NBA Musical Chairs, ClevelandRox, and Losing My Voice, While We’re Waiting

WFNYBanner www

WFNYBanner www

Happy Tuesday WFNY! I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend. Now it’s time to get back to business.

It’s July 8, 2014…exactly four years after the original Decision. I don’t expect the 2014 Decision to happen today, but I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on what it was like around this time in 2010. There were so many emotions involved in those final days of the 2010 free agency process. It’s interesting to look back at the roller coaster I went on back then. On July 7, when we found out about Wade and Bosh going to Miami, I wrote this. I still was feeling confident. I just couldn’t believe he would join Wade and Bosh in Miami.

On the morning of July 8, we woke up to the horrible reality that LeBron was going to Miami. But even then, I still wanted to hold on to hope. Even in the face of overwhelming reports of LeBron going to Miami being a virtual certainty, I just couldn’t allow myself to give up. Then, after the aftermath of The Decision, I wrote on July 9 that loyalty in sports was dead.

It’s a little tough to go back and re-read the things I thought on those days. It’s funny to see how much my perspective on sports has changed in the four years since. Of course, a lot of that is probably a direct result of everything that happened on the night of the Decision. Just remembering how raw the emotions of that night were, it makes it seem even crazier to me that there seems to be a chance LeBron could return. I have no clue what’s going to happen in these next few days. I honestly feel like all of these recent reports and optimism have all come from external sources. By all accounts, LeBron has shut himself off from everyone. I remain pretty skeptical that he’s going to come back to Cleveland. But if nothing else, this week has been fun. Unlike last time, the Cavaliers have nothing to lose. And that has been a very fulfilling point to keep in mind.

*****

The NBA’s game of Musical Chairs

If nothing else, the NBA’s free agent market this offseason is starting to feel like a fun little game of Musical Chairs. Or maybe “Duck, Duck, Goose” is the better game. With so many rumors swirling, you wonder which free agents and which teams are going to be safe inside the circle, and who might potentially be left out.

As of Sunday, the Knicks were pretty confident that Carmelo Anthony would be returning. They were reported to be expecting Carmelo to announce his return on Monday. However, on Monday afternoon the Rockets reportedly offered Chris Bosh a max contract. This is where things get interesting. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst was on Mike & Mike in the Morning on Monday morning, and he said that LeBron has cut off communication to pretty much everyone, including people with the Heat. He said there have been a few texts between the Big 3, but beyond that, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are just as in the dark as everyone else regarding what LeBron is going to do.

With the uncertainty of LeBron’s future, Chris Bosh is now said to be at least considering taking the Houston deal, even though his preference remains to return to Miami with LeBron. But now Carmelo has held off on announcing anything. Some speculate it’s because he remains torn between the Lakers, Bulls, and Knicks, but others have suggested that perhaps Carmelo is now waiting to see if Bosh takes the Houston deal. If he does, then Carmelo could see if he could sign with the Heat and bring LeBron back.

Of course, knowing this, Bosh seems likely to wait and see what LeBron does first before deciding what he’s going to do. But what if in the meantime Carmelo goes back to Houston and, seeing how much they offered Bosh, says he’ll take that deal? In that way, Carmelo could actually put pressure on Bosh to act first or risk losing out on the Houston deal and possibly seeing LeBron sign somewhere other than Miami.

Phew. Did you get all that?

I’ve said from the beginning and I continue to maintain that I think these rumors have gotten out of hand and that the odds of LeBron returning to Cleveland are being blown way out of proportion. In reading the tea leaves, it just seems like the source of all this speculation comes from external sources on the periphery of LeBron’s inner circle. In other words, some of the Akron/Cleveland people who want LeBron to return are using the media to put pressure on LeBron to do just that. By all accounts, LeBron has gone completely ghost. So I just don’t trust all these reports. Windhorst said there’s only three people he believes when it comes to info about LeBron’s future: one is LeBron and the other two are unnamed sources presumably in his extreme inner circle. Windhorst said he hasn’t heard anything about LeBron returning from any of those three.

I fully admit there seems to be something weird going on. I think when Bosh and Wade opted out, they fully believed that they were working with LeBron. But there have been reports that Wade and Bosh are a little confused by LeBron’s silence and isolation. There are reports that Miami is starting to feel a little uneasy and unsure. But at the end of the day, Pat Riley is going to get his face to face with LeBron, and I have a feeling Riley will get the job done and secure LeBron’s return. I think LeBron will have a hard time saying no to Riley and perhaps to a greater extent, a hard time saying no to Dwyane Wade after Wade opted out of $42 million just to facilitate keeping the Big 3 together. From there, Bosh and Wade will return, as will Ray Allen most likely. That gives them a core of LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Allen, Norris Cole, Josh McRoberts, Danny Granger, and Shabazz Napier. Udonis Haslam would probably return as well.

