NBA Opinions With Malice – Far Too Cavalier

3 12 2007

Cleveland CavaliersThird in a series exploring NBA franchises that find themselves either in a good position, a cross-roads, or are finding themselves in difficulty.
And the third team under the microscope – the Cleveland Cavaliers. A team with so much promise, but in trouble of some serious floundering down the road…


Cleveland are a Kingdom, with a veritable titular head of state… but for how much longer? There are real concerns that this franchise just aren’t addressing, and whilst those issues are at times balanced by the performance of LeBron James, the damage that these trials and tribulations are doing to the relationship the front office has with the franchise superstar is growing daily.

LeBron cannot be happy about the direction that’s being taken in regards to developing a championship caliber team.
And nor should he be.
Cleveland’s refusal thus far to supply James with a bona fide wingman is rather alarming.
They are in possession of one of the best 3 players in all of basketball, and yet there are times where the team looks downright pedestrian.
As yet, there’s no-one to play Pippen to James’ Jordan, and the hesitancy shown by Cleveland in obtaining a player suitably qualified to play this role is astounding. The KingMoreover, the reticence the franchise has shown to get deals done with both Sasha Pavlovic and Anderson Varejão would also be raising the King’s eyebrows.

At the age of 18, in the 2003 NBA draft, LeBron James single-handedly dragged the Cleveland Cavaliers out of obscurity… with the gulf between where James wants the franchise to be and where the team is headed growing daily, Cleveland runs the risk of disenfranchising their franchise player.
This is not to say that Cleveland hasn’t spent money – they clearly have – but the money spent has not been used wisely.
$12 million to Larry Hughes, who constantly battles injury.
A little over $10 million to Zydrunas Ilgauskas, a good center, but clearly paid above his worth. $6.7 million to Eric Snow, and $4+ million to Damon Jones… both point guards, both sitting on the bench, both of limited value.
Then the added difficulties surrounding signing Sasha Pavlovic, and now the inability to get a deal done with restricted free agent Anderson Varejão.

Varejão has become a conundrum for Cleveland. His numbers are rather ordinary – 6.8 points and 6.7 rebounds in 23 minutes per game… but the intangibles he brings to a game are obvious. His energy, and the enthusiasm he brings to the team are evident every time he steps on to the court. He, rightly or wrongly, values himself above the Cavs’ offer of $32 million for 5 years.
It’s gotten so bad between Varejão and Cleveland GM Danny Ferry, that the Brazilian has declared that he no longer wants to play for the team.

In a report from ESPN’s Chad Ford (link here), Varejão has denied that he wants substantially more. Rumors that he’s asking for $10-11 million a year

“just aren’t true. There are a lot of things being written that are wrong. I know they aren’t talking to me or my agent.”

Anderson Varejão - what’s he worth?Varejão could sign with another team for the mid-level exception, but is concerned with his belief that Cleveland will match that offer – and that he is worth more. Rumours are that Varejão would agree to a deal in the 5 years, $40-45 million range, and would agree to a sign and trade. Danny Ferry’s playing hardball, as many of his players come up on restricted free agency in the not-too-distant future. Varejão’s agent, Dan Fegan wants to be able to point to his tough negotiation to get a deal done for his player – and pick up more clients. So Cleveland and Varejão find themselves at an impasse. And whilst this rages on, the Cavs are struggling to get enough warm bodies on the court – 4 players currently injured, including James.
Varejão has declared that if push comes to shove, he’ll happily play in Europe for a year.

One thing is for certain: at the moment, no-one’s winning.
And Cleveland have to be careful… more mis-steps like this, and maybe their king abdicates.

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank




6 responses

3 12 2007

Yup. Par for the course in Cleveland. So many years of heartbreak living in that city.

3 12 2007

I really do hope they’ll get the team to a point where they’ll keep LeBron, but I honestly don’t think it’s on the cards.

4 12 2007

If the Cavs didn’t get so lucky with the ping-pong balls, they’d be probably in the worst shape of any team in the league (aside to the Knicks). If/when Lebron leaves, they are going to be brutal.

Then again, if Lebron stays and carries this current bunch of rag-taggers to an NBA title anytime soon, that will cement his legacy as one of the all-time greats.

4 12 2007

But knowing what we know about LeBron, would a move to a franchise in a major city surprise anyone?

4 12 2007

Maybe Danny Ainge will trade KG, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen for Le Bron… he hasn’t done anything boneheaded in months!

5 12 2007

Big news, Anderson Varejao has just signed an offer sheet with the Bobcats…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: