April 16, 2014

Time Will Judge the Impact of Dan Gilbert’s Letter to Cavalier Fans

Following and writing about the LeBron James fallout in Cleveland has been miserable. Fatigue has set in, and fans are growing more and more weary about reading about LeBron. “It’s time to move on” is a common theme amongst fans, and I get it. Trust me, I’m sick of writing about him as well. While I can’t promise I’ll never write about LeBron James again, what I can promise is that as time goes on, the focus on Cleveland basketball will shift from what was to what is to what will be.

Believe it or not, I’m eager for the 2010-11 season to start. I’ve already begun laying the ground work on team capsules for my season previews, and I’ve begun to think more heavily about what the Cavaliers will look like this year. I think the Cavaliers team is full of proud players who have grown accustomed to winning. Often times, the hardest part about rebuilding a franchise in any sport is turning around the culture of losing.

Thankfully, in Cleveland, the Cavaliers’ culture of losing is a distant memory. With Z and LeBron’s departures, there are no Cavaliers left who know anything but winning in Cleveland. Anderson Varejao knows nothing but winning. Daniel Gibson knows nothing but winning. Same with Leon Powe and JJ Hickson. Mo Williams has been instrumental in Cleveland making the leap from good team to elite team.

I’m not here to sell rainbows and lollipops to everyone, but the point is that turning around a culture of pride and winning isn’t automatic. These players have heard the doubters and the proclamations of the end of basketball in Cleveland. I’m excited to see a new system, a new coach, and a new team full of overlooked players who will have to band together in an us-against-the-world mentality in order to have any chance of even being respectable. It’s a challenge, but challenges can be fun.

Of course, no matter what happens this season, though, 2010-11 is a transition season for this franchise. No matter how much I may enjoy, as a basketball fan, watching how this group of players reacts to adversity, the reality is that this is nowhere near a Championship contending team. Even if the Cavaliers were to pull off a major coup and somehow use their trade exception to land a new franchise player to build around (and really, that’s not going to happen), they still lack the assets to compete in a new mega-team landscape where Miami has their Big 3, Boston has their again Big 3, and New York is about to have a Big 3 (when Carmelo and CP3 end up there, which will happen).

So for the Cavaliers to get back to where we all want them to be, they are going to have to put in a lot of hard work and make a lot of hard choices. ESPN’s Chad Ford and John Hollinger recently ranked all 30 NBA franchises based on expected success over the next 3 seasons. They ranked the Cavaliers 28th, ahead of only the Minnesota Timberwolves and Charlotte Bobcats. Their reasoning?

We hate to pour salt on the wound, but LeBron’s “Decision” destroyed his hometown franchise now and for the foreseeable future. Cavaliers fans continue to insist that it’s the way LeBron ditched them that has caused so much anger, but over time, the real pain will be watching this Cavs team without him.

In his open letter condemning LeBron, owner Dan Gilbert guaranteed the Cavs would win a championship without their former star, but that’s easier said than done. Cleveland traditionally has not been a top free-agent destination. Now, the team has another problem: Gilbert’s heat-of-the-moment diatribe against LeBron was read by players around the league, and a number of player agents have told us their clients don’t want to play there after seeing how Gilbert treated a guy who made him hundreds of millions during the past several years. In any case, as we’ve seen this summer, players just won’t flock to Cleveland without the lure of LeBron.

The roster itself is another weak point. Mo Williams, Ramon Sessions, Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson are good pieces but not the kind of young talent that could carry the franchise forward in future seasons. The Cavs lack trade assets as well.

Cleveland did get a bounty of draft picks from Miami in the LeBron sign-and-trade. But given how stacked the Heat are right now, those picks likely will be the worst in the first round — and the Cavs aren’t going to replace LeBron with a series of No. 30 draft picks.

To be fair, you have to take anything agents say with a grain of salt. Their job is to drive prices up, so of course they will say their clients don’t want to play in Cleveland, It will drive up the price for the Cavaliers to sign anyone. The truth is, though, this is nothing new for the Cavaliers. I’ve written in the past about Cleveland’s problems luring free agents to town. Prior to signing Parker, Moon, and Powe this last offseason, the list of free agents to sign with the Cavaliers after the Larry Hughes debacle were Dwayne Jones, Scot Pollard, David Wesley, Devin Brown, Cedric Simmons, Tarence Kinsey, and Lorenzen Wright (RIP). Critics want to say Gilbert’s letter hurts Cleveland’s chances of signing free agents….so what? Free agents don’t want to come to Cleveland anyway.

The way the Cavaliers will rebuild is the same way they always have. They will use the draft and trades to bring in players. For all the talk of players not wanting to come to Cleveland on their own, those who are forced to come to NE Ohio either via trade or draft never seem to complain too much. Especially with Dan Gilbert at the helm, the Cavaliers have been transformed into a first class franchise. They have state of the art facilities including the impressive Cleveland Clinic Courts and a revamped locker room. Gilbert has shown he’s willing to spare no expense to put a world class product together from top to bottom. Despite common perception, the Cavaliers actually have a loyal and passionate fan base. What Cavs fans may lack in numbers, they make up for in passion and in noise in the stands.

The Cavaliers will always have plenty to offer free agents as long as Dan Gilbert is the owner of this franchise. Signing free agents is a concern, but money talks and time heals most wounds. Just as time will eventually ease the pain over losing LeBron and the public humiliation he set on this franchise, so too will time slowly wipe away doubts in free agents minds about Dan Gilbert as an owner. Time may not change the perception of Cleveland as a city in the minds of professional athletes, but as long as Gilbert continues to take care of his players and treat them well, word will spread and the stigma surrounding his letter will subside.

Besides, there are plenty of smart and rational players in the NBA. I’m sure in a moment of honesty most would admit that they understand it was a heat of the moment error in judgment on Gilbert’s part and that no other player could ever be so important to Gilbert and the Cavaliers as to warrant that kind of reaction. This was a once in a lifetime kind of hurt and pain, and I have to believe most people realize this, whether they choose to admit it or not.

I don’t know what the Cavaliers rebuilding process will look like, nor can I even imagine what this team will look like 3 years from now. What I do know is that even though Gilbert has his doubters and his critics, he’s yet to lose my support and I don’t think the impact of his letter to Cavs fans will have quite as strong of a negative impact on this franchise as most believe. After all, LeBron turning his back on the Cavaliers did a thousand times more damage to the franchise than any letter from the owner could ever do, and that’s all that matters. LeBron James is the reason the Cavaliers are in the position they are in right now, not Dan Gilbert.

  • Jason

    Regarding free agents not wanting to come here.

    How many big name free agents have switched teams at all in the past two decades (not via trade)? The NBA is structured so that the team that drafts them has the monetary advantage to keep them. Besides Shaq, Nash, Bosh, and a certain former Cleveland small forward, what big name franchise player type free agents have left their teams in free agency?

    I know people think Cleveland sucks and no free agent wants to play here, but the truth is that big name free agents just don’t move in the NBA very often.

    It just figures we had one of the handful of players to buck that trend…..

  • Jim

    Jason, I agree. Money talks. Shaq left Orlando for more money. Ditto Nash for the Suns. Until this summer no player ever left the max on the table to sign elsewhere.

    That being the case, of course CLE will have to overpay. It happens all the time in the NBA because of the structure of the CBA. Gilbert is the kind of owner who can thrive in such a system; one who is not afraid to overpay for a player that will help the team. I’m not saying we need to go out and pay Amon Ones 16 million again, but overpaying like Milwaukee did this summer for instance (see Salmons, Gooden etc.) isn’t always that bad.

  • JNeids

    You can keep your rainbows, but I will take a lollipop, a-thank you.

    Regarding Gilbert’s letter, I agree that it won’t actually do any damage longterm. Like you said, money talks, and I highly doubt anyone will turn down a few more mil just because the owner actually cares about his franchise. The worst thing Gilbert said is that the truth about the ex-Cav will come out, meaning that he was willing to protect him while he was here (which is a good thing). If a player has dirty laundry that he is that worried about becoming public, I either don’t want him here in the first place, or he just now knows to let the owner and fans know in an appropriate manner when he is ready to change teams.

    Also, I really hope this “Big 3″ fad that the Celtics started dies, and soon. Otherwise the Cavs better get lucky in the draft ’cause none of these Big 3′s started without the team already having 1/3 in place. That, and it’s lame.

  • http://www.landloyalty.com Ricky

    Andrew, I am also excited for the Cavs season to start, but I do not want this team to be good. Its too hard to rebuild when you are drafting outside the top 10 and while I know its not a good idea to just tank and hope you get the first overall pick, if you happen to lose a lot while developing young talent and then happen to get a top 5 pick, then that isn’t so bad. I by no means will root for the Cavs to lose every game, I just will root for other things to happen, like root for JJ to develop into a consistent rebounder, or for Ramon Sessions to prove he is a starting quality PG. Little things

    And besides, have you seen this Harrison Barnes kid? Silky smooth game

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew

    Ricky, I don’t disagree with you. But I think it will be tough for the Cavaliers to lose enough to have a good chance at a top 5 pick next year. I just think there’s too much talent and pride on this roster.

    This is why I was so opposed to the Cavs taking a trade exception. I’m still scared to death the Cavs are going to use it to take on a high priced player in an attempt to be mildly competitive with this roster rather than building for the future.

  • Harv 21

    “The way the Cavaliers will rebuild is the same way they always have. They will use the draft and trades to bring in players.”

    Is this a joke? Only successful Cavs rebuilds:

    1) League-mandated extra high picks to rescue org from Stepian disaster, combined with historic Philadelhia brain-lock in taking Roy Hinson for first overall draft pick.

    2) Blind luck of a ping pong ball after an intentionally tanked season.

    Neither is close to happening again. Better to look elsewhere for a template to follow. The same old way more likely puts us in last playoff spot/Fratello-style purgatory.

    I might have preferred teaming Rickey Davis with Iverson and watching the race to the bottom, at least for a year or two. Too bad Gilbert can’t stomach that so soon while we take a needed break from the NBA. He’ll probably evetually end up there anyway.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew

    Those 2 scenarios involved the draft. When the Cavaliers have been good, it has been because of the draft. Not joking at all.

  • Lyon

    Along the lines of players complaining after playing for the Cavs. Has there been a player since Gilbert took over that complained at all about the CAvs? Obviously some did (Hughes) but that was for coaching style more so than the organization as a whole.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew

    Lyon, to my knowledge, I have never heard of a player having a fundamental problem with Dan Gilbert or the Cavaliers organization. LeBron will use Gilbert’s letter as an easy excuse for leaving and will say now that he has a problem with Gilbert, but I’ve never heard anyone come close to even remotely suggesting LeBron had any issues with Gilbert at all while he was under contract.

  • Lyon

    Thanks Andrew. That really is the only reason players should avoid the team, if the org. is disfunctional (Clips). I understand the weather and city life holds Cleveland back, but at some point we’ll be able to bring someone in with the captial Gilbert puts into the team.

  • mgbode

    I’ll see your

    “Cavaliers team is full of proud players who have grown accustomed to winning”

    and add onto it with:

    Byron Scott is a very good NBA coach whose style tends to maximize the wins during the season. An up-tempo style can help teams steal a few extra W’s (as long as there is some attention to defense as well).

  • Mark

    I don’t get the big deal about the letter. Steinbrenner, Cuban, Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones make ridiculous comments in public, but how are Gilbert’s any different?

  • http://gooddoctorzeus.blogspot.com DocZeus

    Quasi-related:

    If Carmelo Anthony is serious about testing “free agency waters” than the Nuggets should absolutely trade him NOW. You would have to assume that after LeBron/Wade/Bosh conspired with each other at the Olympics that Melo/CP3/Stoudemire are going to do the same to compete with the Heat. You have to get something of serious value.

  • SxDx

    I hate to say it, but Harv21 is right. The only times this organization has been successful over the years is through blind luck. The ping pong balls could have just as easily bounced Denver’s way in 2003, or Detroit for that matter. Imagine that Pistons team with LeBron as its centerpiece, I mean that would have been a dynasty. But Im getting sidetracked…

    To get to the point, we have 2 choices here. Tank and hope that the ping pong balls bounce our way….again. I cant say that I like our chances because lightning typically doesnt strike twice. Even if we ended up with the first pick again, the chances of this team landing another true “franchise” player through tanking are slim to none.

    Over the years theres been tons of Andrew Bogut type players that have gone 1st overall, and very few LeBron James. It sucks, but LeBron is more than likely the best player who will ever wear this uniform. As much of a scumbag as he is, he truly is a once in a generation talent.

    The other option is to overpay to get second tier guys like, I dunno….say Andre Igoudala or Joe Johnson for example. And maybe if we spend enough money we can be one of those 5-8 seed teams that rarely gets out of the first round, and gets plastered by a superior opponent when they do. As another poster called it “Fratello type purgatory” thats exactly what we will be.

    I actually think the 2010-11 Cavs will be a fun team to watch. I do think these players have a lot of pride and I believe they will rally around each other in the wake of LeBron leaving. It has to hurt their pride knowing that “experts” and fans alike expect them to now be bottom feeders. I could see this team overachieving and making the playoffs, but even if they do we aint getting out of the first round.

    The Cavs will stay fairly competitive for now, but the long term outlook is rather bleak. Its sad to say, but I just dont see anyway around it.

  • Shamrock

    Gilbert’s letter was a mistake but his wallet will speak the loudest in the end. As far as the season goes I predicted 30-35 wins tops anything more and Scott deserves COY votes.

  • MJ

    Andrew,

    Nice piece bro but feels to me like you are just trying to convince yourself and make you (and us) try to feel better for the long run.

    Not buying it though. Yes Dan Gilbert is a great owner and has tons of money. But the letter he wrote, while awesome to us on the morning after LeQuitter took his talents elsewhere, will ultimately hurt this franchise in more ways than we will ever know.

    How many years did we have to wait to get back to the good days of Mark Price, Larry Nance, and Brad Daugherty? Yep…close to 15 years. The problem is that the LeBrons of the NBA are a once in a lifetime acquisition. It won’t be long until Mo and Andy have moved on and we are left with nothing but unrealized ‘potential’. This is life in Cleveland. The Cavs will be back to a losing culture…and the beat goes on.

    Frankly, I’m done with pro sports. Greed has killed what once was games played mostly out of a competitive and passionate heart. LeBron talked all those years and made everyone buy into the thinking that he was different and truly appreciated the history. He has not one iota of a clue about the history and neither do most of these primadonnas.

    So I am going to focus on College Football and Basketball and enjoy it until the root of all evil: MONEY, corrupts and destroys both the players and the game they play.

  • Ike

    I honestly don’t think the Cavs outlook is bleak, but they’re certainly not going to be contending over the next couple seasons. The Cavs have to build through the draft, and while it’s been a while since they’ve done so, I have no doubts they’ll be able to do so.

    I think people need to realize that Cleveland isn’t rebuilding from their 2002 level. Yeah, players like Jamison are on borrowed time, but the Cavs without Lebron are in a MUCH better position than the 2002 edition.

    I also think people need to fully understand that the Cavs have an owner willing to spend. I know Cavs fans understand this, but they’re looking forward with the outlook of a Gordon Gund-owned team. As long as Gilbert is willing to spend, it’s only a matter of time before things turn the right way. And I think it’ll be sooner rather than later.

  • Jackson

    SxDx is correct, getting a franchise player is pretty rate, I’d wager to say mayone one comes out every three years. Plus, a majority of contenders don’t build through the draft. Of the teams that are quasi-contenders, the only ones built through the draft are OKC, Chicago, and Orlando. The others are in a position of strength largely due to FA and trades. Off the top of my head:

    LAL- Trades (Kobe, Gasol), Free Agents (Artest)
    Bos- Trades (KG, PP)
    Miami- FA (Bosh, LePippen)
    Phx- FA (Nash)

    Most teams that build through the draft are either Round 1 fodder (Bucks, Hawks) or in a continual re-building phase (Clips, Pacers, T-Wolves, etc). Odds are LBJ is the best player that we’ll ever see and being a small market, cold weather city the odds of us being a legit contender this decade is slim…

  • Roosevelt

    Statistics and logic will only take you so far… Yes, you can tank and end up with Andrew Bogut. You can end up with Shaq and Penny Hardaway and not win in time. You can get a Charles Barkley, a John Stockton, a Karl Malone and never win. You can also put together a “Big Three” and not win. Remember those Lakers, with Malone and Gary Payton?

    The discussion can never be about what will guarantee a championship; nothing ever does. There are some great executives, and smart teams out there, and yet, every ten years, three teams win. But we can discuss how best to improve, and hope that with this upcoming improvement, we’ll finally see the promised land.

    Gilbert’s letter is no big deal at all. Certainly not when compared to the incompetence and frugality of other teams. We can take any reasonable path, whether it’s tanking or trying to stay competitive while drafting in the middle and end of both rounds for the next nine years. What we chouldn’t do is give up, or be stupid and change tactics every year and a half.

  • BB

    I’m not sure I’d call the Cav’s winning the draft lottery in 2003 blind luck. With a 22.5% chance, the Cavs we’re among the favorites. You want blind luck, the Bulls in 08 had a 1.7% chance.

  • Alex

    I think the only ppl who see Gilbert’s letter as a detriment to the team are ppl who think, err lack of thinking like jesse jackson, so im ok not having irrational ppl on board. The part about winning a championship was very wrong and misguided, but it serves to prove that it was all written in the heat of the moment.

    Aside from the fact that the city of Cleveland does in fact suck; the franchise is first class and players should want to play for a passionate owner, aka mark cuban like who puts his money where his mouth is. Not to mention the fact that ANY pro-athlete in cleveland is a very big fish, in a small rusty boring pond.

  • Mike

    @15 – the only way the Cavs are going to be a real contender over the next 10 years is if they *do* get back down to the 2002 levels. They need to stink for three straight seasons and pray that they get one superstar caliber player and two more top-40 players in the Draft. That is the only viable plan for a small market in the modern era of superteams.

    Whatever you may think of him, LeBron James was smart to realize that the only way you are going to win a title in the next five years is with a combination of stars. Here’s hoping the Cavs don’t go out of their way trying to prove him wrong, because it will only lead to misery and mediocrity. I for one have no interest in earning the 8th seed only to watch LeBron come into Cleveland and kick our asses in four games.

  • mgbode

    @13 – the Pistons would not have received the #1 pick. It was #1 overall protected (the only time I have heard of that).

    So, they actually DID win their lottery with the highest pick they could get and passed up Melo for Darko (Simpson’s Nelson: Haha)

  • mgbode

    @Mike – I think LeBron ‘created’ the situation of only being able to win with a collection of stars.

    just like if the pac16 was formed, it likely would have forced the big10 and sec to follow suit to keep up with TV contracts.

    Miami with Wade/Bosh wasn’t going to be a title contender right away. They might not have even been able to entice as many FA’s with just those two. Wade/LeBron & Bosh certainly is a title contender.

    That said, the Heat are just 1 injury away from not being a title contender. Any of those 3 get hurt, and they are in for trouble. I am sort of praying for this to happen just to hopefully give pause to Paul and Melo from going to the Knicks.

    Orlando has to worry about Dwight. Any other injury, they can somehwat overcome.

    LA has to worry about Kobe. Any other injury, they can somewhat overcome.

    Boston has more to worry about because of the age/injury factor with Garnett/Allen/Pierce/Perkins.

  • Alex

    That’d be a shame if lediva broke his leg

  • http://shakesthesnowglobe.blogspot.com EZ

    @Mike

    I’m not sure what you mean by the “modern” era of superteams. Bird’s Celtics and Magic’s Lakers both had multiple HoF players and a lot of excellent role players. Scottie Pippen would have been the best player on a number of other teams had he not been in Jordan’s supporting cast.

    Lebron didn’t figure out that the only way you win is with multiple stars… he looked at history and decided he’d rather be Scottie Pippen than Karl Malone.

    I’m still not sure I’m in favor of tanking, though. There’s no guarantee you’re not taking Darko Milicic or Kwame Brown (who was the consensus #1 pick at the time.)

