Note: This story contains accounts of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or at https://www.rainn.org
In a new series for Right Down Euclid, readers can submit their questions about anything related to Cleveland sports and we'll answer them to the best of our ability. So, with that said, today Right Down Euclid will answer your questions, and hopefully more, on this edition of the weekly mailbag.
But, before we get started, a little housekeeping note – on June 16, Right Down Euclid is partnering with Platform Beer Co. to have the first Right Down Euclid Community Happy Hour! It'll be from 5:30 p.m. EST to 7:30 p.m. EST at Phunkenship and all are welcome to come! Plus, for the first 50 people that arrive, drinks are on them!
Register here via Facebook – looking forward to meeting some of you there and celebrating the community that makes this possible!
With that said, let's break down everyone's questions for this latest mailbag. There were a lot of great ones so it was hard to decide what wouldn't make the cut.
Did you see the Real Sports segment on Deshaun Watson on HBO this week? If so, what are your feelings about it? Also, do you think he deserves to be suspended? – Zach R.
Hey, Zach! Thanks for reaching out. Yes, I did watch the Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel's segment on Deshaun Watson's accusers as I'm sure many around Cleveland did. For those who may not know, Watson has been accused by 24 women of sexual misconduct or sexual assault during massage appointments. Twenty-two of the women, all represented by attorney Tony Buzbee, are suing the quarterback. Two of the women, Ashley Solis and Kyla Hayes, spoke publicly for the first time with Soledad O'Brien, and to be frank, it was harrowing to hear them share their stories.
Hayes and Solis, like the other accusers, are massage therapists Watson hired for private sessions during his time as quarterback for the Houston Texans between 2017 and 2021. Their graphic stories mirrored accusations from the lawsuits: Watson, they said, would drop or move a towel meant to cover his groin, exposing himself and sometimes touching them with his penis on purpose. Hayes said Watson even ejaculated during their massage session.
“At some point, he did ejaculate,” Hayes said. “It was mortifying, embarrassing and disgusting.”
While Watson remains steadfast in his innocence, this segment makes him even more guilty in the court of public opinion and, in turn, should put even more pressure on the NFL to act. Watson is subject to discipline under the NFL’s personal conduct policy, which isn’t dependent on the outcome of a criminal or civil court proceeding. The NFL conducted its own investigation into the allegations against Watson and last week the quarterback traveled to New York for meetings at the league office. Depending on its own findings, the league could suspend Watson, fine him or both.
In the past, the league suspended former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for six games over allegations he sexually assaulted two women. That punishment was ultimately reduced to four games. But, when it comes to Watson, it should be handled differently. As uncomfortable as it may make some people and as easy as it is to look away, you cannot ignore what Watson was accused of.
Sure, some of the women who accused him might be lying – but not all of them are. Some are making their faces, and names, known to show how serious these allegations truly are. There was a point when Watson was considered a serial predator for his behavior and that can never be excused. Watson not facing any serious suspension sends another terrible message about how the NFL, and the rest of the male-dominated sports world, deal with female claims of abuse.
With that said, the NFL should take a page out of the MLB's book based on how they handled Trevor Bauer. Watson should be suspended, at minimum, for the entirety of the NFL season. The world needs to believe, and support, women – especially those that are survivors of sexual assault and stop putting people on a pedestal just because they're the best at throwing around a football.
Technically, this wasn't in response to the Right Down Euclid mailbag call to action. But, Trevor was the first to ask this after I was asked a similar question about Jalen Williams. So, we're going with Trevor's question first.
Prior to the NBA Draft Combine, Williams was considered a second-round flier due to his draft age and small school status. A three-year player at Santa Clara, during his final year he averaged 18 points per game while shooting 51% from the field and 40% from three. But, after his strong performance while at the combine, he's starting to draw the interest of many teams, the Cavaliers included, and may vault himself into the first round.
It's understandable why there's intrigue around Williams. He's an agile, skilled swingman that can shoot and score in a variety of ways. Not only that but he's also shown some chops as a playmaker as well and could be a solid connective piece on offense. Williams also possesses a frame that should allow him to defend well at the next level but there's still room for improvement at that spot as well.
Sources say there are concerns about him suddenly becoming a solid shooter this season – similar to Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji, who the Cavaliers are a fan of. But, with some of the limitations Williams possesses right now, he might not be a reliable option at 14 for Cleveland. If the Cavaliers were able to package their second-rounders and trade back into the late first, that makes more sense. That way they can bring Williams along a bit more slowly and, hopefully, he becomes a solid wing contributor for them long-term.
