Monday, June 28, 2010

The Last Days

So here we are, the waning days of the LeBron Era in Cleveland.


This last month has been a bit nuts, there are rumors flying every where. The NBA world has officially gone mad.

LeBron was supposed embark on a elaborate free agency tour but instead decided to host teams in Akron. LeBron, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson(?) were all set to have a Free Agency Summit but it got canceled. Except that it didn't. But LeBron wasn't there. Or maybe he was.

William Wesley is trying to push LeBron out the door so he can be a stronger agent (and a very convenient scape-goat). Hell, World Wide Wes is even trying to engineer a trade for Chris Paul, a player he doesn't even represent. But apparently, Wesley won't be a part of any of LeBron's negotiations.

For LeBron, it all comes down to winning. And the ownership, the ownership definitely matters most. But LeBron isn't even talking with the Cavalier front office! Except that he is. Windhorst says that LeBron will have the final word (well, duh) and that despite everything, the Cavs still have "the edge" to retain his services. And hey! The Cavs even have a coach! (maybe)

Are we having fun yet?

I don't know how this is possible, but I'm fascinated by this whole saga while simultaneously feeling extremely ambivalent. It's not that I don't care (obviously, I do) but I've simply grown numb to the whole thing. I've been bombarded with so much LeBron James News, it's insane (and that's without watching any PTI or SportsCenter).

(I've embarked on an unofficial boycott of ESPN ever since the Cavs were unceremoniously bounced from the second round of the playoffs. I do this whenever Brett Favre/Barry Bonds/Terrell Owens-eque stories pop up. Why watch? I know I'll simply get frustrated. Same reason why I never watch Cable News).

Basically, I just want it to be done.

(Also, re: ambivalence. LeBron is the first pro-athlete I've really followed where I've been older than the athlete. It's a different experience. I still care probably more than I should but, as with ESPN, I have other things that interest me (aka books, politics, job, not-having-money, not-getting-laid, etc) and obsessively following some dude younger than me seems weird. I dunno).

Right now, it looks like Miami and Chicago are LeBron's two most likely non-Cleveland destinations. The Bulls can sign two max free agents (New Jersey is making a last ditch effort to clear space to do the same. Fuck you, Washington) and LeBron could team up with another superstar like Wade or Bosh (while the Heat are pushing for the whole threesome). Needless to say, the Cavs cannot do the same.

While I certainly understand the appeal of playing alongside another superstar, I hope LeBron realizes it's not an automatic championship like many believe (aka Fantasy Sports =/= Real Life).

Say LeBron signs in Chicago with Bosh and teams up with Derek Rose and Joakim Noah. Pretty sweet, right? But tell me why you wouldn't simply back the lane against that squad? Derek Rose is many things, but a spot up shooter he ain't (they just traded Kirk Hinrich for, as far as I can tell, nothing). Nevermind the fact that he'll have to drive by Jordan's statue every day heading into work. Enjoy playing in that shadow.

And Miami? So LeBron is going to head into D. Wade's house and either A) take over the show or B) defer to Wade? Really? All while taking less than the max? And how good is Chris Bosh? On a team with James and Rose/Wade, Bosh's offensive duties would certainly decrease. Is Chris Bosh going to be able to defend and rebound against the likes of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol come playoff time? Bosh is certainly skilled offensively but is he be willing to do that dirty work down low? Would you call him playoff tested? I dunno.

What I do know is this: two years ago the Cleveland Cavaliers won 66 games and this past season they won 61. Yes, LeBron is the reason the Cavs were contenders but his performance is also the reason they were bounced from the playoffs two rounds too early (not that he was the only issue, mind you). Leaving a 60 win team on the heels of an epic choke job is going to be his Ohio Legacy. Good luck with that (he'll be second only to Art Model in Most Hated Cleveland Sports Figures).

Certainly the idea of LeBron teaming up with Bosh and/or Wade is tantalizing, but how many championship teams were built through free agency? Has that ever worked? I just hope that if he bolts, he knows he's leaving a pretty damn good situation.

