As the losses mount up for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the whole LeBron James leaving story as re-emerged from the national media.
With it is the criticism of Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert. Gilbert deserves some negative press, but blasting him for the way James left and his handling of the former Cavaliers and his support team is unmerited.
Gilbert has taken criticism for the letter he wrote to Cavs’ fans the night James decided to leave the franchise, and that is understandable. It was written in anger, and in retrospect, should have been crumbled up and put in the garbage.
However, at the time the supporters of his team loved it. They gave James unconditional love and couldn’t believe that someone from around here wouldn’t want to stay.
Promising a title before the Heat gets one was over the top and since the Cavaliers best chance to win anything this season comes in the draft lottery, the owner’s statement was silly.
It’s funny that Gilbert is being criticized for how the player was handled when he was wearing the wine and gold. He did everything he could to make him feel like he was the most important piece of the franchise, and based on how the value of the team dropped without him, it was with good reason.
The critics say Gilbert should have been tougher with James, not an “enabler”. That’s hindsight, and there is no place for it here.
If the Cavs’ ownership had put their collective foot down and been tougher with James, and then he left, the same people would be saying Dan Gilbert handled it all wrong, he should have coddled the superstar in an effort to keep him.
Other anti-Gilbert people talk about how the Cavs should have put a better roster around James. They conveniently forget that #23 probably had a lot of imput on major moves affecting the roster.
They say the worst GM’s are the players themselves and it’s true in this case. However, assuming James was consulted and signed off on these trades, he had a large hand in not having the proper talent around him.
One guy who flies under the radar and doesn’t get a lot of criticism is former GM Danny Ferry.
By all accounts, Ferry could have made a deal to get Shaquille O’Neal from Phoenix at the trading deadline in 2009, but declined, not wanting to disturb the chemistry on a team that ended 66-16.
Perhaps a championship banner would be hanging from the rafters at The Q had the deal been made. Supposedly, Wally Szczerbiak’s expiring contract was the centerpiece of such a deal.
Ferry should also get criticism for selecting Christian Eyenga in the first round of the 2009 draft. Although Eyenga shows promise now with his athleticism, he’s a project.
With the Cavs ranking among the NBA’s elite at the time, shouldn’t a more ready to play guy should have been picked in that spot, say a player like DeJuan Blair, who is putting up good numbers the Spurs, who happen to have the league’s best record?
LeBron James left the Cavaliers because he wanted to go play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and the three of them decided the coolest place to play was in Miami.
He didn’t have the competitive gene that Michael Jordan had, which was to dominate all in his path. Jordan wanted to beat everyone, including his friends.
Just don’t blame Dan Gilbert for the way he treated James and his entourage. As for the make up of the team, the owner is just a part of that problem.