July 24, 2014

The meeting that didn’t happen yet

LeBron

Well today was full of misinformation and reading too much into things.  The day started off with multiple reports from different “sources” that LeBron James would meet with Pat Riley today to discuss free agency.  It escalated when the AP’s Tim Reynolds reported about a meeting that LeBron was attending.  Reynolds was reporting live about a meeting that lasted three hours, containing LeBron and his “brain trust.”  Twitter was abuzz reacting to every tweet coming from Reynolds.  After the three hour meeting was over, LeBron walked by Reynolds saying only,”No complaints. I have no complaints.”  This really confused everyone and so no one had any idea what was going on.  What did this mean?

Well minutes after Reynolds’ tweet, ESPN’s Chris Broussard made the whole situation even more confusing.  Broussard reported that the meeting between LeBron and Riley is tomorrow in Las Vegas and that no meeting had happened yet.  This was later confirmed by other news outlets, too.  Reynolds also reported that he never saw anyone from the Heat organization there.  So for about ten minutes, everyone was confused about what the meeting was about.  But luckily, Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears cleared up the confusion.  Spears reported that the meeting was with Nike and not the Heat.  So the whole day was really full of misinformation and confusion.  But guess what?  We will have at least another day of the LeBron James free agent saga.

LeBron meeting with the Heat today?

LeBron James Miami Heat

According to Fox Sports Ohio’s Sam Amico, sources say that LeBron could be meeting with Pat Riley sometime today.  Also according to Yahoo Sports’s Marc Spears, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade had dinner in Las Vegas late last night.  Amico goes on to say that sources tell him that LeBron is leaning towards staying with the Miami Heat.  These nuggets of news are signs that he may not take the jump to Cleveland like many have believed over the last couple days.  But as we have seen from LeBron lately, nothing is official until he makes the announcement.  At this point, this is all conjecture and no one truly has any real idea of what he may do.  He has the whole NBA universe at his fingertip, just waiting to see what he does.

 

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

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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!

WFNY Roundtable – What is Miami’s next move?

WFNY_roundtable

 

Hey, did you guys hear the news? LeBron is coming back!!!!!!

Well, ok, that might not be true. It’s probably not true. But somehow we find ourselves in a world where there seems to at least be a realistic possibility of The Return happening. So naturally, we decided to discuss the issue in one of our Roundtables. Specifically, Craig wanted to find out everyone’s thoughts on what the Heat can realistically do to improve their roster.  [Read more...]

Learning from the Spurs, While We’re Waiting

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Happy Tuesday, Cleveland!

Not a bad couple of days, eh? First we got to enjoy a little Schadenfreude on Sunday night as the Spurs won the NBA Championship over the Heat. The Cleveland Indians have now won three straight games and are 2.5 games behind the Tigers. Then last night we got to experience the incredible US victory over Ghana in their opening game of the World Cup! It was two of the most fun sports days I’ve had in quite some time. For the USMNT, though, that was theoretically supposed to be the “easy” part. Now the US has to move on to play two of the top four teams in the FIFA World Rankings in Portugal (No. 4) and Germany (No. 2). Joe Mastrantoni will have more on this later today, but Portugal surely didn’t look like the No. 4 team in the world in their 4-0 loss to Germany yesterday. If the US can muster a draw against Portugal, they will be in decent shape to advance as long as they don’t get blown out by Germany.

*****

When will it be our turn?

As fun as watching the Spurs beat the Heat was, I found the feeling a little bittersweet as well. Watching Tim Duncan hug his kids and seeing all the emotion in the players, I found myself reflecting on how much fun winning Championships are. I was in Tempe when Ohio State beat Miami, and I’ve seen my beloved Red Wings hoist four Stanley Cups in my life, so I know the feeling. But I so desperately want to experience the feeling with a Cleveland team. I don’t care if it’s the Cavaliers, Browns, or Indians. Any of them will suffice.

Yesterday Terry Pluto some notes on what the Cavaliers could learn from the Spurs. I thought it was a pretty good piece, as the only way to be the best is to learn from the current best and to try to find ways to achieve and surpass their level. One thing is abundantly clear, though. The Cavaliers are so far away from playing at a level even half of what the Spurs showed in that series. Of course, then again, even the Heat couldn’t achieve a level half of what the Spurs brought. But the point is, the Cavaliers have some work to do.

