Tuesday, May 31, 2005

This Cavaliers Business

This is a long post about the Cavaliers. Indulge me. I love all Ohio/Cleveland teams, but the Cavs are my favorite. They always have been. I'm not sure how many people can say that. Basketball is my first love; going to games with my dad at the old Colisium and then Gund Arena; listening to Joe Tait on the radio in the car or my room as a kid; I seriously Love This Game. This team is very dear to my heart, I followed them during the Price and Daugherty era, the Mills/Phills and Hill era, when Bobby Sura entered the Dunk Contest and didn't make a dunk, and I have the ticket stub from a game from the year before the LeBron (vs the Warriors- I got to see one of their 17 wins). Which is why I'm so frustrated by the moves the new owner Dan Gilbert is making. I just don't get it.

First of all, I'm not happy with the hiring of Mike Brown. Ever heard of him? Gilbert took over a team that had a veteren head coach who's been in the playoffs (and won a series) and fired him (not unjustifiably). Then Gilbert makes a big stink about how he's going to hire a GM before he hires a coach. He wanted to make sure that the GM and coach got along. Well, it looks like the Cavs hired Mike Brown, but still don't have a GM.

Maybe Brown is the right guy, I don't know. What I do know is this: Gilbert said they were going to go about this offseason a certian way, and then the very first move they make is the exact opposite of what they said they planned. This doesn't inspire confidence in me.

Once upon a time (1988) the Cavs were the 'Team of the 90's" (said by Magic "I miss the dead bodies" Johnson). They had a point guard (Mark Price), a center (Brad Daugherty), 2 very nice forwards (Larry Nance and Hot Rod Williams), a back up combo guard that could play d and shoot the 3 (Craig Ehlo) and a high flying shooting guard (Ron Harper). This was the team that lost "The Shot" game (where the Pistons were relieved to play Jordan's Bulls instead of the Cavs- think about that). Well, management heard that Harper was hanging around with the wrong crowd (drugs) and decided that they should get rid of him before he became a problem. At the same time a young Duke player, drafted #2 overall, was holding out from the Los Angelos Clippers. This player, Danny Ferry, was considered to be "The Next Larry Bird," so the Cavs made a monster move and exiled Ron Harper (and a lot of first round draft picks) to the Clippers for Danny Ferry. The Cavs immediatly gave into Ferry's contract demands and gave him a very large, very expensive contract. Well, Ferry never exactly lived up to "The Next Larry Bird," and Ron Harper's drug problems were never heard from again (maybe he couldn't get drugs in LA or Chicago) and the team that won the game with "The Shot" went on to become the team of the 90's.

Currently the Cavaliers are in a very situation very similar to 1986 (when they drafted all those players from 1988 and hired Lenny Wikens to coach and Wayne Embry to be GM). This team (any team with LeBron) could become the best Cavaliers team we've seen since the late 80's and early 90's (or ever). They have a chance to build something special. So why did I just tell the entire (painful) Danny Ferry story? Cause it looks like the Cavaliers are going after "The Next Larry Bird GM Edition." The Plain Dealer is reporting that Danny Ferry might become the Cavs next GM.

Does Gilbert have any sense of history in this town? The Danny Ferry trade pretty much derailed any chance the Cavs had at beating Jordan's Bulls (a third scorer to go with Price and Daugherty, plus a guard to make Jordan use energy on defense). He never remotely lived up to his promise. Bringing Ferry back as GM isn't exactly bringing the prodigal son home.

Lets not stop at Ferry, lets bring in Art Modell as a consultant, I mean, he won a championship with Baltimore. How about Albert Belle? I'm sure he could teach a course in media relations for the team. And how about Jose Mesa? Can we find room for The Table? Let him talk to the guys about performing in clutch situations.

But seriously, I don't want to sound like Chicken Little here, but the Cavs are bringing in a coach who has never had a head coaching position ANYWHERE. They're about to bring in either Danny Ferry or Milt Newton, both of who have never been a GM before. And the whole Larry Brown fiasco is about a guy who has never been a team president before, has a poor record of evaluating talent (he didn't play LeBron, Wade or Amare during the Olympics- they did okay this year) and he doesn't stay anywhere for more than 5 seconds. Oh, and they have a owner with about 6 months of experience.

How easy will it be for Mike Brown to coach here; I mean it's his first job ever, he's coaching LeBron James and his boss is nortorious for changing his mind. Does Mike Brown start looking over his shoulder after the first loss or the day after he's hired? Also, will Larry Brown stay here? What if a job opens up, he's bailing on the Pistons during the playoffs (a team he lead to a championship!) to come to the Cavs. Brown isn't exactly known for loyalty (and it's showing).

This is less serious if they go out this offseason and make some nice deals. Get some PLAYERS. But I have a feeling they will let go of Z, sign Antonio Daniels to that 6 yr 40 million deal Peter Vecey reported and sign Larry Hughes to some dumb contract.

Personally, I would go for Joe Johnson (the Suns can't afford all of their players, Nash is signed long term, so is Marion and Richardson, and Stoudamire's rookie contract will be up fast), sign Z (but if it's too expensive sign Jerome James of Seattle) and look for a Dan Dicau type to back up Snow. Also, I would puruse Kwame Brown extremely hard. I think playing under LeBrons shadow (plus being out of Washington) with a pass first player would do wonders for him.

But who knows how this offseason will turn out. Who knows who will be a part of the Cavlaiers come opening night. Z? Danny Ferry? Larry Brown? But at least we'll have Usher.

No comments: