Archive for July, 2010

Cavs sign Joey Graham to a two year deal

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

The Cavs have signed Joey Graham to a two-year deal. According to Windhorst, the deal is worth 2.1 million over two years. It’s another role-player signing, but the money is good and Graham is a pro who’ll be good to have in the locker room.

Not earth-shattering in terms of the on-court implications, but the Cavs are definitely going to need everyone to have their heads where they need to be if they want to be competitive next season. Guys like Graham will help with that. If the signing is a flop, at least it won’t be an expensive one.

Scaling the Anger for LeBron James’ Return to Cleveland.

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

For those of you who missed all of the hoopla last night, LeBron James Heat jerseys have already found their way into the city of Cleveland. During an Indians game at Progress Field Wednesday night, one “die hard Cleveland fan” made his way to his seat wearing the newly stitched #6 jersey. Fans reacted as if LeBron James himself had just plopped down in left field, dousing the fan with beer and food. Eventually the fan was escorted out of the ballpark, exiting to chants of expletives by hundreds of angry Clevelanders.

But the incident certainly got me thinking. If this is how Indians fans reacted to the mere site of someone rubbing “The Decision” in their face on their home turf, how can we expect a building full of Cavs fans to respond when Miami makes their first trip to Cleveland this upcoming season?

How many police officers per hundred fans can we anticipate? Will fans have to arrive an hour before tip off just to be properly screened at the doors? Needless to say, this is a game that all Cavaliers fans have their eyes set on. I’m no different, as I will most certainly be at that game, which sadly enough could be the “playoffs” for the rebuilding Cavaliers this season.

Well, with this highly anticipated event in mind, I decided to take a look at some of the things we could expect based on past homecomings. Using lists of the top ten Cleveland sports villains and the ten levels of anger management, these are some of the events I believe could transpire at the Q.

Jim Thome (Level 7)

When Jim Thome left the Cleveland Indians it was a major heartache for Tribe fans. As blogger Len Kehoe puts it, “Thome thought of Cleveland as his second home. He told the fans he didn’t care about the money, he told them that they would have to ‘rip the shirt off my back for me to leave’… [but] Thome went for the money, breaking Cleveland fans’ hearts once again.”

However, since Jim Thome left the Indians for an NL team, it would be four years and another team later before he returned to Cleveland. Upon his return, he was met with a mixture of boos and cheers. In his second game back at Jacobs Field he was even fortunate enough to hit two home runs, perhaps being driven by the abundance of boos outweighing the cheering.

The Los Angeles Times did a good job summarizing Thome’s divided reaction return to Northeast Ohio in 2006.

Indians fans are now split in their sentiments toward the 35-year-old slugger, who was traded to Chicago last winter. Many still cheer him, but there are plenty of resounding boos each time he comes to bat in Cleveland.

Due to the partially softened stance on Thome’s trip back to the place that he used to call home, it’s quite obvious that LeBron James will likely never be this fortunate when playing in Quicken Loans Arena again. We can expect the boos to erupt x10 and the cheers of the 1-2% that claim their loyalty to LeBron will surely be drowned out.

Carlos Boozer (Level 8)

I still remember the game as if it was yesterday. After experiencing a few rowdy St. Patty’s Day parades leading up to 2007, I was absolutely thrilled to learn that the Cavaliers would be hosting the Utah Jazz on March 17th that year. And, for the first time since his betrayal, Carlos Boozer was actually going to play!

Fans made sure to pack the Q with hundreds of signs for the return of Carlos Boozer in 2007.

I quickly secured a couple of club level seats and made the pilgrimage to Quicken Loans Arena with hate in my heart and vengeance on my mind. The atmosphere was fantastic with a wide variety of notables, from duct taped Boozer jerseys, with an “L” over the “B” (“Loozer”) or “BIE” over the “ZER” (“Boobie”), to thousands of drunken fans, hundreds of anti-Boozer signs, and dozens of angry chants.

Every single time Carlos Boozer touched the ball, a sea of boos showered down on him from those sitting courtside all the way up to fans in the aptly named Loudville. The young children in front of me, who probably have no recollection of Boozer other than their father’s bitter complaints since the 2004 off-season, repeatedly screamed “Boozer sucks!” off and on every five minutes throughout the entire game.

With all of that said, electric atmosphere included, the overall level of disdain was slightly less than I had assumed it would be. This was Benedict Boozer, back in Cleveland, playing on one of the most alcoholic holidays in America. Perhaps the time off between Boozer’s bolting and his first game back in uniform softened the blow from what could’ve been battery tossing to merely signs, chants, and self customized jerseys.

In the end, there is one good quote we can take away from the 2007 not-so-St. Patty’s Day massacre. When asked about what he thought the Carlos Boozer homecoming would be like, LeBron James answered “terrible… it’s going to be pretty bad for him.” He followed this up by saying he understood that Boozer did what he had to do, but “whatever [the fans] do, I’m behind them.” It’ll be interesting to see what Cleveland players are behind the fans with “whatever they do” when James is the one visiting the once again scorned fanbase.

Albert Belle (Level 9)

When Albert Belle left Cleveland for the Chicago White Sox, it was a move that greatly angered fans since he chose to play for the team’s main rival. Feeling scorned, fans bottled up all of their animosity and saved it for his return the following season.

Belle wandered back to Cleveland in 1997 and was met with more hate than he could handle. Following the initial return on June 3rd, drastic measures had to be taken for the sake of security. As one Belle dedicated website documented the series in real time, “Angry, taunting fans throw debris at Albert in left field. Team owners add extra security for the last 2 games of the series and keep fans away from the porch overlooking left field.”

While it may seem somewhat harmless, once fans begin to throw anything at a player, all bets are off. Furthermore, the fact that additional security had to be brought in and certain sections of the ballpark were off limits proved that the heightened tension was cause for concern.

For James, this is the best case scenario homecoming he can expect this season. While I’m certainly not condoning it, there will undoubtedly be several stops in play, particularly in the first quarter, due to objects being thrown on the court at his direction. If fans wearing James’ #6 Heat jersey are getting pegged with debris in the very same left field stands that fans used to throw objects at Belle, I can only imagine what objects the actual #6 jersey will attract. Unfortunately for James, avoiding debris throwing fans isn’t as easy as closing off a section of the 360 degree, oval shaped arena.

Art Modell (Level 10)

The only one in the same weight class as James on this list, Art Modell is considered a curse word throughout Northeast Ohio. Unfortunately, for comparison’s sake, Modell has yet to once again step foot on the earth he tried to salt 14 years ago.

What was worse: Art Modell's original sucker punch or LeBron's recent roundhouse?

After stealing an entire sports franchise from the city of Cleveland, Modell had to abandon his Ohio home for fear of what fans may have done. Following several death threats, Modell hired an ex-Marine, Henry Gomez, to protect him down in his Florida home in West Palm Beach. But even though he had a military trained body guard and was over 1,000 miles away, Cleveland fans still lined up outside of the home, harassing Modell any chance they could get. That’s all of the way down in Florida, so take note LeBron.

From firing legendary coach Paul Brown, who the team is named after, to completely uprooting Cleveland’s beloved Browns, Art Modell is the city’s original villain. In a way that only furthers the anger towards him, Modell has internalized a lot of this hate and made it part of his persona. When asked if James would surpass him as Cleveland’s most hated villain, he responded “nonsense… I don’t think there’s any basis for it.”

Ultimately, James may never pass Modell as Cleveland’s number one sports villain, but he has to come back to the city at least twice every year.

So what should we expect?

To be honest, I’m not sure what this night will entail. There will certainly be a lot of anger in the air and the tension within the stadium will be unbelievable. It could be a night that makes the city of Cleveland look bad in the eyes of the nation or it could be a let down for those die hard fans who hope it makes LeBron James regret ever leaving the team.

One thing is certain, however. If the angry fans at Progressive Field on Wednesday night were any indication, you may want to proceed with caution that night. As Cleveland fan and blogger Matt Bowman put it, “Anyone who brings his/her children to the first Cavs/Heat game at the Q this year better not be complaining about crowd rowdiness.”

After all, crowd rowdiness and level 10 anger is to be expected.

Make sure to join the discussion at Numbers Don’t and Real Cavs Fans!

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Notes and Errata: July 28th, 2010

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

-Over the past half-decade or so, Entourage has gone from interesting comedy to watchable show to guilty pleasure to something you watch because it’s summer to Everything that is wrong with America and definitive proof that we are all horrible, horrible people. It is now the only show I watch out of sheer hatred. The only thing I remember from the last episode is that Turtle is now flirting with that girl who killed Heroes, and their banter was what Noel Coward would be forced to watch if he ended up in Hell. Also, the writers are still trying to get us to believe that Eric is from the mean streets. Or is something approaching a productive member of society.

