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Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

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Thursday (Wolves reportedly only dealing with Cavs in Love trade) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 31st at 9:18am 269381811

lovelebronFresh reporting from ESPN on the Kevin Love trade situation only advances the ball a little and mostly just confirms what has been already reported or logically assumed, but there are a few passages worth noting:

Sources this week have described the Cavs as the only team in contention for Love. … (Andrew) Wiggins is not eligible to be dealt until Aug. 23 after signing his rookie contract last week, but numerous league insiders — some of whom are gathered in Las Vegas for this week’s Team USA training camp — have begun to describe a Love-to-Cleveland trade as a “when” transaction as opposed to an “if.”

This is good, of course, because it lets us all focus on one team, one trade. Even though a potential deal with Chicago is pretty good, too, we can stop talking about it. And we can certainly stop mentioning Golden State.

It’s believed the Wolves hope to convince Cleveland to take J.J. Barea as part of a Love trade or find a third team to absorb Barea’s expiring contract.

Again, this was an assumption after the Wolves signed Mo Williams, but it’s worth reiterating. We’d hate to see a deal blow up over the minor pieces, but if Flip Saunders can leverage this to not only add players he wants but subtract players he doesn’t want, that would be keen.

Although Love, 25, is expected to opt for free agency after next season even if he’s dealt to Cleveland, sources say that’s purely because he can secure a far more lucrative contract next summer than he could going the extension route.

That’s interesting. We had been operating under the assumption that Love would opt-in for the final year of his deal. Even if there is a handshake agreement that he will re-sign with Cleveland, that adds some burden to the Cavs.

So basically the sides have a little more than three weeks now to hammer out the details and perhaps find a third team willing to add more pieces to this puzzle. While we’d still rather have the deal done right now since cold feet can change any deal, we’ll just have to trust the process.

TFD: The Wolves lottery history would be even worse with proposed new format

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 30th at 6:08pm 269290421

The Timberwolves participated in the NBA draft lottery 16 times in which the pick was derived from their own poor record the season and they still held the pick on draft night.

In nine of those cases, they ended up picking at a lower spot than their pre-lottery position. In seven cases, they stayed the same as their pre-lottery position. In ZERO cases, of course, they picked at a higher spot than their pre-lottery position.

It made us wonder how they might have fared if the NBA had been operating for the past 25 years under the proposed new lottery system, as written about at Grantland a couple of weeks ago and now again in the news because the 76ers reportedly object to them:

Under the current system, the team with the worst record has a 25 percent chance of snagging the no. 1 pick, perhaps the most valuable asset in the entire NBA. The team with the second-worst record has a 19.9 percent chance of winning the no. 1 pick, and the third-worst team enters the lottery with a 15.6 percent chance of moving up to the top slot. The odds decline from there, with the final five teams in the lottery — the teams with the five best records — each having a 1.1 percent or worse chance of moving up to no. 1.

The league’s proposal gives at least the four worst teams the same chance at winning the no. 1 pick: approximately an identical 11 percent shot for each club. The odds decline slowly from there, with the team in the next spot holding a 10 percent chance. The lottery team with the best record will have a 2 percent chance of leaping to the no. 1 pick, up from the the minuscule 0.5 percent chance it has under the current system.

Of the 16 cases of the Wolves in the lottery mentioned above, the Wolves had a top-3 pre-lottery position seven times. Another five times, they had either the No. 5 or No. 6 position. The other four times they had a pre-lottery position of seventh or lower.

Without knowing the exact NBA proposal, it’s hard to figure this out with certainty, but our best guess is that in those seven times the Wolves had top-3 lottery position, their odds would have been considerably worse. In the five times they were No. 5 or No. 6, their odds would have been about the same. And the other four times they were seventh or lower, their odds would have improved by a few percentage points.

In other words, the Wolves — who have had historically bad lottery luck — would have been even worse off in this new system. But just for fun, we would be willing to invent a time machine and go back to 1990 to see if any of the drafts worked out in their favor despite the longer odds.

Shockingly, it sounds like Josh Gordon's second-hand marijuana smoke defense isn't going to work

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 30th at 6:11pm 269261401

joshgordonPer ESPN.com:

Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon‘s claim that secondhand smoke led to his failed marijuana test this offseason might not help him.

“A cornerstone of both of our drug testing programs has always been that you are responsible for what is in your body,” Greg Aiello, NFL senior vice president of communications, said via email Tuesday. “It is stated that way in the policies.”

Sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Gordon will attribute his one positive sample to secondhand smoke, and that he also will argue a disparity in the two samples he provided.

In other words, it doesn’t matter how the marijuana got in your system, Josh — not that anyone should have believed for a second that second-hand smoke was a plausible excuse.

Wednesday (Disappearing and reappearing Kyle Gibson) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 30th at 8:59am 269212321

gibsonA strange split-personality season for Kyle Gibson, one more extreme than we can ever recall seeing, continued Tuesday.

The balance of it adds up to a fully acceptable and even good first full season as a starter, as he is 9-8 with a 3.94 ERA after holding Kansas City scoreless for seven innings in a 2-1 victory.

But how he has arrived at those numbers is simply crazy. It stands to reason that pitchers will have better numbers in their wins than losses, but here is how it breaks down for Gibson in his 20 starts:

Wins (9) and no-decisions (3): 81.1 IP, 53 hits, 1 HR allowed, 5 earned runs allowed for a 0.55 ERA.

Losses (8): 33 IP, 56 hits, 45 ER, 6 HRs allowed, 12.27 ERA.

For frame of reference, let’s go back to 2010 and Carl Pavano’s season, which ended with a 3.75 ERA. He had a 2.32 ERA in wins and a 5.40 ERA in losses. That’s a pretty reasonable split — really good in wins, bad but not blowout bad in losses.

Gibson, though, is basically unhittable in 12 starts the resulted in wins or no decisions and historically bad in the other eight starts.

He has eight starts in which he finished with at least six innings pitched and ZERO earned runs allowed. He also has four starts in which he didn’t make it past three innings and allowed at least five earned runs every time.

We’re not sure what to make of it. Maybe it’s a question of command, and when he has it he is great and when he misses with his location he gets hammered. Maybe it’s just one of those fluky set of circumstances.

We’re not even sure what we would rather have — a guy who throws seven innings a game and allows three runs every time or a guy who has been like Gibson, either lights-out or terrible.

All we know is that it’s bizarre. If he can harness “good Kyle” more often, he’ll be an All-Star. If he descends into “bad Kyle” more often, he’ll be out of the league.

TFD: The Knicks reportedly made an awful attempt at trading for Kevin Love

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 29th at 7:04pm 269114621

loverubioFriday is trash day in our neighborhood. It’s so routine that usually we don’t notice until we go to throw more garbage in the big can in the driveway and presto! it’s empty.

This is almost exactly how we feel about a report that we completely missed via the Wall Street Journal a few days ago. On Friday, trash day, it was reported that the Knicks made the grossest of garbage offers for Kevin Love:

The Knicks recently attempted to make a trade for Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love, offering forward Amar’e Stoudemire and his enormous expiring contract, second-year guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. and swingman Iman Shumpert, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

But the long-shot offer, made in the past week, was declined and never stood much of a chance, particularly because the Timberwolves could potentially strike a richer deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers involving No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins.

It also never stood a chance because it is about the worst, most laughable offer imaginable. If it really is true, we feel bad for the level of delusion pervading Knicks President Phil Jackson and we feel sorry that Flip Saunders even had to field the phone call.

Stoudemire does nothing for anyone. Shumpert averaged 6.7 ppg last year and is a restricted free agent in a year. Hardaway averaged 10 points last season.

If it was some sort of elaborate ruse or prank, then maybe we could understand. If the offer was for J.J. Barea and a $100 gift card to Hubert’s, we could understand. If that story ran in The Onion instead of the WSJ, we could understand.

But as a legitimate trade offer? No, we cannot understand.

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