The sun did rise this morning and the world is still spinning. That is a relief, for awhile I didn't know what would happen. Kudos to Cavaliers fans in Clevleand/Akron for not going overboard and doing anything stupid last night. No need to go overboard, it is just a game after-all, LeBron proved it last night with his decision(despite a movie trying to claim otherwise.)
We are going to get on with the task of rebuilding the Cavaliers, but before that can happen I feel the need to address a few things, set the record straight if you will. Fans of other teams have been stopping by, which I welcome, but it is important that you give Cavaliers fans the room they need. We don't want your sympathy, but we don't need you tell us how to react, either.
Dan Gilbert's Response, While Over The Top, Completely Warranted - After sleeping on it for a couple of hours - I doubt many Cavs fans got much sleep - it is easy to see why some would believe Dan Gilbert's comments were 'sour grapes' or 'classless'. In truth, they were the heartfelt reaction of a man that has spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to keep his super star happy. Gilbert was in a no win situation, and he knew it. Gilbert and James obviously had a superficial relationship, and with the shackles of trying to please LeBron released was able to express how he truly felt. Make no mistake, if you read between the lines, you see what Gilbert's real frustration with LeBron is - the lack of respect for the ownership of the Cavaliers, who treated LeBron and his people the way a superstar should be treated.
LeBron didn't even have the courtesy to inform the Cavaliers of his decision until AFTER he went on the air. It was classless and cowardly. Was Gilbert's response over the top? Perhaps, but we don't know the whole story and GIlbert simply showed the passion that us fans have. It is both refreshing and reassuring.
"The Cavs Didn't Put Any Good Players Around LeBron" - I have probably seen this sentiment, or one like it, the most. Please, if you are going to spew the bias of the mainstream media, do it somewhere else. The Cavaliers did everything in their power to surround LeBron with the players necessary to get over the top. Did every move work? No, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Every chance the Cavaliers had to improve the roster the Cavaliers explored it. Even last off-season, the Cavaliers tried to land Ron Artest and Trevor Ariza. They tried to acquire Amar'e Stoudemire. They did everything the other teams with cap space did not do. They tried to win NOW. Of course, they were mistaken about LeBron's motivations.
LeBron James Showed His True Colors - First, let me say that LeBron didn't 'owe' the fans. He has earned the right to decide where to play basketball. With that right, however, come consequences. There will be tough consequences that LeBron himself is well aware of. James once said during an interview that he shared "a special bond" with Cavaliers fans because he was like us. He lived through "The Drive" and "The Fumble" , "The Shot" and the 1997 World Series when Jose Mesa blew the save. He shared a special connection with Cleveland sports fans because of it. Clevelanders have heard this type of talk before from it's athletes - Jim Thome once said "you'll have to tear this jersey off of me' when asked about his loyalty to the Indians.
What LeBron James showed however, and where we were all mistaken, was just what LeBron James wants to be in the NBA. Alan Hahn of Newsday said it best. LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh have turned the NBA into an AAU League. This isn't about the best opportunity to win - Chicago may have presented LeBron with that immediately - it was about three players wanting to prove to the NBA that it is the players that have the true power. It is the players that run the NBA. Throughout all of this, David Stern has been quiet. I don't expect that to last, and I expect the new CBA to address much of this.
"LeBron James Could Never Have Won In Cleveland" - I keep seeing this, and frankly I don't understand. The Cavaliers won 127 games over the past two seasons. They went to the Finals, to the Eastern Conference Finals, and deep into the playoffs 3 other seasons. They were on the cusp, they just didn't get over the top. Sure, there were times that LeBron teammates didn't make some plays. What about LeBron? HE was the MVP, yet it was LeBron that disappeared against Boston. With the Cavaliers up 2-1 against the Celtics, LeBron's demeanor changed, especially in Game 5. No one knows why, and no one on ESPN's crack staff of 'experts' asked LeBron about it last night. In fact, the only one to really ask LeBron about it, Brian Windhorst after Game 5, got a shocking answer from LeBron - "I feel bad for myself. I have spoiled the fans over the past seven years with my play." Those words carry a new meaning today, to be sure.
What about the Heat? LeBron is going to be able to win immediately in Miami? This isn't a video game. Right now, the Heat's roster composes of James, Wade, Bosh, Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller. That is going to win a championship? I'd say the Heat, even after they round out the roster with veteran minimum contracts, are 2 years away from contending. Again, this wasn't about winning now, this was about power in the NBA, and LeBron playing ball with his boys.
"Loyalty" - James Throws His Former Teammates Under The Bus - LeBron has the word 'Loyalty' tattooed on his body. He has always talked about it being about team, yet last night he neither showed loyalty or was about team. LeBron threw his former Cleveland teammates under the bus, implying that they lacked the effort or talent to play beside him. LeBron was the leader of the Cavaliers, he was MVP.
It has become apparent that LeBron has no desire to be the focal point. He doesn't want the pressure of shouldering a team. Maybe we shouldn't be surprised. Since he was a small child, LeBron was surrounded with the best players, placed on super teams that were expected to win. So was D-Wade and Bosh. Even when LeBron went to High School, he went with many of the guys he grew up playing with. They went as a team, a unit, put together to do one thing, Win. That isn't how the NBA works, and it was a shock to LeBron. He didn't want to earn it, he wants to take the easy way - the way it has always been for him. It remains to be seen if it will lead to Championships.
You can decide for yourself what to think about all this. Just do me a favor, if you are not a Cavs fan, keep your thoughts and opinion to yourself. You don't know, and regurgitating ESPN's nonsense is old and tired.