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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Dan Gilbert”

From the editor’s notebook …

cavs dan gilbertWith revenue down at the Horseshoe Casino in January, casino owner Dan Gilbert had some free time on his hands and that helped him remember that he also owns a basketball team in town.

Without the casino distracting him for a few minutes, Gilbert discovered that the Cleveland Cavaliers are currently in the midst of their fourth consecutive dismal season and realized that he need to make some kind of move to show that he still cares about what happens inside Quicken Loans Arena.

Once Gilbert decided to do the ever popular “something” to show the fans that he still cares, the question became what to do.

Read more…

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Stop the coaching carousel, we want to get off

byron-scottjpg-5d00c21bc3fffdd8The Cleveland Cavaliers made the speculation that has surrounded the team for the past few weeks reality on Thursday, firing head coach Byron Scott.

Scott was “released” from his duties in Cleveland (the team’s word) after compiling a record of 64-166 and successfully guiding the team into the NBA lottery for three consecutive years.

In other words, Scott did what he was ostensibly hired to do.

Just since September, every pro team in town has fired its manager or head coach, leaving current Tribe manager Terry Francona, who was managing his 14th game with the Tribe on Thursday night, as the most-tenured manager or coach of Cleveland’s three sports team.

Whatever. We’re too tired and we just want to get off the coaching carousel for a while.

For the full story, head over to The Cleveland Fan.

(Photo by The Plain Dealer)

What a difference a year makes for Cavs

What a long, strange year its been for the Cavs.

A year ago, we were waiting to see if owner Dan Gilbert would fire the most successful coach in franchise history. Once Gilbert made Mike Brown the scapegoat for the team’s playoff failings, we spent time dreading that Gilbert would hire Tom Izzo before wiser heads prevailed and the team hired Byron Scott.

General manager Danny Ferry left when his contract expired.

We all witnessed the debacle at the Boys and Girls Club in Greenwich, Conn.

Then there was the season filled with injuries, a 26-game losing streak and a nagging feeling that the Cavs were becoming irrelevant in the NBA.

But last night’s NBA Draft lottery wiped the slate clean.

”Shocking events took place last summer and it was a slow, long, painful haul to get through it,” Gilbert said in published reports after the lottery. ”Maybe this will be the final straw in getting over the hump, getting to the other side and having a lot of hope for the future. That’s what we need.

”Above all, it means hope, and this is a lot of hope for one night. When you combine this with everything else going on, optimistic days are ahead.”

The Cavs now hold the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in the upcoming NBA Draft, giving them an opportunity to continue the rebuilding process.

The last time the Cavs found themselves in this position was 1986 and their are similarities to that draft and this one.

The key lies with the front office.

In 1986, the Cavs were able to trade Roy Hinson and cash to Philadelphia for the 76ers No. 1 pick – the first overall – so they could select Brad Daugherty. They then used their own lottery pick – No. 7 – to select Ron Harper. Finally, the Cavs traded a future second-round pick to Dallas for Mark Price.

How’s that for a day’s work?

The current front office deserves credit for making a trade similar to the Daugherty trade, as they were able to turn Mo Williams and Jamario Moon into Baron Davis and the Clippers’ No. 1 pick – the very pick that turned into the top selection in this year’s draft.

Well played.

”This gives us two good, very young players to add to our core and keep growing,” said Cavs General Manager Chris Grant in published reports. ”It’s not a process that happens in one night. It’s a process that takes some time. . . . Regardless of the outcome, we were going to get two good players and we were excited about that. This makes it a little bit sweeter.”

Grant and the scouts now need to do their work to ensure the Cavs really do walk away with two good players – at the least. If they can do that, the Cavs will be that much closer to returning to their winning ways.

Of course it will take time. Don’t forget, the ’86 Cavs went 31-51 in their first year together – it wasn’t until their third season that the team had its breakout 57-win season.

But, while the team would be better if LeBron James was still on the roster, the Cavs are better off than they were when they won the lottery in 2003. That fall, James joined a roster that included Kevin Ollie, Ricky Davis, Dajuan Wagner, Ira Newble, DeSagana Diop and Tony Battie, to name a few.

