While We’re Waiting… LeBron’s Will, Trading Wood and Pryor’s Future

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com

There goes my hero. He’s ordinary “LeBron James is dangerously becoming the basketball embodiment of Willy Loman from Death of a Salesman. He is charming and charismatic in a way that should disarm just about everybody. The existence of greatness lies within both of these protagonists. But honing and demonstrating this greatness seem to be their downfall. They both assume they can manufacture this greatness whenever they want to but it’s simply not that easy.

Domination is a state of mind that is either there or isn’t. There is no faking imposing your will on someone as you get deeper into the playoffs. There is not a way to fake hunger, especially when the competition set before you has real hunger. The Celtics have a hunger that derives from not wanting to be too old to win. The Magic have a hunger that comes from tasting success last season and wanting to prove everybody wrong that it was just a fluke. The Lakers have a hunger from the most singularly focused individual we’ve seen of the past 12 years. But what do the Cavs have?

The Cavs have LeBron James whose focus and hunger seem to be more marketing scheme rather than something to fear. His failures create a reaction of bewilderment, I told you so’s and trepidation that anointing this self-proclaimed “king” was an honor we should have never agreed to. We don’t want to see vulnerability from him.

Now we wait for Game Six and possibly Game Seven to see how he responds. If he’s what we’ve built him up to be, I’d imagine that Game Five of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals will look like nothing more than a Mike Wilks production.” [Zach Harper/HP]

Trading Wood: “Before making a comment that the Indians may have to include an MRI machine with Wood, Rosenthal writes that “the remainder of Wood’s $10.5 million salary will be an obstacle to any deal, but the Indians surely would pay some of that down to get a legitimate prospect in return.” Don’t forget that the last time that the Indians covered the remaining money on a traded player’s salary, they paid the entire 2008 salary of Lacey Cake, which…as we all know, netted them Los Santana.” [The DiaTribe]

I got a high powered jumbo/Rolled up a wooly and I watched… “LeBron James is very much shrouded in mystery right now.  But let’s be honest, that’s what it is.  Mystery . . . not a conspiracy theory.  If there is anyone poking around the curtain, it would be Columbo.  Not the Illuminati.” [Wine and Goldrush]

A most excellent look into the future of Terrelle Pryor, inspired by Adrian Wojnarowski [Eleven Warriors]

And about that “one-foot-out-the-door” theory: “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice?  What could better explain LeBron’s astonishing deer-in-headlights Game 5 performance than the onset of the reality that the divine right of his greatness simply isn’t enough?  Here it was LeBron, more than anyone, who was fooling himself.  This doesn’t strike me as anything that can be fixed in the next few days, and short of a title, let’s assume it’s a non-starter to bring back a head coach who lets this happen on his watch.  But for LeBron to drive the bus off the cliff, then fly away?  That has to be a non-starter too.” [Cleveland Frowns]

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

  • MattyFos

    -I’m still not sure LBJ is a self-proclaimed King. I thought he was anointed King by Sports Illustrated and ESPN. I can just vision him sitting in the throne on the cover of SI with lions sitting around him. Maybe he was calling himself King before they started hyping him in 10th grade, but I doubt it.

    – I don’t think the Indians will have a problem shipping Wood away. He’s a decent arm in the bullpen. And I think he could even be re-worked into a long reliever. There are plenty of teams looking for an extra arm in the bullpen. The Dodgers come to mind, let’s send LAD another Indian for another prospect. Manny, Ronnie Beliard, Casey Blake I think they may have another ex-Indian out in LA, maybe I’m thinking of Thome from last year… Point is, we shouldn’t have trouble moving a proven late inning pitcher, especially one with a resume/name recognition like Wood.

  • Turk

    Wow, I’m just stunned at the LeBron hate emanating from every media outlet the past day. Not surprising to see a “home” blog like Frowns in on the hate. Let’s not use this one game as an excuse to forget how this one man brought the franchise back from irrelevance and made it the best team in the NBA (with help, of course).

    All this questioning of his focus and these one-foot-out-the-door theories got really old, really fast. I believe he can and will give us a phenomenal performance tonight. It may or may not be enough to win, but I believe.