    We will have to build through the draft, but I can’t make myself want the team to lose. I just can’t. I’ll just hold on to the hope that we can be the Pistons and win without a superstar.

  • MrCleaveland

    Gilbert’s splendid rant will have no impact whatsoever on whether or not any free agent stays here or comes here. Face it folks, we’re not ever ever ever keeping/getting an elite player here no matter what sport, no matter what circumstance.

    Gilbert never dissed Manny or Thome, and those two greedbags gave us the finger on their way outta here. C.C. Slobbathia was just markin’ time ’til he could blow this hick town after his monumental choke in ’07.

    We’ve got to learn that if we ever win anything ever again, it will be with a core of young players who have a harmonic convergence of career years. In other words, a fluke.

    It’s not me who says so. It’s history.

  • http://shakesthesnowglobe.blogspot.com EZ

    @5

    Andrew, do you know what Shaq’s Celtic signing does to our TPE? I do believe we’re under the cap now without his cap hold, correct?

  • MrCleaveland

    @25

    Alex,

    Aaahhhhh, I can imagine Joe Tait’s call now . . .

    /cue harp music:
    ((((((((((
    ))))))))))
    (((((((((
    )))))))))

    James pounds the ball top of the key . . . On the crossover dribble drive . . . to the line . . . to the lane . . . to the hoop . . . to the floor . . . to the hospital . . . AND THE Q GOES CRAZY!!!!

  • Alex

    I prey to god that if lebron is to get hurt anywhere, please let it be in cleveland.

  • http://shakesthesnowglobe.blogspot.com EZ

    I hope it doesn’t happen in Cleveland. The city gets enough grief in general without cheering for a player’s season-ending injury.

  • Alex

    That would be a day of joy followed only by the day scumbag modell finally dies

  • mike

    im not really buying into this “free agents won’t come to cleveland because of dan gilbert’s letter” nonsense. didnt kyle lowry already sign a free agent contract to come here, which was matched by houston? first, like has been mentioned, free agents werent lining up to go there anyways. second, money does talk. and third, its not like lebron was any old former player. plus, its not like every player who has left cleveland has been ripped apart by dan gilbert. anyone with a brain can see that lebron leaving cleveland was a pretty unique situation involving a pretty unique player. i really dont see that letter affecting things either way in the long run.

  • Mark

    I guess I am in the minority here but I feel Gilbert’s letter will end up doing a lot more good than harm. I was very afraid that if LeBron left this whole town would just throw up its collective hands and just walk away from the team. So LeBron does leave and then bam, Gilbert’s letter expresses all the rage and frustration that Cleveland fans have felt, not just at LeBron, but for decades. He gave us all the knowledge that he was with us and never going to give up on trying to win a title. It ment something to me and I suspect a lot of fans. Whatever negative that may come of it (I doubt it will be much) will have been worth it. If fans don’t care about your team then you might as well give up.

  • JM

    Joe Tait- The fans are chanting Na na na na hey hey goodbye to LeBron as he is carted off. I can only imagine what the “experts” will have to say about that. Hey LeBron seeing as your career is over pop in a fresh Digornio Pizza! It would be kinda funny.

  • nick

    If Levenedict were to suffer a season(or better yet career ending injury) in Cleveland, it would only confirm that god and/or karma does truly exist. And the cheers would give me goosebumps. People from time to time show the clips of Eagles fans cheering when Michael Irvin broke his Neck(which was totally uncalled for by Eagles fans). That video would be instantly replaced by Lebrons and I would clap and smile every time it was played untill the day I die. In 60 years on my death bed, if that video played, I would get one more smile, salute god, and die happy.

  • SxDx

    @34…Mark, that avatar is awesome! LOL

    @19…Roosevelt, good points all around. There are never any guarantees. Hell the Cavs wont the jackpot of all lottery picks (in recent years anyway) and still didnt win a title.

    @22 Mike, I dont necessarily agree that the only way LeBron could have won a title in the next 5 years was to team up with another group of stars. The Cavs were ahead of the Celtics 2-1 before Quitness threw in the towel. The same Celtic team that pushed the Lakers to the closing seconds of game 7 in the finals. That could have been us in the Finals, and the Lakers were not nearly as strong this season as they were last year, they were beatable. Hell, LeBron and a bunch of scrubs pushed the Celtics to 7 games in the second round 2 years ago, LeBron and this group could have beaten an older, slower Celtic team.