I also think that if LeBron decides to stay, he should sign for more than a three year deal. Take the full max and reup for six years (and make a TON more money); the Cavs can't go through another three years of "you better win right this second or I'm gonna leave". It's no way to build a franchise; it hurt them last summer with free agents and it's the reason they currently have no cap room (or coach). LeBron needs to be their rock (ala Magic, Bird and Jordan) and it's hard to build around a cornerstone if you can't count on him to be there in the future.

People like to point to KG's "loyalty can hurt" comments after Round 2 as reason LeBron should go, but I can't help but wonder if say, Paul Pierce feels the same way. Winning in Cleveland will count for more. Period. How many championships will LeBron need to in Chicago to feel validated? Three? Four? More? What if he only gets one? He'll never be bigger than Jordan, not anywhere, but especially not in Chicago. He wins in Cleveland, he's The Man. Period. The End.

As for what I think he's going to do? I have literally, absolutely no idea. No one does. Everything is pure speculation. If I had to make a guess, I'd say he goes to the Bulls. Yes, LeBron would have to share the ball with Derek Rose in Chicago, but at least the end-of-game situations would be pretty cut and dry (unlike Miami). I certainly hope he stays here (the Cavs do supposedly have the edge) but I haven't felt confident that he'd reup ever since the Cavs were bounced by Boston.

I guess if I have a plea for LeBron, it's to finish the job here. Don't let your last home game in Cleveland be the Game 5 stinker (or let your legacy be: Yankees Hat==> Hold Franchise Hostage==> Flirt with Other Teams==> Lay Egg in Biggest Game of the Playoffs==> Leave for Team that Historically has Ripped Out the Hearts of Cavalier Fans). If you can get the Cavs over the championship hump it'll count for so much more. You'd have built your own legacy. Winning here, in Cleveland, in Ohio, will be sweeter.

Somehow, I think you know that.

PS: I never mix work and sports blogging, but this is a special occurrence. On July 8th (the first day free agents can sign with their new teams), the Brook Park branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library system is hosting Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto. I actually set up this particular event but I'd be lying if I told you that I purposely planned to host Pluto on LeBron's (possible) signing day. Just a happy convergence. Sign up here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Well... fuck

This is Not Good:
The Chicago Bulls have a deal in place that would move Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick to the Washington Wizards, freeing up enough cap space to pursue two maximum-salary players in this summer's free-agent market, sources with knowledge of the Bulls' plans said Thursday.

The Bulls scared me before this deal and now I'm absolutely terrified.

If this deal goes through and the Bulls are able to sign two max guys, I can't even blame LeBron for leaving. Can you? Seriously, Derek Rose, Joakim Noah, LeBron and someone of the Wade/Bosh/Amare/Joe Johnson/Dirk group is ridiculous (oh, and Luol Deng. Luol Deng!!). The Cavs simply don't have the parts to match that.

There is one thing to note: this deal can't go through until July 8th. Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie writes:

Most readers know where my allegiances lie, so I'm being careful not to shout too loudly about the deal, which can still be reneged upon in the two week window between now and the 8th, but this seems a pretty curious move unless the Wizards have more deals (either taking in more players, dumping Gilbert Arenas, or both) on the ready. As it stands, Hinrich's stout defense and veteran guidance seem to be coming to Washington at a pretty steep price.

For Chicago, this is a deal to drool over. As it stands, tossing Hinrich away leaves them pretty thin in the backcourt, but in dumping his salary and sending Washington a first round selection (guaranteed money), the Bulls will be nearly $31 million under the salary cap this summer, assuming the cap is set at $56.1 million. With maximum salaries starting at $16.5 million, Chicago could offer a second-tier free agent (perhaps Joe Johnson, whose agent is quite close with Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and owes Reinsdorf an favor after Chicago dumped $60 million on Ben Wallace four years ago) just under the max after pulling in one of the bigger names in the free agent pool.

Of course, this is all for naught if the Wizards back out. And while that would put them in poor standing around the league, it's quite feasible if no other moves are coming down the pike. Or even if a player targeted with the 17th pick is taken higher than expected. Washington GM Ernie Grunfeld has long liked Hinrich's qualities, but to like him this much? It seems like a bit of a reach.

