LeBron is LeGone.
LeBron’s exit from the playoffs says something about his future in Cleveland. His failure to speak at the post game press conference says a lot more.
Forget about him not shaking hands with his opponents. This wasn’t widely reported but he didn’t shake hands because he was so tired of carrying 11 guys plus his coach on his shoulders that he couldn’t raise his hand above his waist. Really, Dwight Howard showed as little class as LeBron by taking a meaningless 3 point shot as time ran out. One still picture of LeBron’s face showed his frustration and his anger about the shot, the team, the situation and the future of the Cavs.
LeBron not showing up for the post game press conference was a mistake. The sports world is coming down on his head for opting out of the post game chat with the media. He will be fined and I am sure that he is fine with that (excuse the pun). He should have gone and at least made an appearance. Given how much class he has shown from day one of his career, I can excuse him totally for not taking the meaningless question from a meaningless member of the media “how do you feel about losing in the playoffs?”
What failing to show up says about him staying in Cleveland is much more important. I doubt he will even consider taking GM Danny Ferry’s calls about a contract extension under the current circumstances. The Cavs as they are now constituted will NEVER win an NBA Championship even with LeBron. Even a talent as great as his can not go 1 vs. 5 and win. And that is the singing group we saw in the playoffs—LeBron and the 4 statues.
LeBron has made up his mind about coming back in 2010-2011—He is not going to do it. The only way that the Cavs can possibly change his mind is to make monster moves this off season. Even if they do make a couple of monster moves, they still might not even be the 2nd best team in the East. In my opinion, Orlando is better now, and next year will have all star PG Jameer Nelson back from injury. Boston gets injured Kevin Garnett back next year and should face Orlando in the NBA East finals next season. The ONLY way that the Cavs can keep LeBron is to make some monster moves very soon.
I fully expect to see the Cavs do little or nothing this off season. Ferry believed that bringing in PG Mo Williams was the key to putting the Cavs over the top and into an NBA championship. NOT SO MUCH! In a future article I will put a couple of real plans together. Despite my wishing that Kobe Bryant would come to Cleveland, we all know that will never happen.
What the Cavs MUST have is a front court scorer that can rebound as well. They also need a reliable 3 point shooter that demands coverage. That will open up options for LeBron for drives to the basket.
So given the current situation, what will LeBron do? First, he will not sign a contract extension with the Cavs in this off season. We all want to see what Ferry will do to improve the team in the off season. The Cavs 2 picks in the 09 draft are not going to have an impact this season if ever. There is not much potential help in the unrestricted FA list. The one guy most talked about is Utah PF Carlos Boozer. With Utah he has been a 16 point/10 rebound guy and both numbers would be welcome by the offensively stagnant Cavs. But that won’t happen because Boozer stabbed the Cavs right between the shoulder blades by telling them he would resign then sneaking out of town to join the Jazz.
Another really nice addition would be the Magic’s Hedo Turkoglu. But Turkoglu has a better chance of winning multiple championships with Orlando that he would in Cleveland and he knows it.
So, LeBron is LeGone. As much a Cavs fan as I am, I can only tell the championship starved Cleveland fans enjoy next season. The Cavs will turn into pumpkins in 2010-11 and beyond.
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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .