The Cavs’ Historic Losing Streak, Dan Gilbert and LeBron

by Cleveland Frowns on February 11, 2011

If the Cavaliers lose to the Los Angeles Clippers tonight at Quicken Loans Arena, they’ll break the record for consecutive losses by any team in any of the four major American sporting leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL), surpassing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 1976-77 who lost 26 in a row over a two-season stretch.

This, of course, is historically embarrassing, and getting worse, with the Washington Wizards, winless on the road so far this season (0-25), scheduled to visit Cleveland on Sunday night in what’s shaping up to be a national spectacle. LeBron James himself opined that Sunday’s game should be nationally televised if the Cavs’ streak is still alive, and Tracy McGrady probably summarized the feelings of the average NBA fan well after his Detroit Pistons beat the Cavs on Wednesday night:

“As crazy as it sounds, I want to see them and Washington play,” McGrady said. “I don’t wish anyone to have a bad losing streak, but I want them to get to Washington, 0-and-whatever they could be, and see whose streak ends. That would be something that would be interesting to watch.”

Woo train wreck! In Cleveland! “You know the river caught on fire there once. Ha. Hey, let’s make a ‘most miserable cities’ list!”

So, yeah, this is embarrassing, but there’s really no point wallowing in it. And at least one upside to any extreme extreme is that they all tend to be especially useful data points. So consider how much better we might feel in Northeast Ohio, how much better we might feel about the best athlete of our generation being one of ours, the kid we all loved so much for so long, and how much better we might feel about watching the upcoming NBA playoffs and so many other things, if we could just feel better about the reasons why LeBron James left the Cavs to join the Miami Heat. A simple honest look at this losing streak has to help here.

Whatever else about this losing streak, it makes it harder to think of LeBron as a “traitor” or as a “quitter,” and easier to think of him as a kid, imperfect like anyone else, who mostly just wanted to win NBA titles, and, right or wrong, was afraid he wouldn’t be able to do that with the Cavaliers (however much LeBron might have misvalued what it would have meant to win just one in Cleveland). Whatever else about this streak, it makes it a lot easier to see LeBron’s performance in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals as a result of his exhaustion and inability to carry his supporting cast than as a result of him having “quit.” And however much LeBron’s impending free agency hampered the Cavaliers’ ability to surround him with better talent, it’s at least easier to understand why LeBron might have doubted their ability to ever get it right.

Seven years, with the stakes as high as could be, and the best second-option LeBron ever had was Mo Williams. The same Mo Williams who this season, according to Brian Windhorst:

didn’t show up to camp in shape for the demanding workouts [Coach Byron] Scott had planned, though the team hasn’t discussed this publicly. He’s missed three weeks with a groin injury, one of a series of upper leg and abdominal muscle strains. Some of the issues may be traceable back to LeBron’s move — Williams has admitted he fell into a bit of a depression over the summer after learning James was leaving.

Scottie Pippen really wasn’t so fragile at all, was he? But we make it so easy for Michael Jordan to gloat about LeBron’s star having fallen.

Whatever else about the losing streak, it makes it at least a little bit easier to understand why LeBron would want to leave an organization led by the same Dan Gilbert who’s presiding over the historic mess the Cavaliers are in now. It didn’t have to get this bad, and it gets right to the difference between a proper willful organizational rebuild and a train wreck that painfully leaves no question that a rebuild is necessary. Instead of anything resembling a nucleus of anything that the Cavs can take into the future (Hickson/Eyenga/Harris really doesn’t cut it), the 2010-11 edition is little more than a mishmash of depressed veteran role players and rookies who might never contribute to a winning NBA team. A season essentially wasted, the franchise a historic embarrassment, how much damage done?, all because Dan Gilbert wanted to prove something. Again, per Windhorst:

Gilbert was truly confident … that this year’s team would make the playoffs, or at least seriously contend for them, and send a message around the NBA about the team’s will and talent level.

In the days after James’ departure, the Cavs had chances to deconstruct their roster further. There were offers for some of the remaining frontline players; not especially good offers, but options to begin a full-scale rebuilding project.

Gilbert, who is a staunch optimist, had no such intentions. And his plan to compete right away seemed to make sense when the Cavs, fueled by emotion, played fairly well early in the season — they beat the Celtics in their opener and stood at a respectable 7-9 record after the season’s first month.

Then their grand hopes crashed.

During training camp coach Byron Scott did smell a little trouble, but he rationalized the situation by saying the Cavs had more talent than the past two coaching jobs he’d walked in to. That was a 26-win New Jersey team in 2000-01 and an 18-64 New Orleans team in 2004-05. Scott, like Gilbert, didn’t see this coming.

The common reaction these days is that James certainly must have been more valuable than anyone realized.

“Staunch optimist” is one way to put it. If the offers that the Cavs received for “some of the various frontline players” weren’t “especially good,” there was plenty of reason to believe they’d never get any better. And if Scott is right about the Cavs having more talent than the last two teams he’d walked into, it just shows that talent doesn’t get very far when it isn’t organized properly. It’s easy enough to assume that the players themselves have understood this all along: “This is dumb. This thing isn’t going anywhere. Let it go, Dan. Crap. Get me the hell out of here.

It’s like Kelly Dwyer said earlier this week about the Ferrari on the scrap heap and a real leader: There’s no basis for assuming that another organization wouldn’t have reacted much differently to all of this. That Gilbert’s Cavs didn’t, and that it’s resulted in the Cavs’ historically embarrassing position today, is some significant evidence that there were some good reasons behind LeBron’s decision to leave.

It’s not at all to say LeBron is blameless in this mess. Just that that the historic embarrassment of the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers makes it at least a little bit easier to stop demonizing the hometown kid, the hometown kid who’s made it as big as any. And the historic embarrassment of the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers makes it at least a little bit easier to stop lionizing the billionaire mortgagee from Detroit, the one who bought LeBron and the Cavs with housing bubble blood money.

It’s really not the worst thing in the world.

  • BJ

    I believe the river caught fire several times. I’m not going to touch the LeBron thing. We’ve debated this long enough.

    • Anonymous

      “We’ve debated this long enough” yet somehow the earth keeps rotating, LeBron and the Cavs keep playing basketball, and the story keeps developing. I don’t know what to tell you, Beej.

      • http://brian23.com Brian

        How did the story develop further? Seems like the same thing it was a month ago, +/-12 losses.

        • Anonymous

          It’s the national laughingstock thing. Windhorst’s report about Gilbert’s preseason aspirations helped move things along as well.

          • http://brian23.com Brian

            It’s not though – it’s the same story:

            1) Lebron stabs franchise/city in back.
            2) Dan Gilbert overreacts in embarrassing fashion.
            3) Team makes decision to try and fight with the personnel in place.
            4) It doesn’t work, be it because of bad fits sans LBJ, injuries, general
            dark clouds, etc

            That’s been the story since mid-December. Nothing has changed except add’l
            losses.

            What you’re ignoring is that 99% of the people – even in Cleveland – *don’t
            blame him for leaving*. Nearly everyone understood – it was his right to do
            so. It’s how he did it and the callous/stupid ways in which he’s handled it
            since that angers people.

            So no, this doesn’t make LeBron “look better”. Wins and losses aren’t even
            the issue with most fans.

            Like if I’m married, and my wife wants a divorce, and she very honestly and
            openly, and with some degree of empathy for my feelings, explains why, I can
            handle it. I get it. If she does it by inviting me to a surprise viewing of
            the sex tape she made with George Clooney, it’s probably going to tarnish
            the rest of our marriage to large degree, and in the moment, I’m probably
            going to react poorly.

            Say all you want about Dan Gilbert, but LEBRON STARTED IT.

            LEBRON SHOWED THE CLOONEY SEX TAPE.

          • Anonymous

            It’s understood that it’s a popular narrative that you’re spinning, but it’s not the same story because events (the losing streak, Windhorst’s revelations about Gilbert’s decision to press on for a playoff run with the 2010-11 scrap heap) continue to make it easier to understand why LeBron might not have wanted to stay with Gilbert. That’s a point that stands quite apart from the Clooney sex tape.

          • http://brian23.com Brian

            This story hasn’t changed at all. A longer losing streak is what it is –
            that’s the entire story right there in one sentence fragment.

            Gilbert insisting on pressing forward with a scrap heap isn’t a new
            development or addition to the narrative – we’ve all watched it happen
            and he also said that’s what they were going to do in Decision follow-up
            comments to fans and media. It would be pretty hard to classify that as a
            “revelation” or some great insight. Is the sky even more blue if Brian
            Windhorst writes a column about it?

            Where’s the new element? Unless it comes out that Gilbert was monsterously
            improper and horrible to LeBron and people he associated with, I don’t see
            the connection.

            If you’re trying to say that “what’s happening with the Cavs now is why
            LeBron left, ie Gilbert doesn’t know how to run a team”, then I guess that’s
            a discussion, but it’s hardly something one can draw a definitive conclusion
            from.

            I’d say the 10-11 Cavs have been thrown for a bigger loop than any franchise
            since Magic retired out of nowhere from HIV. You can hardly judge an
            ownership on this period alone. NOT trading for Andre Igoudala or some other
            pseudo-star should be a good sign, really.

            As Chris said, you can lay a lot of what happened to the Cavaliers the past
            five years just as easily at LeBron’s feet. Sure, it was Gilbert’s choice to
            cater/cower to him, but he made that choice to handle it that way. Many
            other owners would have done the same. Some might not have, I dunno. Unique
            situation.

