Yeah, I’ve been avoiding writing this because I was just too irritated, but the time has come to sit down and begin planning for the ’09-’10 Cavaliers season (and beyond).
Frankly, the discussion about Game 6 has been played out already. We had our runs at it and Orlando just had everything working for them (including getting the calls when Anderson Varejao touches Howard’s back, but not when LeBron gets tackled on his way to the basket). But whose fault is it? It’s everybody’s fault. Nobody had a full game Saturday night and as a result, everybody has the summer off.
Now for the good news.
After his brief hiatus from the media, LeBron James stepped forward and discussed his satisfaction with the Cleveland Cavaliers, including their front office and the direction of the team. Contrary to popular belief, LeBron has NEVER said that he wanted to leave this city (that’s the product of a frenzied media and several thousand internet trolls). What he DID say was that he wanted to stay in Cleveland as long as the Cavaliers continue building towards success and keep him happy.
Monday’s press conference with LeBron brought some sighs of relief to a city.
“I’m great. I feel great about this situation that’s going on. You want to continue to get better, that’s all you can ask. We got better and I feel this team will be better next season. You don’t want to take a step backward. I think we went forward from the Boston series last year. Hopefully we can go forward next year.”
Upon being immediately deluged with claims of LeBron going to New York after the Eastern Finals loss, this was a welcome sound for Cavalier fans worldwide.
Now, LeBron did NOT say he was going to re-sign with the Cavs, but this was a STRONG step towards that inevitable conclusion. The facts are laid out before him, he knows it, and everybody with half a brain knows it too.
The Cavaliers are the only team that can offer him everything he wants and needs, and his family is here. No major city, especially one that is in a rebuilding phase of it’s own, can give him anything more except money…..and the Cavaliers just got a HUGE infusion of cash to offer James. The news of a Chinese investment group offering to buy 15% of the Cavs will all but seal the deal to keep LBJ in wine and gold. With that move, LeBron can successfully market himself, his shoes, his jerseys, and anything else he wants to a billion chinese people who are starved for NBA stars. The Chinese government doesn’t allow an open and free market as much as we do, but with part-ownership in the team, expect to see Hu Jintao open the gates for anything with LeBron’s name on it.
But that won’t happen if LeBron leaves the Cavs….because the Chinese ownership is NOT of LeBron, it’s of the Cavs. Sucks to be you, Knicks.
Here’s our current money situation, seen through the eyes of an optimist like me;
This all adds up to good fortune for the Cavs. We’ll have to add 10-12 million a year to LeBron, Smith and Varejao’s contracts, but we save about 19 million with the losses of Wally and Big Ben. That leaves us with 7-9 million dollars left to grab a strong player to add to LeBron’s arsenal, and that’s only if we want to keep the same salary as 2008-09. We can go over the limit and pay a luxury tax to the NBA since we have that money to spend (hello, China!).
Translation – relax, Cavs fans. LeBron will stay, and with the mastermind known as Danny Ferry at the helm, we will get everything we need and start fresh again in October.
The MVP of the league wasted no time showing his fans why he was given the award for the NBA’s best player. Then his team wasted no time showing the Atlanta Hawks where the exit is.
A mere 15 seconds into tonight’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, LeBron James was sending his first slam-dunk through the rim. It was a strong start to an even stronger night. James would finish with 34 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals in his first game with the official title of MVP.
The Hawks looked strong early on, burying 7 of their first 9 shots to take a 15-10 lead, but that was the end of their fun. From that moment on, the Cavaliers clamped down on defense and held the Hawks to 38 percent shooting for the rest of the night. They were equally as miserable from the free throw line, shooting 50 percent on 9-of-18 shots.
An Anderson Varejao tip shot with 3:33 to play in the first quarter gave the Cavs a 19-17 lead which they would never relinquish. The lead grew to 12 points in the second quarter, and as the second half wore on, the lead only grew larger.
Mo Williams paced the non-MVP Cavaliers with 21 points, and Delonte West added 13 points and 9 assists.
The defense for Cleveland was their strongest asset tonight, holding Atlanta to only 28 points after halftime and forcing 17 total turnovers.
But what is especially scary about this team’s performance is that their big men were a complete non-factor, and yet we still won by a huge margin.
When your four big men combine for 23 percent shooting (5 for 22) and grab a total of only 17 rebounds in 89 minutes of action, you do NOT expect to win by 27 points. And yet, that’s exactly what happened.
This team is scary good, and they are perfecting their game at the right time. From what I saw tonight, I see only one team that can beat the Cavaliers in the playoffs.