Ric Bucher originally reported that the Sacramento Kings would have a similar offer in place if Washington declines to move on this deal, but that report has been quashed by several media outlets in the time since.

So we got that hope left. The Wizards can still back out.

The sick part of all this is that the Cavs made it all possible. Brian Windhorst tweets:

Irony on Bulls trading Hinrich to clear 10M cap space: Wiz used space Cavs gave in Jamison deal to do it

Kill me now.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Not the way this season was supposed to go

Kobe Bryant, on winning his fifth NBA title:
It means I have one more than Shaq.

Game 7 wasn't the prettiest basketball game ever played, but I sure enjoyed the heck out of it. Both teams fought hard and did everything they could. Ron Artest saved the Lakers' collective bacon with his strong offensive play in the first half... and then practically put the game away with a late trey.

Gotta hand it to the Celtics, they played their asses off. They could never sustain their lead (the Lakers are just sooo big) and they couldn't afford a poor shooting night from Ray Allen.

All that being said, the highlight of the night could very well be Ron Artest's postgame interview. Awesome.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


LeBron's co-author, Buzz Bissinger, had some interesting things to say on Twitter today:
@buzzbissinger So Izzo, as possible Cavs coach wants to meet with LeBron and he says no?? I've had it. Fuck that. Fuck him. Hurts to say but I got played.

@buzzbissinger LeBron has obligation to meet with Izzo, even if it's to flip him the bird. Why would Cleveland even want to keep a man as self-absorbed...

@buzzbissinger every move LeBron makes an orchestrated one. Forget what he says about anything--policy of appeasement. Hence Izzo BS: 100 percent no prob

@buzzbissinger I hope LeBron goes to Charlotte so ultimate psychotic Jordan can cut him and LeBron plays year in junior Canadian Curling...

@buzzbissinger Never seen such arrogance in pro athlete--player won't meet with possible coach? LeBron getting terrible advice. So fucking disappointed.

@buzzbissinger One thing about Shooting Stars book--people in it besides LeBron great decent people. No better man/coach than Dru Joyce. Great teammates

@buzzbissinger @B_Wet23 two faced? Complete bullshit. Every other writer would shut up to boost sales of book and maintain LeBron relationship

Bissinger's not the first writer to say that Bron-Bron is getting terrible advice but Buzz carries a little more weight since he co-wrote a freaking book with LeBron.

(For what it's worth, I own this book but I haven't read it yet. The only LeBron book I've actually sat down and read is The Franchise by Terry Pluto and Brian Windhorst. I didn't want to read a bunch of LeBron books during what could be his last season as a Cavalier. Don't like getting my hopes up/sucked in).

I completely agree with Buzz by the way. The fact that LeBron didn't even talk with Tom freaking Izzo speaks volumes about both LeBron's plans and his arrogance.

But don't worry, LeBron was 100% behind the signing. He felt so comfortable with the guy who would be his coach for the next three years that he didn't even need to talk with him. 100% behind it. And, remember, LeBron said the Cavs have 'the edge' to sign him. Great.

I'm so unbelievably sick of all this shit. If LeBron is planning on leaving, I just wish he'd come out and say it. Don't jerk us around. Just say, "I've spent seven years as a Cavalier and it was great. But it's time for me to move on and I appreciate everything that Dan Gilbert and the fans of Cleveland have given me." Boom. Done.

But this teasing, this playing both sides... ugh. Stop. He hasn't talked with anyone in the Cavalier organization since the Boston meltdown. He won't talk with potential coaches. If he IS staying, he's fucking the Cavs over. He hurt them last offseason (who would you rather have, Trevor Ariza or Tony Parker....) and he's hurting them now.

But hey, Akron is throwing a rally celebrating James. Makes sense. LeBron probably won't show up. Why would he? Don't want to tip your cap. Gotta let the process play out.

At this point, I just want it all to be over.

Moving On

As Dan Gilbert recovers from Tom Izzo's rejection, the Cavs are pursuing Byron Scott:

According to sources, the Cavs are planning a second interview with Byron Scott after he finishes up his duties as an analyst for ESPN during the NBA Finals.

Scott is known to be interested in the Los Angeles Lakers job if Phil Jackson does not re-sign after his contract expires this month. However, a league source said, Scott is interested in the Cavs' job and at the prospect of coaching LeBron James.

Again, Scott doesn't wow me but he's a solid, solid choice. Probably a safer bet than Izzo. But not only are the Cavs waiting on one LeBron James, they're also waiting on the Zen Master, Phil Jackson:

The Cavs getting Scott is no certainty, either. Scott won three championships with the Lakers and lives in California. Working as an ESPN analyst, Scott is also taking care of his elderly parents as he waits for the Lakers' situation to play out. Both Scott and Gilbert had time on their hands if Gilbert was willing to hop on his corporate jet for Los Angeles or Boston, but they have yet to meet. The Cavaliers reportedly have talked to Scott only by telephone.

As the Boston Celtics face the Lakers in Game 7 of the NBA Finals tonight, the question also looms whether Gilbert jumped the gun in his housecleaning. Granted, James and Brown seemed to have had a falling out as the season ended in the Eastern Conference semifinals. But with the Celtics one victory from a second title in three years, losing to them doesn't seem nearly as unsettling today as it did May 13. One can only wonder if it feels that way to James.

Izzo called Gilbert ''one of the classiest guys I've ever met'' as he put his NBA aspirations behind him. But in the aftermath of Izzo's rejection, Gilbert seems more like a meddler on a power trip than ever before. To salvage his big splash now, he needs to land Scott or Jackson, if the Lakers decide to slash the Zen Master's reported $12 million-a-year salary.

In an ESPN 850 radio poll on Monday asking which Cleveland team had the best owner, several callers chose Randy Lerner of the Browns, citing his better-late-than-never decision to hire Mike Holmgren to run the show. Program host Michael Reghi thought Gilbert would have been the people's choice in a slam dunk.

I can certainly understand feeling that the Cavs jumped the gun in firing Brown (with regards to the Celtics being a win away from the title) but he really had to go. It wasn't just that the Cavs lost to the Celtics, it's how they lost. The fact that Shaq played during crunch time was inexcusable. I'm still kind of in shock with how their season ended.

I'd be shocked, shocked if the Cavs even got a interview from Phil Jackson, let alone sign him. But maybe I'm pessimistic (and maybe Gilbert will throw a big pile of money at him).

(Oh, and color me surprised that Cleveland fans voted Randy Lerner the best owner in town. The Browns are allowed to get away with anything (like losing, ugly no less, for 10 seasons) and the fans in Cleveland will forgive them. A year ago, Browns fans wanted him gone but because he went out and got a big name, all if forgiven. (And hey, I like the Holmgren signing as much as anyone but it's not like he's a got this great history as a GM)).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Not a good sign

Tom Izzo rejects the Cavs' offer:
Tom Izzo is staying at Michigan State, turning down a chance to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers and perhaps LeBron James.

"I'm pleased to say I am here for life at Michigan State," Izzo said in a statement released by the school on Tuesday night.

For the past nine days, the 55-year-old Izzo has been trying to decide whether to leave the place that has been his home since 1983 and jump to the NBA to perhaps make $6 million -- doubling his salary -- and possibly coaching one of the best basketball players in the world.

"Just as I decided to stay home, I hope a 6-8, 270-pound forward in Cleveland decides to stay home," Izzo said in a statement.




So... if one filters every bit of Cavs news through the "Is LeBron Leaving" lens, this can't be a good sign, right? You gotta think that if Izzo thought LeBron was going to be a Cavalier in 2010, he'd have signed the contract that doubled his salary, no?

Now, I've long maintained that not even LeBron knows what he's going to do come July 1st, so maybe he couldn't give Izzo his word whether or not he'd reup with the Cavs. I can buy that.

But this tweet from Brian Windhorst has got to concern Cavs fans just a tad:

Tom Izzo says he did not talk to LeBron. Said he talked to people in his camp and "felt comfortable with things I needed to know."

Seriously? This kills me. Tom Izzo couldn't even speak with LeBron directly. Not good. No me gusta.

As for Plan B, who knows. The only NBA coaching retread that even mildly interests me is Byron Scott. But Terry Pluto says that Scott isn't a slam dunk:

1. Many Cavs fans assume that if Tom Izzo turns down the coaching job, then their favorite team will turn to Byron Scott. Yes, the Cavs have talked to Scott. Yes, the Cavs are interested in Scott. But I'm hearing that Scott to the Cavs IS NOT close to a done deal. Nor is Scott in a hurry to take any job. He was paid $5.5 million after being fired by New Orleans early last season.


4. If Izzo does turn down the Cavs, it could be a while before they hire a coach. The only two jobs open are the Cavs and Clippers. I also hear that Scott may be interested in the Clippers. He should be smarter than that -- even though the Clippers do have some intriguing young talent. The Clippers will always be a mess as long as they are owned by Donald Sterling, and everyone in the NBA knows that.

Great. So the Cavs (and their fans) are left flailing in the wind. We get to wait for LeBron (and his 'camp') to play out the dance that is free agency all the while being directionless and coachless.

LeBron could very well end up resigning with the Cavs. I still believe it's a definite possibility. But I'm willing to bet that if his camp told Izzo that LeBron is leaning towards Cleveland, Izzo would be accepting Dan Gilbert's offer today.

I will say that I'm bummed that Izzo won't be coming here. I liked the idea of hiring Big Name, whether or not he was a college coach. It was nice to have the Cavs making news that didn't involve choking, firing or LeBron's diva tour.

Lord knows where the Cavs go from here. I'd love to see Byron Scott but I can't fault him or any coach for waiting for LeBron. I don't think the Cavs are as screwed sans LeBron as the national media thinks they are (Tony Kornheiser called them a 20 win squad without James on PTI) but obviously the nature of the job changes with LeBron's pending decision.

So we get to wait. Awesome.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


Yay! A major NBA writer says that LeBron is going to re-up with the Cavaliers! Of course, said writer is Peter Vecsey (what? Does that change things for you?)

An appreciably well-wired roundball entrepreneur believes LeBron James will re-up with the Cavaliers for three years, a possibility he almost certainly would not entertain had Mike Brown been retained -- something GM Danny Ferry fiercely advocated doing, hence his resignation.

Should no championships be churned out during that time frame, my source is convinced LBJ will bolt for Jay-Z's Brooklyn with a clear conscience, figuring he gave Cleveland a full decade.

Obviously, believe no LBJ rumor until LeBron signs on the dotted line. Especially rumors coming out of the New York Post.

I'm torn on LeBron signing a new three year deal. On one hand, the Cavs are 1,000,000,000 times better with LeBron than without, so at some point, beggars can't be choosers (as much as it sucks) and you sign LeBron for whatever number of years he wants.

On the other hand, it's really hard to run a (competent, successful) franchise while the cornerstone holds a gun to management's collective head. LeBron's undecided future is hurting the Cavs with their current coaching search and it came into play last summer when they pursued Trevor Ariza.

I know LeBron wants to keep his options open but I don't see how he'll be successful (like, multiple titles successful) unless he really puts down some roots.

Tom Izzo

Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about this:

Last week, perhaps within hours of agreeing to part ways with general manager Danny Ferry, the Cavaliers owner swung a plan into action to attempt to lure highly successful Michigan State coach Tom Izzo to Cleveland.

According to multiple sources, Gilbert met with Izzo and laid out the framework of a massive contract aimed to convince the Spartan legend to say yes to jumping to the NBA after saying no many times before.

Sources said Gilbert, a Michigan State graduate who has known Izzo for years, informally offered a five-year contract potentially worth more than $30 million. The pitch also includes bonuses and perks including free use of one of Gilbert's private jets.