          • Anonymous

            “If you’re trying to say that “what’s happening with the Cavs now is why LeBron left, ie Gilbert doesn’t know how to run a team”, then I guess that’s a discussion.”

            That’s exactly the point here, and I’m just saying that it’s some evidence that LeBron had good reason to leave.

          • http://brian23.com Brian

            Yeah that’s a discussion – I’d feel more comfortable having it in October
            after we see what this summer brings as far as
            moves/directions/attitudes/etc.

          • Gil Meriken

            Here’s a sample of some reactions from CAVS FANS back in Feb 2010 after the Antawn Jamison trade:

            “His arrival doesn’t guarantee anything, but put it this way: The chances LeBron stays in Cleveland beyond 2010 are better now than they were the day before yesterday…”

            “The Cavs needed, more than ever this season, to show LeBron James they were willing to do anything to win a title. They needed to give James the equivalent of the Gasol trade. And Wednesday night, they did…”

            “Amar’e may have been too big for this team. He’s been the high scorer on the Suns for most of his career. He would’ve demanded to start. He would’ve demanded major minutes …Jamison’s upside isn’t sky-high, but he’s an extremely low-risk upgrade for the rest of the year…”

            “The trade talk was fun, but title talk’s better, and all the pieces are now — for the first time in the LeBron James era — in place. Its NBA title or bust time at this point, there are no more holes to fill…”

            “Regardless of how it happened, the Cavs ended up making the correct move, and for that, despite my brief bout of insanity, I am extremely grateful…”

            While you may not held any of these views, there were a great many Cavs fans who thought the organization was making the right moves.

        • Nicholas

          Although it can be depressing to see the frownie lens pointed at our own teams, you can’t hate on him just for writing what “seems like the same thing.”

          I mean I’d probably read twice a new post about about the Jets and Rex Ryan letting his kids eat doughnuts and then not brush their teeth, or another send up of Grossi, or any number of other topics that have already been hashed out in detail.

          You can’t hate on Frowns for being thorough just because you don’t like the topic. If you wanna argue the topic that’s one thing, but he’s equally as ‘repetitive’ about every other topic – so what else would you expect?

          And even despite all that, why is repetition assumed to be so bad anyway? If Conan hadn’t kept up his ‘In The Year 2000′ sketch well into the 2000’s, we would never have learned that in the year 2000, Cocaine would get checked into rehab for its Amy Whinehouse problem.

          • http://brian23.com Brian

            I’m not hating on him – I was asking why he thinks the story is any
            different today than it was a month ago. I wasn’t understanding what the new
            developments were, so I asked.
            *
            *

    • actovegin1armstrong

      The film of the Cuyahoga river on fire that made the national news and was played over and over again was actually a bit of “file footage” of a fire on the Schuykill river in Philadelphia.

  • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris M

    I see some flawed logic here.

    1) “And however much LeBron’s impending free agency hampered the Cavaliers’ ability to surround him with better talent, it’s at least easier to understand why LeBron might have doubted their ability to ever do it right.”

    Since you started by admitting that Lebron hampered the Cavaliers in free agency, of course he doubted that they wouldn’t be able to get it right. He knowingly perpetuated this himself. It’s easier to understand because Lebron is culpable, right? The degree of his culpability is debatable, but that isn’t really the point here.

    2)“There were offers for some of the remaining frontline players; not especially good offers, but options to begin a full-scale rebuilding project.

    When you start a negotiation, do you immediately offer your best deal? Hell no. You lowball. And do you ever accept the first offer? Absolutely not. If the offers are labeled “not especially good”, that’s polite speak for “they outright suck”. There is no reason to accept an offer when it’s garbage. If Windy would have at least offered an example, that’s one thing. But he didn’t.

    When Tony Grossi writes something like this, we collectively barbecue him for it. Why does Windhorst get a pass?

    • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris M

      I’d also like to add, that since it’s pretty apparent that now the Cavaliers are in official rebuild mode, they didn’t have to trade away the remaining talent (Varejao I guess would be the only guy anyone was interested in) to begin it. Which is good.

    • Anonymous

      1) The point is that you can’t put it all on LeBron (e.g., seven years, Mo Williams). The respective shares of culpability are debatable. What’s not is that this train wreck of a 2010-11 Cavs season is some evidence that tips the scales in LeBron’s favor. No flawed logic here until you made some.

      2) Thanks for the negotiation lesson and for explaining what “not especially good” means, but the “garbage” offers the Cavs received at the beginning of the season were almost certainly better than what they’ll get now, post-trainwreck. At least you’re glad they stuck to their guns, so there’s that.

      I’d like to know what the offers were, too, but Windhorst is hardly in Grossi territory for not reporting the details here. I get it, though. You hate LeBron.

      • Captain Spaulding

        We get it, you hate Dan Gilbert. Thanks.

        • Anonymous

          I’m just the one who’s making sense here.

          • Captain Spaulding

            Yea, you’re making great sense here, sure.

            Please explain how this losing streak has anything to do with LeBron quitting in the playoffs last year. That may be the dumbest thing I’ve read on this blog, comments included.

          • Captain Spaulding

            Yea, you’re making great sense here, sure.

            Please explain to me how this losing streak has anything to do with LeBron quitting in the playoffs last year. That may be the dumbest thing I’ve read on this blog, comments included.

      • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris M

        First, the hate turned to indifference a while ago. He has his life, I have mine.

        Lebron knew he was hampering the Cavs, so of course he felt that they couldn’t get it done. And it would be easier to understand, but only because he was partially to blame for it, and saw it coming.

        If Lebron decides he wants something, or doesn’t want something, who’s going to stop him? As witnessed in Game 5 in Detroit, and Game 5 against Boston respectively, nobody.

        I just don’t understand why the Cavs would jump on the first (unconfirmed) deal they got in September, when the trade deadline is in February, when numerous people thought that the Cavaliers would be competetive.

        As far as negotiating lessons go, it’s my pleasure. Otherwise, it sounds like the Cavs should have just taken whatever was offered and been happy with it. The Cavaliers still have Varejao and are rebuilding anyways. Why did they have to trade him again? What’s the downside of keeping him again?

        And all Grossi does is report vaguely, sans details. I’d say that they are on the same street in this case, let alone territory.

      • http://brian23.com Brian

        If Varejao and Mo weren’t hurt, they might have decent value with a contender (OKC?) if they weren’t hurt (which isn’t Gilbert’s fault), but after that you might get a second rounder for Anthony Parker.

        Boobie you might get something for, but there will be better deals in the summer when its draft-time dealing. Blowing it up right now would be silly.

        • Anonymous

          It’s hard to think we’ll get more for Mo or Andy or any of these guys now than we would have before the season.

          Even if so, it’s hard to see the point in moving backwards with these guys this season when we might have been doing something to move the franchise forward with guys who could have been part of the franchise’s future.

          • http://brian23.com Brian

            Yeah I agree they should’ve rebuilt right away, but it is what it is. You
            know I like the fighting attitude DG shows, so I get where they were coming
            from as an organization.

            At this point it makes more sense to wait until summer.

            *
            *

          • Biki

            Why wouldn’t Andy be part of the team’s future?? He’s still got a lot of hoops left and we have him under contract for 3 more years and will only be 31 at end of that contract, so could still play a part after that.

            Mo on the other hand has 2 more years left, albeit the next 2 are player options. Maybe he will have a change of heart again and decide to retire. Although he’s back tonight, so we’ll see if he can save us from having the worst losing streak in all of professional sports in the history of time. Egypt’s freedom and Cavs losing streak in same day???

          • Anonymous

            >>>It’s hard to think we’ll get more for Mo or Andy or any of these guys now than we would have before the season.>>>

            In football I’d agree, but in baseball and basketball where it’s accepted that players can step in midseason, I think this is wrong. Both of those guys have pretty chunky contracts so it’s more of a risk for a team to take them early in the year when there are unknowns (injury, will we be in the hunt or not?) than later when there is less risk and more information available. Mo will be worth more now, Andy (obviously) less, but that’s just luck, not bad management. There is a reason deals happen at the deadline. Decision makers like information.

      • Stkoran

        I generally like Windy, but I think he entered Grossi territory after this summer when he wrote about how there was tons of stuff the organization covered up behind the scenes, but then failed to elaborate on what it was. Either be willing to discuss it or don’t bring it up at all. I’m not sure what’s worse – Tony and his “What happened with Kokins? Read more to find out! Answer: I have no idea,” or Windy and his “Hey! Guess what!?!! The Cavs covered up lots of Lebron stuff over the years! Oh, what’s that? Now you’d like to know that was since I brought it up? Well I’m not telling. Bron would be PISSED if I did. “

  • Stkoran

    While the streak is obviously an abomination, there is hope for two years down the road. Sessions and Hickson have been playing well, hopefully we can turn Parker into something at the trade deadline, trade Jamison’s expiring next year, plus adding two high first round draft choices, whatever we can get with the Heat’s picks, plus the trade exception.

    As for taking iffy deals for our more talented players, I guess getting Mo out of here would have been for the best, no matter what we got in return (don’t need some depressed out of shape guy sulking around the locker room and playing horribly when he’s actually in the lineup), but with Jamison I’m sure they thought he’d actually provide some veteran leadership and offensive punch (leadership appears to be a no, as I don’t think this team has a leader, offense has been ok, though it’s hard not to score when you shoot as much as he does, and defense has been non-existent at best), and I don’t know what would have been gained by trading Andy for 50 cents on the dollar, as he is young, talented, and under contract for a while.

    • Anonymous

      Sessions, Hickson, draft picks, and whatever we can get for Anthony Parker. If that’s our hope for two years down the road, which of the 29 other NBA teams is it that doesn’t have more hope than we do?

      • Biki

        Sessions, Andy, Hickson, Eyenga, Manny Harris, and the #1 pick next year as well as another high pick in 2012, plus a ton of cap room gives us more hope than a lot of NBA teams assuming we draft well. If we get a stud, which we will, it should help bring some excitement as well as hopefully attract free agent talent. But even if we lose every game the rest of the season, let’s hope to continue to see growth in Sessions, Hickson, Eyenga, and Harris.

        • Anonymous

          Man, we really need to get that #1 pick. Or at least #2.

      • Stkoran

        I know it’s thin, but hope is about all you can cling to as a Cleveland fan right now. We just have to hope we can follow in the OKC path – stink, two good drafts (Durant, Westbrook) and then back to contention. If we end up drafting more guys like Wagner, Diop, or Jackson, well . . .

  • Captain Spaulding

    “If LeBron wasn’t able to lift this bunch, who would have been?”

    If we’re being honest here, I think you should note that this is not really the group that Lebron played with last year. No Delonte, no Shaq, no Z, Andy & Mo “hurt” all season. The only real contributor from last year’s squad that’s still here is JJ.

    • Anonymous

      OK, so the idea that this team was going to send a message with a playoff run was even worse than I thought. Thanks.

      • Captain Spaulding

        Sure, but that really wasn’t my point.

        My point was, you said this was an honest look, and it appears as though you were being less than honest when you said, “If LeBron wasn’t able to lift this bunch, who would’ve been?” This isn’t the same bunch, not even close.

        • Anonymous

          My argument failed to account for facts that strengthen it and you’re accusing me of dishonesty? That’s just idiocy. The butthurt is running extra thick today.

          • Captain Spaulding

            Ok, so you weren’t dishonest, just an idiot, that works too.

            I’m not sure what you’re missing here. I never mentioned anything about your playoff run argument, and I actually agree with you that this team was never going to make the playoffs this year.

            The point I was making was that you compared last year’s supporting cast (Shaq, Delonte, Z, + a healthy Mo & Andy) to the current roster which has 2 meaningful contributors from last season (I forgot to mention Jamison). It’s dishonest and dumb. Sorry I forgot to mention dumb in the first place.

            The only thing running thick today is snarkiness; you’re piling it on pal. Fortunately, I’m not the only one who thinks you are way off base here, so keep it coming.

          • Bobrice830

            But he’s right – it isn’t the same group, and Lebron has even said as much.

          • Captain Spaulding

            Nope, we’re idiots, he’s right.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, I’m not arguing. I just don’t see how the point impacts the argument here other than to strengthen it.

          • Captain Spaulding

            I was only asking for honesty. You should just delete that line from your post because it really does not make any since. Read it again in context:

            “And if Scott is right about the Cavs having more talent than the last two teams he’d walked into, it just shows that talent doesn’t get very far when it isn’t organized properly. If LeBron wasn’t able to lift this bunch, who would have been? It’s easy enough to assume that the players themselves have understood this all along: “This is dumb. This thing isn’t going anywhere. Let it go, Dan. Crap. Get me the hell out of here.””

            See, it doesn’t make any sense, you should just delete that line. You compared the group that Scott inherited to the group that LeBron played with and they aren’t even close to the same group. I’m not an idiot, and I don’t think you are, but even an idiot can see that the comparison you are making does not make any sense.

          • Anonymous

            Happy?

          • Captain Spaulding

            Yes, that’s way better. It would’ve been a lot easier if you would have just admitted the mistake in the first place, and not called me an idiot. I’m just here to help.

      • DonParma

        Winning 30 games is a playoff run. If the razor thin talent level here was healthy an argument could be made that this team could make the playoffs, albeit it as a low seed.

        No evidence has been proferred that Gilbert “making a playoff run” by standing pat with his roster impacted the rebuilding process in any tangible way (still waiting to see what riches we would have gotten for Jamison or Mo).

        Maybe Gilbert felt that declaring the team was in rebuilding mode the day after the Decision would have been a knee jerk reaction and a slap in the face to season ticket holders? The only benefit I have heard you cite is that the Miami loss would have been less painful. The guy wrote a nasty letter, big deal.

        But I get it though, you hate Gilbert.

        • Anonymous

          And a playoff run would have been terrible for the franchise, so what’s your point?

          Some evidence presented here that Gilbert set back the rebuilding process is that they could have gotten anything for Jamison or Mo, etc., at the beginning of this season, and that they wasted time playing with so many pieces that have no part at all of any good Cavs future.

          The losing streak itself is another way the decision to stand pat has harmed the franchise. I have to think that setting an all-time record for futility is a setback. Also, the embarrassment strikes me as a much bigger “slap in the face” than going into a legitimate willful rebuilding mode.

          • DonParma

            My point is that Gilbert’s words were irrelevant, the actions of the organization are what’s important. Their only move was adding Sessions. No indication they could have gotten anything for Mo, Gibson, Jamison of VALUE.

            So since they started off 7-9 and looked like an average team before injuries set in and we trotted out a D-League team that has lost 35 of 36, logic indicates if we would have went with an immediate rebuild and traded Jamison, Mo, Gibson for anything, we could possible be something like 2 – 51 right now. If the losing streak is harming the franchise, setting the all time worst record certainly would as well, right?

            Trust me, I understand this is about as bleak of a situation as possible, I just feel that this is an unbelievably unique situation, and that placing all the blame in Gilbert and constantly bashing him is extremely unfair.

          • Anonymous

            I’m not at all placing all the blame on Gilbert, and don’t know how I could be more clear about that.

            Also, “consistently criticizing” and “constantly bashing” are two different things.

        • Biki

          Pacers are currently the 8 seed and are on pace for 36 wins.. I had Cavs at 27 even if we stayed healthy.. If you heard Gilbert right before the season he had a much different attitude that hey had in his immediate reaction to Bron leaving. He was much more resigned to the fact that we were going to struggle and this would be a year to get in the lottery and build the team the right way. He gets it.

          • Anonymous

            “If you heard Gilbert right before the season he had a much different attitude that hey had in his immediate reaction to Bron leaving. He was much more resigned to the fact that we were going to struggle and this would be a year to get in the lottery and build the team the right way. He gets it.”

            No. That’s just wrong. Stop making things up. This is what Gilbert said right before the season:

            “We certainly have expectations that this team will compete,” said Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert prior to Wednesday’s season opener. “And when I say compete, compete for a playoff spot and then you never know what can happen.”

            http://www.cleveland.com/sports/index.ssf/2009/03/dan_gilbert_discusses_the_team.html

          • Anonymous

            “If you heard Gilbert right before the season he had a much different attitude that hey had in his immediate reaction to Bron leaving. He was much more resigned to the fact that we were going to struggle and this would be a year to get in the lottery and build the team the right way. He gets it.”

            No. That’s just wrong. Stop making things up. This is what Gilbert said right before the season:

            “We certainly have expectations that this team will compete,” said Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert prior to Wednesday’s season opener. “And when I say compete, compete for a playoff spot and then you never know what can happen.”

            http://www.cleveland.com/sports/index.ssf/2009/03/dan_gilbert_discusses_the_team.html

          • Anonymous

            “If you heard Gilbert right before the season he had a much different attitude that hey had in his immediate reaction to Bron leaving. He was much more resigned to the fact that we were going to struggle and this would be a year to get in the lottery and build the team the right way. He gets it.”

            No. That’s just wrong. Stop making things up. This is what Gilbert said right before the season:

            “We certainly have expectations that this team will compete,” said Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert prior to Wednesday’s season opener. “And when I say compete, compete for a playoff spot and then you never know what can happen.”

            http://www.cleveland.com/sports/index.ssf/2009/03/dan_gilbert_discusses_the_team.html

          • Biki

            i watched his last interview, you have to see it instead of just reading selected quotes. his body language was terrible, of course he said they are going to compete, what owner wouldn’t? but if you want the ENTIRE interview he gives plenty of hints in there that they are better days ahead of the cavs but he wasn’t all too excited about the prospects of this year’s team. even a blind man could tell you that.. excpet of course Terry Pluto! 46 wins Terry?? Still can’t get over that, what a joke.

            Only 7 more losses till my Cavs under 30.5 bet hits!

    • Anonymous

      OK, so the idea that this team was going to send a message with a playoff run was even worse than I thought. Thanks.

  • Biki

    This is a completely different team than any team Lebron had, especially the last couple years. With Mo and Andy out most of the year, and Shaq, Z, and Delonte gone, this current Cavs roster is a shell of the Lebronable and the results speaks for itself.

    While this is a terrible losing streak, it’s not too unfamiliar to us Cavs fans who painfully followed the team from 98-03, averaging 26 wins per season. While this team is much worse, although the 02-03 team was a joke as well, as a fan we have to look at the positive, mainly the player development process. Back on that 17 win 02-03 team, Boozer and Z endured it to contribute a lot to the Cavs (and their future team(s).

    The losing hurts, but it’s getting quality minutes to JJ, Manny, Ramon, Eyenga, all who could and should play key roles in the revitalization of the team. It is safe to say we should get an impact player in the draft, hopefully with the #1 pick and most likely another lottery pick in 2012, where we have will cap space to add more pieces as well. It will suck for the next 2 years, but I see a bright future for the team assuming we draft well these next 2 years and develop JJ, Manny and Eyenga into quality players, which I think they all can be and Byron is the right coach to tutor them through this process.

