Monday, December 18, 2006

Lenny Wilkens: I wish I never coached Danny Ferry

Ron Harper is just on everyones mind:

Following Friday morning's shootaround at The Q, LeBron James made it a point to greet Lenny Wilkens, a former Cavaliers player and coach.

Wilkens, whose 1,315 victories are the most by any NBA coach, is the color analyst for SuperSonics games telecast by FSN. "I don't know [Wilkens] personally, but if you know Cleveland sports, you know about Lenny Wilkens," James said.

"He is a legend."

Wilkens, 69, averaged 18.5 points per game in two seasons with the Cavaliers (1972-74). He coached them to a 316-258 record and five playoff appearances in seven seasons (1986-93).

He is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and coach.

Wilkens was coaching the Cavaliers when the most controversial trade in club history - Ron Harper, two first-round draft picks and one second-rounder to the Los Angeles Clippers for Reggie Williams and the draft rights to Danny Ferry in November 1989 - was made.

The 17-year-old deal continues to miff Wilkens.

"We should have never traded Ron Harper," he said. "There is no question in my mind that we would have won an NBA championship with him.

"He was someone who made Michael [Jordan] work for his points and made him work at the defensive end."

Harper was dealt because management did not like some of the people he called friends.

"Ron was guilty by association," Wilkens said.

The Cleveland crowd gave a hefty cheer when they showed Wilkens on the the big screen last Friday.


Rich said...

Great column on Harper Ben. Keep up the great work, I really enjoy your blog man ... hope you don't mind me featuring some of your stuff from time to time.

Ben said...

Thanks man, feature whatever you like, I enjoy it