Friday, July 2, 2010

Cleveland sports notes

It's been a busy couple days in Cleveland sports at the same time it was a busy couple days for yours truly.

Scott hired

The Cleveland Cavaliers officially announced the hire of Byron Scott for its head coaching vacancy early Friday morning.

Scott is a 26-year NBA veteran as both a player and coach and was signed to a four-year contract, with the fourth season a team option year.

As a coach, Scott is 352-355 for his career and has made two appearances in the NBA Finals.

He will be formerly introduced at a 3 p.m. press conference today.

With NBA free agency having started yesterday, Scott will be a strong bargaining chip in the LeBron James sweepstakes.

The Cavs already hold the edge to sign LeBron, but if they did not have a coach in place before their official meeting with him, it still would have been difficult to sell his hometown team.

LeBron meetings

LeBron James had free agency meetings with the New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks yesterday in downtown Cleveland.

He was reportedly impressed by New Jersey's presentation, which included his friend and globally successful rapper Jay-Z. The meeting reportedly included talk of taking LeBron's image globally.

The Knicks, according to reports, showed LeBron a study that said he could earn $1.94 billion dollars in salary and endorsements if he left Cleveland for New York. That same study said LeBron would earn just $700 million in career earnings if he stayed in Cleveland.

This morning, LeBron is holding a meeting with representatives from the Miami Heat, and later in the day, the Los Angeles Clippers are expected to be in town.

On Saturday, the Chicago Bulls and Cavaliers will meet with him.

Tribe streaking

The Cleveland Indians completed a sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday afternoon, extending their winning streak to five games.

The Tribe's success has gone largely unnoticed because of the palooza surrounding the Cavs the past week.

Matt LaPorta has been a big part of the recent surge, as the team hasn't lost since he was recalled June 27. He has homered in the past three games.

Finding LaPorta's power stroke is one of the keys to building toward the future for the Indians.

He, combined with several other prominent prospects, including current catcher Carlos Santana, are expected to lead a resurgence of Cleveland baseball in the next 2-3 years.

Cleveland is only 11 1/2 games behind in the AL Central, baseball's weakest division, but it is likely too late for the team to make a serious push for the playoffs this season.

What the team should do instead is give its best prospects Major League at-bats while trading away burdens, such as Jhonny Peralta, Jake Westbrook and Travis Hafner. In addition, the team should try to transition Jason Donald to second base, so he will still have a place to play once Asdrubal Cabrera returns from the disabled list.

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