  • zarathustra

    I’m far from a Gilbert apologist, but blood money? My understanding is that quicken only offers conforming loans and has one of the most conservative underwriting standards in the industry. Maybe I’m wrong on this, but if not, it seems that Gilbert is merely a man–a total jerk for all I know–who has amassed a fortune providing a service for people who desired said service.

    • Anonymous

      I’m obviously employing hyperbole here (not, you know, burning anyone’s jersey) but Quicken did profit from the real estate bubble, so it is technically blood money. They made it easier for people to write themselves into financial ruin. I trust you on the underwriting standards, though, so I changed “billionaire loan shark” to “billionaire mortgagee.”

      • DonParma

        Easier to blame the loan shark and his blood money (in a sports article, nonetheless) than the people who thought they could afford a mortgage more expensive than their monthly salary, right?

      • DonParma

        Homeowner X signs up for a monthly mortgage payment > Homeowner X’s monthly salary. Does any blame fall on Homeowner X? Nah, let’s just blame evil billonaire loan shark.

        • Anonymous

          Quicken systematically made money off of a housing market that was systematically overvalued. The bubble popped and Quicken kept its cash while the rest of America bled. Evil billionaire loan shark should give the money back. Like I said, hyperbole.

          Anyway, this is a good read: http://www.publicintegrity.org/articles/entry/2889/

          Nicole Abate, a loan consultant for Quicken in 2004 and 2005, said managers told her to push adjustable rate mortgages, known as ARMs in industry parlance. She recalled selling a loan to a customer who had cancer and needed cash to pay medical bills: “I could have offered him a home equity line of credit to pay these bills but, instead, I sold him an interest-only ARM that re-financed his entire mortgage. This was not the best Quicken loan product for him, but this was the one that made the company the most money.”

          One way that Quicken hustled borrowers, several former employees said, was a sales stratagem known as “bruising.” As one former employee described the technique, the goal was to “find some bad piece of information on their credit report and use it against them, even things as insignificant as a late credit card payment from several years ago. Quicken’s theory behind this was that if the customers can be scared into thinking that they cannot get a loan, then they will be more likely to do business with Quicken.”

    • Lord of the Flys

      ^^ …Mortgage Broker.

  • zarathustra

    I’m far from a Gilbert apologist, but blood money? My understanding is that quicken only offers conforming loans and has one of the most conservative underwriting standards in the industry. Maybe I’m wrong on this, but if not, it seems that Gilbert is merely a man–a total jerk for all I know–who has amassed a fortune providing a service for people who desired said service.

  • DonParma

    wow, here we go, more shameless Gilbert bashing, well since you won’t attempt to analyze:

    1.) how a more competent owner could possibly have built a better supporting cast around an ego-driven kid who refused to give any sort of long term commitment to the organization over 7 years, or

    2.) how Gilbert’s attempt to win this year during the first half of the season with the players we had significantly impacted our rebuilding effort (what would we have gotten of value for Jamison, Mo, etc.?)

    I will simply state that the organization built this team delicately to add pieces that meshed with the Queen. After 66 and 62 win seasons most felt that the Cavs had all the pieces in place to win a title, Gilbert’s only stated mission. Now in retrospect Gilbert is being trashed by you b/c he should have known that all of a sudden the Queen would be overcome by “exhaustion and inability to carry his supporting cast”, even though that “exhaustion and inability to carry his supporting cast” was more likely caused by the Queen already knowing full well he was out of here and his desire to make it easier by not trying.

    See, I can respect a person’s desire to find a better fit, but I can’t respect him giving less than maximum effort when the chance to win a championship was tangible. Your continued Gilbert bashing glosses over this point.

    • Anonymous

      Shameless is right for sure. The rest of your argument is completely unresponsive to this post.

      See my comment to Chris M. above. It’s understood that LeBron bears culpability here, but so do the Cavs. The point here is that this losing streak is some evidence that tips the scales in LeBron’s favor. It’s also evidence against the idea that LeBron quit and shows that those 66 and 62 win seasons were more a result of LeBron’s ability to carry this garbage than Dan Gilbert’s ability to run an NBA franchise. There’s no real way to say that it’s not, so all there is to do is relax and stop hating LeBron so much. Enjoy that the best athlete in our generation is from here.

      • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris M

        Well, when we can finally agree on the fact that the 2009-10 Cavaliers are completely different than the 2010-11 Cavaliers on a personnel / talent level, then we might be getting somewhere.

        Any comparison between the two teams is simply ridiculous. If you wanted to compare the 2003-04 Cavs, that would be a quite a bit closer.

        • Anonymous

          I have no idea how this point is responsive to this post.

      • DonParma

        He’s not from here, he’s from Akron, remember?

      • DonParma

        The rest of my argument is responsive to previous posts you have made bashing Gilbert. I could have simply said “not this again”, but what can I say it’s a slow Friday.

        My point is that instead of analyzing the facts of how Gilbert could have managed this situation better OR analyzing the facts of how Gilbert’s decision to not declare a rebuild immediately will hinder the long term rebuild, you instead continue to trot out the same old story that Gilbert is a egomaniacal, loan shark and should bear full brunt for everything. We get it, you hate Gilbert.

        Again, no hate on the Queen for seeing greener pastures, or for using a 60 minute infomercial to do it, simply lamenting the fact that this so called “best athlete of our generation” was so beaten down by leading the NBA in wins 2 years in a row that he had to quit on the organization when we had a legit chance to end a 46 year title drought. And yes, I do hate the Queen’s actions.

      • Stkoran

        Not sure how this tips the scales in Lebron’s favor, shows that he didn’t quit, or that the team was garbage.

        Re: LBJ’s favor – If he stayed, the team would have been good; if he left, the team would be bad. Everyone knew this (thought we didn’t know it would be this bad, though I suppose that’s what happens when your best guys miss lots of time to injury, and the team does nothing to replace the talent exodus in the off-season. A legit center would have been nice.)

        Re: LBJ quit – Something happened in Game 5 against Boston. Not saying he quit, but something wasn’t right. I’ve never seen him play like that in the seven years he was here. Saying he quit in any other playoff game is lunacy, but Game 5 was odd.

        Re: The team was garbage – The main unit on the 66 win team was Z, Andy, Lebron, West, and Mo. Three of those guys no longer play here, and the two who still do have missed significant time due to injury, plus that fact that Mo has sunk into some sort of depression. Was this the greatest cast of talent ever assembled? No, but it was certainly quite good and immensely better than the current squad.

      • http://brian23.com Brian

        LeBron is one of the worst among the NBA stars as far as coasting goes – anyone who’s watched all his games over the past seven years can tell you that.

        Exhaustion doesn’t sell as a concept with him. Go watch the 2007 Playoffs minus the Pistons Game 5. Listen to his quote after the Decision re: “how nice it’ll be to not have to worry about shooting a high percentage”. And his 6-7-8 championships to Miami, like it’s going to be so easy and nice.

        Not only that, but 8 years in, he still doesn’t know how to post up, move without the ball, or apply proper footwork in his game. As good as he is, he’s also not interested in putting in the work to maximize his talents.

        He Shaq – physically gifted and supremely talented, but only interested in winning for the good of his brand.

        • Anonymous

          I’m supposed to watch the 2007 playoffs where LeBron led Drew Gooden, Sasha Pavlovic and Larry Hughes to the NBA Finals as evidence that LeBron wasn’t exhausted for having to carry the Cavs for 7 years?

          Anyway, he doesn’t move well without the ball. Bad footwork. Good riddance, really.

          • http://brian23.com Brian

            They had a ridiculously easy path to the Finals in 07.

            – 1st round vs Wizards they looked lazy and terrible.
            – 2nd round vs Nets they looked lazy and terrible. Remember they got blown
            out at home when they had the Nets down 3-1.

            http://www.yaysports.com/nba/2007/05/lebron_james_doesnt_care.html

            – 3rd round vs Pistons they looked terrible, but the Pistons had plenty of
            malaise problems of their own, and LeBron did come to play in that Game 5.
            *
            *
            They may have gone to the Finals in 07, but it was also the season I
            completely lost belief in LeBron as a true competitor. So yes, watch those
            games – it was some of the ugliest, most uncompetitive basketball you’ll
            see.

          • http://brian23.com Brian

            Pretty much good riddance yes, but I have admittedly unrealistic
            expectations in my professional athletes. I want to cheer for guys who will
            kill themselves to win, not guys who think it’d be neat to not have to worry
            about shooting a high percentage all the time.

            I’ve said it before, but Michael Jordan would eat his own arm before he’d
            think something like that, let alone say it out loud.
            *
            *

        • Biki

          Are you kidding me??? Lebron doesn’t put in the work to get better??? LOL

          He is one of the hardest working players in the NBA, where are you getting your info from???

          I have watched 90% of his games including this year, and I just don’t get where you can see that he coasts in games, I mean how exactly does a coaster put himself in a position to win 3 MVP’s in a row (he will win it again this year)?? You think the media overlooks such things as coasting, and not maximizing talents and only votes on MVP due to his “brand”??? LOL

          • http://brian23.com Brian

            I don’t know anything about basketball, what can I say.

          • Biki

            what does knowing about basketball have to do with knowing Lebron’s practice and offseason workout habits??? Lebron has been called a lot of names, but “coaster”, and “not a hard worker” is not one of them. As much as many Cavs fans hate Lebron, they can all attest that it was widely known that he was always the first to practice and last to leave. The dude is a gym rat.

            Is his game complete yet? Absolutely not, you’d be hard pressed to find me an NBA player who can dominate every aspect of the game at age 26, let alone at the end of their careers.