It starts at the top. I talked a little about Dan Gilbert last week, and I continued to be conflicted about the Cavs owner. Yahoo;s Adrian Wojnarowski talked about the Cavaliers’ coaching search this weekend. In it, he wrote:

Cleveland has narrowed its known field to three candidates, including Los Angeles Clippers assistant coaches Alvin Gentry and Tyronn Lue, but owner Dan Gilbert has continued to pursue high-profile college candidates in a far less public, far more clandestine process, sources said.

So, yeah, that’s still going on. This was put into stark contrast with the Spurs owner Peter Holt two nights ago. After being awarded the Larry O’Brien trophy, Holt was asked what his secret was to the team’s prolonged success. His answer was pretty simple. “My secret is these guys behind me [the players], Coach Pop, and [GM] RC Buford. That’s my secret. It doesn’t start at the top, it starts with them.”

Well, he’s half right, there. It does start at the top, but it starts by hiring the right people (not the “flashy” people, but the “right” people) and then staying out of their way and letting them do their job. If Gilbert doesn’t trust David Griffin to hire the coach, then he never should have given the job to Griffin.

Anyway, this will be a big week for the Cavaliers. They are interviewing David Blatt on Wednesday, and there are rumors of a second interview for Mark Price this week. The Cavaliers will also host Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker for workouts this week. Ideally the coaching search will conclude this week, and then next week the Cavaliers will have to either make their #1 overall pick or else find a suitable trade. It kind of feels like the first step in trying to get to the Spurs’ level starts this week.

In addition to Gilbert staying out of the way of his basketball people hired to make basketball decisions, the Cavaliers can learn a couple things from the Spurs. For starters, a franchise big man goes a long way. To expect any big to have the kind of career Tim Duncan has had is probably a fool’s errand, but still, the Spurs have shown the value of having an anchor to build around in the front court.

A lot has been said in recent years about the declining value of big men. I don’t quite see it that way. Just because we haven’t seen many franchise centers in recent years doesn’t make them any less valuable. I’m not saying Joel Embiid will definitely be a top 3 center, but having a top 3 player at any position in basketball is so valuable. Kyrie Irving isn’t there among PGs yet, but if he continues to learn and adapt his game, he has the talent to be close to a Top 3 PG. If Embiid can grow into the player I think he can, he’s got a great chance to be a Top 3 center. We just haven’t seen many (any) players quite like Embiid in such a long time. Yes, the back is a question mark, I realize this. But if you want to model yourself after the Spurs, locking up a big man like Embiid might be a good idea.

Then, if Kyrie signs his max deal, you can go to work with Irving and Embiid. You need a couple guys who can defend and rebound, you need some floor spacing shooters, and you need a coach who can get the players to run a system, buy in, and sacrifice good shots for better shots with quality ball movement. That’s where David Blatt comes into play. I didn’t know much about Blatt other than his name prior to him being discussed as a candidate. But I’ve been watching some videos of his teams, and I love the offense he runs. He emphasizes movement and passing in a way that isn’t totally unlike the Spurs.

Look, I don’t know for sure how good any of these guys will be. I’m not a scout, I’ve never interviewed any coaching candidates. So I’m not saying these are for sure the best moves for the Cavaliers. I’m just saying if you want a blueprint to follow, I think Embiid and Blatt are the best guys to try to replicate what the Spurs are doing.

*****

Yes, I really, really, really want the Cavaliers to draft Embiid

This isn’t a new article, but back in January the Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy had an excellent profile on Joel Embiid. It’s remarkable when you reflect on just how new Embiid is to the game of basketball and how incredibly far he has come in his short time playing it. He is such an impact player already, but he hasn’t even scratched the surface of what his real potential is.

I also love that he learned basketball by studying tapes of Hakeem Olajuwon. Olajuwon is one of my favorite centers I’ve ever seen play the game. He had such control and grace for his size, and he was capable of dominating opposing centers of all shapes and sizes. While everyone was reflecting on how dominant the Spurs were in this NBA Finals, I was reminded of when Olajowon’s Rockets faced off with Shaq’s Magic in the Finals, and Olajuwon absolutely ate Shaq alive.

Again, in the interest of slowing expectations, none of this is to say Embiid will be what Olajuwon was. I’m just saying that if there’s anyone I would want someone with Embiid’s size, athleticism, and coordination to emulate as best as he could, it would be Hakeem. I just think Embiid is the player most capable of impacting games equally on both ends of the court. And he seems like a really great kid and the kind of teammate and worker I would want on the Cavaliers.

*****

Were LeBron’s teammates worse in 2014 or in 2007?

