Posts Tagged ‘Dan Gilbert’

LeBron, The Future And … Cleveland?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – NBA players remind me of political candidates during election season. They go from city to city, facing a media throng eager to pepper them with questions that usually result in answers that barely raise an eyebrow they’ve been given so many times.

Every now and then, though, you get something totally bizarre. And that’s exactly what the reporters covering the Miami Heat practice in Cleveland today got when they assembled to interview LeBron James after practice.

You have to wonder how these comments (courtesy of the Twitter feeds of both Tom Reed and Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Plain Dealer and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com) will go over with the faithful in both Cleveland and Miami? …

He’s happy in Miami, but: “I think it would be great, it would be fun to play in front of these fans again.”

On one day coming back to Cleveland: “You can’t predict future…If I decide to come back hopefully the fans will accept me.”

About Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert: “He said what he said out of anger. He probably would want to take that back but I made a mistake too.”

Again, the context in which these comments were made needs to be restated. James and the Heat are in Northeast Ohio and will have been for three days before Friday night’s game against the Cavaliers.

So if there is a little nostalgia floating in the air, we understand.

But talking like this so soon into his tenure in Miami, and so soon after the messy divorce  he went through with the Cavs’ faithful, is bound to strike a chord with some folks!

The bigger surprise is that James has actually entertained the idea of returning to his roots someday during his playing career. That alone is reason for pause … anyway, back to Linsanity!

The Wrong Time To Intervene

– For the latest updates check out: NBA.com’s Free Agent Tracker

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Basketball reasons, huh?

Good luck getting that one past the discerning eyes of millions of basketball fans that know better.

The explanation for the league putting a stop to the three-team, Chris Paul-Lakers deal was disseminated via statement late last night, putting the final nail into what was clearly one of the most bizarre nights the league has seen in years.

From the decision itself to the theories behind why it happened, not to mention the most twisted piece of all, Dan Gilbert‘s terse email detailing his displeasure (and that of many other owners) with the proposed trade was, it all just felt wrong.

It felt wrong as it was going down, wrong during three or four hours of sleep were lucky to get here at the hideout and dead wrong this morning as we try to make sense of the senseless.

The league picked the wrong time to intervene for “basketball reasons.” That should have been done long before Hornets general manager Dell Demps engaged in trade discussions with the dozen or so teams that made serious inquiries about Paul. And even then it would have been the wrong thing to do.

Whoever owns the Hornets will have to deal with the reality that Paul has no intention of playing for the franchise longterm. So rather than making a fool of the franchise, a mockery of the process and a bigger mess than the 149-day lockout did with the fans, someone needed to do the right thing and find a deal that allowed for Paul’s departure without totally destroying the fabric of the franchise.

Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor did it last season when he moved Deron Williams, his franchise’s most valuable asset at that time, before being backed into a similar corner. What Demps was attempting to do was in the very best interest of the franchise and would have been by most any reasonable standard a solid deal for the Hornets (you get three starters, two draft picks and save yourself from the ongoing saga that would have been CP3-watch for the next however many months … you have to take that deal).

Worse yet, the folks suffering the worst today are the players in all three cities that have to show up for training camp, if they show up for training camp, and answer questions about decisions that had nothing to do with them and they had no hand in making.

In Houston, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and Kevin Martin have to deal with the fallout. In Los Angeles a wounded Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol will be expected to hit the floor and act as if the night before had never happened. And in New Orleans, Paul has to decide if legal action is his best recourse for being allowed to do what we all know he will do at some point, and that’s leave the Hornets.

Not even “basketball reasons” will keep that from happening at some point.

(more…)

Labor Talks: Step Back And Listen

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If we are indeed on the verge of yet more of the NBA regular season being chopped down by the stalled lockout negotiations, perhaps it’s time for the sides involved to take a breath.

Maybe we all need to take a step back and listen to what both the owners and players are trying to say about their positions. We tried our best Monday to provide the proper forum for you, the fans of the game, to speak your mind about where you stand. And we’ve heard in detail exactly where the league stands in regards to this latest impasse.

Listening to union executive director Billy Hunter on The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons of Grantland.com provided a drama- free opportunity to hear Hunter’s argument and try to grasp how we got here and where we might be headed. (You need to carve out an hour to listen. It’s an absolute must-listen, especially the part when Hunter reveals that he and NBA Commissioner David Stern are fraternity brothers.)

The finger-pointing that marked last week’s breakdown in talks was pleasantly absent from this conversation, which made it much easier to wrap your head around exactly why the players feel the way they do toward the owners, who have come under considerable fire themselves since last week.

And for those of you who enjoy a tidy list, our friends at the Los Angeles Times have compiled an easy-to-read roster of exactly where all 30 owners stand on the lockout.

ALLEN UNDER FIRE

Portland owner Paul Allen has been the most talked about member of the owner’s side since last week, both in Portland and beyond. Whatever his role was in last week’s breakdown of talks, he’s being fingered as the man whose presence led to a severe crack in the process.

(more…)

Labor Talks: Season On The Brink …

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Your anger is understandable.

Mostly because the actions of so many are indefensible.

With this latest breakdown in talks between the two sides in the NBA’s labor madness comes a sobering truth about this entire process. It’s never been about saving the game or even preserving it for the fans. It’s about two sides fighting over a billion dollar pie and each one wanting the biggest piece. Someone has to win and someone has to lose, compromise be damned!

We knew as much when this thing started, but we seemed to lose sight of that in the past few months with all the details tossed into the fray to deflect our attention from the fundamentals of this dispute. Our confidence has been betrayed by the men who have asked for that very thing from us, the basketball loving public,. And here we stand, just days away from what should have been the start of a season, staring at a potential season on the brink.

When the federal mediator both sides agreed to let dive into the middle of this battle packs up his stuff and heads for the door after three days of listening to everyone talk, it’s clear the “gulf” between the positions NBA Commissioner David Stern spoke of last week is greater than most of us imagined.

Unlike many of my less cynical colleagues here at the hideout and beyond, I wasn’t expecting a resolution to this process this week. I did (foolishly) assume that some tangible progress this week could lead to a deal sometime in the very near future.

But not after reading these words from NBPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler after the Board of Governors meeting:

“This meeting was hijacked. Something happened at their [owners] meeting. This is not the move where the owners were yesterday. We were making progress, as you heard.

“They came back, they came without the commissioner. They came with Paul Allen. We were told Paul Allen was here to express the views of the other members of the Board of Governors. And that view was: ‘Our way or the highway.’

“That’s what we were told. We were shocked. We went in there trying to negotiate, and they came in and said, ‘You either accept 50-50 or we’re done. And we won’t discuss anything else.’ “

Point fingers in whatever direction you like. Both sides are doing the same now without hesitation.

(more…)

About Last Night: Knicks Show No Fear

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Next time you’ll listen when Amar’e Stoudemire tells you the Knicks are not afraid of the Miami Heat.

The Knicks showed no fear at Madison Square Garden in battling from behind and then out playing the Heat down the stretch on TNT last night. It was the sort of performance that exposes all the reasons why these Knicks, with a key addition (Carmelo Anthony) here or there, could be trouble for the rest of the Eastern Conference come playoff time and beyond.

When people try to simplify this win for the Knicks by pointing out that Mario Chalmers missed a wide open shot that could have tied the game in the final seconds and that the Knicks just took care of business late, they are doing a disservice to the home team.

The Knicks snatched this game, using that 17-8 fourth-quarter surge to turn back Dwyane Wade and LeBron James at crunch time. Those four straight 3-pointers during the run, two each from Danilo Gallinari and Landry Fields, proved to be the difference as the Knicks doubled the Heat’s fourth quarter production.