            You don’t think Lebron cares about winning??? Why on earth do you think he went to the Heat??? Because he cares about his shooting percentage??? LOL

          • http://brian23.com Brian

            What do you know about LeBron’s offseason practice and workout habits or his
            desire to win? Do you have insights I might not, or that are unavailable in
            the press? (And keep in mind LBJ’s people have always controlled that
            message.) And “wanting” to win is much different than “needing” to.

            I’m not saying I know anything, other than what I see on the court. Check
            the link I gave Frowns – I’ve felt this way about LeBron for four years, so
            it has nothing to do with him going to Miami.

            *
            *

          • Biki

            LBJ’s people don’t control the message of every coach, player, etc in the NBA or in Akron who time after time make comments about Lebron’s work ethic and dedication to improve every day. You think Coach K is controlled by LBJ’s people?? Or Kobe??

            What has Lebron shown on the court that he doesn’t want to win?? Is he supposed to do some Jedi Mind trick to get his teammates to HIT WIDE OPEN LOOKS?!?!?!?!

            Show me some links/quotes where Lebron missed a practice or where ANYONE made a claim that Lebron isn’t intense on preperation and getting better each day. I guess he’s just blessed by god to be able to dominate the NBA night in and night out because he doesn’t have the “wanting” to win. Ridiculous.

          • http://brian23.com Brian

            You’re right and my opinion is wrong.

            *
            *

          • Biki

            if your opinion is that Lebron doesn’t have a “wanting” to win or that he doesn’t work hard to improve his game, then yes sir, you are wrong. The rings will come, probably starting this season. Oh yeah, his post game is starting to get better too. I guess he’s found the time to work on it.

            One of the best in the NBA at coasting?? HAHAHAH ok buddy. how many NBA games do you watch per week, just curious?

          • http://brian23.com Brian

            Why are you being so laughy. I think I’m going to bow out – you are right
            about everything wrt LeBron.
            *
            *

          • Biki

            i’m laughy because it’s funny to me that you think that Lebron is lazy/coasts or that he has a bad work ethic. i think you’d be hard pressed to find avid watchers of the NBA that agree with some of your comments about Lebron’s game, work ethic, etc, that’s all.

          • DonParma

            I agree with Brian.

          • Biki

            and how many NBA games a week do you watch? just curious to see if you monitor the effort and work ethic of the other players in the NBA on a daily basis and can still agree with Brian. as someone who is an NBA junkie and degenerate gambler who watches at least a little bit of most of the games on the ticket every night, i can answer for you that pretty easily, you wouldn’t agree that Lebron is lazy or has a bad work ethic.

          • Biki

            at least in comparison to the rest of the players in the NBA. Brian and you seem to think Lebron is one of the biggest coasters and has one of the worst work ethics in the NBA. LOL

  • Ronnie

    If Lebron re-signs, isn’t it likely that at least some or all of the following happens:

    1. Z stays.
    2. Shaq stays.
    3. Matt Barnes signs here. Or Gilbert/Grant are willing to pony up the extra $1 million or whatever it would have taken to sign him.

    (Hickson/Eyenga/Harris really doesn’t cut it)

    All three are young, extremely athletic players with a lot of upside. Is it not the least bit hypocritical that you are willing to toss their potential aside, while on the other hand would defend Mangini’s second year WRs (Robi, Mo) who have been, for the most part, largely awful as NFL players (but they are the victims of bad QB play! – takes WR time to develop!)?

    And really, Frowns, good writer that you are, please continue to write about the NBA – it’s certainly a nice change of pace. That said, if you’re going to insist that Mo is the best player ever brought in for Lebron, at least add a tagline that this is now a fiction blog of your short stories (Varejao is 10x the player Mo is or has ever been).

    • Anonymous

      I can’t believe I’m responding to some of this crap, but you’re comparing the idea that Hickson/Eyenga/Harris is a potential nucleus of a successful NBA franchise to the idea that Robiskie and Massaquoi might turn out to be decent #2 and #3 receivers. That’s ridiculous.

      Also, there’s no need to split hairs, but when I said Mo was the best “second-option” LeBron ever had in his seven years here, I meant scoring option. If you want to say it’s Varejao instead, that’s fine. I don’t think the point is made with any less force as a result.

      • RFN

        The point being missed, either deliberately or not by some, is that he never did play with a true second option. Mo’s a third, maybe a 4th. And Andy is an energizer with obvious offensive issues.

        • Anonymous

          Right.

    • RFN

      Well, hell if Andy is the best player to have ever been Lebron’s teammate, no wonder he left. I’ll never forgive him for quitting, which he did, but I’ll always know why he left. He was never going to win a ring here. Never. Young millionaires don’t want to come to Cleveland. At least young millionaires that are very good NBA players.

      • Ronnie

        Never going to win a ring?

        Team was only good enough to lead league in wins twice and point diff twice.

        • Anonymous

          I agree with Ronnie here. They might have eventually figured something out.

  • Sarahbeesly

    Couple quick thoughts on a really interesting take and after reading the comments:

    1. The whole, “this is a completely different team” argument doesnt hold water. The guys you mention:

    Delonte : 8-9th player on a championship contender
    Shaq – 7-8th player on a championship contender
    Anderson – Solid role playing starter/all around glue guy

    I mean, are those guys are not the difference between a mediocre team and the current cavs team. The talent around him was average to terrible and cleveland did not give him the best chance to play for a championship.

    2. When you want to talk about Gilberts incompetence/hubris, the perfect example is the pitch meetings during the FA recruitment. Riley goes in there with his rings and a plan to assemble an insane amount of talent. Gilbert goes in with a video with gladiator music and family guy clips and tries to guilt the guy into staying with a message of Home. Thats not a plan that inspires confidence in a guy with a goal.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed on both counts. I don’t really understand how the “this is a completely different team” argument even applies to this post at all, and your second point is an especially good one.

    • Biki

      Samardo Samuels, Manny Harris, Eyenga, or Hollins would not be even on the roster of most NBA teams, let alone in the rotation of a championship contender.

      I don’t think Lebron cared about anything Riley or Gilbert said unless it included D.Wade and Chris Bosh, that seemed to be his intention all along, and I don’t fault Dan Gilbert for that. Did he coddle Bron too much? I’m sure, but I can’t imagine any owner would treat Lebron any differently at the time.

    • Ronnie

      Riley goes in there with his rings and a plan to assemble an insane amount of talent. Gilbert goes in with a video with gladiator music and family guy clips and tries to guilt the guy into staying with a message of Home. Thats not a plan that inspires confidence in a guy with a goal.

      The story had been written before the outcome was decided. If Lebron stays in Cleveland, it’s Riley’s cockiness in flashing his rings that pushed Lebron to decide he didn’t need a Hall of Fame coach”s help in winning a ring.

      Sportswriters just had to wait and see which story they needed to hit “publish” on.

    • Stkoran

      Disagree on point #1: 2008-2009 Delonte was a very good player. Obviously his personal troubles have left him a shell of his former self, but he was quite honestly the perfect perimeter player for an LBJ led team – good shooter, can get to hole if needed, good ball handler, great defender.

      Not having Shaq/Z hurts a lot because together they were a solid center duo, and we replaced them with RYAN HOLLINS. 7-8th guy on a contender v. Ryan Hollins isn’t close at all.

      Anderson is a role player offensively, as a good pick and roll guy who can make some open looks, but he is an elite defender.

      This year’s iteration (abomination?) of the Cavs biggest problem is that they play ZERO defense. You put in Andy and Delonte (08-09 version) and the defense improves tenfold, especially if their effort causes the other to buy in.

      If this team has those guys, and they stay healthy, I absolutely believe they win 30-35 games (i.e. mediocre). Honestly, we are lucky that isn’t what happened, because being a perennial bubble playoff team is about the worst spot an NBA franchise can be in.

      On point #2: If LBJ wanted to play with Wade and Bosh, there was nothing the Cavs could do personnel wise, as they simply couldn’t have acquired both of them (Bosh by himself was certainly a possibility). If Gilbert knew that, wasn’t the appeal of familiarity and home the only real play? I think that Gilbert had shown he was willing to do whatever it took to try and improve the roster, it’s not as if Lebron thought, “Oh, the Heat want to win, the Cavs want to watch movies.”

      I absolutely believe the team was talented enough to win it all last year. We were a match up nightmare for the Lakers, and matched up much better with Orlando with our addition of Shaq and then losing Hedo.

      • http://twitter.com/jimkanicki jim kanicki

        good point on matching up with orlando: shaq was acquired for the singular purpose of keeping dwight howard ten feet from the hoop.

        why mike brown insisted on running the offense through him(shaq) against boston (and chicago) is a question still waiting to be asked of him.

  • Anonymous

    this post is disgusting trash. and you are a clown if you saw his effort against Boston and thought he didn’t quit.

    i hope mangini gets hit by a bus today.

  • Anonymous

    This post is headlining TrueHoop’s Friday Bullets: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/24759/friday-bullets-174

    • Biki

      congrats on the hit Frownie! I agree with the quote he used 100%, but I don’t share your disdain for Gilbert. As a fan, you have to be a fan of an owner who has invested as much money as he has, and how close the team was to winning a title or two. We just had some misfortune down the stretch the past couple years, last year injuries to Shaq, Jamison, Andy, and Bron definitely hurt us a bit. I think we have a bright future ahead and Chris Grant and Byron Scott with Dan Gilbert’s wallet should get us back in the mix in a couple seasons. Teams have to rebuild, it happens to even the best of them (Lakers, Celtics, Bulls, etc) We had a great 7 year run and now we have to retool but we will be back.

