Monthly Archives: July 2014

Don’t Chase Love, He’ll Come to You

When it comes to Love, those who are meant to be together, will be.


This is no sappy love story, that came on July 11th when LeBron James announced he’d return to Northeast Ohio for “unfinished business.” This is about the Cleveland Cavaliers pursuit of Kevin Love to create a new big three with James and All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.

The Cavs are in a three team race with the Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics to trade for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 25 year old, three time all star who seems to get double doubles in his sleep.

The T-Wolves are asking both the Warriors and Cavs for everything but stock in opposing teams franchises to pull the trigger. From the Warriors they want emerging star Klay Thompson along with Forward David Lee. From Cleveland, number one overall pick Andrew Wiggins—who now can’t be traded until August 23rd as a condition for signing his rookie contract—as well as 2013 number one overall pick Anthony Bennett and future first round picks; bad deal for Cleveland. Simply put, you don’t give up two overall number one picks this early in their careers before you know their value.

There’s no need to rush to trade for Kevin Love now. Even though statistically he’d be a better front court sidekick than Chris Bosh was to LeBron on South Beach, he’s not going to make Cleveland a championship contender this season any more than the young guys already on the roster. Love has NEVER played in the playoffs like over half of the players on the Cavs current roster. There are growing pains this team needs to experience, ones LeBron already went through during his first seven seasons in Cleveland and season number one on South Beach.

Even if the Cavs were to acquire Love and miraculously get out of the east, everyone knows the real NBA Finals will be the Western Conference Finals, because they’re clearly the varsity to the Eastern Conference’s JV. So why not wait and see what the current edition of the a Cavs can do with time to work together, before mortgaging your future.

LeBron James said in his impassioned essay that his goal is to bring one championship to Cleveland. If they holdout for Love to become a free agent in the summer of 2015, they can sign him and add him to the youthful pieces already in the Cavs organization to possibly set themselves up to win not one, not two, not three, but multiple titles in years to come. As well as keep talent to continue their winning ways when LeBron retires.

Right now it may seem as if the T-Wolves have all the leverage, but as it gets closer to the trade deadline and Love makes it clear he won’t re-sign them or with any team that tries to “rent” him for a half season, all looks well for Cleveland to sign him outright in the summer of 2015.

If it’s cap space they’re worried about, by keeping Wiggins and Bennett, management can assess their value at the end of the season and see what assets—like future 1st round picks—they can acquire from teams in exchange for them. This will also allow them to make room to pay Love, while giving the Cavs more to build with down the line. The leverage is with the Cavs.


James and Love would immediately be the best front court in the League.

Love has already said he would sign long term with the Cavs if LeBron was there. He is now. So like a guy who has a crush on a girl, ladies (Cleveland) he WANTS you. Don’t blow it by getting desperate and giving up something valuable too soon (innuendo intended).

NBA Expansion: Reservations for Seattle Plus One

It’s no secret the NBA wants to bring a franchise back to Seattle. It’s been in discussion since Oklahoma City owner Clay Bennett lifted the Sonics from the great Northwest in 2008 and successfully made them a staple in the Heartland. Former commissioner David Stern said he wished he would’ve accomplished it before leaving his post this past February and current commissioner Adam Silver says it’s on the top of his agenda to happen within his first five years at the helm.


Sonics fans are itching for the NBA to return.

So, assuming Seattle is a no brainer to be the home of thirty first organization, you would think the league would be looking at adding a thirty second to keep the landscape in each conference equal, a la the NFL with its sixteen teams each in the AFC and NFC.

There have been rumors of Louisville, Kentucky, but in my honest opinion I don’t think a city that’s rich in College Hoops tradition would be a prime locale for the NBA. I’d also scratch Lexington, Kentucky and Storrs, Connecticut as well. So, here is my list of cities that could potentially become home for an Eastern Conference team. Like Seattle, three of them have deep NBA roots.

1.) St. Louis, Mo
TV DMA Market#21


The “Lou” is a great sports town with NBA roots.

PRO: Once was home to the Atlanta Hawks for thirteen seasons (1955-1968), it’s where they won the franchises’ only League Championship and four Conference titles. The “Lou” is a great, proud sports city that already supports three teams in the four major sports (Cardinals, Rams, Blues). Two of them have won championships in the last fifteen years—Rams in 1999 and the Cardinals in 2006 & 2011. The city has also done well in hosting the NCAA Final Four (2005) and several other rounds within the NCAA tournament. And, if the Rams do get their wish and the NFL allows them to relocate to Los Angeles, the financial support will be there from the void left.

St. Louis is twenty first on the TV DMA Market list. Only Seattle (Market 13), Tampa (Market 14)—Orlando is technically their team—are higher markets without a franchise.