(more…)

Blogtable: Any hope in Cleveland?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

If you’re Dan Gilbert, what do you do – what can you do – to give Cleveland fans some kind of hope?

Steve Aschburner: In 48-point Comic Sans, Dan Gilbert needs to assure Cavs fans that they are embarking on a massive overhaul of their team via draft picks and trades – forget about free agency. He has to sell them on youth and hope and some sort of blueprint for the future. He needs to push Chris Grant to move players such as Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams to needy contenders for picks and cash, and to serve as facilitator to as many deals as possible while extracting cuts that fit their vision. The only NBA players who would willingly join the current mess are mercenaries coming only for the money they could get while being overpaid. That’s why Gilbert and his team must focus on future NBA players.

Fran Blinebury: Keep your fingers crossed at the lottery, keep your mouth shut the rest of the time and keep believing that karma will reward you in the next life.

Art Garcia: Build an elaborate time machine and go back to 2007 or give the Cavs to Pat Riley. (more…)

Rip City Karma

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We will understand if Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan spends the rest of his days looking over his shoulder, avoiding cracks in the sidewalk wherever he walks and ducking for cover at the sign of a cat any shade other than albino.

We’re just as confused here at the hideout as McMillan must be in regards to what he and the Trail Blazers have done to incur the wrath of the basketball gods the way they have the past two seasons.

Now comes word that Brandon Roy, who was already out indefinitely, will have an arthroscopic procedure on both knees next week. McMillan should have requested Ashton Kutcher deliver the news, as opposed to whatever member of the beleaguered Trail Blazers’ athletic training staff had to deliver the crushing news.

Roy’s knees give the Trail Blazers a total of seven knees that have cost players their seasons, or at least large chunks of the season. Greg Oden is out for the season after having microfracture knee surgery. Second-yard forward Jeff Pendergraph injured his knee and required season-ending surgery. And rookie guard Elliot Williams has undergone surgery this season on both knees. Veteran center Joel Pryzbilla is working his way into normal shape after missing 26 games recovering from offseason knee surgery.

Dan Gilbert and LeBron James toss the word “karma” around without knowing the true dark side of the word. Folks in Portland know all too well what the wrong side of that coin can do to a team’s hopes and dreams.

(more…)

Sterling’s Shout Out

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – And you thought Dan Gilbert was tough on his players.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has taken things to a different level, joining the chorus of Baron Davis critics this season. According to my main man Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Sterling has taken to heckling one of his own players:

– “Why are you in the game?”

– “Why did you take that shot?”

– “You’re out of shape!”

While Sterling has also taunted other Clippers players since the middle of last season, none have received it worse than Davis, the sources said. Davis has missed 14 of the team’s 25 games this season and is averaging 7.4 points while making a team-high $13 million. Including this season, Davis has three years and nearly $42 million left on his contract.

“There’s nothing I can say,” Davis said of Sterling’s taunts. “I have no comment on that. You just get to this point where it’s a fight every day. It’s a fight. You’re fighting unnecessary battles. I’m fighting unnecessary battles.

“It’s frustrating because I know and my teammates know I’m capable of getting it done, even dudes on the other team. It’s frustrating.”

We realize Davis has become a bit of an easy target these days. But your own owner taking shots at you seems a bit much, even in this day and age.

This is beyond ridiculous, even for the Clippers.

Blogtable: Reaction to LeBron in Cleveland

We know how Clevelanders will react Thursday night: not well. Is that OK with you?


David Aldridge: To paraphrase Emma Greenway in Terms of Endearment: I think moving a thousand miles and uprooting a city’s collective psyche without its consent is worth a pout, don’t you? (Yeah, I know. Chick flick. But it was a good chick flick.) As long as there is no attempted violence and/or vulgarity involved in their signs or actions, I think it’s okay if LeBron gets a few boos and chants tossed his way. He’s a big guy. He can handle it.

