The NBA Finals are going on. The NHL finals are on. And what is everyone talking about? Where will LeBron James be playing next season?
Everybody is talking to cab drivers that may or may not have given LeBron a ride to the airport to find out where he will sign. Don’t trust the rumors from cab drivers. If Cavs fans are going to go out on a limb all the way to the leaf stems, let’s do it at least with some logic.
My daughter is a great sports fan and always has some unique insights into the events of sports. In a conversation today, she came up with one very small thin silver lining on the dark cloud of LeBron’s free agency for Cavs fans.
The question that Kristina posed to me was what parent wouldn’t want to make the lives of their children better than their own childhood? The answer is clearly every parent wants the best for their children.
LeBron’s childhood was marked by moving around a lot. That was one thing that made his childhood very difficult. Now if he stays his wife and kids will avoid being uprooted. That would not only allow him to avoid for his kids the issues he faced as a child but would give Cav fans something about which to cheer. Frankly, that makes more sense than anything I have heard up to now as a basis upon which LeBron will make his decision.
Besides, where else could LeBron be the star player, head coach and general manager all at the same time? There is no question that owner Gilbert is all in over LeBron. Gilbert knows that the value of his team will fall from 400M to 280M without LeBron. Finally we have a financial crash that Washington D.C. had nothing to do with!!! Gilbert has cleared the decks of anyone that even though about giving LeBron a dirty look. Coach Brown? History! GM Ferry? Gone! The latest rumor is that Gilbert has offered Michigan State coach Izzo. Some media types are saying that Izzo is Gilbert’s choice not LeBron’s. Make no mistake–No coach will get an offer or an interview without the official LeBron Seal of Approval.
Don’t hold your breath about Izzo leaving a very comfortable job he can have for life to come to Cleveland. It is not likely to happen. In fact, it is very unlikely that any name brand coach will agree to come to Cleveland until LeBron is signed by the Cavs. However, LeBron will be unlikely to sign until he knows who the coach will be.
But even if he stays, the 2009-10 roster is not capable of winning a title. The Cavs need an athletic big man that can defend the pick and roll. They also need a reliable second scorer. Even the GREAT Michael Jordan needed Pipen to begin to win titles. LeBron needs a #2 guy.
There are a few things that Gilbert can do to get some help for LeBron. Cleveland is not going to ever be a mecca for top free agents even with LeBron under contract. The only choice that Gilbert has is to trade for either a veteran player under contract or a high draft choice. In both cases the player would have to come to Cleveland. In either case, Gilbert is going to have to give up more than just Mo Williams, Delonte West and his 1st pick. He is likely going to have to give away some of the young talent like J.J. Hickson or Anderson Varejao. The team is also likely to get stuck with a VERY bad contract in order to get a deal done.
Most of all, they need a coach to implement an O–any old O will do. Brown was a D coach but way too often, there was little D to show for it.
The O of the Cavs worked great when it went though Shaq. It worked great when it went through Jamison. When it was LeBron with the ball and the other 4 guys standing around watching him, the O died. Hopefully any new coach will realize that and not let it happen again on a regular basis.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on
and edits .