I bring this up because, after the LeBacle, I now actually feel offended by Entourage. A prominent agent gave a lecture to my class last semester, and he was talking about how much he hates Entourage in the first five minutes of class. Vince’s childhood friends haven’t done a good job of running his career on the actual television show. How is it that people think the Entourage model can work in actual life?

I don’t have many “sources” around the league, but I do know some people that know some people, and I read. NOBODY thinks that LeBron letting LRMR handle his life was anything short of a horrible, horrible decision, and now Chris Paul has signed with them. Plus Dwight Howard is letting his friends handle his business, and the early reviews on that decision are not good. Three of the five best young players in basketball are being represented by non-agents, the most overpaid player in basketball (Eddy Curry) had to file for bankruptcy, and there’s about to be a lockout because the players aren’t getting paid enough. Does anyone else think that there may be relatively simple solutions to the problems that are about to cause a lockout?

Remember all of this when you’re watching “CP3, Dwight, and Bron-Bron’s smile-time variety hour of awesomeness” between games one and two of the 2014 NBA Finals. Anyways, I feel like none of this would have happened without Entourage. Screw you, Entourage.

-From LeBron’s twitter: LeBron really liked Inception, doesn’t believe in “reliable sources,” and really loves CP3 a lot. Social Media! By the way, Inception could’ve been a lot better.


That movie was set up to be interesting as all hell, then it became a straight action flick for the last 45 minutes. With that much going on, there really needed to be some rug-pulling of some sort. And no, it’s not enough to make the last shot ambiguous, drop a hint or two, and let the internet run with the theory that the whole thing was Leo’s dream, and they were Incepting that he really needed to let go of his wife. Cool theory, but it needed to actually be present in the movie. Dead-author theory, bro.


That’s actually all I have for tonight. I realize that this post was especially pointless, but I have to report for possible jury duty at 8:30 in the AM, even though I served on a jury last summer. I am less than pleased by this turn of events. Until tomorrow, campers.

On the Ramon Sessions Trade

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Let’s get into it, Pro-and-Con style:

Pro: Ramon Sessions is the best pure point guard the Cavaliers have had since Andre Miller, and was a necessary acquisition for Byron Scott.

(I’m not being hyperbolic about Sessions with the above statement — I believe Sessions to be a better pure point than Jeff McInnis, Damon Jones, Eric Snow, Daniel Gibson, and Mo Williams. Not saying much, when you really think about it.)

The good news here is that Ramon Sessions can really play. He’s a true drive-and-kick guard who loves to get into the paint, and he’s as good as any guard this side of Kyle Lowry at drawing fouls. He was a highly coveted free agent guard last season, and the contract he ended up getting is pretty fair.

On paper, last year was a huge disappointment for Sessions, but his per-48 numbers were pretty good; 7.2 assists, 15.9% draw foul rate, and the best net +/- of any regular rotation player on the Timberwolves. If he can get back to his 07-08 form, when he averaged 11.3 assists per 40 minutes, that would be spectacular. But if Sessions gets enough minutes and room to stretch his wings, the 09-10 version of him will work just fine.

The Cavs desperately needed a playmaker to make this uptempo offense work, and now they have one. The Cavs have athletes on the wings, but it’s not about how fast the players move — it’s about how fast the ball moves. Sessions is also comfortable playing full-court basketball; 48% of his shot attempts came in the first 10 seconds of the clock last season. If the Cavs put Sessions, Mo Williams, Jamison, and two athletes out on the floor together, they’ll have some serious offensive firepower going. Eternal Sunshine of the Run-And-Gun Cavaliers is getting closer to becoming a reality.

Pro: As TYA guys go, Ryan Hollins isn’t bad.

(TYA = Tall, Young, Alive.)

Hollins hasn’t done much in his career, but boy does he have some tools. He’ll make one or two plays every game that make you wonder why he isn’t a MUCH bigger deal. He’ll then make three or four plays that remind you exactly why he isn’t a bigger deal, but those can theoretically be fixed. Hollins has serious upside, uptempo basketball should suit him perfectly, and he’s 25. If he doesn’t play at all, the Cavs only owe him $5 million over the next two years. If everything works out for him, he could be a worse version of JaVale McGee! CATCH THE FEVER!

Pro: The Cavs got rid of Delonte’s contract with a minimum of fuss.

They made it clear they wanted to get rid of his $4.5 million in guaranteed money before the August 5th deadline, and they got something back for him in return. The Wolves will reportedly waive him, so it’ll be interesting to see where he’ll go — I’d LOVE to see him back in Cleveland, for reasons I’ll get into in a bit. If he becomes a bargain-basement guy, he’s a MAJOR steal. (By the way, Miami could definitely use West to back up both guard spots next season. Just going to throw that out there.)

