Various Cavs Links

There’s been a whole boatload of good Cavalier pieces recently and I wanted to pass some along. While I’ll post some excerpts, I highly suggest reading the articles in full.

Sam Amico says the Cavs aren’t planning any big trades:

But word around the league is, so far, the Cavs aren’t planning any earth-shattering deals before or on the Feb. 24 deadline. Instead, any attempts at a makeover are more likely to be saved for the off-season.

Granted, that could change quickly — as things sometimes do when the deadline draws nearer. And the Cavs will most certainly continue to listen and talk to other teams, and the possibility remains they will be intrigued by something.

Right now, though, the Cavs hold a lot of pieces and can afford to be patient. Nothing they do now will have any impact on this season, so there is clearly no need to rush.

That said, there has been talk the Cavs may make some smaller moves within the next few weeks. Much of that dialogue is supposedly centered around shooting guard Anthony Parker, whose professionalism, defense and expiring contract have drawn plenty of interest.

While Parker has not been linked to one team in particular, the belief around the league is he can help a team in contention as a key reserve. And while the Cavs most definitely appreciate him, at 35 years old, he is not part of the long-term plans.

Teams such as Chicago, San Antonio and Dallas all would be ideal landing spots for Parker, and according to sources, each has expressed at least a passing interest.

Also, forwards Jamario Moon and Leon Powe own expiring deals, and forward Joey Graham’s contract consists of a team option at season’s end. So all three are very movable. Unlike Parker, there hasn’t been much of an interest in those three.

Either way, any deal involving Parker, Moon, Powe or Graham would likely garner nothing more than a second-round draft pick in return. And that seems to be all the Cavs would ask for in return.

I’m cool with a second rounder for these vets.  No worries there at all.  I’m all for watching as little of Parker, Moon and Graham as possible. Second rounders can turn into Boobie Gibsons or Carlos Boozers or Mark Prices.

Kelly Dwyer takes aim at Dan Gilbert:

Nobody seemed to know this entering the season. Why anyone thought a core of 6-2 shooting guards, J.J. Hickson, Anderson Varejao and 34-year-old Antawn Jamison would be a smart thing to work with moving forward (“but we have that trade exception!”) is beyond me. Cavalier backers and employees can point all they want to the team’s massive injury woes, but a healthy Cavs team lost 14 of 15 games in December, beating only the Knicks at home in a close one. This team is awful, and it’s not the team’s fault.

It’s the fault of Dan Gilbert, whose hubris and ego led him to believe that he could coddle James and get away with it for years, believing that the narcissistic superstar would give Cleveland the hometown discount in preferring Mo Williams over Dwyane Wade. When James declined, Gilbert’s ego led him to believe that the team that James (and Danny Ferry and Mike Brown) left behind would be worth anything on its own.

Cleveland fans should have known from the second Gilbert brought up winning a ring for the Cavaliers ahead of James’ Heat squad that it was over. Nobody in the NBA should be guaranteeing rings. Not LeBron James or Phil Jackson or Gregg Popovich or the GM of a team featuring nine of the 12 Western Conference All-Stars. To guarantee a championship, or to place a timetable on a championship (“before the so-called King …”) is to not understand the NBA. Too many things can happen. Too many things can go wrong. It’s the epitome of naiveté, but that didn’t stop the Cavs from moving forward.

They didn’t rebuild. They chortled when I thought they’d lose, break it up and finish with 12 wins, and now the players have needlessly turned as embarrassing as the owner. That isn’t fair to these players and fans of these players (who, to their credit, still fill that arena every night no doubt on tickets bought years ago), but Dan Gilbert deserves every bit of this. Wherever he is.

It is hard writing this without making it an “I-told-you-so” piece. The issue with it is that I didn’t tell it like this, so I can’t say “I told you so.” I picked 12 wins for this team, but I also assumed the Cavs would break it up after two months or so, once the reality of that lacking roster hit home. They didn’t work it out that way, but through injuries, the expected exodus of Williams and Varejao came through without the added luxury of actually receiving assets in return. It’s the worst of both worlds, as the Cavs struggle to hit double-figure wins with the remnants of the LeBron era still dotting the roster. Suffice to say, this has been badly, badly mishandled.

