called free agency and if a superstar player wants to leave when they are agents, they can leave."
Tell us how you really feel, Steve.

But he couldn't be more right. Gilbert was complaining about things like the luxury tax and how the Lakers were going to save money, therefore cutting into the revenue shared with small market teams like his Cavs. Gilbert said that 25 teams were the Washington Generals. He's basically been playing quite the woe-is-me thing ever since LeBron left the Cavs.

Kerr on the trade itself:
"Every one of them is wrong and I don't know how many there are either but I've been angry all day long about this whole thing because I think it was a great basketball trade. There are so many trades made these days that are lousy trades that are made for financial purposes ... The problem I have is that this was a great trade for the Hornets.

There's no way they can duplicate that. I thought Dell Demps did an incredible job. You end up with three legitimate good players in (Luis) Scola, Kevin Martin, and (Lamar) Odom. You get a first round pick, you get Goran Dragic who I like and a guy I drafted in Phoenix. He's a good player. You're telling me you're going to deny that for basketball reasons when every single other analyst out there and every GM thinks they hit a home run with that trade. And by the way in seven months if they play it out they are getting nothing."


I made one of the worst trades in NBA history. I traded Kurt Thomas and two first round picks to Seattle for nothing, to save 16 million dollars for our organization. Where was the NBA then to veto that trade for basketball reasons?"
First, I love that Kerr acknowledges how bad the Thomas trade was. He made it to save Robert Sarver some money, but that deal ended up giving then Seattle and now the Thunder, two first round picks, one of which turned into Serge Ibaka. Like he said, why didn't the league intervene with that?

The point with this whole thing is, is that the league shouldn't have such a heavy hand here. Yes, the NBA owns the Hornets. But it's also supposed to oversee the league and make sure things stay fair. It's supposed to stay out of the way. For as much as the NBA preached competitive balance, they sure have stuck their thumb out and intentionally hurt the Rockets and Lakers. It's not fair and it's got people like Steve Kerr angry.

I would say that it's going to be awkward when TNT does a Cavs game, but we all know that nobody is wasting a national television game on the Cavs. Unless LeBron's coming to town. The truth hurts, huh Dan?

Via Deadspin
Posted on: December 6, 2011 10:39 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 10:52 pm

2011-2012 NBA schedule: strength analysis

Posted by Ben Golliver

Aside from cutting the 2011-2012 NBA regular season length down from 82 games to 66 games, the lockout had one major impact on this year's schedule: every Western Conference team is no longer able to play a home-and-home series with every Eastern Conference team, and vice versa. Instead, each team gets just 18 non-conference games instead of 30, playing just three non-conference opponents twice.

Is this a big deal? Imagine you're the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, coming off one of the worst seasons any NBA team has every played. Would you rather play the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks twice each or would you prefer the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets? Obviously, your preference would be to stack up as many games as possible against poor teams.

There was no perfect solution for the NBA to balance this aspect of the schedule. Thanks to player movement, back-to-backs, back-to-back-to-backs, and the like, just about every team in the league feels like it's getting a raw deal this year. The distribution of non-conference opponents is sure to be a sore spot for some fanbases and a point of happiness for others.

So who are the first glance winners and losers? Let's take a look using a simple method.

Elite Winners: San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls

There are two clear winners when it comes to this aspect of the schedule and it just so happens that the winners were the league's top-2 teams during the regular season last year. Let's pencil it out using a straightforward win differential based on last season's performance.

The Spurs won 61 games last year and their three repeated non-conference opponents are Cleveland, Orlando and Philadelphia. Those three teams averaged a combined 37 wins last season. 61-37 gives you a differential of +24, the highest of any team in the league.

Chicago, who won 62 games last year, got similarly good luck, facing New Orleans, Memphis and Sacramento, who averaged 39 wins last year, yielding a +23 differential. If the Hornets wind up trading Chris Paul prior to their games with the Bulls, Chicago's advantage here becomes even more pronounced.

Elite Losers: Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder

Boston, with 57 wins, and Oklahoma City, with 56 wins, both were among the NBA's elite last year. However, both drew exceedingly difficult home-and-home opponents, likely by virtue of their television-friendly teams. 

Boston plays the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Thunder twice each. The Thunder is set to play the Celtics, the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic twice each. If Tyson Chandler and/or Dwight Howard change teams prior to the start of the season that would probably be appreciated in Massachusetts and Oklahoma. 

Both Boston and Oklahoma City, despite being well above .500 last year, have differentials of zero thanks to the tough scheduling.

Marginal Winners: Houston Rockets

The Rockets won just 43 games last year, missing out on the Western Conference playoffs. While they will struggle to climb up the Western Conference playoff table, they'll do it with the help of playing three of the East's weakest sisters: Charlotte, Toronto and Washington. It doesn't get much more cake than that. Houston winds up with a differential of +17 in these home-and-home match-ups, good for third best in the league.

Marginal Losers: New York Knicks

The Knicks are a premier team in the hearts and minds of just about everyone but they still won just 42 games last year. Given their acquisition of new star power and their big-city locale, the NBA has made sure they play plenty of marquee match-ups. Indeed, the Knicks are set to face home-and-homes with the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, getting a bit of a reprieve with the Sacramento Kings. Still the presence of two 57-win teams from last year gives New York a differential of -4, tied with the Philadelphia 76ers for the worst mark of any 2011 playoff team. 

