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Cleveland Gearing Up For LeBron’s Contract Year Too

While the national media continues to focus on the fact that Cleveland is undoubtedly going to lose LeBron James, we here in Cleveland continue to think otherwise.  Maybe it is delusion.  Maybe it is desperation.  I don’t know for sure.  The fact is that nobody really knows for sure.  And now, I have a new take on the whole LeBron situation.  I haven’t read anyone else who put this argument together, but I am sure I will hear about it in the next few days if someone already has.

But before I get into my new take, just for the sake of completeness, here are the basic thoughts being tossed around already.  First the camp that insists LeBron has to leave:

  • LeBron has to leave because he is friends with Jay-Z who owns an infinitesimal piece of the New Jersey Nets
  • The New Jersey Nets are moving to Brooklyn and LeBron has to go help kick off the new era of the franchise
  • The Nets traded Richard Jefferson, meaning they are readying themselves for LeBron
  • There are escalators in LeBron’s Nike contract which pay him more if he is in a major market like NYC

Then the other side is basically:

  • LeBron likes his hometown
  • Nobody can give LeBron a bigger NBA contract than Cleveland
  • LeBron reached the finals in Cleveland
  • Terry Pluto’s brilliant argument that says you never know where the talent is going to be centered a year from now let alone two years from now
  • LeBron has stated that he wants to bring a parade to Cleveland because he knows we are suffering as sports fans (this interview answer is one that the national media NEVER mentions because it doesn’t fit their pre-determined storyline that Cleveland doesn’t deserve LeBron James)

Well, I have a new take.  Everyone was so quick to point out that the Richard Jefferson trade on draft night was definitely designed at getting LeBron to the Nets in two years.  Well, you know which team is gearing up to have a ton of cap space when LeBron’s contract year comes around?

THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

As of this writing, the Cavaliers don’t have a single player under contract for more than LeBron’s two year deal.  When next season starts the Cavs might have two players under contract for longer than LeBron and those will probably amount to somewhere in the $10-12 million dollar range COMBINED with Daniel Gibson and Delonte West.  That’s it.  Maybe some draft picks will end up with deals that range longer than LeBron’s two years remaining.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas and his nearly $11 million comes off.  Ben Wallace’s almost $15 million comes off.  In addition, LeBron’s salary comes off.  And guess what else.  Because LeBron is such an influential guy, the market is going to be flooded with free agents.  Dwayne Wade followed LeBron’s lead and only signed a five year deal when he was up for his first free agent contract.  Chris Bosh also followed LeBron’s lead in that department.

You will also remember that LeBron really did lead the charge on the 5-year deals at that time.  This means that LeBron has influence.  Who’s to say that LeBron wouldn’t be able to recruit some guys to come in and play with him in two years?  Could you imagine Dwayne Wade and/or Chris Bosh playing alongside LeBron?  The bottom line is that these types of situations can only occur where tons of cap space exists.

As long as Cleveland doesn’t screw this up and load up the roster with too much salary, the Cavs will have $40 million dropping off the cap in order to pull in top talent along with LeBron in his contract year.  Think about what the Clippers just did to try and keep Elton Brand in LA.

I am not guaranteeing that this will happen, but it is JUST as likely as all the presumed OBVIOUS scenarios that get bandied about by the national press when they are looking to pull the greatest sports figure in Cleveland history out of this town.

Mike Brown Has Maxed Out

I know the series isn’t over yet, but I am going to take this opportunity to talk about Mike Brown. Brown has drawn a lot of criticism on these pages for what I perceive to be bad coaching. This series with the Celtics is even more proof that Mike Brown needs to go as he was outcoached by another coach with a horrible reputation, Doc Rivers, in game 5. Mike Brown has done all he can with this Cavaliers team and it is time to find someone else to take them to the next level.