Now the Cavs will add two potential impact players to a roster that includes Anderson Varejao, Antawn Jamison, Baron Davis, J.J. Hickson, Ramon Sessions and Boobie Gibson.

Not a powerhouse by any stretch, but certainly better than the group from ’03.

And what’s not to like about that?

***

At every good party someone has to play the fool and last night it was Minnesota general manager David Kahn.

“This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines,” Kahn said after the Cavs won the first pick. “Last year it was Abe Pollin’s widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We were done. I told Kevin: ‘We’re toast.’ This is not happening for us and I was right.”

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Kahn was at the center of this. He’s the same GM who drafted three point guards in the first round in 2009 (of the three, only Johnny Flynn has played for the Timberwolves), called Darko Milicic “Manna from Heaven” and blamed Michael Beasley’s trial and tribulations on “smoking too much weed.”

***

Here’s one man’s vote for the Cavs to take Kyrie Irving with the No. 1 pick.

Owners Gone Wild

It’s been a weird week among team owners, starting at Craven Cottage in North London.

Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed announced plans this week to unveil a life-size, color statue of Michael Jackson outside Fulham’s home ground.

The statue, which overlooks the River Thames and stands between the Riverside and Hammersmith Stands at Craven Cottage, shows Jackson standing on his toes in what is being called an ‘iconic pose’. The words to his smash hit Thriller are engraved on the podium below.

We admit we don’t know much about Fulham’s history, other than they have a thing for signing American players, but this definitely sounds odd.

But we’ll let David Lloyd, editor of the popular fanzine There’s Only One F in Fulham, have the last word:

“If you has asked me if I wanted a statue of Michael Jackson at Craven Cottage I would have said ‘no.’ However, we owe an enormous debt to the chairman and if this is one of his whims, then that’s fine. As a football chairman he is one of the best; he’s been fantastic.”

OK then.

Closer to home, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert got loose again after the Cavs beat Sacramento for Cleveland’s 13th win of the season.

Gilbert took to Twitter to taunt Yahoo! Sports’ Kelly Dwyer, who had predicted the Cavs would only reach 12 wins on the season.

Gilbert reverted to his schoolyard days by asking “who is Kellie Dwyer?” and saying “Never heard of her.”

Oh boy.

We like Gilbert’s passion and willingness to spend money to try and make the Cavs better, but it seems as if the owner of a major professional sports team could act more maturely than a 14-year-old girl who just got dumped and is taking out her feelings on Facebook.

We first learned of the tweets at Ben Blog (check it out) and Waiting for Next Year weighed in as well with a good take.

But L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling wins the prize for this week’s for wackiest owner.

While testifying in Elgin Baylor’s wrongful termination civil trial against the team, Sterling claimed that he didn’t know of Baylor’s Hall of Fame career before hiring Baylor as vice president of player personnel in 1986.

Baylor was the NBA’s first overall pick in 1958 and a member of the league’s 50th anniversary team, was an 11-time All-Star who once scored 71 points in a game and brought the Lakers to the cusp of a title they would ultimately win the season he retired.

“I didn’t know that,” Sterling said according to The Los Angeles Times. “I hired him for $3,000 a month. I didn’t really know what his role was…. He was working in a mail-order company back then.”

What a goof.

***

Lost a little bit in the NFL’s labor issue, is a proposed rule change for next season that would potentially neutralize one of the Browns best scoring threats.

The league’s competition committee is expected to propose moving the kickoff up to the 35-yard line and bringing touchbacks out to the 25 – but only on kickoffs.

In addition, the kicker will be the only player allowed to line up more than five yards behind the ball and the committee will suggest outlawing the blocking wedge on kickoffs completely.

“The injury rate on kickoffs remains a real concern for us and the players and the coaches’ subcommittee,” Falcons president Rich McKay, the chairman of the competition committee, told ESPN.com. “This is a pretty major change.”