    LeBron could have won a title here. He WOULD have won a title here eventually. I think he just decided that he would rather take the easy way out and try to win a bunch of rings without having to carry the team on his back every night. Probably why he announced the number change, he decided that he didnt want to be the next Jordan or even the next Kobe, being the next Scottie Pippen was good enough. Too bad, he could have been the greatest of all time if he had Jordan’s, or even Kobe Bryant’s competitive fire. But his “brand” and being the biggest “star” in the game was apparently more important to him than being the best player.

  • jimkanicki

    gilbert’s letter was to me and it hit mark for me. partly for the message but mainly, i think, because he effing wrote TO ME without worrying about what others thought. it’s an email i’d have sent to mr. cleaveland or received from christopher. the guy’s not stupid. he knew he’d be crucified. and he did it anyway because it was important enough to him to let me know that he’s there with me. i will never step back from appreciating it.

    my second point concerns ‘letting go.’ i hope we all know that the opposite of love is indifference. so the expenditure of emotion either by walking out or chants or any organized douchey-ness … it doesn’t hurt lebron. it tells him that we still care about him.

    last, i am still keenly interested in this topic and am aware that this makes it look like i’m still invested emotionally in lebron. i’m not. but i’m still fascinated in the unprecedented … there’s no word … a**hole-ish-ness? .. that lebron laid down.

    it’s a test case in karma. i want to see if karma exists. we’ll know in less than a year.

  • http://cavalierscentral.blogspot.com Colin Zvosec

    Anyone who thinks Dan Gilbert’s letter will somehow deter players from signing in Cleveland is, for lack of a better word, stupid.

    Are people forgetting that Kyle Lowry signed an offer sheet to play here just 6 days after Gilbert’s letter? The same Kyle Lowry who said this on Twitter,

    “Cavs owner snap!!! That’s crazy how you see people real side when things dnt go their way!!!! Wow!!!!!!”

    Now, he could have just been making an observation, but it’s more likely he didn’t like Gilbert’s comments. Yet, less than a week later, Lowry decides to sign with our “crazy” owner. We are talking about grown ups here (for the most part). Money talks. In a few months, a year tops, this letter will be forgotten…

  • http://cavalierscentral.blogspot.com Colin Zvosec

    And I apologize if what I just posted regarding Lowry has already been mentioned.

  • jimkanicki

    @40
    we understand that you’re operating on Belgrade Standard Time.

  • mike

    mark makes a good point. DG’s letter was as much of a rally the troops PR move as it was a message to lebron. if it helps keeps his customers – or at least a good percentage of them – then it was a good move by DG.

  • Mike

    1. While people were happy about the letter at the time, it won’t cause them to head down to the Q this March. For all the whining that I have heard about LeBron leaving, most of those same whiners will be abandoning this Cavalier team just as quickly as LeBron did.

    2. Kyle Lowry and his agent knew that the Rockets were going to match. While I don’t think that Lowry was completely opposed to playing in Cleveland for Gilbert, I also don’t think that you can use the Lowry signing as proof that everyone is okay with Gilbert. Especially since the guy didn’t actually end up coming to Cleveland.

  • mike (different one)

    i’m not referring to the lowry signing as “proof” that everyone is okay with Gilbert. the fact is, lowry signed the contract. it is quite possible (probable?) that Lowry and his agent knew Houston was going to match but nothing is guaranteed. (just ask Gund re. Boozer.) had Houston pulled out for some reason, Lowry is in cleveland. the point is, are some players turned off by what Gilbert said and will some use that as a reason to not go to cleveland? yeah probably. i just think those players are in the minority. players that are “in demand” are not lining up to come to cleveland in the first place. a paycheck is a paycheck, and some guy who has a good offer in place from Cle 2-3 years from now isnt going to turn it down for a worse offer elsewhere (or no offer!) just because of some rant Dan Gilbert made about his superstar player leaving for no good reason – a player that gave many indications he was staying and a player that Gilbert had spent years bending over backwards for. not many other players will ever be in the same situation that lebron was in.

