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Cavaliers notebook: Overwhelming majority of NBA GMs pick Cavs to win Eastern Conference, LeBron James to win fifth MVP award

MEMPHIS, Tenn.: General managers from across the NBA selected the Cavs as preseason favorites to win the Eastern Conference by an overwhelming margin, although the San Antonio Spurs were picked to repeat as NBA champions.

Twenty-one of the 30 GMs, who are annually given anonymity and forbidden to choose their own team or players in any category, chose the Cavaliers. Eight picked the Chicago Bulls and one chose the Washington Wizards.

The Cavs (15.4 percent of the vote) finished second to win the Finals behind the Spurs (46.2 percent).

Cavs players have downplayed Finals predictions throughout the preseason and Wednesday’s vote by league executives didn’t seem to change that.

“I was a preseason All-American one year, too, and didn’t win it,” Mike Miller joked. “So it didn’t matter.”

Among individual awards, LeBron James was the overwhelming favorite to win his fifth Most Valuable Player award over Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and also was chosen as the game’s best small forward.

“That’s probably pretty accurate,” Miller joked.

In a fascinating twist, James also finished fourth in power forward rankings, one spot ahead of teammate Kevin Love. James earned 10.7 percent of the vote at power forward, while Love received 7.1 percent. All results are available at nba.com.

Voted down

The NBA’s current draft lottery system will remain in place for the foreseeable future after 13 teams voted no to a proposal that would make it more difficult for the worst teams to win the No. 1 pick.

The vote, which needed 23 votes to pass and only received 17, was held Wednesday at the Board of Governors meeting in New York.

The Cavaliers, recently the biggest benefactors of the current system, voted in favor of better balancing the odds between the non-playoff teams, according to Yahoo Sports, which reported the 13 teams that voted down the proposal: the Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats and Chicago Bulls.

The Cavs had the worst cumulative record the last four years and won three of those lotteries, but they never won with the best odds. They jumped from the eighth slot in 2011 to win it with a 2.8 percent chance, they leaped from third in 2013 with a 15.6 percent chance and defied the odds again in May when they came up from ninth for another stunning win on just a 1.7 percent chance.

They traded two of those top picks for Love and now are the favorites to win the East.

Interestingly enough, the league overhauled the lottery system in 1994 immediately after the Orlando Magic won consecutive lotteries, cashing in on a 1.5 percent chance to win it in 1993. The odds changed the following season.

After the Cavs won consecutive lotteries, the league tried changing the odds again. This time the vote failed.

Cavs guard James Jones, the treasurer of the players union, said tanking “most definitely” is a problem facing the NBA.

“It’s happened before and will it happen in the future? I’m pretty sure,” he said. “I don’t think it’s widespread, but you can definitely find instances where it has happened.

“But that’s something the players don’t control. It’s up to the league to manage and monitor it and hopefully we’ll find a way to make it so the game always remains pure and tanking isn’t a strategy used to try to improve the team.”

Dribbles

An additional episode of LeBron James’ Disney show “Becoming” will air at 5:30 p.m. Sunday on Disney XD. It will also air on Friday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. on ESPN and 8 p.m. on Disney XD. The show was filmed in Akron and includes rare footage from James’ early sports day. … The NBA has established the David J. Stern Sports Scholarship for college freshmen interested in studying sports management. The $30,000 scholarship will be awarded annually ($10,000 per each of the remaining three years) and also includes an NBA internship (following the junior year) and direct mentorship from Stern, the former NBA commissioner.

Jason Lloyd can be reached at jlloyd@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Cavs blog at www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.

Week 8: Fantasy Football Sit 'em
Every week, Fantasy Football Expert Rob Warner recommends a handful of players who should ride the pine. It may be because of a bad matchup, lost playing time, a nagging injury or an overwhelming slump. Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan only has three TD passes in his last three games total after throwing 10 TD passes in his first four games.
Returning home gives Sharon Budd the strength to face the next stage of recovery

LAKE TOWNSHIP: Clayton Betz leaned against a door frame inside his daughter’s house, fighting to keep his composure. Behind him, his daughter moved among family and friends, smiling easily and exchanging hugs.

For a brief moment, Betz couldn’t fight the memory of that night in July, the post-midnight phone call that told him to hurry to a Pennsylvania hospital if he wanted to see his daughter before she died.

The doctor treating her after a football-sized rock hurled from an overpass crashed through the family car and struck her in the head didn’t think she’d make it through the night.

But that night gave way to another. Then another. And here they were, more than 100 nights later, and his daughter’s home, suddenly a place of joy and laughter.

And Sharon Budd very much alive.

“You go from that extreme situation to today,” Betz said, his words trailing off as emotions threatened to surface again. “Oh, what a difference.”

Sharon, 52, left the Geisinger HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Danville, Pa. Wednesday morning, and was greeted by dozens of well-wishers lining her cul-de-sac as she arrived home shortly before 2 p.m.

Her homecoming marks an end and a beginning, her family said.

The fight for life is over. She has triumphed.

She got to keep the sight in one eye, intense workouts have put her back on her feet, and multiple brain surgeries have opened a door for her to regain some of the abilities she has lost.

But now begins the long road toward normalcy. On Monday, she’ll start physical, occupational and speech therapy at Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Center. Three days a week. Possibly for years.

“This is the beginning,” said her son, Joey Budd. “This is the very beginning.”

“I’m ready to get going,” Sharon said, pausing to check with her husband to make sure her appointments had been scheduled.

They had, Randy Budd said with a reassuring smile.

Sharon said she’s already drawing on the strength that comes from being home.

As the car that carried her turned into the development where she lives, she noticed every mailbox was decorated with pink and yellow ribbons fluttering in the breeze.

Pink has been the color used by her supporters since the start because it is also the color of breast cancer, another war that Sharon fought and survived.

“I was overwhelmed to see all of the people and all the ribbons,” Sharon said.

“It’s shocking, really,” she said, noting the breadth of the love that has enveloped her since the night of the assault. More than a dozen fund-raisers have been held in her name, organized by neighbors and family, by co-workers in the Perry Local Schools district, by Pennsylvania communities appalled by the horrific attack for which four teen-agers have been charged.

Was there ever a point when the love and support wasn’t enough? A time early on when the pain, the loss of an eye, the inability to speak or move, the repeated brain surgeries and the realization of the work that lay ahead made it preferable to just give up?

Sharon paused briefly, then looked to her husband, reaching up to touch his face.

“No, I don’t think so,” she said.

“I knew what I was in for because of the breast cancer. I was like, ‘Oh my God, here we go again’,” she said. But living through breast cancer “made me strong enough for this.”

Randy and Sharon Budd were high school sweethearts who married 31 years ago.

“We’ve been through it all,” Randy said. “Thick and thin. Thick and thin.”

The pair raised four children together. As a devoted language arts teacher for whom 60-hour work weeks were the norm, Sharon took a personal stake in the welfare of many, many more, Randy said

Now, with her story in the national news, her life has served to inspire others, he said.

Her refusal to be angry, her determination to get better, and her trademark sense of humor that often “cracks up everyone” is a valuable lesson for those lucky enough to spend time with her, Randy said.

“She has this refuse-to-lose attitude about life,” he said. When people ask her if she’s bitter, “she says she doesn’t hold any resentments against anybody.”

Sharon’s dad said he encourages other family members to feel the same way.

“Be thankful that she’s still alive... The positive thinking, you’ve got to have that. You can’t let the negative in,” Clayton Betz said.

Randy said he has his doubts his wife will ever be able to return to work.

“From where she was at the start to where she is today, she’s come so far,” he said.

The therapy center that had been home the past couple of months calls her the “miracle girl,” he said. “When they got her, she wasn’t even able to be rehabilitated. They couldn’t do anything with her. They would just pick her up and hold her, and that was her therapy for the day.”

Now she walks on her own, and is learning to talk again.

Still, “when I look back to how she was [before the assault], she’s still so far away from that,” he said.

For her part, Sharon said she’s looking forward to a simple domestic routine. It would feel good just to be able to do a little cooking and cleaning, she said.

Randy said he could see her starting to assert her independence last week.

“She was able to stand without people holding her, so she started shaking things out and moving things around,” he said, breaking into a smile as he gently squeezed her shoulder.

“She’s ready to start taking control again.”

Paula Schleis can be reached at 330-996-3741 or pschleis@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/paulaschleis.