Opposing teams were already doing everything they could to kick the ball away from Josh Cribbs. Now with a shorter field to work with, the number of non-returnable kicks should increase, limiting Cribbs’ opportunity to handle the ball on kickoffs even more.

***

James Walker at ESPN.com weighs in with some good advice for the Browns in regard to their No. 1 pick on next month’s NFL Draft:

I agree that Georgia receiver A.J. Green is a tremendous prospect. But he’s not better than Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald. The aforementioned players are elite NFL receivers and they all played for losing teams in 2010. My point is the receiver position is not very important in the NFL hierarchy.

Games are won and lost in the trenches, and if you noticed, teams like the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers take offensive and defensive linemen nearly every year. These are non-sexy draft picks that turn out to be huge when it’s time to play football.

Cleveland needs to start learning from the dominant teams in its division. President Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert drafted a lot of skill players last year and it’s time to add some meat to the NFL’s 27th-ranked run defense.

Makes a lot of sense. Here’s hoping Holmgren and Heckert are thinking along the same lines.

***

Finally, the NFL Network may start feeling some heat as players may be less than willing to appear on the network’s programs during the work stoppage because the network is owned by the league.

According to The New York Times, the NFL Players Association, which is now a trade association, has not advised players to boycott the network. But it is not pushing them to appear on it, either.

George Atallah, the association’s assistant executive director, told the paper, “My message is, regardless of the outlet, check with the association to get a sense for its previous coverage.”

Arizona kicker Jay Feely told the paper, “I wouldn’t go on there now. It’s a league-owned network, so I would take that stand. But other players can go on if they choose.”

We’ll admit, we didn’t see that one coming.

Super Bowl Pick

We’ve finally reached the Super Bowl and we’re sitting comfortably in first place of the The 2010 Cheddar Bay Invitational at Cleveland Frowns.

We’re 7-3 so far in the playoffs, but a slip up this weekend could drop us from the top spot.

As much as it hurts, we’re going with Pittsburgh +3.

We struggled with this pick for a while, but as soon as the line went to three points we knew what we had to do.

This way, when Green Bay wins on a last-second field goal, but doesn’t cover, we get the satisfaction of the Steelers losing and bringing home the cheddar.

***

Looks like Dan Gilbert and Quicken Loans may be in a spot of trouble.

According to the article on The Center for Public Integrity, “Lawsuits from borrowers and ex-employees claim Quicken’s day-to-day tactics are at odds with its squeaky clean image. They accuse the company of using high-pressure salesmanship to target elderly and vulnerable homeowners, as well as misleading borrowers about their loans, and falsifying property appraisals and other information to push through bad deals.”

A trial starts Tuesday in Detroit. (h/t to Deadspin)

***

No surprise here, as safety officials in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are advising female partygoers not to leave their friends behind with someone they barely know.

Officials said that the campaign — backed by the Safe City Commission, the Women’s Center, the RecoveryResource Council and local law enforcement — has been in the works for a while but that it made sense to launch it in conjunction with the Super Bowl.

We’re sure the fact that the Steelers are in town also played a role in the decision to launch the campaign. (h/t again to Deadspin).

***

While looking for something, we came across this NFL Game of the Week video of the Browns beating the Steelers 21-16 in 1973.

Enjoy.

What Makes a Good Owner?

Here in Cleveland, we want to classify the owners of the local sports teams with neat little labels.

The Dolans are “cheap.”

Randy Lerner “doesn’t care.”

Dan Gilbert is “a winner.”

Those are easy tags for the hoople heads to latch on to, and there’s something to be said for that. But are the labels accurate?

If winning championships is the only criteria, then every Cleveland owner since 1964 has failed. But is that fair? George Steinbrenner was hailed as a great owner by Yankee apologists because he was willing to do “whatever it took” to win. That overlooks the fact that in 2009 the Yankees had $441 million in revenue – $173 million more than the second-place team! Having that much of an advantage makes it a lot easier to do “whatever it takes.”

If you look deeper into the numbers, however, you find something interesting: in 2009 the Yankees spent 54 percent of their revenue on player salaries ($240 million on $441 million in revenue), while the Indians spent 53.5 percent of their revenue on salaries ($91 million on $170 million in revenue).