A St. Louis team could compete in the Central or Southeast division of the Eastern Conference.

CON: The Scottrade Center where the Blues plays its games will be twenty years old this fall and has not been renovated into the state of the art arena the NBA desires their franchises to have. Arena quality has been cited as reason why the Sonics were moved from Seattle and building a new one was at the center of the Sacramento Kings potential move the last couple of seasons. Another potential con would be, if St. Louis fans would support another winter sports team. Hockey is a big draw in St. Louis and could make it too competitive for an NBA team to be successful.

2.) Columbus, Oh
TV DMA Market #32

Columbus’ downtown area has thrived since opening Nationwide arena, which would benefit the NBA.

PRO: Columbus is a die hard sports city and the largest in the “Buckeye State.” City leaders and fans have actively and publicly attempted to get on the NBA radar by sending letters to Commissioner David Stern during his tenure and receiving a reply. There was also a website created to state the city’s case.

Although it’s a football first town, fans have successfully supported expansion NHL (Bluejackets, 2000) and MLS (Crew,1996) Franchises. There is also already a state of the art arena in place that is only fifteen years old and seats 19,500 for a basketball game. Nationwide Arena has hosted a handful of Buckeye basketball games and first and second round NCAA tournament games. It’s also located in an expanding vibrant entertainment district.

Columbus is thirty second on the TV DMA Market list. Even though it’s low, it’s still higher than Oklahoma City which is forty first and has done very well, especially for a city that was once thought of as a college town because of its close proximity to the University of Oklahoma in nearby Norman.

While Columbus has supported the NHL well during the winter months, hockey still hasn’t become too dominate in the area that an NBA team would struggle to draw fan support. Now that the novelty of having a major pro sports franchise in town has worn off, attendance has dropped from an average of over 18,000 to 14,500 since the Bluejackets inaugural season in 2000-2001.

A Columbus franchise could compete in the Central division with the Cavs, Bulls, Pacers and Bucks.

CON: While Cleveland is a two hour drive away, pro hoop fans in the 614 are lifers when it comes to the Cavs. “Buckeye City” is known as a College town, several minor league pro basketball teams haven’t had much success there. Fans also didn’t turn out when the Cavs hosted training camp and preseason games in the city even when they had LeBron James in his first run with the organization.

3.) Pittsburgh, Pa
TV DMA Market #23


The “Steel City” has die hard sports fans that support their teams, but would the NBA be one too many?

PRO: The Burgh has a very supportive fan base for their three major pro sports franchises, including lean years, see the Pirates from 1992-2013. The $321 million Consol Energy Arena where the Penguins play is only four years old and is just the type of facility the NBA pushes for their teams to have.

Much like St. Louis, the Burgh is in a top twenty five market, that means big revenue dollars to the league. Don’t think market size won’t play a factor in the decision of where an expansion franchise is placed.

One thing we know for sure is that the uniform color scheme will include black and gold, just like the other pro teams in town. The Pittsburgh franchise could compete in the Central division of the Eastern Conference.

CON: During the winter months hockey dominates in the Steel City. It possibly would be too much for a Pro Basketball team to overcome to have success and be a big draw. To make matters worse, the city doesn’t seem to really support their top college hoops program, the Pitt Panthers.

4.) Baltimore, Md
TV DMA Market #27


Baltimore has deep basketball roots and was a longtime home of the Bullets, now Wizards franchise.

PRO: Was once home to the Washington Bullets, and currently home of two of the four major sports (Ravens and Orioles). This is a major basketball scene. Several of the top talent on the pro and college level have come from “Charm City.”

It’s very close to Washinton D.C. but, anyone who lives in this area will tell you these city aren’t really that close. Many estimates have the drive at an hour and ten minutes in relatively light traffic. Plus, New York and L.A. both have two teams, and while they are the number one and two markets in America, the DC area is eight and Baltimore is twenty seventh. As I’ve written already, DMA market size is a plus for this area when it comes to revenue. I think they can sustain two franchises within a forty one mile distance. It could also create a much needed rivalry. The NBA could use the model the NFL has with the Ravens and Redskins.

This team could compete in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.

CON: The one major arena—Baltimore Arena—has been opened since 1961 and as recently as 2008 was considered to have outlived its shelf life. Like a couple of the cities on this list, the lack of a state of the art arena will not be appealing to commissioner Silver and his advisors. However, the city and it’s leaders are in talks about constructing a new arena which they hope will attract a pro basketball franchise or other leagues such as Arena Football and the NHL. Discussions have put the new arena at a cost of $300 million and that would definitely be of interest to the NBA.