Mike Brown does some things well. He has turned the Cavaliers into one hell of a defensive team. He turned Zydrunas Ilgauskas into a serviceable defensive player, when he has never shined defensively for any other coach. Brown has helped develop LeBron James into a guy who plays solid help defense. His defensive schemes have forced many teams out of their offensive rhythm and forced them to play the Cavs’ tempo on many many occasions.

Unfortunately for Mike Brown, being a one-dimensional coach is not good enough in this day and age in the NBA. Mike D’Antoni could only get Phoenix to play offense and he was fired. Avery Johnson couldn’t seem to get his troops in Dallas to play with consistent effort on the defensive end and he got fired. And these were coaches for decent caliber playoff teams who were relatively successful, and yet their management chose to cut the cord.

I hope that the Cavaliers’ management will do the same with Mike Brown this off-season. I know he has a good record, but it just isn’t good enough. This Cavs team has one of the top two or three players in the league in LeBron James and while some of the rest of the personnel leaves something to be desired, they need a coach who makes them better on both sides of the ball. Mike Brown coaches defense very well, but he can’t scheme offense and his player rotations are mind-boggling.

I won’t run through the laundry list of complaints again, but the highlights include:

  • Guys get in bad favor inexplicably and never see the floor again (Devin Brown, Damon Jones)
  • End of quarter plays have LeBron dribble 30 feet from the basket with no movement of the other players on the court
  • LeBron runs the pick and roll with non-offensive threats like Ben Wallace that guarantee he will be double-teamed (shoutout to Dan Labbe)

These are just a couple of things, but trust me there are more.

So, even if the Cavs miraculously pull off a series victory over Boston by winning tonight in Cleveland and again on Sunday in Boston, I can’t possibly support the continuation of Mike Brown as the Cavs’ head coach.  I have been saying it since last season.  I have said it since day one this season.  I am saying it now.  This guy should be done.  Cleveland can’t waste any more of LeBron’s guaranteed years here in Cleveland.  They have next season and the one after that to win a championship before LeBron becomes a free agent.  That is an opportunity of a lifetime and I don’t trust Mike Brown to make it happen.

Blizzard Ruins My Radio Show

I tried really hard to get to my radio show today, but the weather kept me away from it. I drove all the way down Chester Avenue in Cleveland and needed to cross one of the numbered cross streets to get to the Galleria in Cleveland to the radio station’s studios. As I turned on to East 12th, my car got stuck and I couldn’t rock it back and forth out.

I got out of my car and looked to the right to see Action 19’s station headquarters. They are a local TV station here in Cleveland. Some asshole was standing there filming me and not helping me push my car. I hope you got the footage you needed, dick.

Luckily for me, I packed a snow shovel in my back seat and after a bit of shoveling, I was able to clear enough wheel space to rock my car out of that street and back onto Chester. After seeing that none of the other cross streets were plowed either, I gave up and just made my way back up Chester to go home. No radio show for me.

You have to understand.  This is like being a stone’s throw away from getting where you want to go, but being blocked by a barbed wire fence and being unable to get there.

It wasn’t easy getting home, but luckily I made it. I will certainly have to get the chassis of my car looked at because of all the high snow that I had to drive through. Surprisingly, the rock show that my band, The Company Line is supposed to play tonight at the Beachland Ballroom has not been canceled yet. I really don’t imagine that it would make any sense to try and load my guitars and my amp into my car for another attempt at going somewhere.

Stay tuned for more details as I hope we can get this show rescheduled for another day.

Cleveland Sports Curse Radio Show 2008-02-23

This week we talked about the Cavs’ blockbuster trade.

Cleveland Sports Curse Radio Show 2008-02-16

This is a week old.  I am behind trying to post this stuff, but whatever.  Enjoy, if you choose.

Latest Chad Ford Cavs Trade Rumor

Update again:

Cleveland gets Ben Wallace, Wally Sczerbiak, Delonte West, Joe Smith

Seattle gets Ira Newble, Chris Duhon, Donyell Marshall

Chicago gets Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons

___________________________

UPDATE: According ESPN 850 in Cleveland, the Cavs are on a conference call with the NBA, Chicago, and Seattle.