I don’t disagree. He’s right about the Cavs not really rebuilding. I mean, sure, they’re playing young guys like Christian Eyenga and Manny Harris but they still haven’t made any moves.  The roster is still pretty much the same as it was in November.  I think their philosophy has changed a bit, by evidence of the playing time for the kids but their hand was basically forced.

I can’t agree with Terry Pluto enough:

The national media takes a quick glance at the standings and concludes James is right, the Cavs stink — so he can’t be blamed for leaving. Injuries are ignored. So is the fact that owner Dan Gilbert would have continued to spend and add talent if James had stayed.

In fact, the Cavs believed they had a deal for Bosh with Toronto if James would have signed an extension.

Miami was 37-14 heading into Tuesday night. It was the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, and the Heat have been indeed hot since wiping out the Cavs, 118-90, on Dec. 2. That dropped the Cavs to 7-11, Miami moved to 12-8.

But remember that no team won more games than the Cavs over the last two regular seasons. It was in the playoffs where they stumbled. It will be the playoffs where the final verdict on James’ decision will be delivered — not now or even in early spring.

Let’s see if Miami is still playing basketball in June.

EXACTLY.  This years Cavs team is missing their two centers, their star small forward and their sixth man. LeBron wasn’t the only depature from last year’s team. Nevermind that the roster was built with James as the focal point and without that main piece, the rest of the roster doesn’t really make sense.

Andrew Schnitkey at Waiting for Next Year makes much the same point:

People will rewrite history and I have no doubt that many will use this losing streak as some kind of vindication for LeBron leaving. As though this somehow proves all along that the Cavaliers were just LeBron and a bunch of horrible role players surrounding him. But this is not the same team LeBron played with. Of the players currently playing, Daniel Gibson is the only player out there who actually played more than one season with LeBron. Furthermore, this was a roster designed to compliment LeBron and his talents. So of course when you remove LeBron from the roster, the whole foundation is going to come apart.

I know that many fans had high hopes for this season yet. Many of us wanted to see the players rally around the heartbreak and disappointment of the offseason and prove a point to the world. Yet if we look at the retroactive inevitability of this losing season, we can easily see how that hope was just a mirage to help us ease the sting of LeBron leaving. The reality is that once Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Shaquille O’Neal, and Delonte West left, the core was disrupted and what was left was a run of the mill, under-manned, bad basketball team.

[snip]

This losing streak isn’t the lowest of the lows. Not for me, anyway. The lowest would be if the Cavaliers miss on the next few draft picks. Anything that extends the length of this rebuilding process is far worse than any ultimately meaningless losing streak. In fact, the losing streak actually serves to speed up the rebuilding process in this case.

I couldn’t agree more.

Brendan Bowers goes through the five things he’s learning this season:

2. Replacing the league’s most talented player with Jamario Moon as your opening day starter is not the best recipe for success.

This should have maybe been more obvious at the onset. If I wasn’t rocking my Goosey t-shirt with the number three on the back this summer I might have picked up on this then. However I didn’t, and as a result I placed unreal expectations and hopes on the shoulders of a guy who used to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. Meaning I thought he could be a serviceable starter. He isn’t though, and proved to be the worst starter in the NBA before he eventually stopped starting.

He was replaced by Jawad Williams and then Joey Graham, who were also the worst starters in the NBA during games they started. That position has now turned into a season long training camp for Christian Eyenga, and while I’m encouraged, my expectations of what the Cavaliers SF can be are a bit more grounded at this point.

The best part of this season is that Christian Eyenga is getting playing time. It’s not been a good season.

SI’s Mark Bechtel says you can’t blame any one person:

As for the front office, sure, owner Dan Gilbert came off as a bit of what psychiatric professionals may call “a nutjob” with his anti-LeBron screed, but he’s always been liberal with the purse strings, so it’s hard for fans to find much fault with him. Likewise, it’s tough to blame Danny Ferry, the team’s former GM and the man who, unfortunately, put most of this team together. Ferry was always in an odd spot. He wasn’t trying to collect talent. He had plenty of that in James. Instead, he had to build a roster that meshed with James. With James in tow, Ferry could afford to go get a shooting guard (Anthony Parker) who couldn’t shoot, because he was long and could play some perimeter D, and that’s what the team was lacking in its playoff loss to the Magic the year before. In effect, Ferry’s job was always to gild the lily. Then the lily tossed away every ounce of goodwill he built up in the universe just so he could kick a city in the teeth on national TV.

Which brings us to LeBron. The easiest thing to do is blame him for this mess, but somehow that doesn’t seem right. He left. It was his prerogative. It’s no more reasonable to blame him for the woes of a team he’s not on than it is to blame Laurence Olivier for how bad “Plan Nine From Outer Space” was.

So there you have it: Can’t blame the players. Can’t blame the owner. Can’t blame LeBron. Somehow, that’s fitting. Being deprived of a championship for 46 years isn’t enough. Now Clevelanders have a team that’s horrible, and they’ve been deprived of someone to blame.

I agree. Anthony Parker can’t shoot.  Though I feel we can kinda-sorta-maybe blame the owner, just a bit. The Cavs seemed completely caught off guard when LeBron left for South Beach. They should’ve taken the hint when Bron-Bron didn’t return Tom Izzo’s calls, no?

In a piece titled “The Cavs are Awful, Now What” Noam at Hardwood Paroxysm writes:

However, as a person who values the human mind and processes of learning (though I rarely actually follow through on this oh-so-modernistic promise), I struggle to muster excitement in the face of a record which teaches us … well, what does this teach us?

Does it teach us that the Cavs should blow everything up? Trade the few remaining assets they have for pennies on the dollar and go through the entire process again, this time doing it right by not giving a narcissistic 25 year old veto power in every decision the franchise makes? Everybody remotely involved with basketball, excluding people who’s names rhyme with Gan Dilbert, has known this for months.

Does it teach us just how great Lebron James is? In theory, it should solidify Lebron’s stature as this games’ greatest active player, showing us just how bad those teams he carried to 60 wins really are. But Lebron’s case is such a polarizing one, that the Cavs’ implosion without him was almost inevitable, and anything but educational. Those who recognized Lebron’s greatness feel validated, while those who didn’t will always find a way to diminish from him, until he wins that ring and maybe beyond.

Does it teach us that Christian Eyenga is not, in fact, the messiah? It strongly hints in that direction, and yet, we refuse to truly believe.

What’s funny is, I wasn’t paying attention to the Cavs on a day-to-day basis until they started threatening the All-Time losing streak.  I was apathetic until they started chasing history.

Scott Sargent of WFNY writes:

In past years, this random Wednesday night would typically provide the city of Cleveland with a relatively meaningless, mid-winter contest against an opponent whom they had bettered many times before. Such an evening would also feature 20,562 fans clad in their wine and gold apparel, all in their seats well before the national anthem permeates through the arena.

But on this night, there were roughly 10,000 fans — though the Cavaliers would report a sold-out crowd based on ticket sales instead of warm bodies through the turnstiles — and the game was far from meaningless. Caught in the middle of a losing streak of epic proportions, the city of Cleveland had a reason to join together and exude merriment: Their Cavaliers were not only competing at a high level, but they were winning. The team of their rooting interest were actually on the better end of a score, late in a basketball game.

If these events reek of patronization and sound condescending, perception may not be far off. This is a fan base that has seen their team lose by levels previously unfathomed; to have them be winning was not only exciting and long-awaited, but it was shocking. Strangers embracing one another with high-fives and raised glasses was a regular occurrence as recent as a season ago, but since July 8, 2010, a revolution of sorts has left an entire city in peril as well as the subject of ledes and headlines throughout the nation.

The unfortunate narrative is one in which the city of Cleveland is very familiar, but this time it appeared to be a bit more aphoristic than the let-downs of years past.

I struggled with what to quote from Scott’s piece. Can’t recommend this one enough.

and finally, this site cracks me up: http://www.didthecavswinlastnight.com/

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