The 2007 Cavaliers are sometimes cited as one of the worst teams to ever make the Finals. After getting swept by the Spurs, the team was recognized as being little more than LeBron James carrying a bunch of other players who couldn’t pull their own weight.

The 2007 team was a lot different than the 2010 team that LeBron turned his back on, but it was still said that LeBron had to leave the Cavaliers because he had to do too much by himself in Cleveland. He needed his superstar teammates in order to find Championship success, they said. But by 2014, those superstar teammates are starting to resemble the 2010 Cavaliers more and more. But is it possible that in reality they have been playing even worse than that 2007 team that got swept by the Spurs?

Deadspin thinks so:

Here’s how bad it was: Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined to post a game score of 18.5 (7.9 and 10.6, respectively). In 2007, when LeBron and the Cavs were swept by the Spurs, Drew Gooden and Boobie Gibson combined for 17.5. This is not flattering company, obviously. If you expand to the teams’ top seven non-LeBron rotational players, the ’07 Cavs actually pull ahead, with a combined Game Score of 42.2 to the ’14 Heat’s 36.2. (The average cumulative game score average for the numbers 2 through 8 players in a Finals is 47, because generally, teams in the Finals are good. The Spurs 2 through 8 combined for 66.) Which is to say, LeBron had more help in the Finals in 2007 than he did this year.

Obviously the 2014 Heat have more talent than the 2007 Cavaliers had, but this year’s Heat team has easily looked like the worst iteration of the super team that assembled in 2010. LeBron finds himself in a tough spot. If he leaves Miami, he will earn a bit of a reputation as a guy who kept changing teams and chasing glory rather than bringing glory to his teams. But on the other hand, staying in Miami will probably still guarantee the Heat an annual trip to the Finals thanks to the pathetic Eastern Conference, but winning Championships will get increasingly more difficult every season.

Whatever LeBron decides to do this summer1, there’s a certain irony in finding himself looking at a scenario not all that unlike the one he left in Cleveland just four years ago.

*****

Red, White, or Blue?

Have you ever wondered how teams in the World Cup decide which color uniforms to wear? Well, it turns out, they don’t. FIFA makes the first choice, and then it’s up to the officials to confirm the pick of colors. I’m not the biggest uniform guy in the world. We have Rick and Kirk here at WFNY who cover that stuff much more closely than I do. But I found this piece on how US Soccer’s equipment is handled to be a really fun and interesting read.

In a tournament the size of the World Cup, there are just so many little details that you don’t even realize that people are thinking about. This is just one small part of it, but it sort of puts into perspective just how much work goes into making the World Cup run as smoothly as possible. This article handles the individual team’s equipment, but there are issues of accommodations, safety, fan experience, contingency plans, etc, etc, etc.

*****

Album of the Week

Some pretty decent new music coming out this week, and my absolute favorite album coming out this week is the debut album “If Anything” by the Canadian band Greys. Coming from the Toronto scene and having a very similar sound to Metz, the comparisons are only natural. But whereas Metz has a consistent sound throughout their whole album, Greys push the envelope a little and try to color outside the lines a bit more and perhaps take a few more chances.

So far, Cloud Nothings’ “Here and Nowhere Else” has been my unquestioned favorite album of 2014. Greys is the first album that I think can legitimately give Cloud Nothings a run for their money for my top spot. Yes, I think this album is that good. Anyone who likes punk influenced music that tips its hat back to the glory days of grunge with a little Fugazi mixed in, all while still sounding modern will enjoy this album.

Other albums coming out today that I’m looking forward to checking out include:

  • Boris – “Noise”
  • Cerebral Ballzy – “Jaded and Faded”
  • Lower – “Seek Warmer Climates”
  • The Antlers – “Familiars”

That’s all I have for you guys today. I hope everyone has a great weekend and hopefully next week we’ll have a new Cavaliers coach to talk about.

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Footnotes:

  1. for the record, I think he stays in Miami. I just don’t think he says no to Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade []

Cavs vs Heat Behind the Box Score: So close

Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

The Cavaliers came into this game against the Heat without Kyrie Irving, Luol Deng, and CJ Miles (for the most part, anyway…CJ played just 2 minutes). A lackluster performance could have been expected. Instead, the Cavaliers played a great all around game and took the Heat, who were without Dwyane Wade, down to the wire.

The Cavaliers had their chances down the stretch, but a ridiculous no-call on a Dion Waiters drive, combined with LeBron James hitting all six of his free throws, proved too much to overcome. Waiters hurt his hip on the play as he landed squarely on it, which made things even tougher for the Cavs. Yet Jarrett Jack, who had a season high in scoring, hit a couple late threes to keep things interesting, but LeBron just wouldn’t miss any FTs and the Heat came away with the win.