It appears that the Dolans may not be unwilling to spend to make the Indians a winner, but rather they are unable to spend to compete under the current system.

So does that make them cheap or bad owners? I don’t think so. It’s more that they, like other mid-market owners in Major League Baseball, are caught in a cycle that makes it next to impossible to compete.

What about Randy Lerner?

The Browns have been a mess since they returned in 1999 and Lerner has been the one constant. That’s certainly a huge negative against Lerner. Many wrongly believe because Lerner is in England on Saturday watching Aston Villa play, rather than sitting behind a desk in Berea, he’s indifferent about the Browns.

If we were still in the 1930s, when a trans-Atlantic crossing took weeks on a ship, that may be true. But when you can make a flight from London to Cleveland in 7-8 hours, there’s no reason Lerner can’t have a presence at both team’s games.

Many fans want Lerner to be more “hands on” to prove he is “passionate” about the Browns. Because he lets people do the job that they are hired for, without constantly interfering, he’s labeled as being apathetic about the team. But if you look around the NFL, hands-on owners are not what you necessarily want.

Consider Dan Snyder of the Redskins, for example. Snyder has been overly involved with the team since buying them in 1999. Since then, the Redskins have been to the playoffs only three times. The team has had six different head coaches, has spent a disproportionate amount of money on expensive free agents and has traded away draft picks to acquire stars, many of whom have fizzled in Washington. He’s also sued season-ticket holders who’ve lost their jobs.

How about Al Davis? He’s as hands-on as they come. Or Jerry Jones, who’s led the Cowboys to one more playoff win than the Browns since 1999? Are those the type of owner Browns fans want Lerner to be?

It seems extremely unlikely that Lerner doesn’t care about the Browns. The problem is more that he’s made some mistakes in his hiring.

That brings us to Gilbert, an owner who’s benefited the most from a perfect storm of circumstances.

Gilbert has spent money and that was made easier by the presence of LeBron James, having the smallest roster size of the three major sports and the ability to pad the bottom line with all the extra playoff games the Cavs have been in since he bought the team.

But that has to be balanced with the fact that he let LeBron essentially run the team, which as we’re learning this summer, wasn’t the best idea. That “all-in” mentality cost the team a GM and a coach this off-season and it still wasn’t enough to keep James in town.

It would appear that Gilbert is as much an opportunistic owner as a winning owner.

So what does this all mean? Just as there’s no one way to define what a “good” coach is, there’s no one true blueprint for finding the best owner. As fans, all we can ask is for our owners to spend money to try and keep the team competitive, hire the best people they can find for the job and stay out of the way.

And remember that perception isn’t reality.

Odds & Ends

The more we think, read and talk about LeBron James’ decision to leave Cleveland for Miami, the more we wonder if we’re trying to make this into something bigger than it is.

Maybe this really is as simple as a 25-year-old basketball player wanting to play with his friends and hang out on the beach. He wouldn’t be the first to leave Cleveland in his mid-20s to take a job elsewhere, heck I did it after college. Of course, I didn’t have the option of staying here for more money.

There are two points that have come out over the past few days that shed a lot of light on his decision:

  • LeBron views Akron and Cleveland as two separate entities. W think he did enjoy playing 45 minutes north of where he grew up, but to him Akron is home; Cleveland was just where he went to work. We think he would have felt the same if the Cavs were located in Columbus, Cincinnati or Toledo; we all wanted to link Northeast Ohio into one large entity, while it’s apparent that LeBron never did.
  • LeBron is a follower; he’s never been, or wanted to be, a leader. Terry Pluto pointed out in his Sunday PD column that LeBron followed Dru Joyce III to St. V, not the other way around. Pluto reiterated that point today on Sirius’ Mad Dog Radio, pointing out that Dwyane Wade is the NBA equivalent of Joyce, he’s the leader and LeBron the follower. It appears that leading the Cavs as the main guy was just not in his nature.