That’s not the greatest team to project going forward, and the Heat will always have trouble finding cap space to sign free agents. But it’s good enough to walk through the pathetic Eastern Conference the next couple years, and from there, the Heat would be playing for a Championship every year. There are plenty of good reasons for LeBron to return to Cleveland, but Dan Gilbert continues to be one gigantic reason for LeBron not to. And you better believe Pat Riley will spend a good portion of his meeting with LeBron making that exact point, while illustrating the obvious differences between himself and Dan Gilbert. I want LeBron to return to Cleveland, but as long as Gilbert owns the team, I just don’t see it happening.

*****

Guess who’s back?!

One of the most beloved Cavaliers of all time is finally back in the NBA…sort of. Delonte West has seen his shares of ups and downs. Recently Slate.com ran this amazing feature on Delonte, asking the question ‘Why isn’t Delonte West in the NBA?’. Well, it appears Delonte is being given a chance:

Now, obviously, being on a Summer League roster isn’t the same thing as being on an NBA roster, but it’s a start. And this is the beautiful thing about the Summer League. In addition to rookies and undrafted free agents trying to make their way into the league, the Summer League also offers a chance at redemption for players who have somehow found themselves adrift from the league.

I think I speak for almost all Cavs fans when I say I wish Delonte the absolute best of luck and I truly hope that this can lead to a future back in the league for Delonte.

*****

#ClevelandRox!

I think this is one of the more interesting PR campaigns I’ve seen in quite some time. For anyone who may have missed it, the Indians and Rockies are teaming up to ask their fans to vote for Corey Kluber and Justin Morneau for the final All-Star spots in the AL and NL, respectively. The campaign is using the hashtag #ClevelandRox.

The Cleveland Indians and Colorado Rockies have teamed up to get Tribe starter Corey Kluber and Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau into the All-Star Game through the All-Star Game Final Vote.Fans can vote online at Indians.com or MLB.com/vote through Thursday, July 10 at 4PM ET. Votes on Twitter will count on Thursday from 10AM-4PM; fans are encouraged to use #VoteKluber, #VoteMorneau and #ClevelandRox.

I don’t know if it will be effective or not, but it’s just fun to see these two small market teams combining efforts to try to get their guys voted in.

*****

Album of the Week

Finally, we have our new music release of the week. Now, I know this is going to look like favoritism, but my vote for new album of the week goes to WFNY’s own Craig Lyndall, whose new album “Losing My Voice” is out today under his band’s name, The Company Line.

Yes, Craig is a good friend of mine so I’m hardly objective here, but in case you guys haven’t figured out by now, I take music discussions seriously. I wouldn’t recommend this album if I didn’t think it was up to par. To begin with, you need to read Craig’s backstory on how and why this album came to be:

During that consultation the surgeon casually mentioned that part of the surgery would temporarily relocate a nerve connected to my vocal cord and that one of the risks of surgery was that I could lose my voice.As a singer and songwriter, this was terrifying to me. I am not prolific as a songwriter, but I always go back to it when I have something I really want to say. It was eating me alive that I had unrecorded songs that could be lost forever so I decided to do something about it. A week before surgery, I recorded these six songs to document that moment in time when I thought I might lose the ability to ever sing again.

And that’s my favorite thing about this album. I absolutely love music that carries a purpose, and Craig delivers on allowing that sense of urgency to carry through. There’s a great dichotomy between the fragility of the future of his vocals and the way he pushes his vocals to the limit on some of these songs.

Thankfully, the surgery was a success and Craig’s worst fears weren’t realized. But there’s still a very real and raw power in this songs. Despite his simple setup of just an acoustic guitar and his voice, you can hear his resolve in his delivery and the lyrics themselves.

I hope you guys at least read the backstory and then listen to some of the songs. I hope some of you will enjoy it, and if you guys want to learn or hear more, you can check out the following links:

Backstory | iTunes | Amazon MP3 | Spotify

*****

Anyway, that’s it from me this week. Between the Cavs Summer League games starting on Friday and the free agent market coming close to reaching it’s resolution, I have a feeling we’ll have some more good stuff to talk about next week!

  • Laura

    West was my favorite player from that Cavs team. I’m probably alone in this, but when he was at his best, no one was more fun to watch. I really hope he can make it back in the NBA.