But still, the Cavaliers deserve a lot of credit for the heart they showed in fighting right down to the wire against one of the NBA’s best teams.

Now lets get into the numbers. [Read more...]

Do the Cavaliers Need LeBron James to Contend Again?

LeBron James and Kyrie IrvingIn the podcast I did with Craig over the weekend, we talked a bit about the Miami Heat winning streak and whether it’s actually as impressive as it seems. Now, don’t get me wrong, winning 27 straight games in the NBA is always impressive. I cannot emphasize this enough…Their run is amazing.

Yet, I still can’t help but feel underwhelmed by it when I look at the rest of the NBA. I think this is a one team league right now. We can debate whether that’s more about the dominance and greatness of Miami or more about the lackluster play of the rest of the Association. I personally think a team doing this in the late 80s/early 90s when every team had a star would have been more impressive. In this current climate where all the stars are migrating to a select few teams, it has created a situation where Miami can beat arguably 85% of the other teams without breaking a sweat.

But even on those teams who have been arms race winners (Clippers, Knicks, Lakers), only the Clippers are really a threat to Miami1. Instead, it’s the two home-grown teams (Thunder and Spurs) who appear to be the biggest threats to the Heat’s throne. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. and probably not a serious threat even at their best []

Some Thoughts on the NBA on the Eve of Season Tip-Off

Happy NBA Season Eve everyone!

Tomorrow the NBA season kicks off with a TNT double header featuring prime matchups between the Celtics and Heat, and the Mavericks and Lakers. But there is one other game tomorrow night, and it’s the most anticipated and sure to be the most watched game of the three.

That’s right, tomorrow night one of the great “rivalries” in the NBA resumes when the Washington Wizards visit our beloved Cleveland Cavaliers. Ok, yes, I’m being facetious. Nobody outside Washington and Cleveland cares about this game, and the Wizards and Cavaliers are not “rivals”, and they never were. But that doesn’t mean we Cavalier fans shouldn’t be filled with excitement over another season about to tip off.

We’ll cover more on the Cavaliers specifically tomorrow, but for today, I wanted to kick off general NBA coverage with some overall generic thoughts on the NBA as a whole. There’s been some huge moves in the offseason, and another monumental shift occurred this weekend when the Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets. So lets get into some of the main storylines of this NBA season (along with some musical interludes to enjoy as we go along). [Read more...]

So, Dan Gilbert Was Wrong

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”

You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.”

–Dan Gilbert, July 8, 2010 [Read more...]

NBA Playoffs Showing Cavaliers How Hard Building a Championship Team Really Is

Even with Kyrie Irving in place, the Cavaliers still have much work to do

With the NBA Finals drawing near, it’s only natural for fans of teams not currently playing basketball to look on from a distance, wondering what it must take to be one of the teams representing their conference in the Finals.

Make no mistake about it, the Cleveland Cavaliers are a very long way away from getting there. The first key component is in place. Kyrie Irving was everything the Cavaliers were hoping for, and more, in his rookie season, but when you consider the 4 Conference Finalists, it’s clear that much work needs to be done.

In the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder have Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden1 as part of their “Big 3”. The San Antonio Spurs featured Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker.

The Eastern Conference Finals have their own clash of “Big 3s”. The Boston Celtics have the original Big 3 in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. Not to mention Rajon Rondo, who is currently better than any of the original Big 3. The Miami Heat have the most infamous Big 3 in the NBA with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. if you count Serge Ibaka in that group, they actually have a “Big 4” []

Familiar Faces Return to Cleveland as Cavaliers Host the Miami Heat

Cavs have one last chance to stop LeBron and the Heat this season

The LeBron James circus is in town Friday as the Miami Heat (23-7, 2nd in the East) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (11-16, 10th in the East) square off for the final time this season.

In each of the first two matchups between these two teams, the Cavaliers played tough, hanging in there with Miami through 3+ quarters. But just as an older brother sometimes lets his younger brother hang around before ultimately playing hard at the end to beat him, so too did the Miami Heat manage to play hard in the final minutes and put the Cavaliers away. We’ll see if the 3rd time is the charge for Cleveland or if the injuries and talent deficiency will just be too much to overcome yet again.

