After all, for the second consecutive season the Cavaliers finished with the best record in the league and appeared to have a legit chance to win it all. Just like last season, LeBron was coming off another MVP campaign, only this time, he was surrounded with the pieces that could seriously make a run at a ring for the king.
There was no reason to think that LeBron and the Cavs weren't headed for a date with Kobe and the Lakers in an epic NBA Finals matchup. Boston appeared to be old and no longer a serious threat, and Cleveland matched up way better with Orlando than they did last year. Surely, with the talent added, they could at least beat these teams and advance to the Finals, or so it was thought by many.
In the process, LeBron's future would be secured, because there's just no way he could jettison Cleveland after taking them to the NBA Finals, win or lose.
The only way he could POSSIBLY commit the ultimate sport's betrayal and leave the city of Cleveland was if a a total meltdown happened.
Of course, this happened, being Cleveland and all.
The Cavs, led by LeBron, collectively threw in the towel against a rejuvenated Boston squad, who convincingly beat them in six games. Two weeks later, head coach Mike Brown was gone, and now over two weeks since his dismissal, general manager Danny Ferry joined Brown in the ranks of Cleveland's unemployed.
It is the recent departure of Ferry that should worry Cavs fans the most.
After all, the Celtic's soundly beat the Cavs in six games. They even beat them twice at the Q by a combined 50 points. The Celtics played very, very well, and the Cavs did not.
To say the least, LeBron certainly did not play like an MVP, for whatever reason, and the majority of his teammates followed suit. It was both ugly and unsettling, but the bottom line is that the Cavs did not deserve to beat the Celtics.
And the firing of Mike Brown, well, that should have been done perhaps a year ago. I mean, this was no shocker. Everyone saw this one coming.
Let's face it, Brown's time as coach of the Cavs was the basketball version of a relationship that lasts a little too long. She (or he, to be PC) does one or two things just well enough to keep you around longer than you should be even though you know there's no real future in it.
In Brown's case, the thing he did really well was defense, and he did a tremendous job instilling a defensive mindset in Cleveland that dominated the last two regular seasons. So I give him credit for that, and all the now meaningless regular season victories.
But let's be realistic. At some point (probably last postseason) we all realized Mike Brown was never going to lead the Cavs and LeBron to a championship. It was ridiculous to suggest that he could outwit the likes of a Phil Jackon for a seven game series, or even the likes of a Doc Rivers or Stan Van Gundy.
He was just way too deferential to LeBron and offensively deficient, not to mention he had no concept of a rotation and subject to apparent panic attacks. (How else do you explain playing Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Boobie Gibson in meaningful playoff minutes?)
Needless to say, the writing was on the wall with Brown's future, and it was defintiely for the best.
But Ferry's departure? Now that is one bad omen a less than a month before free agency hits. The panic button can officially be pressed in Cleveland.
Ferry's resignation means that the Cavs are officially in a period of transition at the worst of times. It indicates that all the victories and moves made the past two seasons were for nothing, no matter where you stand on Ferry's tenure as GM of the Cavs.
Personally, I think Ferry did a terrific job. This year's team was by far the most talented team LeBron has played on during his seven seasons in Cleveland. Ferry built a team this season that was more than capable of contending with last year's Eastern Conference champions, the Orlando Magic. Who can fault him for that? No one saw Boston coming this postseason. The Magic were the team that the majority of the experts figured LeBron and co. would have to get past in the East, not the Celtics.
But now, the Cavs are left as an organization in disarray. Gone are both the head coach and GM, and with it any sense of stability and cohesion heading into next season, which was an advantage many thought Cleveland would have heading into the most anticipated offseason in the franchise's history.
About the only things Cleveland can offer LeBron now that other teams can't is an extra year for more money and hometown loyalty. I hope that's good enough for the King, but I'm not so sure.