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?

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Windy Days: Thoughts blowing through Brian’s mind (5.20.10)…

Cavs beat writer extraordinaire Brian Windhorst (twitter.com/PDcavsinsider) is a regular guest on local sports television and radio call-in shows. He also records a weekly podcast for The Cleveland Plain Dealer. This is the “good stuff” you won’t necessarily read in his articles or blog. I’ll do my best to bring it to you throughout the “Summer of LeBron” – and beyond (yes, there will be a beyond).

On Tuesday night, Windy was a guest on “More Sports & Les Levine”. It airs from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. (check your local listings). On Wednesday, Brian recorded his PD podcast. Following is a combined summary of his thoughts. Big thanks to RealCavsFans.com member Gunther for transcribing the podcast.

Game 5…LeBron…What the hell happened?

No one knows. Not players, not coaches, not management, not Windy. NO ONE (not named LeBron) knows. Fans are clinging to rumors because they need something to believe. None of them are true. He was neither protesting nor trying to get his coach fired. It could have been his elbow, or uncertainty of the game plan or even lack of confidence in his teammates. But only LeBron can answer that. Brian thinks it will be on his mind for a long time to come. Windy is also very disappointed in the way LeBron played – even more so in how he answered questions.

Will Mike Brown coach the Cavaliers next season?

Probably not, though LeBron will not call for Mike Brown’s head outright – rather, he’ll make it clear he’d like to move in a different direction. Danny Ferry does not want to fire Brown, but the fans want blood. Ultimately, Dan Gilbert makes this decision.

Is this the next coach of your Cleveland Cavaliers? Don't hold your breath.

Do the Cavaliers have a “Dream Coach” in mind?

Two, in fact. Phil Jackson and Mike Krzyzewski. Both are highly unlikely. Though with Krzyzewski, at least, you have the Ferry-Duke connection and LeBron-Olympics connection.

What are the realistic coaching options?

Brian has a list of 20 names. He did not share any. However, in terms of regular and post-season success, essentially no one has a better resume than Mike Brown, which makes the Cavs’ decision all the more difficult. Of course, all of this is complicated by LeBron’s pending free agency. A prominent coach will (likely) not come to Cleveland unless LeBron is here. However, while waiting for LeBron to decide, the Cavs risk losing out on the best candidates. It’s not an ideal situation for Gilbert and Ferry. In fact, it’s a very bad situation.

Is Danny Ferry safe?

Ferry won’t be fired, but he may decide not to stay here. He likes Cleveland and wants to be the GM. Money is not a big deal at this point in his career, but having a coach forced on him by a player or the owner might be. Brian thinks it’s very likely that Ferry remains GM, but only by his own accord.

Will the Cavs seek an offensive-minded coach?

Possibly. They haven’t reached the Promised Land yet, but they’re still good. They want to keep LeBron happy and bring him back, so they will probably focus on doing a better job of building the offense around LeBron. This would exclude defensive-minded coaches in the same mold as Mike Brown; rule out Avery Johnson, Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Fratello. John Calipari is a different matter – he uses the dribble-drive offense, which takes advantage of smaller players and has more motion. Calipari, however, does not have a winning record.

What teams have the best chance to sign LeBron?

New York is a strong player; read sidekick (i.e. Chris Bosh), young team, bright lights and big picture. Windy thinks Chicago is the third choice. LeBron’s first decision, however, is whether or not to leave home.

No one outside Cleveland understands Cleveland. Therefore, they cannot understand a kid from Akron.

Will LeBron stay in Cleveland?

Brian thinks it’s still likely that he will. He says people don’t appreciate how tough a decision it would be for LeBron to leave home. The rest of the country cannot fathom why anyone would want to live in Cleveland. That’s just the way it is. Even if LeBron signed a six-year deal with the Cavs, the rumors will always persist. One bad game and the trade talks would heat up.

What role will William Wesley (“Worldwide Wes”) play?

Wes works for the agency that handles LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Calipari and other high-profile personnel. Like any business where there are high-profile candidates, there is a recruiter behind the scenes. Wes is not a sinister individual. He has helped young kids get scholarships; he has worked with charities; etc. Uncle Wes has many, many connections, but it’s not certain just how powerful his influence is. He couldn’t land Derrick Rose or Tyreke Evans. And he wanted John Wall to sign – gave him the “full court press” with LeBron’s influence and persona – but Wall ended up with another agent. It’s all just chatter at this point.

Will LeBron’s “team” influence his decision?

LeBron’s future will be decided by a committee of one – LeBron James.

If LeBron stays, how will the Cavs address their roster?

The Cavs have as much flexibility this year as last year. To say they are locked into their current roster is simply not true, they have options. They don’t have a large expiring contract, but they have flexibility (Delonte West, Jamario Moon, Anthony Parker). They could also execute a sign & trade with J.J. Hickson – his value has never been higher. Also, they still have the Mid-Level Exception. In fact, they may have more maneuverability this year than they’ve had in a long time. This is still a good team – no jackhammer required, they don’t need to start from scratch.

What if Shaq and Z do not return?

The Cavs would look for another big man. Leon Powe will be more important. They also may look to sign Sasha Kaun as their 4th big man. He’s a good defensive player. Even so, they still would look to make a move. It’s still a possibility that either Shaq or Z will re-sign (Shaq less likely, however).

The Delonte West rumor?

Did. Not. Happen.