Cleveland will once again be without Anderson Varejao, Anthony Parker, and Daniel Gibson. With their only two true SGs on the team out, the Cavaliers will turn to Alonzo Gee to start at SG, leaving Ramon Sessions and Ben Uzoh as the only guards on the bench, and both of them are PGs. I’d expect to see a lot of Sessions at PG with Irving sliding over to SG when Gee is needed either at SF or on the bench. It’s not an ideal situation to move guys around when playing a team as tough as the Heat, but this is part of why the Cavaliers’ flexibility was listed as a team strength before the season. There are a lot of interchangeable combo players on this roster, and it should make things a little easier to adjust. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Taking Their Struggles To South Beach to Face the Heat

Wait, we’re not tired of the “taking my [blank] to [blank]” jokes yet, are we?

The struggling Cleveland Cavaliers (6-9) must go to Miami where they will face the reigning Eastern Conference Champion Heat (11-5).

In some ways, both teams are having similar starts to their seasons as they had last year. The Cavaliers started off showing some spunk, winning games here and there, threatening the .500 mark, before the wheels came off.

The Heat started off better this year than they did last year, but they come limping into their first game with Cleveland, a team not exactly having things go as smoothly as they had hoped.

Of course, we all remember what happened in last year’s December 2nd matchup. The Heat sparked their season back into form and never looked back. The Cavaliers never looked back either. They just allowed defeat into their hearts and went on to set an NBA record losing streak.

So what’s going to happen this time? [Read more...]

@CavsDan: If what looks like might happen does, don’t say anything

It’s quite possible that when the final horn sounds in this NBA Finals Series, a large majority of the twitter universe will be turning their collective gaze towards Cleveland.  

If that horn happens to sound on Sunday, those people will be looking at Cavs owner Dan Gilbert specifically to see what he has to tweet about it.  If it is the Mavs on top in the end, I sincerely hope he says nothing.  

I continue to have no issue personally with the letter he once typed in a font rarely used for publication.  I understand the way the letter was interpreted outside of Northeast Ohio, and I could care less.  I also realize that the negative connotation of bitterness and spite his message was perceived to include is something that we’ve since worn as Clevelanders over the last year.  The material provided as a result became the low-hanging fruit used by wannabe sports comedians everywhere, and a plethora of Cleveland punchlines ensued.  But I’m fine with all that too.  

What the world outside Cleveland will never understand is why people like me appreciated that letter.  Good or bad, politically correct or otherwise, it had to be said both in that moment and at that moment.  [Read more...]

On the Bright Side for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Things Could Always Be Worse

Chin up, Cavs fans. As the Cavaliers head into tonight’s game with the Denver Nuggets, the team is hoping to avoid their 19th straight loss and 29th of their last 30 games, I know many are feeling fatigued with the epic failures of the team this year.

But today is Friday, the weekend is upon us, and it’s time for us to take stock, have a little fun at other teams’ expense, and realize that things could always be worse. You know the stats for this year. You’re surely aware that the Cavaliers are attempting to become the lowest rated team in the NBA in both offensive and defensive efficiency; you know that their average margin of victory is twice as bad as anyone else’s; you know that this offense is 27th in points per game despite being 11th in the NBA in pace, meaning it takes them an inordinate number of possessions to score their pathetic 93.4 ppg. You know this hasn’t always been fun. [Read more...]

Forgetting LeBron James

I love the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and not just because Mila Kunis is in it.

For those who have never seen it (*spoiler alert*….but why haven’t you seen it yet?), the movie stars Jason Segel as a guy named Peter Bretter, a musician who writes and composes the musical score for a hit television show. He’s been dating the show’s star actress, Sarah Marshall (played by Kristen Bell) for a long time and he assumes everything is going great. He’s shocked when she drops the hammer on him and tells him it’s over and that she’s leaving him for a rock star named Aldous Snow.

Anyway, needless to say, Peter Bretter is absolutely crushed by this. His work begins to suffer and everything in his life seems to be crumbling to pieces. He decides that he’s going to get away from it all and he books a vacation at a Hawaiian resort. The joke is on him, though, as Sarah Marshall is staying at the exact same resort with her new boyfriend Aldous Snow. I won’t get into what all happens from there on, but the crux of the movie is about the manner in which Peter and Sarah are trying to coexist in this awkward situation as well as how Peter works to move on from Sarah and find both new love and personal fulfillment in his professional life.