    • DonParma

      Well keep treading out the easy Gilbert bash piece and no telling where you’ll go. We all know how much integrity ESPN has.

      • Anonymous

        Good one.

        • DonParma

          Just kidding of course, always glad to see the site get the traffic it deserves. And Mo Williams is playing tonight, things are looking up around here.

  • Jim

    First, from a basketball perspective, playing with D Wade and Bosh is a better decision if your goal is to win a title than staying in Cleveland on a team that had little financial or player flexibility to dramatically improve. That being said, I don’t believe this seasons losing streak provides any sort of after the fact evidence that Lebron made the right decision to leave or not. This team was designed to support the talents of Lebron James. It was filled with spot-up jump shooters to stretch the floor for Lebron and a big front-line to compete with the Lakers and the Magic and control the center of the paint. There was certainly not a legit “number two” on the team; however it was a team filled with players that complemented a player like Lebron very well.

    When Lebron took his talents to south beach, the pieces that were left behind no longer fit. No longer did they have a distributer that could set up shooters. Instead they had Mo Williams trying to re-invent himself into a pass first point guard. They no longer had size on the inside, instead they had Andy playing out of position and defensively inept Jamison and Hickson manning the four.

    The end result is a team that of course would be worse off with Lebron (although I will admit to being surprised at how worse off they have been); the Heat would be worse off without Lebron. The Bulls were worse off without Jordan. That’s what happens when the best player in the league leaves a team. The Cavs this season are ostensibly a bunch of Tito’s without Michael, trying to compensate for the loss of the leader.

    Finally, as for Lebron getting “tired” of caring the team in the playoffs; give me a break. The Cavs were up 2-1 on Boston and had just blown them out on Boston’s own floor. They had control of that series. What happens in Game Four is Lebron shows up and then plays more passively then he ever had in a Cavs uniform. He ended up taking 14 shots, making three of them and his first make was halfway through the third quarter. The end result is the worst loss in team history. The defense on Rondo also hurt, but Lebron takes a lot of the responsibility for that loss which changed the entire series.

    • Jim

      sorry the series was tied for that game in which LBJ mailed it in, it wasn’t game four (although that was a bad performance as well).

      • Anonymous

        If it’s so easy for you (us) to see that “this team was designed to support the talents of Lebron James,” then how doesn’t the decision not to blow it up (and the resulting disaster) reflect poorly on the organization, thus helping to justify LeBron’s decision to part ways with it? That makes no sense.

        And about that Game 4:

        “In Game 4, LeBron had 22 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals and a block. He had 11 free throw attempts. Pierce (who LeBron was guarding) again was ineffective, scoring just nine points. The Cavs lost by 10 in Boston, where the Celtics lost just one game the whole postseason. Cleveland’s three-man backcourt rotation — Mo Williams, Anthony Parker and Delonte West — combined to shoot 6-of-23, 26 percent. Boston’s backcourt shot a combined 23-of-49, or 47 percent.”

      • Biki

        how about the 5 other games in the Celtics series when the rest of Lebron’s teammates “mailed it in”? why is it all on Lebron?? Which is exactly why he left for Miami because he could afford to have bad games, which all the great players have had in playoff series (See Kobe in Game 7 of last year’s Finals)

  • J

    I just can’t get over him leaving.

    In almost any other city, he would have been given the same amount of attention and affection—perhaps more.

    In no other city would it have been for the same reason. We loved him because he was from Akron (like Charlie Frye), not because he won yesterday.

    Honestly? I just hope he has enough left after this contract is up to come back to Cleveland. Even if he doesn’t. It makes me sick not rooting for him and I wish things could be back the way they were between the people and the person who is one of them.

    But I’m not going to let that longing push me into taking sides when the very problem is that there are sides between these people to being with.

    • Anonymous

      I want him to come back, too.

      • DonParma

        Seriously? Ugh.. i’d rather sit threw a dozen seasons like this then root for that guy ever again.

        maybe some people loved him b/c he was from here, but the minute that dude showed up at the Jake in a Yankees he severed ties with people that loved him from being from here.

        did i root for him, hell yes, but I just rooted for him as a basketball player, one that wore CLEVELAND on his jersey.

        do i wish we had a talent of his caliber on one of our teams, hell yes, but that dude could give a shit less about Cleveland, he’s said as much, and I’d never root for him again.

        • J

          “[T]hat dude could give a shit less about Cleveland, he’s said as much, and I’d never root for him again.”

          I disagree, DonParma. I think he wishes just as much as some of us do (I’ll spare you my “Akron credentials”), in moments when he is not stimulated by the attention of others—there are moments, even for him—when he is alone, when he has time to feel regret and to understand that even he can’t always make reality what he wants it to be.

          In a way I’m kind of glad it happened this way—him knifing his home in the back—because only his home could continue to see him as one of his own, even a betrayer, and sorrow more for his being lost than for the injury.

          I guess you would disagree, though, that we regret more his error and fault than our being the recipient of its ill effects…

          • DonParma

            Personally, I don’t feel he knifed us in the back by leaving, or going on TV to leave, but I do feel he knifed us by giving us less than his all when the chips were down.

            He’ll go on to win titles, and we’ll go on with the national media and even local residents saying woe is us.

            But I feel no personal connection to him. He’s from here, but he’s not one of us.

          • Anonymous

            LeBron is not a white guy from Parma, for sure, but you still can’t prove that he quit.

          • Terry O.

            “LeBron is not a white guy from Parma, for sure”

            That’s a disturbing comment.

            I understand it’s your blog but C’mon Frowns, hold yourself to a higher standard.

          • Anonymous

            Chill, Terry. White guy from Parma said “LeBron’s not one of us” and he’s going to be made fun of for it. Those are just the rules.

          • NeedsFoodBadly

            That’s really objectionable to tar someone as a racist when it’s not what they meant in the first place.

            Your LeBron apologist attitude is coming off as borderline trolling at this point. We understand that you want LeBron to come back, but the repeated Gilbert-centric conspiracy theories are getting tiresome. You bend over backwards to explain away LeBron’s bad behavior, and leap on any story that is even one iota negative about Gilbert. Real life is more complex than how you paint it, and you are not always 100% correct.

            It’s getting really old to hear you trumpet how your ideas are the only ones that are correct and everyone else who agrees with you is just DERP DERP DERPing away. Do you actually value real discourse or do you just want to write polemics in an echo chamber?

            I really like this site, but I feel like it’s turning increasingly into just a huge anti-Grossi/Gilbert hatefest and it’s getting hard to read.

          • DonParma

            ha well i’m actually not from Parma, but I am white, none of which changes the fact that when i say “one of us” I mean passionate Cleveland sports fans who have been impacted deeply by the collective successes or failures of the Browns, Cavs, and Indians throughout our lives.

            It’s just sports, but the impact that the success of these teams have on many other aspects of life in CLE is significant, for right or wrong. A kid that grew up rooting for Dallas, the Yankees, the Bulls, etc. is not “one of us”.

            My point about him coming to the Jake in a Yankees hat indicated that he never really understood why people here were so passionate about him.

          • Terry O.

            “when i say “one of us” I mean passionate Cleveland sports fans’

            I’m pretty sure that’s what 99% of those of us viewing your comments took from it.

            How Frown’s read race into it is what disturbed me.

          • Anonymous

            Terry, we need to get down to Fagan’s for a cold one, soon. It’s been a long week.

          • Anonymous

            LeBron didn’t have a dad or really even a mom to take him up to Cavs/Browns/Tribe games when he was a kid, which is one big reason why he’s not like most “passionate Cleveland sports fans who have been impacted deeply by the collective successes or failures of the Browns, Cavs, and Indians throughout our lives.” That doesn’t make him any less of a Northeast Ohioan.

          • Anonymous

            “He’s not one of us.” Right. He grew up in the Akron PJs, no dad, crackhead mom. What’s the point?

            Also, still not sure how you know he wasn’t trying as hard as he could have with that bunch.

          • Terry O.

            That’s better.

            Where did my invitation for beers go? I was looking forward to it.

          • Anonymous

            It’s still open. Frank’s or Fagan’s. You pick.

          • DonParma

            “one of us” means passionate Cleveland sports fans who have been impacted deeply by the collective successes or failures of the Browns, Cavs, and Indians throughout our lives.

            my response was to J, who obviously has some deeper connection to Lebron than most CLE fans. my point is that people continued to expect Lebron to care for the fans differently then he would have if he was from somewhere else.

            cheering for Dallas, the Yankees, the Bulls whatever is his prerogative, and sure it stems from his upbringing. but constantly rubbing it in our faces (yankees cap extended at a PLAYOFF game, showing up at a Browns game vs. Dallas in DALLAS gear) said to me the dude didn’t give a shit about Cleveland fans, and I don’t give a shit about him just b/c he was born here.

          • DonParma

            “one of us” means passionate Cleveland sports fans who have been impacted deeply by the collective successes or failures of the Browns, Cavs, and Indians throughout our lives.

            my response was to J, who obviously has some deeper connection to Lebron than most CLE fans. my point is that people continued to expect Lebron to care for the fans differently then he would have if he was from somewhere else.

            cheering for Dallas, the Yankees, the Bulls whatever is his prerogative, and sure it stems from his upbringing. but constantly rubbing it in our faces (yankees cap extended at a PLAYOFF game, showing up at a Browns game vs. Dallas in DALLAS gear) said to me the dude didn’t give a shit about Cleveland fans, and I don’t give a shit about him just b/c he was born here.

