The Latest

Brian Windhorst of the Akron Beacon Journal brings us up-to-date.
Cavs General Manager Danny Ferry just returned from a European scouting trip, where he might have seen the Cavs’ next first-round draft pick. Ferry comes from the San Antonio Spurs’ school, which teaches the value of international talent. The Spurs have plucked gems from Europe for years. They haven’t drafted an American in any of the past three drafts. Ferry’s first draft produced an international player, Martynas Andriuskevicius, and Ferry attempted to sign fellow Lithuanian Saranus Jasikevicius during the summer.
• Veteran NBA referee Joe Crawford is known for being a good official and for getting testy when his calls are questioned. It seems Crawford and Cavs coach Mike Brown are off on the wrong foot and Eric Snow is in the middle. Crawford has gotten into it twice with Brown in the past two weeks, and twice Snow has gotten involved, too. In a game in Cleveland against the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 7, Crawford got tired of listening to Brown and barked at him before an out-of-bounds play. Snow, who was set to inbound the ball, slapped it out of Crawford’s hand and told him not to talk to his coach that way. Later in the game, both Snow and Brown were hit with technical fouls.
Wednesday in Denver, Brown was on Crawford again and was hit with a technical again when he drifted onto the court in the fourth quarter. Moments later, Crawford called a technical on Snow for chirping from the bench. Snow, the team captain, frequently speaks to officials about calls, but perhaps both Cavs should steer clear of Crawford in the near future.
• Despite his frequent statements that it doesn’t bother him, one school of thought is that James’ recent late-game struggles are due to fatigue. James is third in the NBA in minutes played. He averages fewer points in the fourth quarter, 6.8, than in any other quarter, and his free-throw and shooting percentages are lower than his overall averages down the stretch of close games.
• The early returns on Anderson Varejao haven’t been great. He’s shown some of the energy he displayed last year, but he’s been vulnerable on defense, especially when trying to keep his man in front of him. He appears to still have a long way to go physically and mentally.
• Damon Jones was upset he wasn’t invited to take part in the 3-point shootout in the All-Star Game last year and is hoping to be invited to take part this year in Houston next month. Jones is from Galveston and played at the University of Houston. But after shooting 43 percent from 3-point range last season, he’s down to 36 percent this season, weakening his case.
• A story in the Camden (N.J) Courier-Post this week revealed former Cav Dajuan Wagner recently had surgery to remove his colon. He battled an internal illness for years, though he hopes to be well enough to return to the NBA next season.