Steve Aschburner: I’m going to be in the building, and this is one of the few times I’ll be grateful that media seating at most NBA arenas has gotten lousier – that is, higher from the court – in recent years. That should keep me out of the line of fire compared to the old courtside days. But it would really be nice if the Cavs fans, since everyone is expecting them to zig, could instead zag by doing something clever and/or unexpected. Like going mum for anything that has to do with LeBron. Or serenading him with silly sing-a-long songs — “Hit The Road, Jack!” or “You’re So Vain” for starters – as opposed to simple booing, cruder language or dangerous projectiles.

Art Garcia: Fans voicing their displeasure with the opposition is nothing new. It’s an accepted and celebrated part of games. Would Philly fans still be Philly fans if they didn’t boo? A-Rod went through this the first time he returned to Seattle, but something tells the Cleveland faithful will crank Bang-a-Bron to 11. Whether it’s right or wrong, it’s coming Thursday and I suspect it’s gonna keep coming for years.

Fran Blinebury: I operate under the “Mother Rule.” If you wouldn’t say it, wear it or hold it up on a sign with your mother  sitting next to you, then it’s out of bounds.  Anything else goes.  And if I were 20,000 Clevelanders trying to sound my displeasure, I have one word:  vuvuzelas.

Scott Howard-Cooper: It’s not just about Clevelanders. Ninety percent of the NBA fans in the world would pack themselves into The Q to be not well with LeBron. As long as it’s not well within the limits of the law and good decorum — there are certain words kids do not need to hear yet — people not only will understand. They will be cheering on the Cleveland fans.

Shaun Powell: Within the limits of good taste and safety, anything is fair game. Unfortunately for LeBron, the Browns aren’t having a great year, so Clevelanders will take some of that out on him, too. While they’re at it, they’ll just shovel some of that archived anger from “the Fumble” and “the Drive” and the 1997 World Series loss as well. Bring ear plugs, LeBron. And his teammates might wanna treat LeBron like a fire engine and stay back at least 500 feet.

John Schuhmann: As long as they don’t interfere with the game or make it uncomfortable for people who bring their kids to The Q. Hopefully, most of the crowd’s energy is expended in support of the Cavs, but boos, whistles and (PG-13) signs are fine with me.

Sekou Smith: Having witnessed the Malice at the Palace in person (from right behind the Pacers’ bench), I would urge any and all fans in attendance to think long and hard before doing anything other than booing until they lose their voice. If they really wanted to stick it to LeBron James they could give him the silent treatment. And I mean complete silence. How crazy would it be if no one made a sound whenever he touches the ball and then the crowd just goes nuts whenever the home team does anything? This game might have needed an age-limit rule as well. “No one under the age of 21 allowed,” for fear of what they might hear.


You Can’t Always Go Home

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – When I packed up and headed off to college a lifetime ago, the last thing my folks said to me as I hit the door was “remember — no matter what happens — you can always come home.”

Those were comforting words for a clueless kid headed to a new life over 1,000 miles away from everything he’d ever known.

LeBron James is going to find out the hard way that those words don’t always ring true.

You can’t always go home, at least not right away in some cases. Sometime in the distant future, perhaps 20 years from now, he might be able to return to Cleveland without drawing the ire of the masses.

Thursday night’s Heat-Cavaliers game at Quicken Loans Arena, however, is definitely not going to be that time.

Hearing James entertain a question about his jersey being retired in Cleveland one day is a clear indication that he still doesn’t comprehend the mental pain and anguish he caused those fans in Northeast Ohio. I don’t suspect I’ll be around to see that No. 23 jersey retirement ceremony, and no one should just dismiss it as a pipe dream.

But my search for signs that Cavaliers fans have simmered down from their initial anger and subsequent disillusioned state of shock after “The Decision” has turned up absolutely no evidence.

The pitchforks will be out Thursday night. Even James understands that much.

(more…)