          • DonParma

            I don’t know Frowner why you think he gave it his all, but I know what I saw, and from courtside in Game 5 I watched a dude mail a performance in and suck the life out of his entire team and arena on the biggest stage. He stood outside of huddles, wouldn’t look at the coach, pouted like a 3rd grade girl, and stood on top of the key passing the ball repeatedly when the game screamed for his imprint.

            If you have a team with 1 alpha dog and 8 role players, albeit some talented role players, and the alpha dog all of a sudden decides he is too “emotionally tired” to be that guy, how do you expect the rest of the role players to respond? Everyone stood there looking at him, b/c that WAS WHY THEY WERE BROUGHT HERE! And it worked, until he quit.

            I assume you expect Gilbert should have known that after 66 and 62 wins all of a sudden the Queen was going to become too “emotionally tired” to play at his normal high level? Would Gilbert, Ferry, or Brown have wished that they had a legit 2nd superstar to take over at that time, hell yeah, but they didn’t. And that team, as constructed, was good enough to win a title.

            For whatever reason ( I say b/c he knew he was leaving and was already checked out) when the going got tough, the dude QUIT. Period. You can fool yourself into thinking otherwise but I know deep down you don’t believe it.

            And Windhorst can conveniently change his story after the fact to say that he “choked” b/c he realized damn I’m going to have to cover this guy for a living again, maybe I should watch what I say. But he knows the dude quit too.

            He had every right to leave, he had every right to leave on tv, but I’m sorry if I’m gonna take him to task for mailing in CLE’s chance to end a 46 year title drought.

          • J

            Parma’s right about a couple things, even if I don’t like the bitterness:

            1. LeBron quit on the Boston series.

            2. “[T]hat team, as constructed, was good enough to win a title.”

      • J

        6 years isn’t that long.

        Michael Jordan’s second run with the Bulls, after turning 31, included two MVPs and three Championships.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      LeBron is from Akron? Akron is half way to Pittsburgh, that has to account for something. He is not a Cleveland guy.
      Besides that, he is not a dominant player or the Cav’s would not have been bounced out of the championship so easily in 2007.
      LeBron is no Hakeem Olajuwon and he is no Tim Duncan.
      Hakeem carried the Rockets to a championship.

      • Lord of the Flys

        ^^…Deluded.

        “LBJ is no TD, he’s no Olajuwon”. The Dream played with a HOF in Drexler and a very capable supporting cast including the original “Jet” Kenny Smith, Big Shot Bob Horry, and the tough minded Mario Elie to name a few. Let’s not even talk about Timmy. His supporting cast was only anchored by one of the top 50 players of ALL TIME in the Admiral, Manu, Tony Parker (yeh, he sucks so much worse than Mo “Gotti” get out of here Williams), etc. They were essentially the Boston Celtics’ championship winning squad with a BETTER pg in Tony Parker. LBJ literally played that entire series by himself (can you name anyone who isn’t D League worthy from that woeful roster?), which only bolsters his reasons for leaving; he took a sadsack bunch of Charlie Browns to the FINALS and lost against TD, Manu, and Tony Parker. FOUR years into the league. ALONE.

        • Anonymous

          This guy is right.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Thank you for confirming that Frownie, I knew that I was absolutely correct.

        • DonParma

          That 2006/2007 team won with defense and had a fairly easy road to the Finals. It was a pretty poor team. The teams in 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 were completely different and good enough to lead the league in wins 2 years in a row. So I’m not debating the weakness of the 2007 team, but I question how that has any bearing on why leQuit should have left. Let’s not forget this sad sack team was built strategically around him and with his input.

  • J

    One more thing:

    I’ve never taken the “Cavs failed to build around LeBron” argument seriously, because the single biggest cause responsible for that failure is LeBron himself.

    You can’t blame the Cavs for failing to bring in (non-drafted) players when LeBron hems and haws whenever anyone asks him if he’s even going to be around more than a couple more years. Everybody knew he had one foot out the door!

    And as for building through the draft, they actually did a decent job picking players (Shannon Brown, J.J. Hickson, Daniel Gibson)—they can even kinda get credit for drafting* Varejao.

    Point is the Cavs are not to blame for being unable to build around him any more than they are at fault for failing to build after July 8th 2010 (my daughter’s birthday!).

    *Did draft him, I know, but got him as a rookie.

    • Anonymous

      “The single biggest cause responsible for that failure is LeBron himself.”

      If that’s true, it’s only really true for his last two seasons in Cleveland.

      • Ronnie

        So it’s only true for the two most important years of the Lebron era?

        • Anonymous

          Right, it’s only true for five of the seven years of the LeBron era.

      • Stkoran

        It’s also true, though not in a bad way, because Lebron was so good that the franchise turned around too quickly. If the Cavs continued to be monumentally awful in his first year, we would have had a shot at the #1 pick and Howard, or Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Devin Harris, or Andre Iguodala if they didn’t get the #1. Instead, we ended up drafting 10th and selecting Luke Jackson. Outside of Howard none of those guys are superstars, but they are all very good, and any of them would have been a huge upgrade over their counterpart on the 2007 Finals team. If we were able to get Howard we’d probably be swimming in titles right now.

  • Captain Spaulding

    Seems like you’re fighting a losing battle here Frowns. If this were a boxing match, they would have stopped the fight about 3 rounds ago. You don’t want to end up like Apollo Creed, do you?

  • JC

    I hate that this article was written. I hate that this is something that should be discussed. Honestly, I hate that this was linked by Truehoop and the world sees it. Why is this self loathing so important to us as Cleveland fans. How depressing. This sounds like a love letter to an ex-girlfriend blaming all of our friends for the break-up, hoping our ex will still think of us fondly. None of this is important anymore. We need to get over it. This is just embarrassing.

    • Anonymous

      Nobody’s self-loathing here except for maybe you. I agree that people should get over it, and that the losing streak and all the LeBron hate are embarrassing.

      • JC

        Your article just strikes me as odd and counter productive. Lebron James no longer plays for the Cavaliers and in all reality, has little to do with this losing streak as a whole. Let’s move on. There is nothing to see here. Have a nice weekend.

        • Anonymous

          You too.

  • Carl M.

    Look Frowns,

    I generally love this blog. I generally agree with most of your takes on the Cleveland browns, and especially Eric Mangini. But this nonsense with LeBron needs to stop.

    First, I’m not agreeing with Dan Gilbert’s immature reaction to LBJ leaving…it wasn’t the way to go about things. But you need to stop making excuses. LeBron James is a jerk. Period. End of story. He quit in the playoffs, and screwed this franchise over in the process of leaving. It wasn’t right.

    In fact, he not only screwed over the Cavs this offseason with free agents, but the last three as well. I’m as big a Cleveland honk as anyone in the world, but let’s be honest: the Cavs are and always will be #3 in this town, and Cleveland’s not a glamorous place to be during the winter. The only way any legit free agent would play here is if LBJ would have committed to the franchise. Nobody is going to sign a max contract when LBJ has a 3 year deal and won’t commit to the franchise beyond that.

    I never understood why you constantly defended this guy until that ESPN.com piece came out a couple of months ago, wherein you showed LeBron’s house to the author. You have a personal connection (however large or small it may be), and that’s all well and good, but it has totally clouded your judgment about the guy. Dan Gilbert or no Dan Gilbert, LBJ ain’t coming through that door ever again…not after this contract, not after his next contract, and not even to sign a 1 day deal to retire a Cav.

    Anyhow, keep up the good work.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks.

      I’m as sure as I can be that I’d be writing the same posts even if I hadn’t met LeBron, but there’s no real way to prove that, so why don’t you stick to addressing the arguments made here? There’s no real way for me to address the rest when you start by assuming that “LeBron James is a jerk” and “he quit in the playoffs.”

      • http://brian23.com Brian

        Are you able to admit you’re completely biased in your opinion on this? As soon as you have a face-to-face with Dan Gilbert and talk to him as a human being (as you have Lebron), I’d put a lot more weight into your opinion of him.

        • Anonymous

          Last time I spoke with LeBron was 8 years ago, but I guess I can never have an opinion about him vis a vis anyone else again without being accused of being “completely biased.’ Give me a break. You’re making a movie about how heartbreaking the Decision was, you’ve sat down with Gilbert’s people about it, and he’s going to support it, but you don’t hear me questioning your honesty.

          Try sticking to the argument. My having known LeBron personally has nothing to do with the fact that this spectacular mess of a Cavs season is at least some evidence that he had good reason to leave.

          • http://brian23.com Brian

            That’s my issue with your entire thing here – there are very few people who
            would argue he shouldn’t have left. You would struggle to find someone who
            thinks Mo Williams is a better running mate than Dwyane Wade.

            People are mainly mad at LeBron because of how he left, and there is zero
            evidence that his choice to put on the Decision show, etc has anything to do
            with the way Dan Gilbert runs the Cavaliers.
            *
            *

          • Anonymous

            I’m saying, this spectacular mess of a Cavs season is at least some evidence that LeBron never even considers a Decision show if there was different leadership in place. That’s all.

          • Biki

            How exactly would different leadership change if Lebron considers a Decision show? ? Unless you’re saying Danny Ferry could’ve assembled a better roster, however his job was hindered by Lebron not being able to commit to the team long-term.

            I think it’s pretty clear that Lebron’s sole motivation to leave was that he felt that Miami gave him the best opportunity to win multiple championships, and I think most people would agree.

          • DonParma

            I think people should be mainly mad b/c he quit in the playoffs.

          • Anonymous

            Again, this spectacular mess of a Cavs season is at least some evidence that LeBron didn’t quit in the playoffs, but rather wore down after having carried this bunch so far for so long. That’s all.