Pro: The Cavs just completed a trade with David Kahn.

I have near-complete faith in my lack of faith in David Kahn. He had no leverage here, and his moves have not been good. I take solace in this.

Con: Ramon Sessions isn’t all that.

Ramon Sessions is a heckuva 8.2 points/3.1 assists player, but he’s still an 8.2 points/3.1 assists player. He’s not going to put the team over the top, and I don’t see any way this team wins a playoff series with Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams leading the charge every night. I worry that this trade will make the Cavs just good enough to cost themselves a high-lottery pick. I’d love to see this team limp into the playoffs. I wouldn’t mind a 15-20 win season and a ticket in the Harrison Barnes sweepstakes. What terrifies me is 5 seasons of 30-40 win basketball and #12 picks.

Con: This team may now suck at defense.

Take a look at the Cavs’ current rotation:

1. Antawn Jamsion — not a good defender

2. Mo Williams — unspeakably horrible defender

3. Anderson Varejao — excellent system defender

4. J.J. Hickson — absolutely terrible defender

5. Jamario Moon — talented but fundamentally iffy on defense

6. Ramon Sessions — awful defender in Minnesota

7. Anthony Parker — Solid NBA defensive player, above-average but way overrated as a lockdown guy

8. Daniel Gibson — good point guard defender, but a small point guard

9. Danny Green — question mark defensively

10. Leon Powe — not a good defender

The Cavs just lost a defensive mastermind in Mike Brown, and playing up-tempo often means taking more defensive gambles. Oh, and the best way to get wins out of a relatively untalented team is to play defense. I’m nervous about this.

Con: Delonte West should’ve been fought for.

I’m going to reserve final judgement on this until Delonte signs somewhere — for all I know, the Cavs plan to get him back, and the Wolves waiving him indicates that Delonte’s market value is less than $5 million right now. Not to put too fine a point on things, but this franchise has made it clear that it feels basketball is more than just a business. Saving money by waiving a player who played harder than anybody else, gave the Cavs huge bang for their buck in his first year with the team, fought with bipolar disorder for two seasons, struggled with his demons all season, played whatever role the team told him to without complaint, and is now the subject of The Rumor doesn’t seem to reflect a more-than-a-business philosophy. Full post coming if and when he gets signed, but right now I feel like Delonte deserved better.


Family Guy isn’t my favorite corner of the zeitgeist, but a reference feels appropriate here. Remember the Christmas episode, where Peter and the kids got the family’s gifts stolen, they scorched the turkey and nearly burned down the house, and generally completely ruined Christmas, but Lois seemed completely fine? Then she asked for a paper towel, found out there weren’t any left, and then just completely lost it? That’s how I feel right now.

Team unceremoniously dumps Mike Brown, the most successful coach in franchise history? Had to be done.

LeBron leaves? I made my peace with that.

Z, one of the most beloved players in franchise history, follows him? Good for Z.

The Cavs essentially waive Delonte, my favorite remaining player on the team? I saw that coming?

But TELFAIR? They really had to go ahead and make Telfair a throw-in? Telfair was my island of happiness in this hellstorm of an offseason. Whatever happened, I could always look forward to Telfair getting real minutes in an up-tempo system. The man is a genius in the open floor, at least in flashes. He’s just been stuck in half-court systems since his sophomore season. Now he’s stuck in the triangle, not to mention 40 other point guards. I didn’t need to see Telfair live up to his potential as a great change-of-pace distributor/scorer guard in a run-and-gun system. What bothers me is that he’ll likely never get a real chance. This one really took the wind out of my sails.

Well, there you have it. Welcome to Cleveland, Ramon Sessions. Sebastain and Delonte, you will be missed.

Links To The Present: July 24, 2010

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Here’s hoping and praying Lorenzen Wright is OK.  Wright went missing Sunday.

Can’t say I blame Matt Barnes for wanting to compete for a title instead of rebuilding.  Not even a good fit for the Cavs right now at 30.  But turning down all that extra money?  Things are bad in C-town when more money can’t even buy FA.

