Tomorrow, perhaps the most important non-sporting sporting event in Cleveland will occur when the Cavaliers have their media day.
So, the circus that will surround them all year will start then and there.
The biggest focus for everyone will be LeBron James, who hasn’t really sat down to speak about his return to Cleveland, except through his essay in Sports Illustrated and his welcome home party in July in Akron.
To be sure, he will be asked about his future with the Cavaliers because he signed a one year deal with an option, even though he has stated publicly that he will finish out his career in wine and gold.
There will also be considerable attention on the NBA’s newest “big three”, James, recently acquired all-star Kevin Love, and the MVP of both last year’s All Star Game and the FIBA World Championship, Kyrie Irving.
To be sure, they will be compared to the Celtics recent grouping (Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce) and Miami’s famous, or infamous trio of James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Will the Cavs group have the same success as Boston, winning a title in their first year together?
There is no question than not only do the Cavs have a core of all-star players, but they also have put together a deep roster of solid role players, something Miami didn’t have at least last season.
Besides the holdovers from last season, Dion Waiters, Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, and Matthew Dellavedova, who are all solid NBA players, GM David Gilbert also brought in Shawn Marion, Mike Miller, and James Jones, and don’t forget big man Brendan Haywood, who missed last season with a stress fracture in his foot.
The deep roster will allow James to cut back on his minutes, as our guess is all parties would like him to average around 33 minutes per game in 2014-15, compared to the 37.7 he played last season in Miami, and the 39.5 he averaged throughout his time in the NBA.
The only thing this team doesn’t have on paper is a big time shot blocker or rim protector in the new vernacular, and that could be Haywood if his feet can hold up.
And while some critics will say there aren’t a lot of lock down defenders in this group, right now James, Marion, Varejao, and Dellavedova would be considered the best defensive players, the name of the game is scoring more than your opponents, and this edition of the wine and gold should be very proficient in putting the ball in the basket.
The coolest thing about all this is the amount of focus that will be on Cleveland, Ohio this winter. The two best teams in professional basketball might just be here and in San Antonio. The national media has to be going crazy. We will probably hear about how the league is in trouble because it doesn’t appear its hallmark franchises (Celtics, Lakers, Knicks) will be in the championship mix for a while.
Also, the Cavs will be embraced throughout the league too. James was named the most popular professional athlete in the country this summer, in part because he did the right thing in many people’s eyes by reversing the wrong committed four years ago and returning to Cleveland.
As we have traveled around the country this summer, most basketball fans are genuinely happy that The King is back in northeast Ohio.
It all starts tomorrow. And the wait to Opening Night will be excruciating.