Dan Gilbert, the Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner, and the Cleveland Cavalier fans certainly should be disappointed with the departure of LeBron James. I get the hurt and I get the frustration of how James left.
I honestly think it was disgraceful what James did, to make the announcement through a press conference on ESPN. It's not the sign of the time that the NBA is in, it's the ego of James.
He needs to be the center of attention and now he's got it, regardless if it's negative attention or positive attention. I earlier wrote about James willing to sacrifice his own legacy to win a championship.
I still believe that to be the case, but it doesn't mean that the way James handled the situation was right.
In the article "Cavs Owner says LeBron James Quit in Playoffs" by Tom Withers of the Associated Press, Withers has Gilbert saying that after the season ended James didn't respond to text messages or phone calls from him and that the decision wasn't told to the Cavaliers franchise until he had actually announced it on ESPN.
Gilbert also wanted to point out that in games two, four, five, and six in his mind it appeared that James had given up in the Boston Series. He also claimed that in game six in 2009 against the Orlando Magic, James gave up.
Frustration leads to saying things that a person doesn't necessarily mean. I think in this case that is what Gilbert is doing because if he opened his eyes he'd realize that he is the one that failed the Cavaliers franchise.
The Cavaliers could have had, for a long time, one of the greatest players ever to step foot on the court, but Gilbert never surrounded James with the talent that would win a championship. Even after James had stated that he wanted to be in Cleveland to win!
You can look at the each season the Cavaliers had James and the win totals:
In the first two seasons for James, the Cavaliers did not make the playoffs. In the years after that, the Cavaliers made the playoffs. The Cavaliers lost in the semifinals three times, the Eastern Conference Finals once, and the Finals once.
After the Finals appearance, you would have thought that Gilbert would have had a clue that James needed help that he can't do it on his own. Yet, Gilbert didn't really to improve the team.
Basically, just like the year before and getting to the Finals, the Cavaliers were pretty much James and then a countless number of role players.
Even in 2008-2009, when the Cavaliers won 66 games, still the team was mostly role players. Mo Williams was the biggest acquisition for the Cavaliers. Williams is a solid player wasn't really known for his defensive abilities, but he could take some of the pressure off of James because he could score.
He wasn't exactly a point guard that could create his own shot and distribute the ball. So, that meant James again had to pretty much act as the point guard for the Cavaliers.
But, is 4.1 assists from a point guard a really good number? That's what Williams averaged in his first season with the Cavaliers.
This past year the Cavaliers won 61 games. They made a big splash in acquiring Antawn Jamison from the Washington Wizards; but again, Jamison has always been a complementary player who can score the basketball.
He's not a go-to scorer. That was proved in the Celtics series when, in games five and six, he went a combined 6-for-20. In fact, in only one game in the series against the Celtics did Jamison make any kind of noise and that was in the Cavaliers' blowout win.
There were other options that the Cavaliers could have looked at the past couple of years to help improve the team. Even Gilbert understands that because in the article I previously mentioned, he stated that he regretted some of the decisions that were made.
Even though he mentioned that James didn't return phone calls or text messages, there was another option for Gilbert that he did not do. That is actually to go see James in person.
I also wonder if that played a role in the decision-making process of James. While teams like the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, and New York Knicks went out of their way to go meet with LeBron, the owner of the Cavaliers either made phone calls or sent text messages?
It shows the lack of maturity of James by not responding to the phone calls or the text messages. But, it also shows the lack of an effort by Gilbert in getting in touch with James.
All Gilbert really had to do though prior to this was take a look at what happened in Los Angeles when Shaquille O'Neal left. Kobe Bryant was left on his own and he could do it. The Lakers won 34 games and the next season 40.
Midway through that third year of Bryant being the best player on the Lakers, a trade for Pau Gasol was put into place. With the help of the trade the Lakers went to the Finals that year and lost to the Celtics, but for the past two seasons the Lakers have won titles.
Yes, the way James left Cleveland was an absolute joke. The reality is, though, Cavalier fans should be even more upset with their majority owner who didn't get James the help he needed to be able to win a championship in Cleveland.
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