Izzo is believed to be mulling the offer and over the weekend contacted several people he's close with to seek input. Several people close to Izzo told The Plain Dealer they didn't think Izzo would take the job, but had not yet turned Gilbert down.

I like the idea of going after Izzo. He's a highly successful college coach who has won a NCAA championship and has gone to a half dozen Final Fours and he'd bring a certain amount of respect in the locker room. At the very least, Tom Izzo is a Big Name and it's refreshing that the Cavs are making news and it doesn't (directly) involve LeBron James or the LeBacle that ended the season.

However, Izzo is a highly successful college coach known for his disciplinarian, his-way-or-the-highway tactics. That stuff works in college but rarely flies in the pros.

I can go either way on this. I like the idea of hiring a coach who's had major success in his past, so he won't be beholden to LeBron. I have a hard time getting past the whole Izzo's "never been an NBA head coach before" history. College coaches rarely make it in the NBA.

But I also like the idea of Izzo being in charge and making LeBron do things he's not always comfortable doing. I mean, I'm pretty sure a Tom Izzo led team won't stand for LeBron's patetented 'dribble for 20 seconds and chuck a three' possessions. There's gonna be a change from Mike Brown, that's for sure and LeBron could use a coach who will tell him 'no'.

Brian Windhorst was on ESPN 850 and said (as hard as this is for me to believe) that LeBron has not signed off on Izzo and hasn't even been asked about it(?!). I can't believe that's true but who knows. I can't imagine the Cavs would hire a coach without LeBron's input.

It's a hard decision for Izzo to make. Gilbert is throwing a ton of money at him (even offering use of a private jet) but I can't imagine any coach (let alone Izzo) signing on with the Cavaliers without knowing what LeBron plans to do. The Cavs with James are an excellent coaching job but without... Without LeBron they're in no man's land. Good enough to make the playoffs but not good enough to make any noise once they're there. Mediocrity in spades.

I will say this, I like Izzo more than I like the idea of Jeff Van Gundy, Avery Johnson or numerous other coaching retreads. The only NBA coaching vet that is even mildly interesting is Byron Scott. He's been to the Finals and he's coached superstars in the past.

Though I couldn't tell you if he's a better hire than Izzo.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Is Ron Harper Available?

So Danny Ferry resigned. I'll not rehash his moves again but I have no problem with the job Ferry did as GM of the Cavaliers. As Terry Pluto points out, Ferry resided over the winningest 5-year period in Cavalier history. Were mistakes made? Sure (*waives at Larry Hughes*), but they were defensible at the time and Ferry wasn't given a whole lot to work with.

Do I think Ferry needed to go? Not really. Unlike Mike Brown, I thought Ferry did everything in his power to get the Cavs to the promised land (it was in Mike Brown's power to bench Shaq, right?). He gave out team friendly contracts and used Dan Gilbert's money to the best of his abilities.

My concern with Ferry leaving is what that spells for LeBron's future. On one hand, changing the coach and GM at this team can make the Cavs look desperate and in disarray (especially following their 2nd Round exit). The idea is that LeBron wouldn't want to reup with a team in flux.

On the other hand, this move could signal that the Cavs are going for the "do whatever LeBron wants" strategy and Ferry resigned because he didn't want to deal with LeBron's handpicked coach (Jon Calipari? Dru Joyce? Chris Jent? I keed, I keed). I really have no opinion on new GM Chris Grant.

So ya, I think this is a good sign that LeBron will re-sign. However, I'm not sure how much I care for it, if that makes sense. Getting LeBron's signature on that dotted line is obviously the best move for the organization. They're better with LeBron James on the roster. Dur.

But I'm pretty sure that giving LeBron total control (if that's what this move is signaling) isn't a smart idea. The organization can't be full of yes men (if it wasn't already) and LeBron can't hold be allowed to hold them hostage like he has for the past three years. That's not a way to build a winning team. Putting pressure on the GM to improve the isn't a bad thing per se, but having everyone on egg shells because they don't want to anger James and push him out the door won't produce a championship.

