“You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid”

How to explain the seven NBA seasons that constituted the “LeBron James Era” of Cleveland Cavaliers basketball?

“With a thousand lies, and a good disguise, you’re gonna go far kid.”

Hope you enjoy it Cleveland…

“Write On” Wright Thompson!

Fellow Cavs fans,

ESPN’s Wright Thompson came to Cleveland in October to tell the tale of LeBron James’ departure. The resulting work is a masterpiece. Click the image to jump there, and enjoy! And to all who participated in our Twitter chat session, and later contributed blog comments, thank you!

This came today, from Wright, to all of you:

“The piece is up. Your help in giving me a window into what people thought proved to be my rudder and compass on my journey around Cleveland. I cannot thank you enough.”

It’s not easy to understand or explain #ClevelandFan. Hell, I struggle to comprehend myself. Wright, however, for having spent one week in Cleveland – and to perfectly capture the moment (and many, many before it) – has earned my lasting respect and admiration, and perhaps yours.

So, I invite you to write a comment to Wright, which I’ll be sure to share. Write what you feel, it’s what Wright wrote – thanks in part to all of you who helped set the tone.

Thank you Believeland!

Tell ESPN How YOU Feel

Click below to download the Twitter transcript from our “LeBron Gone” Q&A session with Wright on Friday, October 22nd. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts!

@CavsWITNESS_LeBronQ&A_TwitterTranscript_10.22.10

______________________________________________________________________________________

Cavs Fans,

I met with ESPN senior writer Wright Thompson today to discuss Cavs fans’ reaction to LeBron’s departure, namely, “The Decision.”

Wright is on assignment, spending a week in Cleveland to absorb the local sentiment. Despite our doubts about ESPN’s suspect journalistic integrity, I ask you to give Wright the benefit of doubt. Quite simply, I spent two hours with the man – I read him as genuine and sincere (he’s a Saints fan, he knows heartbreak; yet should we later discover ESPN has hoodwinked us – again – then you have my word, I will call shenanigans. I’m pretty good with indignant rants, as you might know).

Wright wants you to know, Cleveland may not have LeBron, but Miami does not have stadium mustard. So there!

Following are eight questions Wright would like your responses to. If you replied during today’s interview, know that he saw your tweets – appreciated them very much – and was quite eager to read more. In fact, he will, as I will later email him a recap – at his request.

I’ve set up this blog post to encourage longer, more thoughtful and insightful responses than Twitter will allow. You can share yours by posting a comment below (I will approve and publish these periodically, so please be patient).

Wright will be in Cleveland through Wednesday, and will attend the first Cavs’ game. If you’re there, and if you see him, say “hi.” Take my word, he’s interested in what you have to say. Along with today’s Twitter replies, I will be sending him the comments you author (please note: 250 words or less is preferable; if you’d like to say more, reach out to me and I’ll provide an email address to send documents to).

Without further ado, please feel free to address any and all questions below. Wright formulated these himself. And no, despite any initial misgivings you may have, they are not intended to help him build a defense for James.

Wright is trying to reach the heart of Cavs fans’ anger – to understand why and to what degree we invested our emotions, expectations and egos in LeBron. These are tough questions, and require not only an analysis of James, but – more importantly – ourselves.

Cavs fans, it’s time to tell YOUR story…

Question 1: Name an action taken by LBJ that suggested he would do anything other than what he did (re: “The Decision”)?

Question 2: What’s worse, concerning “The Decision” – that LeBron did, or truly did not, understand how Cavs fans would react?

Question 3: Prior to “The Decision,” did you imagine LeBron could talk knowledgably about steel mills, rust-belt ethos, etc.?

Question 4: What’s the difference between “The Yankees Hat” and “The Decision,” other than scale?

Question 5: Does anyone feel guilty for believing that LeBron was a reflection of Cleveland’s attempt for resurrection/redemption?

Question 6: Did LeBron ever ask for the unconditional love and admiration that we put on him?

Question 7: Is it fair to be mad at LeBron when fans ignored numerous signs that he would ultimately behave like he behaved?

Question 8: Do you think “The Decision” is a failure of character or public relations?