By now I can hear you asking “what on earth does any of this have to do with LeBron James and/or the Cavaliers?” Well, let me explain. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Preview Game #25: Cavs at Heat

Cleveland Cavaliers (7-17) vs
Miami Heat (18-8)
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
7:30 PM EST
FSOH/WTAM

Well, here we go again. The Cleveland Cavaliers are set to take on our dear old friend and his freshly rejuvenated Miami Heat. 2 weeks ago in my Miami preview, I climbed upon my soapbox and I preached about closure and beginning to let go before approaching the game with a mixture of excitement, sadness, anxiety, and most importantly, hope. Most of those feelings are gong this time around. And not because the Cavs aren’t playing good basketball. My passion for this team hasn’t changed one bit. What’s different this time around is that I honestly don’t care that the Cavs are playing against LeBron. Maybe it’s just me, but this game doesn’t feel all that much different than any other game. I think I was able to exorcise most of my anger and sadness last game and now I’m all business. So let’s buckle up and get ready to try to figure out how the Cavaliers can win this basketball game. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Preview Game #18: Heat at Cavs

Miami Heat (11-8) vs
Cleveland Cavaliers (7-10)
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Thursday, December 2, 2010
8:00 PM EST
TNT/WTAM

Tonight, the Cleveland Cavaliers welcome the Miami Heat into the friendly confines of Quicken Loans Arena for what should be yet another memorable matchup among many between these two franchises. After signing his extension with the Cavaliers this summer, LeBron James has led the Cavaliers to yet another blazing hot start to the season, and now we get to live out another epic duel between LeBron and Dwyane Wade as these two great players square off head to head. Time and time again these two players have staged true ‘can’t miss’ games with each player trading highlight plays back and forth in an attempt to will their teams to victory. Tonight should be no exception.

Well, when I close my eyes at night and dream, this is the way this game plays out, anyway. The real nightmare plays out when I’m awake and staring at reality. Alas, the Cavaliers are not exactly going to be “welcoming” the Miami Heat anywhere tonight and the confines of The Q are going to be anything but friendly. The NBA was robbed of this premiere head to head battle when LeBron and Wade decided it would be easier to team up than try to beat each other. Fans in Cleveland, the very same fans who have made The Q one of the greatest sporting environments in the world over the last 7 years, were robbed of watching elite basketball night in and night out and that honor was passed on instead to fans in Miami who, quite frankly, don’t give a crap about basketball, the Miami Heat, or LeBron James. [Read more...]

LeBron Brings Talents Back to Cleveland, and With Them, a Chance at Closure

The circus is coming to town. When the schedule was announced, December 2nd sounded like a long time to wait, but the “Return of the King” is now just one day away. With his return, there is a swirling of emotion and anticipation not just in Cleveland, but even nationally. Across the country pundits are peering in with morbid curiosity just to see what might happen. Will Cleveland embarrass itself? Will Cleveland prove to be a scapegoat for LeBron’s defection? Will we boo? Will we laugh? Will we chant? What’s going to happen?

Of course, nobody really knows for sure what will happen, but there’s an insulting undertow to this national storyline that has taken hold. There’s this bizarre belief that somehow this upcoming basketball game is a referendum on the city of Cleveland itself. As if the actions of the vocal minority or a crazy individual should speak for a region as a whole. [Read more...]

For Cavaliers Fans, Tonight’s NBA Tipoff Is a Bittersweet Affair

Make no mistake Cavs fans, this was a breakup and we were the jilted lovers. We’re the ones still standing by the altar, flowers in hand, waiting for our prince charming to show up and give us what we have wanted all our lives. But he’s not coming because he has run off with our younger, better looking sister. And so we continue to wait.

That’s what life as a fan of the Cavaliers (and really, Cleveland sports in general) is like. We are the proverbial bridesmaids forever waiting for it to be our turn to be the bride. Now we have to deal with the aftermath of our very public and humiliating breakup that took place in front of the whole world on national television. I can think of no better way in the world to begin the healing process than by turning back to NBA basketball and the games themselves. And that brings us to tonight. [Read more...]

2010-11 NBA Blogger Previews – Southeast Division

Yep, it’s that time of year again already. Once again, CelticsBlog are hosting the annual Blogger Previews for every team in the NBA. How this works is simple, every day a certain NBA team is up and bloggers who write about said team will offer their previews for that team in the upcoming season. Then, once a division is completed, all the bloggers throughout the NBA who are participating will post links for all the previews for that division.

Next up is the Southeast Division. All the previews are linked below, and I encourage everyone to take a few minutes, click on the links, and check out what writers from across the nation are saying about their own teams. As a reminder, our preview of the Cavaliers’ upcoming season can be found here.

[Read more...]