Sources say that members of Cleveland's front office were at numerous agency-hosted workouts in Los Angeles earlier this week. The Cavaliers are also scheduled to work out a group of players next week as well. It's unknown at this time if Williams is in that group but, if he is, it'll give Cleveland an opportunity to properly evaluate him and see if the hype is real or not.
Hypothetically, if the Cavs ended up in the lottery and Chet was still on the board, is there any on this Earth he could fit alongside Mobley and Allen? Like, if they REALLY wanted to lean into the big lineup, do you think it could have worked? – Sean C.
This is the most fun question I got for this week's mailbag and it's an interesting hypothetical. Let's just assume that the Cavaliers ended up with the no. 1 pick in this scenario and that they have Chet Holmgren number one on their board, despite them having so many resources invested in Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley already.
Barring any trade offers from teams (Josh Giddey and the better of Oklahoma City's first-rounders seems fair), we'll also assume that Cleveland sticks to their big board and takes Holmgren first overall. Sure, that would likely set the NBA world on fire but there could be a way to make this work on the floor during Holmgren's rookie season. Holmgren has displayed glimpses of why he’s been labeled a unicorn and he’s also shown why his rare blend of body type and skills makes it nearly impossible to find a player to properly compare him to.
He’s fluid like a wing in transition and unlike most seven-footers, he is comfortable going coast to coast as well. That means, weirdly enough, that the Cavaliers could start Holmgren at the three in this scenario with Mobley at the four and Allen at the five. Defensively, no one is going to score on the interior against Cleveland and could be a problem on the perimeter as well with Holmgren and Mobley showing comfort defending in space.
Offensively, meanwhile, it's going to be a bit of a mess at first but Holmgren has showcased a rare ability as a three-point shooter which makes this hypothetical interesting. If Mobley expands his range as well in his sophomore season, this becomes even more palatable. It would help open up driving lanes for players like Isaac Okoro, Collin Sexton and Caris LeVert and also give Allen plenty of room to operate in the interior. Not only that but, it also gives superstar guard Darius Garland endless opportunities to rack up assists as well.
Unfortunately, this is only a hypothetical and not a reality. I'm going to ask everyone else what they think they would do in this scenario but, I think I'd keep Holmgren if I were Cleveland.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
So, this is an interesting question. I wrote about this earlier this week (premium subscribers only!) but if the Cavaliers let Sexton test the waters of restricted free agency, the teams to look out for are the Detroit Pistons and the New York Knicks. It doesn't seem likely that Sexton ends up leaving Cleveland but, if he does, LeVert indeed would be the expected replacement at the starting two-guard spot. Mind you, it's already something they were been experimenting with all of last season with Sexton out. But, if Sexton leaves in free agency it would just make the experiment a bit more permanent.
It's also worth noting that if Sexton did leave that doesn't mean LeVert would be immediately extended by the Cavaliers to soften the blow either. Sources indicate that the Cavaliers would like to sign LeVert to an extension, especially after giving up a first-round pick to acquire him. But, due to LeVert missing so much time with injury, those same sources say the organization isn't gunning to sign him to one right away. Thankfully, LeVert is under contract for next year so Cleveland doesn't feel as much pressure to sign him immediately. They'll likely use this season to evaluate his overall fit long-term and then adjust things closer to the trade deadline.
In terms of free agency, it would be complicated if the Cavaliers lost Sexton. Cleveland would have a full non-taxpayer mid-level exception worth roughly $10 million as well as their bi-annual exception worth up to $7,650,600 over two years. Sources say players they could target with those include Tyus Jones, Kyle Anderson, T.J. Warren and Delon Wright. They also could go big-game hunting with some of their heftier contracts and I've shared names in the past like Charlotte's Gordon Hayward, Toronto's Gary Trent Jr. and Detroit's Jerami Grant.
The most interesting name league sources say could be worth watching for the Cavaliers is Golden State's Andrew Wiggins. The Warriors want to retain Jordan Poole and it might cost Golden State their All-Star forward in Wiggins in order to maintain financial flexibility as well. Cleveland could swoop in with a combination of salaries and draft picks to help soften the blow for Golden State all while reuniting with their former first-rounder in Wiggins. But, before these rumors grows legs, those same sources says that the way Wiggins has performed in the playoffs may deter the Warriors from moving him right away.
Other than that, the Cavaliers can play around with veteran minimum deals to round out their roster as well. According to sources, that's a realistic path where Ricky Rubio could reunite with Cleveland. If not there, names worth watching include Avery Bradley, Raul Neto and Elfrid Payton as well. Clearly, there are plenty of options in free agency this year for Cleveland – they just have to get creative with it.
Evan Dammarell is a sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Did you enjoy this edition of Right Down Euclid? You can get it in your inbox two to three times a week by subscribing here. All it takes is either your Facebook account or email address!