Cavs Sports Business Speakers Series

Cavs fans,

If you’re looking for a career in the sports industry, here’s a chance to meet and greet some of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ top executives.

The Sports Business Speakers Series is scheduled for Tuesday, November 2nd from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Best of all, you can stick around to watch the Cavs play the Hawks at 7:00 p.m.

Click the link below to download the details. There’s a $10 ticket discount offer included.

For questions, hit up Cavs’ sales rep Zack Krywyj. He’s @Uno_Cinco on Twitter, or drop him a line at zack.krywyj@gmail.com.

Go Cavs!

Details: Cavs_MeetThePres_11.2.10

Plain Dealer Idol!

It won’t be easy to replace Brian Windhorst as Cleveland Plain Dealer Cavs beat writer extraordinaire, but someone has to try (lucky soul…we’re waiting for you!).

I want to know Cavalier Nation, who’s your choice?

Windy Days: RealCavsFans.com Live Chat (9.30.10)

RealCavsFans.com (@RealCavsFans) held a live chat with Brian Windhorst (@PDcavsinsider) last night to discuss, amongst other things, Brian’s future in Cleveland, trades the team might explore this season, “What happened?” in the Boston Series and, of course, LeBron James. Oh, and Delonte West, too.

Topic

Windhorst

On possibly joining ESPN…

I’m in a bit of an awkward spot here. It is true that I have talked to ESPN about going to ESPN.com to cover the NBA with an emphasis on the Heat. But it is a very complicated decision that I haven’t made yet. I hope to have some clarity in the next couple of days.

On the new Collective Bargaining Agreement…

I think the owners will have to address keeping franchise players. That is what the Bird Exception was supposed to be for and it has worked for a long time. I think there may be a push to do something of a “franchise tag” like there is in the NFL.

On potential trades this season…

I think the Cavs could make at least two trades during the season. This team has holes, but Chris Grant and Byron Scott need time to see exactly what they are. In my opinion, they should be looking to trade Jamison and Williams right now.

To be honest, part of the reason Ramon Sessions is probably here is so it is easier to trade Mo later. However, the team has a chance to be competitive and first everyone wants to see how this group works. I think making a trade for a “Baron Davis” type player to win 6-8 more games in the short run is the biggest mistake they can make.

For Jamison, you just have to try to get rid of his money and hope to get a pick or prospect. Mo is still in his prime and can help quite a few teams. You’d hope to get a little more instant help if you decide to trade him.

I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance the Cavs trade their pick for this season. Even for Carmelo, I think they’d offer some future picks.

On Carmelo Anthony…

As for Carmelo Anthony, the Cavs have put in an offer but they don’t expect to get him. They have the assets for that type of trade but they know it would be a rental. That’s not worth trading J.J. Hickson for.

On the $14 million trade exception…

It would be okay with me if the Cavs never used the trade exception and let it expire. Save cap space (which can be used like a trade exception) and look to acquire as many assets (prospects, picks) as possible and hope a couple pan out – in other words, the OKC method.

Best case is they make a blockbuster trade with the exception and turn themselves back into a contender. That may mean a contender next season, by the way. More realistic, if they are in the lottery, then they jump into the top three.

On the future and new direction…

There is a fundamental difference in what should be done. I believe they should go the OKC Thunder route and get worse to get better while collecting assets. But I believe Dan Gilbert is modeling after the Pistons of 10 years ago, which rebuilt on the fly after losing Grant Hill. The worse case scenario this season is to finish 9th in the East.

Gilbert is the best chance for the future of the franchise. He’s the kind of owner you want. But you have to take the good with the bad. Not unlike with Mark Cuban (who, don’t forget, thought it was a good idea to not pay Steve Nash but has kept the Mavs as a contender for going on a decade now).

I think the Cavs need support and not apathy. They did a lot to build up the fan base over the last seven years. The games will still be very fun to go to. I think the best message the fans can send is that they’ll trust Gilbert and wait for him to do it the right way.

On new GM Chris Grant…

I can’t see a clear plan from Grant yet. It seems to be he’s going to be VERY patient in looking for moves to help long term. He has not been very active and he’s refused to budge from his position (see Matt Barnes talks). That reminds me of a guy named Sam Presti (GM, Oklahoma City Thunder). So I think we’ll all have to wait and see. He’s very smart and he’s been around, he knows how to build a team. But he’s going to be conservative while the owner wants to be aggressive. We’ll see who wins out. I would go with Grant’s plan.

On LeBron…

I didn’t believe it then, but now I believe LeBron planned to leave for a long time before July 8th. I find it interesting that he’s trying to qualify or explain the backlash. I think he should examine the steps he took to create the backlash in the first place.

On the Boston Series…

OK, here’s the thing about the Boston series…

Honestly, I think LeBron just choked. For all his talk about “not believing in pressure” he showed me he’s very vulnerable to pressure. He cracked in that Boston series. You could see it in his behavior off the floor, in his comments to the media, and certainly in his play. But I understand why Gilbert feels that way.

Shaq got really angry. His feeling was that if he was going to be “saved” for the postseason all year then he should have been used a lot more. Also, he had had it up to here with Delonte by then. Which is why I think it is ironic they’re on the same team again. Shaq was also pointing out to the coaches that they might as well ride him if LeBron was in la-la land. That caused some issues.

Not that I can blame Shaq for feeling that way. He was a good soldier for much of the year. But honestly, I’m not sure how much he could have carried the load at that point.

On Delonte West…

As for Delonte…

I know all of you want answers. I know many of you want more from me on the topic. But I can only stand on my credibility and so I can only report what I know to be true. I just don’t have enough truths and haven’t for months.

On what the Cavs will do for LeBron’s homecoming…

I have heard there are many off-the-wall ideas. For my two cents, I hope they just play it straight and let the fans have their say. The last thing you want is for Cleveland to look stupid and swing sympathy over to LeBron’s side.

On Daniel Gibson…

Booby (I think that’s the way he wants it spelled now) is going to get a lot of playing time. Which I think is a good idea. HOWEVER…I’m not sure he’s suited to this system. It is a high movement system where guards will have to create their own shot. I think Booby is a spot up shooter and I’m not convinced he’s perfect for Princeton offense. But we’ll see, he’ll get a chance this year.

On Anderson Varejao…

I would view Andy as the most untouchable asset on the roster right now because he’s so valuable and so rare – even more so than Hickson. But not everyone agrees with me. Some agents/GMs have told me they should trade Varejao before he starts to decline. To me, he’s too valuable and he’s only 28.

On Ramon Sessions…

On Sessions, I think he’s going to have a solid season. Don’t expect 20 & 8 but I think he’ll have nights like that. He’s much better suited to play Princeton style than the Triangle that he ran in Minnesota. That was stupid to put him in that offense by the Wolves. I felt that was a solid trade.

On the rookies…

I don’t know much about Samardo Samuels but I do know after summer league he had several offers. As for Eyenga, athleticism is amazing. He will blow your mind at times. But he’s not very skilled at this point. I think he’s at least a year away from being a rotation option.


On training camp…

Byron destroyed them on the first day and it literally took them two days to recover. So they’re not as far along as they wanted to be. Plus Mo and Andy aren’t taking part and Parker is already dinged up. Attitude is great but it has been far from perfect.

I think the big men they invited to camp are a joke. Earl Barron was here working out last week and he’s an NBA player. I’d rather they signed him.

On the starting lineup…

I think you start Mo and Sessions with Hickson and Varejao. Then maybe Graham but it could just as well be Moon. I think playing Jamison at SF is a mistake unless it is just for a couple possessions at a time. But that is what the preseason is for.

On Mike Brown…

Mike Brown is in Cleveland and working with the St. Edward HS team. He’s keeping to himself. He’s still under contract and knows he can’t rock the boat too much. He may do some TV work.

In closing…

Thanks. No matter what happens with me, I appreciate all the support I’ve gotten from Cavs fans over the years.

“WITNESS BETRAYAL” Video

The city of Cleveland, fortunately, did not burn in the wake of “The Decision” (July 8, 2010).

Instead, Cavs fans expressed their hurt and anger in a much more amusing (and socially responsible) manner.

Thank you to all the WITNESSES who sent me their photos.

For you, by you, this is “WITNESS BETRAYAL”. A final postcard to LeBron James, from Akron, with love:

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