For some other really good perspectives, visit Cleveland Frowns as well as the guys at Waiting For Next Year. They’ve put together some solid takes on the entire situation.

And if you’re really, really still upset, you can always buy one of these.

***

As for what’s next for the Cavs, the team has an opportunity to rebuild the team in a different way if they so choose. Rather than taking on players that they think they need short-term – i.e., Shaq, Antawn Jamison – they can go after players they want and build a team that can achieve long-term success.

Hopefully they see this as the prudent course of action. As much fun as Dan Gilbert’s letter was, the team can’t operate out of emotion; they’re not fans. And if that means they have to take a step or two back, then so be it.

The Cavs have assets with expiring contracts, draft picks and the $14.5 million trade exemption they received as part of the sign-and-trade with Miami. The important thing to remember is they don’t have to make any moves this week, or this season for that matter. They have a year to use the exception and the season doesn’t start for more than three months. There’s no need to rush.

One name tossed around has been Minnesota’s Al Jefferson, who is still recovering from a severe knee injury and is owed $42 million over the next three seasons. He’s only 25, though, which would help the team in its quest to get younger.

But remember, just because Jefferson may be the best player available, doesn’t mean he’s the best player. It may make more sense for the Cavs to acquire two $7 million players who can combine to match or exceed Jefferson’s numbers, rather than take on another team’s bad contract.

The important thing for the team to remember is they don’t have to rush into anything.

***

Finally, congratulations to Spain for capturing its first World Cup title, just as we predicted.

OK, picking Spain wasn’t exactly going out on a limb, and while we did get the opponent wrong, we were only four minutes away from getting the prediction right about La Furia Roja winning on penalty kicks.

Despite the claims of some that “no one cares” about soccer in America, TV ratings were up 41 percent in the U.S. over the 2006 World Cup.

And not only did Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas take home the World Cup, he got the girl as well.

Well played.

Picking up the pieces

It’s the day after the baggy-pants farce that was LeBron James’ televised announcement that he’s leaving Cleveland for Miami. And Cleveland fans are left once gain to pick up the pieces of our broken hearts and move on.

Reaction has been swift and predictable, starting with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and his much publicized letter to Cavs fans.

As Cavs fans, we have to applaud Gilbert’s passion, although his message was a bit lost in a sea of all caps and the bizarre use of Comic Sans as his font of choice. But we’ll give him a pass on that because Gilbert probably lost more than anyone with James leaving. There’s no telling how much the franchise’s value – and Gilbert’s bottom line – will suffer without LBJ. Some projections put it at $200 million. So yeah, he’s upset.

So what’s next for the Cavs? The team could be as much as $9 million under the salary cap depending on how the proceed from here. That number will increase over the next two years as Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, Delonte West, Sebastian Telfair and Antawn Jamison come off the books.

They don’t have to spend all that money right away of course, and that’s a good thing. While watching the debacle last night, one of the scariest things was the crawl across the screen listing the best remaining free agents and seeing Shaq listed as No. 2.

This is not a time for the team to react out of emotion. Remember, they only had James in the first place because they lucked out in the draft lottery. They now have the opportunity to act strategically in rebuilding this team.

This doesn’t have to happen overnight and – hopefully – it doesn’t have to involve intentionally blowing up the team in the hopes of signing the next big free agent.

It may not be pretty, it certainly will be hard, but it can be done with patience and clear thinking.

Of course, Miami is thrilled by all this. Good for them. They intentionally gutted their team, slashed payroll and made no attempt to win for the past two years in the hopes that today would come.

The only positive in this is that, despite what seemed like seven years of speculation and “guarantees,” James didn’t go to New York. And, predictably, New York thinks they have a right to feel wronged by this:

You’ll excuse us if we don’t take a moment to share in the “pain” of Knicks fans.

Finally the national media, who spent the last seven years telling us how James had to leave Cleveland, are now writing about how bad it is that he left:

Well, you get the point.

So the LeBron Era is officially over. The last seven years have been exciting and Cavs games were certainly must see, even if the team didn’t win a championship. No matter how we feel, we can’t deny that.