    And yeah, let’s see Willy Loman drop 25 straight against the 2007 Pistons. What a crock.

  • stin4u

    After a full 24 hours of bellowing I think I’m starting to back away from the ledge a bit.

    I think Lebron will show up tonight, I think the guy will take the media storm to heart if only because he got to indulge in some diva-ish drama for 24 hours. As stated previously, if this team can’t show the backbone to gut out a win in Boston tonight they don’t have the fortitude to win a championship anyways.

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com Cleveland Frowns

    Thanks for the link. That 11W post IS excellent. Not to say Wojnarowski didn’t make a few decent points.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com DP

    Turk, is it the Dustin Hoffman Willy Loman? I mean, then I could possibly see it…

  • stin4u

    @Turk – I agree, ESPN is having a field day with this entire situation but that’s not to say that a lot of us haven’t been guilty of saying much of the same here.

    The thing I think is ridiculous is that ESPN has done their best to suggest the fans were booing Lebron alone….are you kidding? As if people in the stands were saying…HEY YOU…YEAH….LEBRON…BOOOOOOOO…YEAHHHH….BOOOOOOOOOOOO….BUT EVERYONE ELSE SHOULDN’T LISTEN BECAUSE PLAYING LIKE GARBAGE IS ACCEPTABLE FOR YOU. What a joke.

  • MrCleaveland

    That’s a good point about LeBron’s supposed drive and desire being more of a marketing ploy than reality. But marketing may be motivation enough. For example, if the Cavs tank again, it would be hard for Nike to make anymore of those excellent puppet ads and roll out any other ad campaigns based on LeBron without losing cred and looking ridiculous. So LeBron might want to kick it up a notch if he wants to remain MVP of Madison Avenue.

  • Turk

    @DP —

    There’s a “Rain Man” joke in there somewhere, I just know it…

  • http://shakesthesnowglobe.blogspot.com EZ

    I think questioning Lebron’s drive at this point is sort of grasping at straws to explain something (Lebron’s performance the last couple of weeks) that nobody understands. Since nobody can come up with a real reason they start to invent them, and this “lack of will” is a compelling storyline.

    Scoring every single point for the Cavs against the Pistons in that OT game showed drive. In the elimination games vs. the Celtics and the Magic the last two years drive was oozing out of his pores.

    I won’t go as far as Lebron and say “don’t worry about 3 bad games in 7 years” because clearly something is up, but I’m not about to let the failures of this second round erase the cachet he’s built up to this point.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Ken Berger sheds some light on LeBron’s attitude.

    All of this “King” talk has finally gone to his head. He still doesn’t understand why everyone is so shocked and upset over game 5. I’m really starting to think he still doesn’t get what it takes to be a champion. He can redeem himself somewhat by helping his team win this series, (and I will happily eat crow if he does) but judging by some of his comments in the past 36 hours, I’m not sure he cares, as long as he is the MVP…

  • Eric

    Ken Berger is a fool. What exactly is Lebron supposed to do about other people being shocked and upset? Would an apology make people less shocked? If he cried and hung his head in his hands would that make people less upset? What’s done is done. I think people want a guarantee that how he has performed will never happen again and that’s a promise he can’t make. No one can. And what the hell does Ken Berger know about being a champion? If the best he can do is describe what he has observed while trying to sneak a peek in locker rooms, well he can shut the hell up. Everyone is not interested in having a Dr. Phil-let’s hold hands,light candles and cry together moment. Obviously Lebron is one of those people. If being stoic is the way he has chosen to deal with his situation then so be it. What gives Lebron’s critics the qualifications and/or the right to define and demand what is or isn’t a proper response? And he gets called arrogant and entitled.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    @ MattyFos – he may not have been self-proclaimed, but surely he has paid money to have marketing slogans tattooed full-back and along his calf. I understand your point, but he’s not exactly shying away from the monikers either.

    And a million cocktails to Luke at 11W – I commented over there and said it as well, but I can’t wait for 2050 when he and I are writing from our ivory towers and pen pieces like his for real.

