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I Wanted Ron Artest and I am Dumb Sometimes

Since last season, I have always suggested that the Cavs would do well to acquire the services of Ron Artest.  My thoughts on the subject were that he plays some of the toughest defense in the NBA this side of Bruce Bowen, and he has the ability to score and rebound better than probably anyone else on the Cleveland roster that doesn’t have the first name of LeBron.  My problem is that I never updated my opinion after the blockbuster trade that brought in Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, and (wait for it) Ben Wallace.

I am as dumb as they come.  Take a look at the two people involved in catalyzing the ugliest incident in NBA history.

Oh yeah! Ben Wallace and Ron Artest got into a fight. According to some sources when Artest was lying on the scorer’s table right before he got the beer rained down on him he was yelling to Ben Wallace, “You can suck my balls!”

Uhh, yeah, so maybe the Cavs shouldn’t try and mend that Fence Master Chain Link Fence And Their Uses by bringing Ron Artest in to be a teammate of Ben Wallace.

My bad.

And because I have been such a bad boy with updating this site lately because of an impending move to the country, I should probably also comment on Daniel Gibson’s resigning. I love this for a lot of reasons. First, Daniel Gibson has earned the right to earn his contract in the NBA. He has progressed from being a second-round draft pick to one of the better spot-up 3-point shooters in the NBA. He finished 5th in the league in percentage last season.

At the same time, he and his father (who helped handle negotiations with the Cavs) realize that he is like a BJ Armstrong, or Steve Kerr and didn’t try and hold up the Cavs for every last penny, pretending that Daniel was some kind of superstar in training. They got him a really nice 4-year $21 million deal that can reportedly be worth more if Daniel reaches incentives. This is a really fair deal for both sides.

As an NBA fan, I wish I could feel this way about more deals that players sign in the NBA.

Dan Gilbert Votes in Favor of a Sonics Move

The owners of all NBA teams voted last week whether or not they approved of the Sonics’ proposed move to Oklahoma City.  The vote was a landslide 28-2 in favor of allowing the move.  The only two dissenting voices were the Portland Trailblazers, owned by Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen, and Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks.  That means that for whatever reason, Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers voted to approve the proposed move.

Now, I don’t want to jump to conclusions about what Gilbert’s reasoning was in voting this way.  He might be friends with some people in the new ownership group.  He might be looking to make sure he maintains all the autonomy that he can as an owner of a huge sports franchise like the Cavaliers.  If he doesn’t support one ownership group’s rights then they might not support his rights at some point in the future should he decide to do something.  Those are all points of conjecture because I honestly don’t know.

What I do know is that Gilbert is not in tune with the desires of Cleveland fans on this issue.  Gilbert is based in Detroit, and he has done a very good job of ingratiating himself to this community.  He purchased the Cavs and put lots of money into the team, the arena, and the city in general.  He put a satellite office of his Quicken Loans business in the city and hired employees to work there.  These contributions to Cleveland cannot be understated.

Still, I think that he has a few things to learn about Cleveland sports fans.  Most of us feel defined by the loss of the Cleveland Browns.  We feel defined by the outrage, the petitions signed, the testimonials before government, the moral victory of keeping our team name, the horrendous start to expansion and everything else that went along with Art Modell moving our team out of the city.  And these same Cleveland sports fans who feel defined by this occurrence in the NFL are the ones who are paying the ticket prices and watching the commercials and buying the food and jerseys at Quicken Loans arena to support Gilbert’s Cavaliers team.

For him to fall in line with the rest of the other 27 owners who voted to allow another city’s team to be ripped out from under them as he represents Cleveland is a travesty.

Again, I don’t know his reasoning.  I just can’t imagine the excuse that he could come up with that I would find acceptable.  I find it embarrassing to think that someone who wants so much to be accepted by the city of Cleveland and who needs the city of Cleveland to remain successful would so misjudge the way he should have voted on this issue.  I know he wasn’t elected by us, but in a sense we elect him year to year based on the team, the arena, and yes, even our sentiment for him personally as the owner of our team.

With that in mind, I would love an explanation and I would love for Cleveland fans to express how unhappy we are to be included in the group that was willing to have Seattle’s team ripped from their city.  As we in Cleveland know, it is always the fans that pay the most when a team moves, and we know only too well how high a price it is.