  • MrCleaveland

    Doesn’t everyone have this feeling that the Heat have already peaked? They should have lost to the Spurs in ’13 and did lose in ’14. Even if the big three stay together, Miami will still be good, but not “not three, not four, not five . . .” great. They smell like they’re two and done. If James signs a new deal with the Heats, he might regret that for a long time.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    If LeBron signs a new deal with the Heat, I doubt it will be for a long term. He’ll make sure he has a player option after a couple years.

    I just think the Heat are good enough to coast to the Finals every year in the East. The Pacers have proven how fragile they are, the Bulls can’t get the offensive players they need to be able to score in close playoff games when you need a basket, and nobody else is close.

    LeBron going to Cleveland is a bigger risk, in my opinion. Long term, the Cavs should be a better option. But LeBron can still stay in Miami short term and keep an eye on how the Cavs young players develop, and then in a couple years he can decide if the time is right for him to return.

  • BenRM

    So seriously though…after all the hand-wringing over Gordon’s smoking and JFF’s drinking, there isn’t a single post on the cocaine picture?

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    There’s no cocaine in the picture. We know what we all think that is a picture of, but there are zero facts to report on.

  • RGB

    Seems like Bosh’s lampreying onto LBJ is the hold up.
    I think LBJ would like to jettison Bosh, and try to sign somebody else (or two), so he can stay with his quickly decomposing buddy Wade.
    Jettisoning Wade would probably be a better plan…

  • BenRM

    But champagne on a swan! That is something to be up in arms over because the legal inebriant is in the picture!

    I get the only reporting facts thing, but if a person was to start worrying about ol’ JFF, now’s the time.

  • Natedawg86

    We are trying something new…like winning games

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    I don’t know. I certainly wasn’t up in arms over any of that stuff. I’m concerned about the photo, but I don’t have the facts and I’m not going to write about something I don’t have all the info on.

  • RGB

    Gloria liked Delonte, too.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Please stop with that. Read that Slate article I linked to and see how Delonte feels about the rumor. It’s really not funny anymore.

  • https://twitter.com/Steve_Not_Chad Steve_Not_Chad

    It’s just a joke, please don’t be overly sensitive sports blogger. Attempting to censor bad jokes is not a good look.

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    I’ll never forget sitting behind the visitor dugout at the Trop during Tribe-Rays when an audible buzz began to rise from the crowd (impressive considering there couldn’t have been more than 18,000 there) as folks started to get word of The Decision. Lots of taunting from newly-minted Heat fans on the way to the car afterwards. At least Sandy Alomar was nice enough to sign my visor.

  • Laura

    I thought jokes were supposed to be funny?

  • https://twitter.com/Steve_Not_Chad Steve_Not_Chad

    It’s all about personal taste.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Again….read the Slate article and see how this “joke” has impacted a real person.

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    Wade is very clearly the weak link in the chain, but Riles would have to be one cold-hearted bastard to send the face of that franchise packing. Then again, I’m not entirely certain Pat Riley has a heart, so…

  • RGB

    I think LBJ has visions of bailing Bosh, enticing Carmelo to South Beach, and dragging Dwyane’s carcass to another title or two.

  • Denny

    Also about, you know, content and delivery.

  • https://twitter.com/Steve_Not_Chad Steve_Not_Chad

    This goes back to personal taste.

  • https://twitter.com/Steve_Not_Chad Steve_Not_Chad

    Why would you add the “you know” to your reply?

  • eldaveablo

    Totally think that – and they peaked pretty quickly.
    If LBJ comes back, you have to think the Cavs peak is about 2-3 years away and could sustain itself for a while. And I think they could be pretty scary even before they hit their peak, as players mature and those draft picks/Haywood’s contract could be used to bring in more talent. That has to be a selling point to LeBron – he doesn’t have to worry about one of his sidekicks getting old in two years. He can be that unquestioned alpha dog, while mentoring Kyrie & Wiggins (something tells me LeBron would thrive in this role), and once LBJ’s peak is over he can fill that “old man Wade” role and let the youngs guys do the heavy lifting.
    If LeBron REALLY wants to make a run at Jordan’s or even Kobe’s ring count, wouldn’t Cleveland make a great deal of sense? The only big question right now is coaching – but that’s a pretty big question.

  • CB Everett

    Read this prediction somewhere: LeBronte West, 2034 MVP.

  • Chris Mc

    You have a valid point about steamrolling the east every year, but is there any chance that a core of “LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Allen, Norris Cole, Josh McRoberts, Danny Granger, and Shabazz Napier. Udonis Haslam” does any more than that?

