Win Before LeBron James? How, Dan Gilbert? Root for Lakers and Harrison Barnes?

kyle fisherContributor IJuly 10, 2010

NEW YORK - APRIL 17:  Harrison Barnes #40 of West Team on court during the National Game at the 2010 Jordan Brand classic at Madison Square Garden on April 17, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for Jordan Brand Classic)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images


After LeBron James decided to "take his talents" to Miami, Dan Gilbert's emotions changed from nervous to furious. He came out calling LeBron a poser and a quitter in a letter Thursday night.

When the letter was leaked, sports writers had to confirm the letter with the Cavs franchise because they could not believe the reaction. How in the world could any person think that the Lebron-less Cavs are going to win before the Miami Heat?

First off, I think we should have seen this coming if the Cavs were not the NBA Champions.

Changing his number from No. 23 to No. 6 should have been a sign of something other than showing respect to Michael Jordan. Jordan's No. 23 is retired by the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat.

Pat Riley has a lot of respect for Jordan, stating on record that his number should be retired for every franchise. I am not saying the Cavaliers should have expected this if they didn't win, but they should have been looking to develop their younger players along with LeBron for the franchise's best interests looking into the future.

Now that LeBron is gone, how many wins can this current Cavs team have next season?

My friend Lapthan, a Lebron hater, says that the Cavs still have enough next season to be on the edge of the playoffs, winning around 45 games.

I beg to differ.

This team was built around King James and now, he is gone.

What do the Cavs do now?

I think they changed from a 65-win team to a 25-win team over night. If that happens, we can conclude three things.

First, we can really see how much LeBron did for that team. Second, we can blame the Cavs front office for never doing enough to keep their former star player. Finally, we can fairly say that it was not LeBron's fault for all of the early exits in the playoffs, but it was because of the lack of talent that surrounded him for seven years.

The only trade assets that the Cavs possess right now are Anderson Varejo and J.J. Hickson. Even those two pieces cannot bring in a player that can help this team win before Miami.

Now what? 

Personally, I think that having three players around mostly minimum salary guys is a bad idea.

If one of the three happens to injured, a huge chunk of offense will be lost and will not be able to be picked up by bench players.

Even with this new Big three, I do not see the Los Angeles Lakers losing in Phil Jackson's final season.

In the 2010-11 season (projection)...

Cavs: 25-57 (miss playoffs)

Heat: 70-12 (NBA Finals)

Lakers: 60-22 (NBA Champs in seven games)

Dan Gilbert can't hope that the Lakers still dominate this long while he rebuilds the team.

The Cavs can start with the guy in the picture above.

For the people who do not know who that is, his name is Harrison Barnes.

The future Carolina Tar Heel will be the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NBA draft.

Barnes has been already called the "next Kobe" with a balanced game and a winning mentality.

Even if he doesn't pan out the way people expect him to, I do not see him being worse than the second option on a good team. He is the best chance for the Cavs to rebuild before Gilbert eats his own words.