Cleveland fans have been through worse. We’ll get through this, eventually.

Don’t forget, Browns training camp starts in just three weeks.

The Parable of the Hands-on Owner

Bill Livingston made a valid point in his recent PD column, talking about the dangers when an owner gets involved, the way Dan Gilbert is now with the Cavs. Livingston writes:

“It is the natural impulse of a wealthy, successful man to roll up his sleeves and decide he can do better. The method of choice is usually for such an owner to put himself into the decision-making process, front and center. Not just first among equals, but firstest with the mostest.

“The usual result of putting an owner in the middle of sports decisions, however, is more like putting a migraine in the middle of the head.”

He goes on to compare Gilbert with Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. It’s a fair comparison as both men are self-made, although Cuban makes more of a spectacle of himself at games – Gilbert sticks to the occasional, painful stint sitting with the TV broadcasters.

However there are examples in Cleveland’s sporting past of hands-on owners getting in the way and hurting their franchises in the process. Here are two cautionary tales for Gilbert to chew on.

In June 1966, Jim Brown was in London filming a movie. He wanted to come to training camp a little late so he could finish the film. He was coming off an MVP season where he rushed for more than 1,500 yards, scored 17 touchdowns on the ground, caught four TD passes and even through a TD pass.

But that wasn’t good enough for then-Browns owner Art Modell, who wanted to show everyone who was the boss. In a press release, Modell laid down the law:

“No veteran Browns player has been granted or will be given permission to report late to our training camp at Hiram College- and this includes Jim Brown. Should Jim fail to report to Hiram at check-in time deadline, which is Sunday, July 17, then I will have no alternative to suspend him without pay.

“I recognize the complex problems of the motion picture business, having spent several years in the industry. However, in all fairness to everyone connected with the Browns – the coaching staff, the players and most important of all, our many faithful fans – I feel compelled to say that I will have to take such action should Jim be absent on July 17.

“Lest anyone get the impression that suspension would be a token slap on the wrist, since the salaries of most professional athletes do not go into effect until the start of the regular season, I point out that we have several players, Jim included, who are paid on a 12-month basis.

“I am certain that Jim and all of our players are aware that under terms of their contracts with us they are expected to participate in all pre-season practice sessions and games.

“I have been asked what my attitude would be if Jim Brown fails to report to Hiram next month but returns to the United States in September and decides that he wants to play football.

“Our coaching staff cannot wait until such a late date to formulate our offensive plans for the 1966 season. If Jim were to show up in September, we would have to make an appraisal as to his physical condition, his ability to pick up quickly the new offense being prepared for the season plus the general personnel situation of our Club.”

Yes, we’re sure it must have been hard to formulate an offensive game plan when you had the greatest running back in league history on your team. We’re confident that even Brian Daboll could have come up with something.

Of course, we all know what happened: Brown walked away from the team, saying in his reply to Modell,

“I am writing to inform you that in the next few days I will be announcing my retirement from Football. … I am very sorry that I did not have the information to give to you at some earlier date, for one of my great concerns was to try in every way to work things out so that I could play an additional year.”

The second example involves the Indians under the ownership of Vernon Stouffer. In his fantastic book, Endless Summers: The Fall and Rise of the Cleveland Indians, Jack Torry details how a cash-strapped Stouffer was looking to unload the Tribe in 1971. Stouffer’s son, James, negotiated the sale of the team to a syndicate headed by George Steinbrenner while Vernon Stouffer was out of town. But both sides were confident they had a deal.

But Vernon Stouffer, who was in Arizona at the time, had other ideas.

When Steinbrenner telephoned Stouffer in Scottsdale, Stouffer was angry. He thought he was being taken advantage of and told Steinbrenner that the deal was off. People have speculated for years as to why Stouffer backed out of the deal, but one of the main reasons is that he believed the American League would approve a ridiculous idea he floated to have the Indians play 25 “home games” in New Orleans.