The reported deal would send Ben Wallace, Delonte West and Wally Sczerbiak to Cleveland

The Cavs lose Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Donyell Marshall and other people that don’t matter.

__________________

From the chatroom, Chad Ford is reporting that the Cavs and Bulls might or might not have been talking about this deal.

Ben Wallace, Chris Duhon and Joe Smith to Cleveland for Drew Gooden, Donyell Marshall, Ira Newble, Shannon Brown, Devin Brown and Cederic Simmons … unless Ilgauskas is in this deal.

I am not sure why the Cavs would really want Ben Wallace, except that Mike Brown loves defense and maybe Dan Gilbert feels some Pistons connection with Wallace. Chris Duhon would help, I think. Joe Smith could help.

We will see. There is about an hour to go until the deadline hits.

Daniel Gibson Goes Crazy in Rookie vs Sophomore Game

Boobie Gibson and LeBron Share a Close Moment

In a huge moment of pride for Cavaliers fans, Daniel Gibson goes for 7 three pointers in the first half in the rookie vs sophomore game on Friday night. Gibson hit seven out of nine by my count. And with every shot that he hit, LeBron popped out of his seat courtside in street clothes and acted like he had just seen the greatest play in the history of basketball.

Kind of cool, as Cavs fans with the situation that the Cavs are in not being able to get any roster moves together, that LeBron is still having fun. He could be pulling a prima donna move pouting his way through life until Danny Ferry is able to make some kind of move. Instead, he is enjoying the moments and his time currently. He didn’t have to attend the rookie sophomore game, and most stars have skipped the games in the past.

As nice as it is to see LeBron support Boobie Gibson in the game, it does mean one important thing. You might as well take Gibson and put him on the list of untradeable players on the Cavs’ roster, because if LeBron likes him this much, that means he isn’t going anywhere. By my count that means you have LeBron, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and now Boobie Gibson. Everyone else is available.

UPDATE: Gibson continued the onslaught and hit four more in the second half.  In all he was 11 out of 20 for 33 points and won the MVP award for the game.  It is a weird exhibition game, but any hardware that a player can receive is an honor.

Brady Quinn Part of Rowdy Group Insulting Gays?

According to an article on Cleveland.com, Brady Quinn was a part of a crowd outside of a bar in Columbus during New Years festivities.

On the 9-1-1 call, Harris said that “Brady Quinn from the Browns” was “trying to cause a fight.” Harris told the operator, “I just walked outside and he exchanged many profanities with me and called me a faggot, of course.”

Anyway, so what is the deal with this whole thing? The answer is that nobody except those who were there on the night that it happened have any idea.

The bottom line is this. Brady Quinn used good judgment in stopping any kind of fight when the cops got there. No matter what he did wrong prior to that point will probably never ever be an issue because he was smart enough to not get arrested. Or, maybe he was just famous enough to not get arrested. Either way, this was a potentially ugly situation and since it is mid-February and we are just hearing about it now, means that it probably isn’t that big of a story.

Also, when it comes to slurs, I will say this. You shouldn’t use them as we all know. Still, when you get into a fight that is escalating and you are looking to throw a punch at someone, most situations I have ever seen have had slurs thrown around. Drunk guys who want to fight each other will always say offensive things about each other. These two guys want to bash each other’s brains out, so why wouldn’t they want to go and insult the very foundations of the people they are?

And I won’t get into it in depth here, but isn’t this why the “hate crime” laws are a bit scary? When I think of a hate crime, I think of a lynching or something pre-meditated where there is a 3 on 1 ratio of attackers to victims with clear racial implications. A bunch of drunk people in the parking lot of a couple of bars and restaurants resulting in a one-on-one fight, even with a slur thrown out of some sort, doesn’t sound like a hate crime to me. Being investigated, accused or charged with a sex crime in Las Vegas is nothing less than devastating in terms of the possible lifelong ramifications. Just being accused of a sex crime is enough to spin your entire life into turmoil. If you’ve been accused of a sex crime or you have been abused sexually, you have one option and that is to contact an experienced Sex Crimes Defense Attorney in Las Vegas to assist you in fighting the charges.

Anyway, I don’t have to worry about it because I have talked my way out of every fight I ever could have potentially been in.

When someone says, “Yo, I will kick your ass.” I usually say, “OK. So what? You probably would.”

So, the bottom line is this. We don’t know what Brady Quinn said, any more than we know what this dude who called 9-1-1 actually said. It is hearsay at best. Quinn and his boys didn’t get arrested. That is the end of it and Quinn should probably do his best to avoid situations like this one ever again.

The real surprising quote from the article is this.

La Fogata Grill owner Jeff Rinehart said Quinn’s group, which he said included about a dozen people — half men, half women — did not cause any problems while drinking inside his restaurant on New Year’s Eve.

“The only issue was trying to get everyone’s checks figured out,” he said.

Quinn has NFL money and he isn’t picking up the tab? What could it have possibly been? $500? $1000? $5000?

Even at $5000 I would expect mister first round draft pick to pick up that tab. Dude has NFL money! Come on Brady. Use better judgement and treat your peeps to some drinks.

Cleveland Sports Curse Podcast – 2008-01-12

This week we were live on 1540 KNR2. As we were talking about the Browns’ vacated Defensive coordinator job, they promoted Mel Tucker from within the organization. We talked about Derek Anderson and his being named the starter for next season. We talked about the Buckeyes and their problems in the national championship game.

If you want to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, click here.



Shannon Brown Could Be Cavs Next Big Loss

According to reports, Shannon Brown has requested to join the Cavaliers’ development league team due to a lack of playing time on the pro roster. You will remember that Shannon Brown was the Cavs’ first round draft pick (number 25 overall) in the 2006 NBA draft. Put him on the long list of Cavs draft picks that have been shuttered off into the abyss.

The Cavs have already stated that they won’t pick up the option for Brown’s third year on his rookie contract. That means that unless the Cavs change their minds, Brown will be an unrestricted free agent and could be signed by anybody league wide.

Now, I am not willing to jump in front of a train for Shannon Brown. We don’t know exactly what he has to offer as a player at the professional level. What I do know is that Brown has gotten inconsistent chances, at best. He has been inconsistent overall, but at the same time the whole situation just stinks of mismanagement of talent by the Cavs. Mike Brown has an affinity for veterans and throughout Brown’s two years in Cleveland those veterans have gotten the nod for playing time. This includes Larry Hughes, Eric Snow, Damon Jones, David Wesley, and the younger guys who are more like Brown’s peers, Daniel Gibson and Sasha Pavlovic.

That list makes me want to tear my hair out. You are telling me that Shannon Brown, who had a pretty damn good college career at Michigan State wouldn’t be able to contribute more consistently than any of those guys? We know he is a hell of a lot more athletic than any of them other than Daniel Gibson.

Add to this the fact that the Cavs have been MISERABLE at developing talent in the past, and I just cringe at the thought of what some other coaching staff might be able to do with Shannon Brown next season when he gets more of an opportunity. Look at Jason Kapono. The Cavs let him get away in the expansion draft because they didn’t feel he was worth protecting. For comparison’s sake, the Cavs protected Dajuan Wagner, Jeff McInnis, Desegana Diop, and Kedrick Brown as they let Kapono leave for Charlotte. Kapono has gone on to become a VERY solid contributor with Miami and now Toronto. Dajuan Wagner recently signed a deal with a POLISH TEAM CALLED PROKOM TREFL SOPOT.

All the Cavs had to do was evaluate their own talent better and they would solve a lot of their own problems. While I don’t know for sure about Shannon Brown, I would hate to see another player who is capable of contributing to this talent-starved team disappear.



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