And so ends Danny Ferry's second run with the Cavaliers. I'd say it was more successful than his first go-round with the organization, but it ended up being even more disappointing (
and who knew that was even possible?).

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Have some God damn self respect

Jesus Cleveland, just stop it.

We don't need to see any videos of Cleveland "celebrities" pleading LeBron to stay. We don't need the city of Akron to have an LeBron Appreciation Day. We don't need painted cars, dudes being slapped 23 times or beard contests. (This is coming from a guy who (minimally) helped with the LeBron2010 banner and absolutely loves facial hair contests).

We're embarrassing ourselves.

We're the guy who can't stand that his girl is leaving him, so he concocts more and more ways to show him that he loves her, only he's coming off more and more pathetic and desperate. Not only is she still leaving him, now he looks like a loser.

If LeBron James plays basketball for another city next season, life will still go on.

Don't get me wrong, I want the guy to stay in Cleveland. I absolutely want him back. Hell, I started this blog so I'd give myself a reason to watch every one of his games as a Cavalier.

But if he's gonna go, he's gonna go. No "LeBron Appreciation Day" or lame (intentionally or no) song is going to convince him to stay. All of these things simply make us look desperate and thin skinned.

This is about LeBron. Full stop.

Danny Ferry and Dan Gilbert have done everything in their power to make the Cavs an attractive destination. They have a top notch practice facility, The Q is routinely sold out and Gilbert has shown that he's willing to spend the money to build a winner.

If LeBron wants to leave, he leaves.

Going into the playoffs, there's no way I thought LeBron would be somewhere else next season. Of course, I didn't think they'd ever lose to the Celtics in the second round either.

But I've come the realization that there's a good chance he's out the door. I've made my peace with it. Maybe he sticks around. But (barring some crazy draft day trade *cough* Chris Paul *cough*) I seriously doubt it. The Cleveland Frowns write:
You have to be serious about bolting to go all this way. Either that or seriously mistaken about how it would all work out. And in LeBron's defense, most of us, at least here in Northeast Ohio were glad to let LeBron carry on with the off-court drama, not worried at all about what impact it might have on what LeBron continues to say is the only thing that really matters -- which is, of course, winning.

"Oh, let the kid sell shoes to those jaded New Yorkers," we said. "Why wouldn't LeBron want to sell as many shoes as possible, anyway, and why wouldn't we want him to? Think of what all that shoe money will do for the local economy. And how's that crow sandwich for the self-proclaimed 'greatest city in the world' gonna taste when we're having the 'LeBron Stays' parade down Market Street. He who laughs last, laughs best. HA."

The idea that LeBron would leave was so unthinkable, especially back then, that it was easy to look away from the fact that it's no way to treat people. Not even residents of the self-proclaimed "greatest city in the world." To jerk people around like that just to sell some shoes and get on Larry King.

And all so easy to see with hindsight that it's no way to treat your employer either, especially if you want to win an NBA title with that employer. Now it's easy for everyone to see that even The King, The Chosen One, the most athletically talented basketball player in history can't do it all by himself. At least not in an environment of such unprecedented uncertainty. To keep your managers, your coach, jumping at your every whim. To saddle them and your teammates with the incredible pressure of this "win-now or else" season. Who's ever won a thing under such circumstances?
Exactly. LeBron did the Cavs no favors with this constant speculation about his future. On one hand, I don't begrudge the kid for wanting to choose his own employer (Tim Duncan tested free agency before returning to the Spurs) but you'd be blind to say that July 1, 2010 didn't affect the 2009-10 Cavaliers.

Vince at '64 and Counting writes:

All for a 25-year-old kid who we thought belonged to us, when we actually belonged to him. The quotes about lighting Cleveland up like Vegas, about bringing a championship to Cleveland, the constant Akron references, the “330” tats, and the Nike designs — it was just as much about marketing as it was sincerity. Who could pass up the local-hero-making-good narrative arc? That shit sells sneakers. Stir in a big chunk of superhuman talent and you’ve got yourself a global icon.

