I understand why the fans in Cleveland are upset with LeBron, to a point. The way LeBron James announced he was leaving Cleveland was obnoxious, even if it did generate tons of money for charity. It wasn’t unexpected though, The Akron back to back MVP celebration LeBron hosted was equally ridiculous in my opinion,( but Cavs fans didn’t seem to mind that). I understand why Lebron left and went to South Beach. The Cavs were too dependent upon LeBron to win every game and carry the team. But Cavaliers Owner, Dan Gilbert, I don’t understand.
CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Cavaliers have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into a high-powered Midwestern law firm to investigate their suspicions that the Miami Heat broke NBA tampering rules while pursuing LeBron James(notes), and owner Dan Gilbert has privately vowed he won’t relent until he has a thick binder of findings to drop on the desk of the NBA commissioner, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The Cleveland Cavaliers franchise is relatively young, an expansion team founded in 1970, with a history you could only call storied if you were talking about horror stories. Out of 40 seasons, the Cavs have 18 playoff appearances. Half of those playoff seasons ended in the first round. Only three Cavs teams ever made it to the conference finals. Only one team ever made it to the NBA Finals, the 2006-07 Cavs led by LeBron James.
For the 7 seasons LeBron was a Cavalier, the team went from being a losing team to a perennial playoff contender. It was the best 7 year run in Cavs franchise history.
Dan Gilbert bought the franchise in 2005, Lebron’s 3rd year in the league. He had to know at that time…if LeBron leaves, so does the value of the franchise. He had to know free agency loomed for LeBron in 2010. In the 5 years he owned the team, he never found out what it would take to keep LeBron a Cavalier for the rest of the prime of his career. The fans were powerless. Gilbert was not. Dan Gilbert was outmaneuvered by Pat Riley and the Miami Heat. Arguably, even if the Heat had not signed LeBron it’s not inconceivable that New York or Chicago may have been more desirable destinations for the two time NBA MVP.
This tampering investigation is as ridiculous as his letter to LeBron and is the next move of a team executive who had no plan. Gilbert is an owner who didn’t know what was coming, and didn’t have a plan A, let alone a plan B. Hiring Coach Byron Scott is a good start for the Cavs after LeBron, but as their record and performance against the Heat last night show, it is barely a beginning. If Gilbert doesn’t repair the franchise, the fans rightfully may just turn some of their ire against him.
Note: Dan LeBetard of Miami Herald, PTI and ESPN Radio gets proper nod for the “Lebron-ukkah” term!