Terrible Winners: Detroit Pistons

During the offseason, I graded Detroit's roster as the worst in the league and thankfully the schedulers had some mercy, scheduling the Pistons against Memphis, Minnesota and Sacramento, giving Detroit extra games against the two worst teams in the West. Despite winning just 30 games and heading to the lottery once again, the Pistons manage to have a +1 differential in this category, a pretty astounding feat.

Terrible Losers: Cleveland Cavaliers

It's no secret: the Cavaliers were garbage last year, setting an NBA record for consecutive losses and winning just 19 games overall. They didn't get lucky here, drawing home-and-homes with the league-best San Antonio Spurs and two middle-of-the-pack teams in the West: Phoenix and Utah. That's good enough for a league-worst -28 differential. By comparison, the 17-win Timberwolves drew Charlotte, Detroit and Indiana and had a -17 differential.

Remember, this is just one minor elements in the league's overall 2011-2012 adjusted schedule. Still, it's interesting to see the range involved. Here's a chart to help visualize what's happening. Click here for the full-size version.


Here's a complete list of the differentials in 2010-211 win totals between each NBA team and the average of its three repeat non-conference opponents on the 2011-2012 schedule. All numbers rounded.

San Antonio Spurs 24
Chicago Bulls 23
Houston Rockets 17
Portland Trail Blazers 14
Denver Nuggets 14
Utah Jazz 11
Memphis Grizzlies 8
Phoenix Suns 7
Dallas Mavericks 5
Los Angeles Lakers 5
Indiana Pacers 4
Atlanta Hawks 4
Golden State Warriors 2
Los Angeles Clippers 2
New Orleans Hornets 2
Miami Heat 2
Detroit Pistons 1
Boston Celtics 0
Oklahoma City Thunder 0
Charlotte Bobcats -1
Orlando Magic -3
New York Knicks -4
Philadelphia 76ers -4
Milwaukee Bucks -11
New Jersey Nets -12
Minnesota Timberwolves -17
Washington Wizards -18
Sacramento Kings -21
Toronto Raptors -24
Cleveland Cavaliers -28
Posted on: November 27, 2011 8:16 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 11:52 am

Report: Lakers limited in amnesty market

By Matt Moore 

Update: Important note from James Ham at Cowbell Kingdom, the clause for the amnesty in the leaked proposal reads as follows:

Each team permitted to waive 1 player prior to any season of the CBA (only for contracts in place at the inception of the CBA) and have 100% of the player’s salary removed from team salary for Cap and Tax purposes.

Salary of amnestied players included for purposes of calculating players’ agreed-upon share of BRI.

A modified waiver process will be utilized for players waived pursuant to the Amnesty rule, under which teams with Room under the Cap can submit competing offers to assume some but not all of the player’s remaining contract. If a player’s contract is claimed in this manner, the remaining portion of the player’s salary will continue to be paid by the team that waived him.
via Cowbell Kingdom.com - A Sacramento Kings Blog.

Because a player will not have the right to refuse a bid, the Lakers would not have the ability to bid on Davis or Lewis because they are over the cap. This could have dramatically bizarre impacts on the entire process. 

Original post:

The whole point of the "competitive balance" aspect of the lockout was to try and limit some of the patterns wherein teams like the Lakers would have inherent advantages in the free agency and trade market. Regardless of whether you believe those measures were legitimate or not, that's the alleged point and a big reason why half of the games missed are absent from the schedule. But one potential ramification of the new rules is that the Lakers could wind up improving their already stacked roster,  which surprised everyone by not making the Finals last season. 

The Lakers could be aiming to bring in Baron Davis or Rashard Lewis, according to a report from the LA Times:
The Lakers are curious to see if veteran point guard Baron Davis gets cut by Cleveland. He has two years and $28.7 million left on his contract, though he can be signed for substantially less than that. The Lakers also want a shooter and are monitoring whether forward Rashard Lewis (two years, $43.8 million remaining) gets waived by Washington.

Because the Lakers are so far over the salary cap with a current payroll of about $90 million, their only real spending tool in free agency is the mid-level exception, which will shrink dramatically from last year's five-year, $29-million maximum for such a player.
via Lakers basketball: Lakers have new coaches, many questions for 2010-11 season - latimes.com.

The Lakers are widely expected to exercise the amnesty clause on Luke Walton, freeing up some salary space, though they'll still be in luxury tax category. With most of the  tax restrictions not expected to take effect until 2013, the Lakers should be in position to use the MLE on either player. Davis is a much better fit for need considering the Laker's strength at both power forward with Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, and small forward with Metta World Peace, Odom, Matt Barnes, and occassionally Kobe Bryant able to play the spot. On the flip side, a replacement has been needed for Derek Fisher for quite some time, and Davis would be an ideal candidate with his range.

Davis also is heavily involved in Hollywood through his film production company. This kind of move would represent the exact kind of move the lockout was designed to stop. Instead, the Lakers, who have won two of the past three championships, could be geared to add a former All-Star who fits perfectly with their roster. 

The more things change, the more things could potentially stay the same.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com