In the aftermath of the on-going crazy times that we know as free agency, many big name stars have left their former teams in hopes of winning a championship. Teams like Phoenix and Utah, who parted ways with Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer, might have lost all-star talent but not their entire team's offensive power. Not by a long shot.
However, the story in Toronto and Cleveland was very different. In losing Chris Bosh and Lebron James to the Miami Heat, both the Raptors and Cavaliers are now without their franchise stars' their number one stars; their only hopes at future greatness.
While both clubs are now searching for answers, and replacements, there have been very different reactions to the moves.
Cleveland Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wrote a letter to the fans in the wake of "The Decision" on Thursday night, displaying his and the city's frustrations. He blasted Lebron for leaving in such a disrespectful way, for betraying his hometown and its fans, and reassured the fans that the organization is now fully committed to winning. Oh, and how could I forget: "I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER 'KING' WINS ONE"
Now let's take a look at Toronto Raptors President and GM Bryan Colangelo's letter to the fans after Bosh moved down to Miami.
The first paragraph: "Kudos to the Miami Heat for pulling off such a feat".
Colangelo expresses how he did all he could to keep Chris Bosh in Toronto and apologizes by saying, "Unfortunately we fell short of that goal and must now move on to a post-Bosh era in Toronto".
He finished his letter by saying, "Our franchise will evolve and emerge stronger than before, and I assure you that our combined efforts will produce the WINNER you are hoping for".
There are some serious differences in the way these two men handled their stars leaving. Ok, now you are going to argue telling me that Lebron meant more to Cleveland than Bosh. Granted. Or you want to say that Lebron was a jerk by doing it on National TV. Okay, that's fair. OR, another solid argument could be that Gilbert is the owner and Colangelo is the GM, making the latter's letter have a necessity for less bias. Fine.
In any case, Gilbert made a fool of himself. These things happen in the NBA, and they happen especially when one of the best players in our generation has almost no team to help him achieve the ultimate goal of winning a championship. Saying that NOW you will give Cleveland the parts to win it all? Why couldn't you do that while Lebron was there, and help him bring some glory to his hometown?
And that whole part about the Cavs winning before Lebron ever does? What, are you in second grade? Come on, that whole line just totally took all legitimacy out of the letter.
Now, let's head back north. Toronto fans loved Chris Bosh and regardless of Calderon or Bargnani, he was the soul of this team. He didn't have the supporting cast to make it into the playoffs, and couldn't do it on his own, so he left. The fans all saw it coming, Colangelo certainly saw it coming and it sucks. But, we've come to terms with it and we're happy to see Bosh in a position to win a title.
Maybe it's a Canadian thing but as a Raptors' fan, he was our number one guy, and we lost him; but we got two first-rounders out of it so let's look to the future.
I have a lot of friends from Cleveland who were pissed off post-The Decision, but none of them are now claiming that the Cavs will win before Lebron, because they're realistic. I'm happy for Bosh, even as a Raptors fan, because I want him to finally get somewhere in his career.
That's the way to look at it, not by making crazy statements and writing a "letter to the fans" that's really a we-hate-you-Lebron letter that you know everyone who checks NBA.com will read. You want to be pissed Mr. Gilbert? Go ahead, but take a lesson from GM Colangelo and don't make things even worse for your organization.