Understatement of the year: “They are not blockbuster moves, but the Cavaliers are taking steps to fill holes on their roster.” [Plain Dealer Staff]

Cavs sign Christian Eyenga

Windhorst has GOT to be joking with this one: “Word is LeBron indeed advised Paul to demand a trade but he wants CP3 to stay in Western Conf. to make a better rivalry.” [BW Twitter]

Christian Eyenga Highlights

“Now, after the shadiest summer in league history concluded with those three all on the same roster (not to mention the apparent shenanigans with James Jones and Richard Jefferson opting out from and then returning to the Heat and Spurs, respectively), that question has moved from a hypothetical “what if?” to a very real “it did.”” [John Hollinger thinks the Heat will win 63-68 games.  sounds familiar?]

“At his home in New York, Miller must be smiling, for James represents the ultimate victory for the player. He broke no rules. He merely exercised his rights. He articulated that the condescending paternalism that is such an odious part of pro sports (could we cease once and for all with calling owners “mister?”) must now give way to full, even cold-blooded partnership. If teams can trade players without the players’ consent, the players must then be able to utilize their power to manipulate the free agency process.” [Howard Bryant]

It was sort of obvious that if LeBron left writers would point out how absolutely atrocious the Cavs rosters the last few years have been.  My problem with all this analysis is that the Cavs were very good defensive teams, and that player accolades do not always translate to winning.  How many all-star games, MVPs, all-defensive teams etc did Amare Stoudemire play with in Phoenix?  They never won “anything” either.  The Cavs rosters were full of mostly one-dimensional offensive players because the offense was built around LeBron James.

Shaq wants to be a Celtic.  If the Cavs do a sign-and-trade who the HECK do the Celtics have that is young and worth taking a look at?

Should the Cavs retire LeBron’s number? Is Benedict Arnold on Mount Rushmore?  Speaking of…”The connection between Arnold and treason continued into the 20th and 21st centuries. In a recent reference, Dan Gilbert, owner of the National Basketball Association’s Cleveland Cavaliers, subtly invoked Arnold in 2010. Upset over the manner in which LeBron James announced his departure from the team, Gilbert’s company lowered the price of posters bearing James’s likeness to $17.41, referring to the year of Arnold’s birth” [Wikipedia BA]

“You think the NBA wants two of its top players in Miami, where basketball runs a distant third to the Dolphins and Miami Hurricane football? Of course not.  But this is how players think today. It’s hard to believe, but the new battle cry is the old one: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.’’ It’s not going to make building a contender any easier in small and mid-level markets. Then again, Kevin Durant likes Oklahoma City just fine. It doesn’t look like he’ll be bailing out on the Thunder anytime soon.” [Mitch Lawrence on CP3]

“LeBron made announcement at 6:27 pm PT. Surprised he didn’t do it at 6:24 so he’d be guaranteed to be Finals MVP next year.” [Question in Simmons Mailbag]

Tweets To The Present: Follow me @tompestak

“These days “brand management” & “doing what is best for your family” apparently means turning off as many of your fans as possible.” [Brian Windhorst]

“For those who missed it, Pooh Jeter, the 5-11 PG who impressed with Cavs summer team, has signed with Kings.” [SamAmico]

“Great day on the course with my coach Byron Scott. Oh yeah we played firestone.” [Mo Williams]

Matt Barnes, Shannon Brown, and Patience

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

So the Cavaliers missed out on the Matt Barnes sweepstakes. I’m completely fine with that. Matt Barnes is a very nice player, and he knows how to adopt his game to an uptempo system.

However, getting a player like Matt Barnes without a superstar or anyone who an offense can be built around is putting the horse before the cart. Matt Barnes is a nice role player, but he’s a role player. Overpaying him won’t turn him into a player he’s not. If the Cavs still had LeBron, or even had a guy capable of averaging 7-10 assists per game, then Matt Barnes would have been a nice pickup. They don’t, and he wouldn’t have been.

Paying Matt Barnes real money with the team the way it is now would have been a “statement signing” — the team would’ve overpaid Barnes to show the rest of the league that they plan on being competitive in the coming years. The problem is that statement signings don’t impress anybody, and eventually the team would’ve ended up owing real money to a player who wasn’t helping them achieve their goals.

LeBron + quality duct tape was the best plan Ferry had available to him after the Summer of 2005, but it still kept the Cavs from ever having a true core. Now that LeBron’s gone, the duct tape strategy makes no sense whatsoever. If the Cavs get a player, he better be two of the following three things: cheap, young, or good. If those opportunities aren’t there, the team has plenty of time to wait for them.

All of the above leads me to Shannon Brown. He’s young, he’s got talent, he should thrive in the full-court game, and he’s worth a lowball offer. If he wants real money, he can take a hike. He’s not a playmaker, his shot isn’t all that good, and is not an available domain. Until tomorrow.