Returning home gives Sharon Budd the strength to face the next stage of recovery

LAKE TOWNSHIP: Clayton Betz leaned against a door frame inside his daughter’s house, fighting to keep his composure. Behind him, his daughter moved among family and friends, smiling easily and exchanging hugs.

For a brief moment, Betz couldn’t fight the memory of that night in July, the post-midnight phone call that told him to hurry to a Pennsylvania hospital if he wanted to see his daughter before she died.

The doctor treating her after a football-sized rock hurled from an overpass crashed through the family car and struck her in the head didn’t think she’d make it through the night.

But that night gave way to another. Then another. And here they were, more than 100 nights later, and his daughter’s home, suddenly a place of joy and laughter.

And Sharon Budd very much alive.

“You go from that extreme situation to today,” Betz said, his words trailing off as emotions threatened to surface again. “Oh, what a difference.”

Sharon, 52, left the Geisinger HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Danville, Pa. Wednesday morning, and was greeted by dozens of well-wishers lining her cul-de-sac as she arrived home shortly before 2 p.m.

Her homecoming marks an end and a beginning, her family said.

The fight for life is over. She has triumphed.

She got to keep the sight in one eye, intense workouts have put her back on her feet, and multiple brain surgeries have opened a door for her to regain some of the abilities she has lost.

But now begins the long road toward normalcy. On Monday, she’ll start physical, occupational and speech therapy at Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Center. Three days a week. Possibly for years.

“This is the beginning,” said her son, Joey Budd. “This is the very beginning.”

“I’m ready to get going,” Sharon said, pausing to check with her husband to make sure her appointments had been scheduled.

They had, Randy Budd said with a reassuring smile.

Sharon said she’s already drawing on the strength that comes from being home.

As the car that carried her turned into the development where she lives, she noticed every mailbox was decorated with pink and yellow ribbons fluttering in the breeze.

Pink has been the color used by her supporters since the start because it is also the color of breast cancer, another war that Sharon fought and survived.

“I was overwhelmed to see all of the people and all the ribbons,” Sharon said.

“It’s shocking, really,” she said, noting the breadth of the love that has enveloped her since the night of the assault. More than a dozen fund-raisers have been held in her name, organized by neighbors and family, by co-workers in the Perry Local Schools district, by Pennsylvania communities appalled by the horrific attack for which four teen-agers have been charged.

Was there ever a point when the love and support wasn’t enough? A time early on when the pain, the loss of an eye, the inability to speak or move, the repeated brain surgeries and the realization of the work that lay ahead made it preferable to just give up?

Sharon paused briefly, then looked to her husband, reaching up to touch his face.

“No, I don’t think so,” she said.

“I knew what I was in for because of the breast cancer. I was like, ‘Oh my God, here we go again’,” she said. But living through breast cancer “made me strong enough for this.”

Randy and Sharon Budd were high school sweethearts who married 31 years ago.

“We’ve been through it all,” Randy said. “Thick and thin. Thick and thin.”

The pair raised four children together. As a devoted language arts teacher for whom 60-hour work weeks were the norm, Sharon took a personal stake in the welfare of many, many more, Randy said

Now, with her story in the national news, her life has served to inspire others, he said.

Her refusal to be angry, her determination to get better, and her trademark sense of humor that often “cracks up everyone” is a valuable lesson for those lucky enough to spend time with her, Randy said.

“She has this refuse-to-lose attitude about life,” he said. When people ask her if she’s bitter, “she says she doesn’t hold any resentments against anybody.”

Sharon’s dad said he encourages other family members to feel the same way.

“Be thankful that she’s still alive... The positive thinking, you’ve got to have that. You can’t let the negative in,” Clayton Betz said.

Randy said he has his doubts his wife will ever be able to return to work.

“From where she was at the start to where she is today, she’s come so far,” he said.

The therapy center that had been home the past couple of months calls her the “miracle girl,” he said. “When they got her, she wasn’t even able to be rehabilitated. They couldn’t do anything with her. They would just pick her up and hold her, and that was her therapy for the day.”

Now she walks on her own, and is learning to talk again.

Still, “when I look back to how she was [before the assault], she’s still so far away from that,” he said.

For her part, Sharon said she’s looking forward to a simple domestic routine. It would feel good just to be able to do a little cooking and cleaning, she said.