    If his point were to be runners up in the Finals every year, this would be a great roster. The thing is, he wants rings. This ever-aging roster would get ran out of the building by a half dozen teams in the West.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Did you give them a timeout too?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I’ll be shocked if Anthony doesn’t stay in NY and take the money. If he wants to win a championship he’d take less money and go to either Chicago or Houston. Bosh on the other hand is in a dilemma between staying loyal to LBJ and Wade or cashing out and taking the money in Houston. Personally if I was Bosh I’d be leaning towards Houston. Not only will he be paid but honestly I like the Rockets situation a lot better then the Heats even if LBJ returns.

  • Denny

    so that it would
    d r i p
    w i t h
    c o n d e s c e n t i o n

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    No. They didn’t break any rules.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    I don’t, maybe. I have a lot of faith in LeBron’s game, though. If I was the best player in the world, I would think my attitude would be “Just get me in the finals and I’ll try my luck at winning”.

  • Steve

    Because it’s far from a guarantee that they’ll lose to a West team in the Finals, much less get run out of the building. Last year, in a season when Miami kind of coasted to the playoffs, they still went 13-5 against the Western Conf playoff teams (plus Phoenix, who I consider close enough). Cut it down to the top six (your half dozen that would run them out of the gym) and they’re 8-4. They belonged on the same court as the big boys out West.

    The Spurs are a great team, but the genius label returning is a bit much. They hadn’t won the Finals since they beat the Cavs in 2007, and had gotten knocked out in the first round more often than they’ve gotten back to the NBA Finals in that timeframe. They’re more vulnerable than many think.

  • Chris Mc

    With Wade a year closer to being wheelchair bound, Bosh being only mediocre against the best 4s in the West, and the rest of the heap in Miami, my money is still on the West hands down.

    The year that the Cavs were swept in the finals, they beat the Spurs 2-0 in the regular season. We all know that the regular season isn’t a terribly reliable indicator of playoff performance.

  • Steve

    And the Heat will always have the best player on the court (and usually by far), with enough of the right fitting pieces around him to win any game.

    Despite Wade’s injuries and Bosh’s alleged ineffectiveness, they still hung with the boys out West for a reason.

    I’ll take the Heat going 14-9 overall against the top of the West over the Cavs going 2-4 against the Spurs in 2007.

  • Chris Mc

    Everything after “Bosh” looks a lot like the 2007 Cavs. I’m sure Lebron knows that Miami lost by the biggest point differential in NBA finals history. That isn’t something that Josh McRoberts and broken Danny Granger will fix.

  • Chris Mc

    They hung with the Spurs? They had a -70 point differential, the worst in NBA Finals history.

  • Steve

    And if you added Bosh to the 2007-2010 Cavaliers, do you think the results are the same?

  • Steve

    Over 23 games they did. I have no idea why so many people take four or five games as the one true gospel and ignore the rest. Are you next going to tell me that Dallas was actually the second best team last year because they played the Spurs to seven games in the playoffs?

  • Chris Mc

    Well then, I guess I’ll wait for the Miami parade celebrating the “winning record against the West in the regular season.”

    Dallas very well could have beaten Miami, but we’ll never have the answer to that.

    When the Heat get absolutely destroyed in the finals, it holds more weight than a regular season record. You’re (presumably) a Cavs fan, you should know that winning 60+ games during a season means nothing in the playoffs.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall
  • Steve

    Sigh. I’m not guaranteeing that the Heat win, and your propensity to put words in my mouth means this discussion is coming to an end.

    Dallas could have beaten the Heat. The Heat could have beaten the Spurs. This Calvinistic interpretation that everything that happened in sports was predestined is nonsense.

    Yes, winning 60 out of 80 means something, but sometimes when I flip a coin, I get heads four out of five times. That doesn’t mean my coin is unfair. It means I’m overanalyzing too small a grouping of data.

  • The_Real_Shamrock
  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Thin ice, my friend. Very thin ice. (and I’m not joking….stop breaking the rules, like you just did with that video)

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    My bad Andrew I was joking and didn’t even think about it. I actually came to remove it but I see it’s already been done.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    I would have let it slide if it wasn’t for the language thing. But even without that, posting videos unrelated to the topic are a no no, even if you were obviously joking. I know, I have to be the fun police and it’s not a fun job for me, believe me. But I try to be as fair as I can by following the site rules as closely as I can.

  • The_Real_Shamrock
  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Hah, exactly.

    (And that’s how you do a relative multimedia comment without being offensive or breaking the rules, so well done.)