Yes, there’s a very real void in Cleveland. For a championship. For an ambassador to the world. For a hometown superstar. But LeBron has done nothing to earn the undying trust we’ve bequeathed him thus far. The fickle happenstance of ping-pong balls landed the Akron sensation here in 2003. (Unlike the deft and intentional maneuvering by Bernie Kosar to land on the roster of the Cleveland Browns.) LeBron’s existence in Ohio has so far been a matter of convenience, chance, and dough. All that, but not loyalty — at least not loyalty to us, as most seem to assume.

LeBron might fill that void by re-signing this summer, and by God let’s hope he does. For the sake of the Cavaliers and for the chance to validate our belief that he is indeed a civic King — a title he’s done little to earn so far but could put a lifelong claim on if he chooses. Either way, it ain’t validating you. It ain’t validating me. And it ain’t validating our city.


So stop with the videos. Stop with pleading. We're better than this. Obviously, I'm not saying I want the James to leave. He's the best player in Cavaliers history and he has the skill set to be one of the greatest of all time. Of course I want him to stay.

Will it suck if he bolts? Of fucking course. He's the 2-time MVP!

But life will go on.

And as far as I'm concerned, all these desperate pleas aren't a point in our favor. They're not helping, they're hurting.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Which is more weird?

We've entered a bizarre world where I'm pissed off that the Indians weren't perfect gamed(?) and that I agree with another Adrian Wojnarowski column about LeBron James.

I don't care for it.

The Indians are awful. They should've been the 20th team* to ever have a perfect game thrown against them, but the umpire literally blew the call on the 27th out. Jim Joyce... good luck man. You cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game and a chance at history. The fact that the play at first wasn't even that close just makes the whole thing even worse. Enjoy calling balls and strikes tomorrow!

(Here's my question, why so adamant to call him safe? If it's that close anyways (it wasn't), why not give the edge the pitcher WHO IS ABOUT TO COMPLETE A PERFECT GAME? If you blow the call the other way, I'm pretty sure the Tribe isn't going to care that much).

As for Wojo, I've disagreed with him in the past, but I find it hard to argue with this:
As the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers gather for a championship series to remind us of what built the league, what made it great, here’s LeBron James with a public ode on LeBron James.

“I’m the ringleader,” he told King.

No judgment.

No shame.

He was talking about the free-agent crop of stars, because that’s mostly what James has cared about for two years now. He tried to win a title with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has surrounded himself with a collection of sycophants and incompetents, sneaker reps and childhood buddies and middlemen whom he calls his team. Somehow, they couldn’t let him stay quiet until the playoffs were over, until everyone had pushed past the way he disappeared in the conference semifinals. He did a vapid sit-down with King to air on Friday night, and they made sure to leak out a transcript that drones out the start of the NBA Finals.

In so many ways, he’s a young Alex Rodriguez, so insecure with himself and his MVP awards, so desperate to find validation in the courtship of free agency.

“He seems more enthusiastic about this than he did trying to beat the Celtics,” said one Western Conference GM. “I mean, who goes on Larry King to talk about ‘when I become a free agent’?”

That last quote hurts a bit, no? Can you disagree? I can't. I'm sick to death of the free agent talk already (well, to be fair, I was sick of it two years ago) and it's only going to get worse.

For what it's worth, during LeBron's talk with Larry King, James said that the Cavs have "the edge" in signing him. Well I should fucking hope so. He only grew up here and spent his entire career in Cleveland. I should hope the team coming off back-to-back 60 win seasons should have "the edge" in retaining his services. Ugh.

While LeBron's actions during and post-Celtics series have irked me to no end (understatement!!), I'm reserving judgment until he actually signs his name to an offer sheet. I don't wanna say that if he reups with the Cavs, all will be forgiven.... but I'm willing to forgive a good 80-90% of his shit. Game 5 is unforgivable.

*I have no idea if the Tribe would actually be 20th team to be, um, perfect gamed (it should've been the 20th perfect game). I'm sure it's possible that a team could've been perfect gamed twice but I'm lazy and I don't care to check. Look, I'm a shitty blogger. But you already know this.