Randy said he could see her starting to assert her independence last week.

“She was able to stand without people holding her, so she started shaking things out and moving things around,” he said, breaking into a smile as he gently squeezed her shoulder.

“She’s ready to start taking control again.”

Paula Schleis can be reached at 330-996-3741 or pschleis@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/paulaschleis.

Sharon Budd returns home
After three months and five surgical procedures, Sharon Budd was able to return home Wednesday afternoon.
About 272,000 Ohio voters cast early ballots
More than 7.7 million Ohioans were registered to vote as of Oct. 1.
164 people being monitored for Ebola in Ohio
The number of people quarantined in their homes stands at three. No one in Ohio has been diagnosed with Ebola.
Statement from family says Amber Vinson free of Ebola virus

Amber Vinson, the Akron native who was diagnosed with Ebola on Oct. 14 after a visit to the area, has been pronounced free of the virus.

A statement released by her family Wednesday said Vinson, one of two Dallas nurses who contracted Ebola after caring for the only U.S. patient who has died from the disease, has been approved for transfer out of special isolation at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

“We are overjoyed,” the statement said. Vinson continues to be treated by the hospital’s Serious Communicable Diseases Unit.

“Amber is steadily regaining her strength and her spirits are high,” the statement said, noting that Vinson’s mother, Debra Berry, had spoken with her.

“Amber and our family are ecstatic to receive this latest report on her condition,” Berry said. “We all know that further treatment will be necessary as Amber continues to regain strength, but these latest developments have truly answered prayers and bring our family one step closer to reuniting with her at home.”

With the worried buzz that overtook the region a week ago fading to a calmer but still watchful atmosphere, state health officials on Wednesday said they believe they have now identified all Ohioans who may have come into contact with Vinson.

State epidemiologist Dr. Mary DiOrio said 164 potential contacts are being monitored in Ohio — and acknowledged that it’s been a stressful time for those people.

The total includes 41 individuals in Summit County, 55 in Cuyahoga County, 10 apiece in Medina and Portage counties, and fewer than seven apiece in Stark and Wayne counties.

Three of those individuals are in quarantine — two in Summit County and one in Cuyahoga County. One is the stepfather of Vinson.

During a telephone news conference, the head of the Ohio Hospital Association said some facilities in the state are prepared to fully care for Ebola patients, while others are capable of diagnosing, isolating and transporting someone with symptoms of the disease.

Statement from family says Amber Vinson free of Ebola virus

Amber Vinson, the Akron native who was diagnosed with Ebola on Oct. 14 after a visit to the area, has been pronounced free of the virus.

A statement released by her family Wednesday said Vinson, one of two Dallas nurses who contracted Ebola after caring for the only U.S. patient who has died from the disease, has been approved for transfer out of special isolation at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

“We are overjoyed,” the statement said. Vinson continues to be treated by the hospital’s Serious Communicable Diseases Unit.

“Amber is steadily regaining her strength and her spirits are high,” the statement said, noting that Vinson’s mother, Debra Berry, had spoken with her.

“Amber and our family are ecstatic to receive this latest report on her condition,” Berry said. “We all know that further treatment will be necessary as Amber continues to regain strength, but these latest developments have truly answered prayers and bring our family one step closer to reuniting with her at home.”

With the worried buzz that overtook the region a week ago fading to a calmer but still watchful atmosphere, state health officials on Wednesday said they believe they have now identified all Ohioans who may have come into contact with Vinson.

State epidemiologist Dr. Mary DiOrio said 164 potential contacts are being monitored in Ohio — and acknowledged that it’s been a stressful time for those people.

The total includes 41 individuals in Summit County, 55 in Cuyahoga County, 10 apiece in Medina and Portage counties, and fewer than seven apiece in Stark and Wayne counties.

Three of those individuals are in quarantine — two in Summit County and one in Cuyahoga County. One is the stepfather of Vinson.

During a telephone news conference, the head of the Ohio Hospital Association said some facilities in the state are prepared to fully care for Ebola patients, while others are capable of diagnosing, isolating and transporting someone with symptoms of the disease.

No. 5 Prospect to Army
CeCe Jefferson of Baker County High School, Glen St. Mary, Florida, has been selected to join an elite group of All-Americans for the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
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