The NBA is Out Of Control

 There are a whole lot of weird things going on in the NBA right now, and it just doesn’t feel right.  It is crazy enough to have guys get traded at the trade deadline and have guys reshape the way a team works, like what has happened in Cleveland, Phoenix and Dallas.  Then on top of that, there are all these tertiary transactions that are taking place which all seem to be effecting the playoff races going on, and it seems anti-competitive.

Here are the things that come to the top of my head.

  • Brent Barry gets traded, cut, and then re-signs with the team that traded him to begin with, the San Antonio Spurs.
  • Sam Cassell gets bought out and gets to go to the Celtics who have been talked about as a potential suitor for months.
  • Theo Ratliff gets cut and gets to join the Pistons for the league minimum.
    • Chris Webber gets bought out the year before this by the 76ers and promptly joins the Pistons.
  • Dallas uses a retired playe, Keith Van Horn, to get a deal done that brought Jason Kidd into their lineup.

Now, I guess these are all technically legal under the rules the way they are set up.  It just doesn’t seem right that contending teams can get players who were making a lot of money without giving anything up and then not having to pay the incoming players any significant amount of money.

I don’t know what the answer is, but why, exactly do the Celtics deserve the services of Sam Cassell?  Why exactly, do the Pistons get to pick up a big man late in the season, two consecutive years in a row?  Finally, how is it that someone can be part of a trade, and a short time later end up back with another team?  This calls into question the validity of the games and has clear implications on the playoffs.

I feel like maybe the trade deadline needs to turn into a bigger deal so that these cuts, waivers and roster moves can’t be made up to the playoff roster deadline.  Having the time difference between the two deadlines only opens up these types of inexplicable roster moves that seem shady, at times.

Live Blogging NBA All-Star Saturday Night

I warmed up some coffee from this morning and I am ready to go until I get bored. Of course, I am really just looking forward to the three-point competition so I can see Boobie Gibson compete.