  • BRO

    We NEED to stop listening to the overpaid ESPN analysts and over the top agents and the King Scumbag himself about this Gilbert letter.

    1) Like Andrew said, we have never been able to lure free agents, how is this any different? Think of it as a Maverick Carter strategy: Even bad press is still press.

    2) Be honest, did anyone think when they heard that letter, “how dare he”, outside of whoever is sucking on LeBum’s power teet? Cleveland applauded it, we rallied behind it, it was exactly what we needed to hear.

    I would take Dan Gilbert as my owner over anyone else in this league, I am behind him 100% Sidenote: BUY THE INDIANS GILBERT PLEASE TO GOD BUY THE INDIANS!!!!

  • mike

    if not DG, i’ll take mark cuban buying the indians! can you imagine cuban AND DG in cleveland?

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com DP

    I just find it interesting that in the last 31 years (since 1980), only two franchises (Philly, 83; Miami, 06) have been a one-time title winner. Granted, LA’s ten were spread out over three different eras (Showtime, Shaqobi, and KobePau), but almost every team that wins one has won multiples with their same core. A few exceptions of course (Detroit has three, two with the Bad Boys and one with their mid-’00s core, though they made another NBA Finals and the ECF twice more), and Boston’s current Big 3 has only one (though another Finals appearance as well) in three years. Overall, though, here’s how it breaks down since 1980:

    LA Lakers: 10 (80, 82, 85, 87, 88, 00, 01, 02, 09, 10)
    Chicago Bulls: 6 (91, 92, 93, 96, 97, 98)
    Boston Celtics: 4 (81, 84, 86, 08)
    San Antonio Spurs: 4 (99, 03, 05, 07)
    Detroit Pistons: 3 (89, 90, 04)
    Houston Rockets: 2 (94, 95)
    Philadelphia 76ers: 1 (83)
    Miami Heat: 1 (06)

    That’s eight franchises with titles in 31 years. In short, you basically have to have a franchise player and build around them with a team good enough to win multiple titles to really win a title. There have ALWAYS been stacked/dynastic teams. This new Big 3 trend isn’t really a trend.

  • Heather

    @mike – That would be awesome to have Gilbert and Cuban. At least we would have owners who cared and were willing to invest in their teams.

    Also, I want a Cleveland team to finally win a championship. However, after the debacle of LeBron, specifically how he left and his terrible attitude, I want teams that actually care and play hard and to win. I would rather not have the Cavs intentionally tank hoping that they may somehow, possibly, maybe get another “Chosen One”. Enough of that already. Tanking seems to be trying to manipulate the system and not caring about how and why the games are played (again, I have had enough of this already).

  • euro

    Can’t believe some of you guys. Hoping a player will get injured? C’mon you’re better than that. You’re acting worse than the player you’re cursing.

  • Mike

    The “Letter” was and is an owner who actually FELT for his fans. The man was steered to believe that Labron was coming back. He went out and got players that Lebron actually decided on. The Cavs won the lottery to get him and really, for every game he won, against the likes of the Clippers, Pacers, or another “avaerage NBA team”, he lost against EVERY decent team he ever faced. Take away the Piston series, and we all knew they were ageing, Lebron never won a series with compitition involved. If NBA coaches go straight at the Heat, right at them over and over, they will get in foul trouble every game. EVERY game. You all know Lebron can’t make free throws, Wade blows them as well. Bosh will never be able to stop any one with heighth. Let the Cavs get the #7 or #8 seed, let the Heat come up and play us. GO RIGHT after the guy, right after him. Take charges over and over and make him hit the deck every other play. Trust me, the guy has not the courage to keep taking it. He is not the player you hype him up to be. We may lose the series to them, but we will make it much easier for the next series for their opponent. Take him OUT, ALL my players would have that hammered in to their heads. TAKE HIM OUT. Best record with home court thruout and he STILL canm’t win a series,,,,,,lol,nothing but OVER RATED. Show me a “Star” that has EVER let that happen,,especially two straight years?????