  • DMike

    I am really tired of all this LeBron talk and not Cavs talk. Sure I saw the game and will admit LeBron was gone, but the media and fans with all this “his will determines how the team plays” is rediculous. That statement makes it seem like the Cavs are LeBron and a bunch of babies that are completely helpless to play basketball, SPEAK UP, or call the team out on their own. ( who knows maybe they are). We are talking about grown men here. No one on this team has any balls and it truely is sad to see. I am a witness.

  • Turk

    @Denny —

    So if people called you The King and The Chosen One, you wouldn’t embrace that?

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    @ Turk – I like to think I would embrace it, but not go so far as to ink it on myself permanently.

    I’m more of a servant-commanding King.

  • http://www.brian23.com Brian

    Um this is a guy who has “CHOSEN” tattooed across the entirety of his back.

    I’ve said for a long time he only wants to win because it’s good for the brand, not because he wants it on some vague internal level ala Kobe and Jordan.

  • DMike

    Question. Would the whole “King James” nickname even exist if it wasn’t for the play on words with the King James version of the bible? Every superstar needs a nickname and his last name just so happened to be James so isn’t that where King came from? I could be way off here

  • http://www.60bpm.com/ Robbie

    @stin4u/@Turk — Put into words what I failed to numerous times yesterday. I was flabbergasted yesterday.

    @Denny — Doesn’t he have “Witness” on his calf as well? Yeah, personally I’d have waited for a couple of rings before I did that myself.

  • Matt#2

    Many writers purport to know much about winning and being a champion; one shows his chops by forcing a comparison to an Arthur Miller invention; in the middle of a series, where there is difficulty, locals pile-on and demand some verbal pound of flesh from a basketball player (it’s a wonder we don’t get a presser after halftime).

    There will be much to learn and reflect upon concerning Cleveland from these days.

  • Matt#2

    Wow, Eric, you really beat me to it.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    Holy carp DMike – I never thought of that.

    @ Robbie – he’s got “witness” on one calf, “history” on the other. History was added like a month ago.

  • JJ

    It’s hard for me to say how I would be at age 25 after being a media darling since age 15 and being hyped up to no end for 10 years. I never got a cool nickname like “King” though, instead I was called “Paper Mache” because of my many injuries….and no, I don’t have a tattoo of this…

  • DMike

    I have no problem with most of the tatts. But the ” Witness” and “History” ones def could have waited untill at least one championship…As much as I want, I just can’t give up on this team. Go cavs. Let’s get that W…please?

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Eric – I don’t really care about Berger’s opinions in the article…but I thought the quotes that LeBron provided him were pretty revealing.

    Again, I hope he comes out and destroys the Celtics tonight…but his words (and actions in game 5) continue to show no urgency or understanding of the gravity of the situation…for his team and his legacy. If he backs up his complacency with a game for the ages tonight, then I will stand corrected and not question him again. If the Cavs get destroyed and LeBron plays like he is in la-la land again, all of this criticism is justified, in my opinion.

  • MattyFos

    JJ- I agree completely, I don’t know how I would handle myself if I was thrown into a 24 hour media cycle telling me how great I am. How I’m saving basketball. When Magic tells me he and Bird handed the torch to Jordan, and Jordan handled it to ME! I’m not sure how I would decorate my body. I do know this, I have never had any of those things ring true about my life (MattyFos) and I’m still an arrogant dude, who knows his opinion is worth more than anybody else’s opinion. I don’t have get attention, that I feel I may deserve, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking I’m the greatest thinker in my generation. People are just built differently.

  • http://www.60bpm.com/ Robbie

    @JJ — You’re right about that. I was a total d-bag until… about a week ago, but if I could meet myself when I was 18 I would give myself a severe beating.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    @ Robbie – LOL. “You know, I really think I’ve turned that corner in life”.

  • Eric

    BuckeyeDawg, I repeat my material. Just because he wasn’t acting a certain way does not mean he doesn’t understand the gravity of the situation. What’s next, are you going to instruct Lebron on the proper way to grieve? The Celtics played a damn good game and I can see how he may have been confused and didn’t know how to turn it around. Lebron was staring at the ceiling looking for divine help cause God knows nobody on the sidelines holding the clipboards had a clue on how to help.