  • First up “Shooting Stars” which I think is taking over for that 3-ball competition. I don’t know if anyone cares about this competition, which pairs an NBA star with a WNBA star and an old-timer to shoot from certain spots on the floor.
  • Yawn, yawn, yawn.
  • The only thing to say right now is how much I miss the Czar, Mike Fratello. I know he coached the most boring brand of basketball in the history of the NBA when he was in Cleveland, but he won without much talent. I shudder to think what he could do with LeBron and the also-rans that populate the Cleveland roster today.
  • I don’t know anything about the Haier brand, but the song in their commercials is good. The performance of it is bad, but if you gave it to U2, or Aerosmith or even Chris Daughtry, I promise you it would be a hit.
  • Holy shit! Was that a Damon Jones sighting? What the hell is he doing there? He begged to be in the 3-point contest last year and they said no. But there is Jones this year with his faux-hawk and a rouge velvet jacket. What a whacko.
  • While I have downtime and because I have seen an Arby’s commercial, I am going to check and see if the rumor that I heard is true. I heard that Arby’s ships all their “meats” as liquids in bags. Everyone that I tell this rumor says it must be false, and yet, I have never gotten around to researching it. Yes, folks. This is what my wife married.
  • Stupid Snopes made it too easy. Apparently, Arby’s meat is shipped in a “self-basting” solution which some employees might confuse as the meat itself. Snopes assures us all that the rumor is false. Oh well.
  • OK, so while I was doing that, San Antonio won the shooting competition with David Robinson, Tim Duncan and a WNBA’er that I still don’t know. Thankfully that portion of the evening is over.
  • The skills competition. This competition has been a joke over the last 10 years because the fundamentals have gotten so bad in the game. Don’t believe me? Remember that Darius Miles was a top draft pick in the period of decline that I speak of. If Darius hadn’t appeared with Scarlett Johansson in a movie, imagine how low on the totem pole of the universe he would dwell.
  • J-Kidd is up in the competition and Reggie Miller went out on a limb to say that Kidd was trying out for a spot on the Mavericks. Kinda funny, really. Uh oh. J-Kidd couldn’t hit the three for the life of him. I don’t remember when Kidd turned into such a bad shooter.
  • Is it me or does Jason Kidd’s young son already have a stache?
  • Dwyane Wade is up next in the skills challenge. I think he just got the benefit of a foul call as he was going through the first skill.
  • This just in, but I don’t think Dwyane Wade is healthy.
  • This also just in, I don’t think Dwyane Wade’s parents can spell. I can’t tell you how much I hate typing his name.
  • They just showed LeBron and he looks like he stole his coat from Inspector Gadget.
  • OK, the skills competition is complete. We are getting through this garbage quickly. Very nice work by the NBA. They are doing a better job of pushing these events along. If I am rooting for everything to get moved along more quickly, someone tell me why I am watching at all.
  • I love Charles Barkley, but he must ignore all the producers that are invariably screaming in his ear during broadcasts. He never saw a commercial break he couldn’t talk his way straight into.
  • Finally, the moment that the homer in me has been waiting for. The three point competition. I am really hoping Boobie is on fire like he was last night. I don’t hold out too much hope, but I am rooting hard even though this doesn’t really matter.
  • Did Jason Kapono just call it a “stiff field?” I don’t think that is what he meant at all.
  • Rip Hamilton is up first and the question I had has finally been answered. No mask for the three point competition.
  • Hamilton finishes with 14 because he stepped on the line a bunch. I don’t think I have ever seen them watch the line so closely before.
  • Boobie is up now!
  • Boobie passed Rip Hamilton at least with 17 points!
  • I am such a homer.
  • I know it is going to be a controversial point here, but I gotta say just playing New Orleans style music doesn’t do it for me. As a style, I don’t really gravitate to it all that much. It has to be really really loud and or jazzy for me to be interested. Too much of the stuff I hear is middle of the road. I generally don’t like any kind of music at mid tempos and mid volumes.
  • So, not to get all geek here, but Dirk just tied Boobie at 17, but if the time left is the tie-breaker, I think Boobie had time left on the clock and Dirk had no time left. Again, this doesn’t matter, but I am rooting hard.
  • Again with the Damon Jones stuff. Why in the world are they showing Damon Jones? Why is he there? He isn’t in the competition and he isn’t on the allstar team. I bet he had to buy a ticket.
  • Kapono knocks down 20. He takes the lead, but Gibson moves onto the second round. For the record, Jason Kapono should still be a Cleveland Cavalier. He was left unprotected for Jeff McInnis among others when he was taken in the expansion draft.
  • Boobie gets 17 in the second round. At least he is consistent. Hopefully he put up enough to hold off either Dirk or Kapono, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
  • Dirk gets 14 and Boobie is looking good in the clubhouse!
  • I know that this whole thing has taken a turn and there is nothing witty going on right now. Still, I am enjoying this. Plus, I can’t beat Barkley.
  • Barkley and Kenny Anderson are using the word “tittie” and I don’t think that would be allowed on regular TV. I know it isn’t allowed on regular radio.
  • Kapono caught fire and went for 25 to put Gibson’s dreams in the showers. Still, not a bad showing for Gibson and the Cavaliers.
  • So the vote for the best year’s slam dunk competition is still going and last time I looked the year 2000 was beating 1984 and 1988 among others. This is a really bad way to tabulate the “best” because it is according to txt messages sent in by viewers and we all know that the average txt messager was born well after 1980, so 1984 and 1988 don’t stand a chance even though they were THE definitive slam dunk competitions. Vince Carter was amazing, but he didn’t have any competition.
  • I don’t want to be mean, but I just don’t get Dr. John. I am sure some music snobs will tell me that I am “wrong” but dude can’t sing hardly at all. If that makes me a bad person, then I guess I am a bad person. Seriously, I love that song and I know where it is going, and I know where it can go, and he went places he shouldn’t with some of those notes.
  • Magic Johnson doesn’t deserve a soliloquy in any way shape or form ever. Also it was awkward that they let Magic talk, but Dr. J didn’t have a microphone and was just talking to himself, basically.
  • Does anyone remember when Gerald Green won last year and that was the only thing that the Celtics had to be excited about last season? What a difference a year makes as Green plays for the T-Wolves and the Celts have the best record in the east.
  • OK, we have had some good dunks so far, but now Gerald Green has a cupcake on the rim and he is going to do something crazy with a lit candle.
  • Gerald Green blew out the candle while dunking on an alley oop! 1000 points for creativity there.
  • By the way, we all know that this whole day is really for the all-star players to do their impression of def comedy jam. Watching the reaction shots of all the NBA stars is by far the funniest part of the show.
  • There is nothing to say about Dwight Howard. Simply amazing right now. He shouldn’t be able to jump that high with how tall he is. Wow. Dwight Howard finishes round one with TWO perfect scores.
  • It’s over.  It’s over.  Dwight Howard wins in a landslide.  That’s it folks.  No more.  I am done.  I made it through the competition.  It was a good night.  Thanks for hanging with me.  I can’t listen to any more of the banter between Dr. J and Cheryl Miller.