5.) Kansas City, Mo
TV DMA Market #31


The Sprint Center is the crown jewel of Kansas City.

PRO: Once home to Kings franchise for thirteen seasons from 1972-1985, it was the last stop before moving to Sacramento. Kansas City doesn’t have the NHL for the NBA to compete against. Unlike half the cities on this list, they have a state of the art arena. The $276 million dollar Sprint Center opened in 2007 and can seat 18,972 for basketball games.

A Kansas City franchise could compete in the Central or Southeast division of the Eastern Conference.

CON: Does Kansas City want pro basketball? Like St. Louis they had a franchise and have never made a huge case to get another. The city was rumored to be in the hunt for the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans and Sacramento Kings when both considered relocation before settling their issues. Many have questioned if there’s a fan base for Pro basketball. Kansas City strongly supports it’s Chiefs during the fall and the Royals during spring and summer. It be nice to see this great sports city show off for a winter sport like basketball.

6.) Nashville, Tn
TV DMA Market #29


“Music City” could play the right tune for Commissioner Silver.

PRO: The “Music City” successfully supported the Houston Oilers when they moved into town in 1997, even securing a new stadium for the team in 1999 which is still the now Tennessee Titans’ home. The city has also been home to NHL’s Nashville Predators since their inaugural season in 1997-1998. Nashville was rumored to be in the hunt to draw an NBA Franchise before being awarded the Predators.

The Bridgestone Arena, the main venue in town where the Predators play, opened in 1996 and seats 19,395 for basketball. It has played host to the SEC Men’s basketball tournament and several Men’s NCAA Tournament sessions as well as the 2014 Women’s NCAA Final Four. The arena has undergone several million dollars worth of renovations as recently as 2007, which should be appealing to NBA brass.

The Nashville franchise could compete in the Southeast division of the Eastern Conference.

CON: Unlike with Columbus and the Bluejackets, the NHL has already gained a seventeen year grip on the city. The Predators are very popular and the NBA may not want to take on that challenge, much like in Pittsburgh and St. Louis on this list.

So what are some other cities you think would be a great landing spot for a thirty second NBA franchise?

Fixing the NBA Draft Lottery Requires Rewarding Winning

If the NBA really wants to restructure the draft lottery process to eliminate tanking, the league should look to reward winning.


Time for the NBA to do away with this system.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about revising the NBA Draft lottery to avoid a team like Cleveland being able to win the number one pick three times in four years, and keep teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers from purposely losing 55 to 60 plus games in back to back seasons to get a top five pick.

Just within the last week, the NBA submitted an official proposal to the competition committee to reform the draft lottery. While no new plan has been chosen, one solution that has been tossed around is giving the four teams with the worse records an 11 percent chance to win the number one pick, with the fifth worse team getting a 10 percent chance. I believe this will still encourage tanking as more teams will dump salaries and quality players in an attempt to beat each other out to be in the bottom five in the overall standings.

Under the current system, the team with the worst record has a 25 percent chance at the top pick, the second-worst team has a 19.9 percent chance with the third-worst team having a 15.6 percent chance.

So here’s my thought, reward winning. I’m not talking where the rich get richer like in 1982 when the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Championship, then drafted James Worthy number one overall a couple weeks later. I propose the draft selection should start with the team with the best record to miss the playoffs and continue as followed until all thirty teams are slotted.

For Example, based on the 2013-2014 season, under my draft system the number one pick in this past June’s draft would’ve went to the 48-34 Phoenix Suns, followed by the Minnesota Timberwolves at 40-42. The third selection would’ve been made by the 36-46 Denver Nuggets, fourth would’ve been the New York Knicks at 37-45—their pick would’ve went to the Orlando Magic via the Denver Nuggets as a result of several past trades, since it was the lesser of Denver’s first round picks it goes to the Magic—and the fifth pick would’ve been made by the New Orleans Pelicans (34-48)—if it hadn’t been in the top 5 it would’ve went to Philadelphia as a result of the Jrue Holiday/Nerlens Noel trade from Draft night 2013—followed by the 33-49 Cleveland Cavaliers. The rest of the lottery would’ve played out as below:

7.) Detroit Pistons (29-53) which keeps it 1st round pick from the 2012 Corey Magette/Ben Gordon since it was in the top 8. Anything out of the top 8 would’ve went to Charlotte as it did under the current draft format when the Ping pong balls landed Detroit at number 9.