          • DonParma

            If you believe that I’ve got a (fake) elbow injury I’d like you take a look at too.

          • DonParma

            This spectacular mess of a Cavs season is based on player defections 1.) Queen, letting Shaq, Z walk, trading West, signing no one and 2. injuries (Mo, Andy, Gibson for long stretches, Parker for long stretches, cripes even Leon Powe). We have played dozens of games STARTING d-league guys on an NBA fantasy camp tour: Gee, Harris, Samuels, Eyenga. These guys are STARTING. they weren’t even on rosters last year. So 4 of our top 8 or 9 guys leave in the offseason, and 3 of the remaining guys are hurt. That leaves Jamison to go to war with a summer league team, and oh yeah by the way Jamison was hurt for most of the beginning of the season.

            If the Queen stays this team looks NOTHING like it’s current makeup, and ergo this “spectacular mess” has NOTHING to do with the Queen’s quitting, i mean “wearing down”. cmon. Maybe if you keep writing it you’ll really start believing it, but I think it’s hard for a rational individual to draw these conclusions.

    • Terry O.

      Carl M., I’m with you.

      I’m no longer an NBA fan, it ‘s a league that has certainly lost it’s luster to me for a variety of reasons. But like many that comment here, I’m a former player & coach (football in my case) & as such I’ve developed a good eye for evaluating player effort/performance & you are right – he flat quit in game 5 against Boston – perhaps his biggest stage. He reminded me of one of our sprinters on our HS track team. We had a guy who was a top 5 sprinter in the county but whenever he was about to get smoked in the 100 or 220 (we ran the 220 yd dash back then) he’d grab his leg in faux pain & pull up. A nice fella & good sprinter but essentially gutless & not the kind of guy you’d want to be a fox hole with.

      His actions leading up to his “Decision” were deplorable, and showed a bloodless disdain for the franchise.

      • Biki

        Lost it’s luster? You’ obviously must have your reasons, but it really has been a great season thus far, even though it’s been terrible for the Cavs. NBA TV ratings and attendence are at record highs, there are a TON of fun teams to watch, on any given night you can watch some entertaining ball. Not to mention that there are currently 6, possibly 7 teams that are in championship or bust mode, which is probably as high as it’s been in a while (Miami, Orlando, Boston, Spurs, Lakers, Mavs, and Chicago)

        But as a Cavs fan who hasn’t lived in Cleve in 16 years, I have been forced to have the NBA Package to keep up which has got me into watching other teams as well. I can see how when the Cavs suck that the NBA can suck. It has been the same here in NYC, except for this year where there finally has been a buzz, although they are floundering lately.

        • Terry O.

          It’s lost its luster for me (and I only speak for me) for a variety of reasons.

          First the league, like MLB, doesn’t know what it’s product is (hint it’s your league morons) & continues to market individual players instead. Parody/competition among the franchises (the hallmark of the world’s most successful) league is a joke. The Clippers, Bullets (or whatever PC name their using now), T’Wolves, Kings, Bucks, etc. haven’t seriously competed in years, decades perhaps.

          Second, the lackluster, interminable regular season – enough said.

          Third – the most idiotic, excessively long & boring playoff system in all of team sports.

          • Terry O.

            Now the Australian Rules Football season is about a month away from opening day & I’m all in for that. It’s a beautiful sport & I’ll be glued to my computer for every match.

      • Lord of the Flys

        ^^ …misses “Naismith’s game”. LOL. I love Clevelanders. You’re telling me that a triple double connotes a LACK of effort? Ha. An argument isn’t necessarily foolish if buoyed by passion and emotion, but it is when it is founded on it. Logic dictates that 27 pts, 19 rebs, and 10 asts means that he tried his damndest. And the fact it wasn’t enough is exactly the reason he left.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      I have you figured out now Frownie.
      You wanted LeBron out of town so you could buy his house.
      Check the tax records, Frownie bought Lebron’s house.

  • HEATLES63

    Loved the article. One of the few brutally honest critiques that are necessary for this team to move on. the city and team figuratively lost their breath yelling and blaming lebron for 4 months while Lebron continued working hard and concentrating on becoming a better player while trying to resist the urge of bashing cleveland and the owner’s na’iveness. Cavs should have taken a lesson from the man who blessed this city with 4 of the best sports years this town will ever see and actually WORKED at becoming a better team. the only backup plan Dan Gilbert offered was to bottle up all the anger of cleveland sports and try to inject it into his below-average players (none of whom are actually from Cleveland). Until Mr. Gilbert realizes his business requires talent and his ONLY job is to make cleveland the most attractable place for basketball talent (and leave public relations to his staff), the cavaliers will continue to be the laughing stock of the league and Lebron will continue to look smarter and smarter for leaving Cleveland

  • oldhoops

    why are people still bringing up shaq’s name as if he had a huge impact on the cavs’ season? cavs actually had a better season in ’09 before shaq came on board (66 wins) and when he was in the line-up, he slowed down the offense. last spring when he was sitting out due to injuries (again), the cavs played ‘small ball’ and demolished teams including the celts.

    granted the cavs this season is the not the same team as last season sans lebron, but let’s not give those missing players too much credit and downplay lebron’s value either. hypothetically speaking, if lebron came back tomorrow to the cavs with the current cavs roster, who would doubt the cavs would go .500 or better the rest of the season?

    sure he was ‘toned death’ and self-absorbed during ‘the decision.’ however, he’s a once-in-a-generation type player that had lost faith in an organization to build a championship-caliber team around him. if and when he wins that elusive ring one day, northeastern ohio-ans should be proud of this local product instead of hating him.

    there’s a saying that goes: “being angry at someone is like taking the poison yourself and expecting someone else to die.”

    • http://twitter.com/jimkanicki jim kanicki

      shaq definitely had an impact.

      his thinking that he still had a post game with a one inch vertical and then his steamrolling mike brown into feeding him the ball had a huge impact. dead offense. if you dont believe look up the numbers when shaq was injured.

      that’s ok, i will.

      shaq was out from 2/26 to 4/6.
      record? 15-3. (leaving out the 4 game losing streak after #1 seed was wrapped.)
      ppg? 104.
      season avg? 94 ppg.

      damn i get fired up when JVG tells me what a raw deal mike brown got in cleveland. coach was a fool.

      and shaq? know your role. six heavy fouls to give on dwight howard and we’re paying you 19MM for this. stop demanding the ball from your weak coach.

      what a fiasco last year was.

      and imo, it’s much more on mike brown than lebron.

      • Biki

        do you know how many teams had winning records in that 15-3 run?? 5.

        last year was a fiasco?? maybe, i don’t know, if the rest of the players not named Lebron also didn’t choke and played to their season averages in the Celtics series. Or maybe, I don’t know, the Celtics were nearly champions of the NBA and were just the better team with 4 freakin all-stars. nah, you’re right, blame it on Mike Brown and Lebron.

        Mike Brown will coach again next year, probably at Indiana which has a nice young core of players for him to work with, we’ll shall see.

        • http://twitter.com/jimkanicki jim kanicki

          i respect you biki and fair point on the opponents during the 15-3 run. but the 10ppg increase is solid data regardless of the opposition.

          i go to the stats to validate what my eyes told me. my eyes told me that the ball went down low to shaq more often than not when he came back. my eyes told me that shaq had no elevation and thus couldnt finish at rim. if i could see this, why couldn’t MB?

          just because mike brown gets another job doesn’t mean his ‘stand around and let lebron create something’ offense didn’t suck. doesn’t mean the ‘try to get perk/garnett in foul trouble by sending it down to shaq’ didnt work.

          his strength was that he took care of his vets and kept the peace in the locker room. oh wait.. maybe not so much in boston.

          he also kept boobie nailed to the bench when NO ONE could hit a jump shot in the bright light of the playoffs. (not for nothing, but boobie showed he can play under pressure in the detroit playoffs.)

          tell something mike brown did get more out of that team and i’ll listen. but do better that his getting another HC job.

          seriously biki, who’d you rather: mike brown or byron scott?

          • Biki

            Mike Brown didn’t get more out of his team??? They won 127 regular season games in 2 seasons??? They were one of the best defensive teams in the NBA! You can’t meet either of those 2 criteria’s unless you get the most out of your teams. I think we had more misfortune in the playoffs due to players not playing up to their abilities and not hitting WIDE OPEN LOOKS, while the other team hit theirs. Again, both teams we lost to in the playoffs the last 2 years ended up in the Finals and near champions. It’s not like we lost to the Clippers.

            Honestly, it’s too early to tell on who I’d rather want as my coach, but Mike Brown is very underrated in Cleveland, he will prove his worth when he comes back next year.

    • DonParma

      He lost his faith that he could tell the organization how to build the team and it would end in a ring. A ring isn’t elusive when you team up with a guy who got one without you! The dude is a punk. He stands for the opposite of hard work, which is the opposite of what NEO should be proud of.

  • actovegin1armstrong

    Famous Cleveland defeats:
    RR88
    The Fumble
    The Drive
    And
    LeBron in Game 5 120-88

  • BC

    Stick to the Browns, this is a redundant and repetitive article.

  • Judgeloc

    If you get up and play basketball every day working on your game, trying to get better and see that the guys around you are not improving… maybe you would make the same decision. Folks are still calling him names and saying that he is a quitter blah blah blah… but PLEASE don’t forget that LeBron played through injury in last years playoffs. He didn’t get payed as much as Shaq last year… AND he also is the 1st player in NBA History to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks for two consecutive seasons (2008-2009, 2009-2010). He was the whole team, Gilbert obviously should have tried to make some moves but he really has a pride problem.

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