In other words, he knew best. Stouffer walked away from $9 million in cash from Steinbrenner’s group, and ended up selling the team to a group headed by Nick Mileti in a deal that was so shady that, at first, the league would not approve the deal. Mileti restructured the offer and was approved. While on paper Stouffer sold the team for more money, he only received $1 million upfront, with the rest to be paid over eight years.

Stouffer passed away before the final payment was received by his estate.

And of course Mileti quickly ran out of money and sold the team, starting a cycle of despair that wasn’t erased until 1995.

It’s fun to wonder how things would have been different with Steinbrenner as the owner of the Indians for the past 30+ years. In Terry Pluto’s book, The Curse of Rocky Colavito, former GM Gabe Paul recalled that “this was a huge setback for Cleveland. The team George wanted first was the Indians, because he was from Cleveland. He planned to spend lots of money to revive the franchise, just as he did in New York.”

If only Vernon Stouffer hadn’t decided he had to show everyone how smart he was.

Which brings us back to Gilbert, the man with no head coach and the start of free agency only days away. After his failed courtship of Tom Izzo, who left Gilbert standing at the altar for a week while he circled the chapel before heading back to Michigan, Gilbert should realize that it’s time to turn the team back over to the basketball people and let them do the jobs they were hired for.

Something tells us Gilbert’s not ready to do that just yet. Let’s just hope he realizes he’s heading down a dangerous path before it is too late.

As Patrick McManamon wrote during Izzo’s courtship:

“Change can help. But change has to be made based on reason and logic and not frustration and emotion. Are the Cavs acting out of frustration at consecutive playoff losses, or are they acting because the people hired did not come through when it mattered? Time will answer.”

What’s the Next Move Dan?

“It’s a mess, ain’t it?

“If it ain’t, it will do until the mess gets here.

Now that Dan Gilbert has taken the easy path and fired Mike Brown, sacrificing him to appease the hoople heads, we’re left hoping that the next mess doesn’t arrive.

As we explained last week, firing a coach is the easy part. Terry Pluto made the same, correct point in today’s PD. Zydrunas and Mo Williams also agree.

Now Gilbert has to find the answer to the question: who are you going to hire? And if he can’t find someone who will produce better results than Brown, then what was the point, exactly? Brown was not only the most successful coach in franchise history, he was the sixth winningest coach in NBA history, percentage wise.

Read that sentence again. Only five other coaches in NBA history have had a better winning percentage than Brown. Think that will be easy to replace?

Brian Windhorst ran down a list of possible replacements in today’s PD: Other than Phil Jackson, who’s not coming to Cleveland, the list shouldn’t inspire confidence or excitement among the fan base. Consider the “accomplishments” of some of the names on that list:

  • Byron Scott, .498 winning percentage, only eight playoff wins in his last seven years as coach.
  • Dwayne Casey, .434, no playoff wins.
  • Maurice Cheeks, .498, five playoff wins.
  • Lawrence Frank, .483, no playoff wins in his last three years as coach.
  • Mike Fratello (please, no), 20-42 career playoff record, only two playoff wins in his last 10 years as a coach.
  • Sam Mitchell, .452, three playoff wins.
  • Terry Porter, .460, one playoff win.

You really want one of them running the team for the next three years – because, let’s face it, that’s about how long one of them would last if they were hired. Is there anyone on this list that gives fans any reason to hope that they will be the ones to lead the team to a championship?

And let’s not even go down the road that would end in disaster if the Cavs hired a college coach.

But I guess it’s not all bad. We still have Manny Acta (.385 career winning percentage) and Eric Mangini (.438) in the Cleveland coaching fraternity. That will put an extra hop in your step.

So now the search is on and Dan Gilbert faces the latest in a seemingly never-ending list of “most important decisions” facing the franchise.

“The expectations of this organization are very high,” Gilbert said Monday in published reports. “Although change always carries an element of risk, there are times when that risk must be taken in an attempt to break through to new, higher levels of accomplishment. This is one of those times.”

We have to all hope that Gilbert is correct. Who knows, maybe he is the owner that can break the championship drought that has hung over Cleveland for almost 46 years.

If not, there’s no telling what kind of mess the Cavs will find themselves in.

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