Notes and Errata: July 22, 2010

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

-Apparently the Cavaliers have signed Samardo Samuels to a deal that partially guarantees the first year of his contract. I will confess that the only reason I remember Samuels from Summer League is that I distinctly remember thinking “Good Lord, Samardo freaking Samuels just scored 19 points on Hickson.”

That game was Samuels’ best one of Summer League, but he put in strong performances throughout his time in Vegas. My only issue with this signing is that he will not be defended by J.J. Hickson in any games next season. Samardo, you owe J.J. donuts.

-So Chris Paul has demanded a trade, and might end up on the Knicks or Lakers. With a trade this big, I don’t believe it until it happens, no matter how big. New Orleans will cling to CP3 with all of its claws. I’m sure Gilbert and Co. burned up New Orleans’ phone lines in the weeks leading up to LeFiasco, but there was no way the Cavs could offer them nearly enough salary relief, especially when you consider that any team that takes CP3 is eating Emeka’s deal.

So Chris Paul could possibly leave New Orleans for the Knicks, who have done nothing “right” as a franchise. Paul would then become pick-and-roll partners with Amar’e Stoudemire while playing for Mike D’Antoni. The “Sports as entertainment/Sports as morality” parts of my brain are at war right now.

Don Ohlmeyer, ESPN Ombudsman, on “The Decision”

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Here’s the link — definitely worth a read.

Your Rashad McCants Update

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

As some of you may know, Rashad McCants was on the Cavs’ Summer League Roster. You may also know that Rashad did not show up for Summer League. After talking to Rashad’s agent and the team, here’s what I know about what happened:

-Rashad was supposed to show up for Summer League and was expected to be there. His mother, a breast cancer survivor, became ill, and Rashad decided that being with her and her family was more important than being there for Summer League. According to his agent, Rashad informed the Cavalier personnel in charge of picking the Summer League team that he would not be attending, and they were very supportive of his decision. The team corroborated this version of events.

-Some of the Summer League coaches, who were not involved in the team-selection process, were confused as to Rashad’s whereabouts during Summer League. When I asked Byron Scott about McCants before the weekend, he told me that he had been made aware of Rashad’s situation before.

-The Cavaliers told me that their experience with Rashad has been a positive one.

-There was some initial confusion over whether Rashad planned to show up late to Summer League and play the last game or two with the Cavaliers; whether that was Rashad’s plan or not, it was not an option Byron Scott was interested in pursuing when I spoke to him. In any case, Rashad always planned on being in Las Vegas this week to work out with Tim Grgurich.

That’s the extent of what I know about this situation. If it really was just a big miscommunication, I hope he gets another chance to prove that he can be an NBA player both on and off the court.

Links To The Present: July 20, 2010

Monday, July 19th, 2010

“The old Cavs, obviously, were built around James, with players who were brought in because of the way their games complemented his. He was the supernova, the hub of the wheel, the raison d’etre. Without him, Cleveland is a shadow of its former championship-contending self, the nightmare scenario come true for a city that walked on eggshells for seven seasons — an expensive, old shell with no great player around which to build. There is Mo Williams, and Anderson Varejao, and third-year forward J.J. Hickson, and a lot of question marks.” [David Aldridge on Cavs]

“What the Cavs wanted to scream at the TV and have been seething about privately all during the Vegas Summer League is how could they when James himself had them shackled to the short term.” [Brian Windhorst on LeBron the FA Magnet]

Brad Miller, Kyle Lowry, and Matt Barnes all making 5 mil a year?  Yikes.  Might be time for Eric Snow to come out of retirement.

“There’s no way, with hindsight, I would’ve ever called up Larry [Bird], called up Magic [Johnson] and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team,'” Jordan said after playing in a celebrity golf tournament in Nevada. The interview aired on the NBC telecast of the event. “But that’s … things are different. I can’t say that’s a bad thing. It’s an opportunity these kids have today. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys.” [Michael Jordan on LeBron James]

Henry Abbott wonders out loud how LeBron James is now the player most people “love to hate”.  Seems pretty obvious – he USED to have a legion of Ohioans by his side.  Not anymore.

D Wade compares the media coverage of a couple of reg season “South Beach” losses to the WTC terrorist attacks.  Smart.

Erin Phelps shares her feelings as a transplanted Cavs fan.

“The Man” is being used in all different contexts. Bryant Gumbel’s take.