Someone Flips the Bird After the Rookie Sophomore Game

Jamario Moon Someone might have wanted to wait until he got to the locker room for this special hand signal he had for someone in the handshake line. I don’t think he was really upset or anything, and I am assuming he was just goofing around with someone, but he landed in the unfortunate position of throwing his middle finger almost directly into a camera on the court after the game. Whoops!

Welcome to February Sports News

After the Super Bowl and before March Madness or pitchers and catchers report, there is nothing to talk about in sports. I give you exhibit A. This snapshot was taken from ESPN.com’s front page today.

That’s right. A piece about the Olympics that is six months away. Not only that, but it is a canned piece that you know ESPN was sitting on so they could fill their pages with something (ANYTHING) during this down period in sports.I am not biting on this one. I will not read about Chinese athletes and their plight to participate in the most boring part of sports the world has to offer. I will not read about it six full months before this boring exhibition takes place.

This should be viewed as an opportunity. Someone needs to take this time and fill it up. The NHL or NBA need to think about putting together a mid-season mini playoff or something. The UFC needs to put in a two or three week tournament putting all their belts on the line in their varying weight classes. A sport like golf, tennis, or even badminton needs to step up and create some kind of interesting multi-week event to capitalize on all the bored eyes sitting out there that are fiending for some decent sports action to follow.

Let’s have a summit. I want David Stern, Gary Bettman, Bud Selig, Don King, Mark Cuban, Dana White and Vince McMahon to sit down and hash this thing out. I need something to be done about this now.

What About Dwyane Wade?

I don’t know if any of you know this by now, but Shaquille O’Neal has been traded to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. You would have had to dig pretty deeply into the sports websites to find any mention of it. But seriously folks, I know it is big news in Phoenix, but why isn’t there anything being said in Miami?

I know the Heat are really bad this year with a record of 9 wins and 38 losses, but let’s keep in mind that this team isn’t that far removed from a championship win over Dallas a couple of years ago. The question I have is whether the Heat are risking alienation of their star player, Wade, by trading Shaq? Or is it the other way around? Were they risking alienation if they didn’t make a big move to change the downward slide?

I would guess it is the latter more than the former. And the Heat are still a bit of a mish mash of mixed up talent on the floor, but they should start to get a more cohesive game plan together now that Shaq is gone. Heat fans shouldn’t expect to get very far this season, but they can hold out hope that this is all just a part of the turnaround.

For the immediate future, the Heat should at least expect to be more competitive. They should play a more up-tempo style now that Shaq is gone. They have Ricky Davis, Jason Williams, Udonis Haslem and now Shawn Marion to run the floor with Dwyane Wade. And who knows for sure if they have enough guns to make this new up-tempo style effective, but I would think that Marion and Wade are a good start to any team.

Then again, I also believe that any team that features Ricky Davis is due for some addition by subtraction.

Why Give Mike Brown An Extension?

Yesterday, when I heard they gave Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown an extension, I had nothing else to say but, “WHY???!?!?!!?”  And seriously, don’t assume that I am overstating things with the capital letters and all that additional punctuation.  If extending Romeo Crennel’s contract was a bad idea, then extending Mike Brown’s contract was the worst one ever.  You see, in football there are at least two coordinators that can help with the game planning.  And to Romeo Crennel’s credit he is very good about letting his coordinators coach without too much interference.

Mike Brown, on the other hand, is on record as saying that he wouldn’t hire any offensive coaching help after last season.  If anyone needed an offensive coordinator after last season, it was Mike Brown.  He didn’t want there to be any confusion on the team with too many voices making noise from the sidelines.  Seriously.  That’s what he said.  I would think that the Cavs would be better off with a little bit of confusion about who is talking rather than the widespread general confusion with which they run their offensive “sets” on a nightly basis.  But what do I know?

So, what were Danny Ferry and Dan Gilbert thinking?  None of this makes any sense to me.  The problems with the Cavaliers from a coaching standpoint have been well-known since Mike Brown got here and yet none of them have been addressed.

