Is there a teeny tiny silver lining on the Dark Cloud over the Cavs?

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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.

In his one statement since the team’s season ended so abruptly, LeBron said that he would make a decision that would be the best for him and his family. So what might influence that decision?

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 He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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LeBron is LeGone.

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LeBron2 LeGone

LeBron LeGone

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 He has also published several novels on and edits .

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