  1. Mike Brown’s offense is confusing, inconsistent, repetitive and doesn’t lead to as many high percentage shots as a good offense should.
  2. At the ends of quarters, halfs, games and on important inbounds plays the plan usually consists of getting LeBron the ball and watching him dribble and probably shoot a fade-away jumper.
  3. Mike Brown does not develop young talent.  Daniel Gibson had to force his way into the lineup.  And even still, Gibson has done nothing but perform and Mike Brown continues to start Larry Hughes and Sasha Pavlovic in front of him.
  4. Mike Brown’s player rotations are continually mind-boggling.  He can have guys start who disappear completely before the game is over.  Drew Gooden and Zydrunas Ilgauskas are usually the most likely candidates for disappearance.  But the weird thing is how Ira Newble or Damon Jones can show up and play for two weeks, not play too badly and then disappear completely for two months.  This also contributes to number three and specifically Shannon Brown who got some playing time, seemed to be getting comfortable and then had “DNP – Coach’s Decision” next to his name in the box score for two months without warning or explanation.
  5. The 3rd quarter has been, and continues to be a HUGE problem for the Cavs.  They come out flat, they give up leads, the fall further into deficit.  Whatever.  It has been ongoing for as long as Mike Brown has been in Cleveland.

Now, I can’t take anything away from Mike Brown’s commitment to defense, but these other things are real bona fide problems with Mike Brown as a coach that he hasn’t been able to rectify.  Maybe I overstate the negatives, but I can’t help but feel like this team would do better with someone who was a complete master of the game.  At this rate and with the numbered problems above, I still view Mike Brown as a defensive specialist who hasn’t figured out his weaknesses and how, as leader of the team in the East with arguably the most talented player in the NBA, to overcome those weaknesses.

Maybe this is a result of my fears that LeBron is going to leave this town and this team at the end of his contract if they don’t win a championship.  I feel like that fear is relatively tangible and it feels too real to be fake.  With those stakes in mind it confuses me to think that Danny Ferry and Dan Gilbert think that Mike Brown gives the Cavaliers their best chance to protect their market value by winning a championship and subsequently keeping LeBron here.

I sure hope they are right.

Video: You Shouldn’t Taunt LeBron James

So, when LeBron and the Cavs are playing horribly through three quarters and they appear to be on the brink of losing to the Toronto Raptors, just sit and enjoy it. If you taunt LeBron, he might just come back almost single-handedly and score 24 points in the fourth quarter to steal the game. It will be even more embarrassing for you if you happen to be Chris Bosh’s girlfriend. It must have been an awkward dinner later that night with Chris and his girlfriend.

The Cleveland LeBrons Are Back

When I panic too early in an NBA season again next year, can someone please remind me that LeBron James is on the Cleveland Cavaliers? Also, it doesn’t hurt that 16 teams get the “honor” of playing in the NBA playoffs. And maybe my panic wasn’t totally unjustified. Sasha Pavlovic held out. Anderson Varejao held out and said he didn’t want to play in Cleveland anymore. Larry Hughes looked horrendous and then got hurt. Right after an impressive win where LeBron willed the Cavs to victory over the Boston Celtics, LeBron got hurt. The Cavs lost six in a row and I was starting to be convinced that the season was over.

That might have been a bit premature. Pavlovic came back. Varejao signed and said he wanted to put the past behind him. Larry Hughes got better, health-wise and talen-wise. Finally, LeBron came back from his finger injury. Since LeBron has come back from injury, the Cavs are 6-5 but they are getting better as they have one three out of the last four games including an impressive performance last night against a much improved Atlanta Hawks team.

The team is finally playing a bit of defense, although you wouldn’t know it from the score – 94 to 98 – in favor of the Cavs. The Hawks were bombing threes and making them at the end of the game, which accounted for the high score. Joe Johnson of the Hawks was 4-6 from three point land including two huge threes with very high difficulty at the end of the game.

The problem was that he was facing the most untradeable player in the NBA according to Bill Simmons. LeBron started slowly, but scored 36 points. He scored 32 points in the second half and 19 in the 4th quarter. Anderson Varejao played that crazy, energetic style off the bench and picked up 11 rebounds. Larry Hughes shut up his critics (myself included) for another night as he was 6-10 from the field. Slowly but surely, this team appears that they might be starting to play like they did last season.

And that is why I need someone to remind me about who LeBron James is next year when I panic early.

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