8.) Sacramento Kings (28-54)
9.) LA Lakers (27-55)
10.) Winner of coin flip or head to head matchup between Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz (25-57)
11.) Loser of coin flip or head to head matchup between Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz (25-57)
12.) Orlando Magic (23-59)
13.) Philadelphia 76ers (19-63)
14.) Milwaukee Bucks (15-67)

My reasoning is simple, force management to field competitive teams that when it comes draft time, the selection they make will actually make a difference in the up coming season. As is, teams draft the best player and it’s still three to four years before their impact is felt in the standings. But, if a team or two that just missed out on the playoffs can add a talent worthy of the number one pick or top five, that player could be the missing link to get them into the playoffs and build an instant contender. The goal is also to increase parity across the league.

Look at the Portland Trailblazers. They hit it big when they drafted Damian Lilliard at number 6 In 2012. The Blazers were 28-38 that season during the lockout shortened season. While they were fortunate Lilliard fell to them, being only 10 games under .500 shows management was focused on building a successful team, even though they missed the playoffs. It’s clear they were one player away, it happened to be Lillard, the eventual rookie of the year who became an All Star in his second season and teamed up with another All Star in LaMarcus Aldridge to make it to the second round of the playoff this past spring. I think we can all agree the Blazers are well on their way to being a staple in the Western Conference.

I’m thinking of the fans as well. Who wants to consistently pay top dollar to see a team of guys play who very well couldn’t make a D-League roster? Hell in the case of Philly fans, they’re not even getting a chance to see their top draft pick play because management is sitting their top prospects in hopes it will lead to another top pick—see Nerlens Noel in 2013, now Joel Embiid in 2014. They’ll use injuries as the reason, but we all know what they’re doing.

Everyone from commissioner Silver to the fans sitting in the nose bleed seats are in agreement it’s time to move away from the current process that’s been in place since 1985. I’m here today to throw my solution into the ring. I’m not saying it’s the best, but it’s a start.

JUST FOR FUN, below is a hypothetical look at the teams the top fourteen picks would’ve been on had my system been in place. This is assuming the players were picked in the same order as the real draft. I didn’t consider team need, which would drastically change these selection. Case in point, I don’t think the Pelicans or Cavs would’ve drafted a PG/SG considering they already have franchise players in those positions. Just as well, I don’t see the Nuggets drafting Embiid with their army of post players led by Kenneth Faried.

1.) Phoenix Suns: Andrew Wiggins
2.) Minnesota Timberwolves: Jabari Parker
3.) Denver Nuggets: Joel Embiid
4.) Orlando Magic (from Denver via New York): Aaron Gordon
5.) New Orleans Pelicans (protected top 5): Dante Exum
6.) Cleveland Cavaliers: Marcus Smart
7.) Detroit Pistons: Julius Randle
8.) Sacramento Kings: Nik Stauskas
9.) LA Lakers: Noah Vonleh
10.) Boston Celtics or Utah Jazz: Elfrid Payton
11.) Boston Celtics or Utah Jazz: Doug McDermott
12.) Orlando Magic: Dario Saric
13.) Philadelphia 76ers: Zach Levin
14.) Milwaukee Bucks: T.J. Warren

Could you imagine Andrew Wiggins on that young athletic Suns squad? Or the T-wolves with Jabari Parker, Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio? Those teams would instantly be in the hunt to make the western conference playoffs in 2015 and isn’t that what the draft is meant for? To help teams gain a competitive boost, not languish in the lottery for half a decade like Cleveland and Philadelphia.

The Prodigal Son Returns

The day that many in Northeast Ohio have hoped for, expected and believed in for four years has come. The “King” has returned to his original throne, thus bringing a “New Hope” to a city desperate for a championship.


It’s all smiles in Northeast Ohio again.

In the book of Luke in New Testament of the Bible, where the parable of the Prodigal Son originates from, the younger of two sons begs his father for his inheritance because he couldn’t wait until his father’s death to get it. Once he received it, he traveled to a distant country and blew his riches. He ended up poor and working tending to pigs once a famine struck. This led him to long to live like the pigs he cared for so he’d have anything. This revelation led him to return to his home, where even his father’s workers lived well. When he returned his father immediately welcomed him and threw a celebratory feast for him. All was forgiven.

How does this relate to the best player in the game? LeBron is returning home, hoping to be forgiven and receive the love of his family (Cavs fans), he left behind chasing riches (the Larry O’Brien Trophy). The key difference in the Biblical parable and real life, James isn’t returning a broken man or financially depleted, but like the Prodigal Son, he returns more humble, mature and wise. More importantly, better prepared to give this winner starved city what they always thought and hope he could give them.

This truly is the best “Decision” for LeBron James’ legacy. In the eyes of many, he can never surpass Michael Jordan—his idol—even if at the end of his career he had more rings. It will always be held against him that he’s already lost in three of five NBA Finals appearances, while MJ never loss in six appearances. Many hold that against Kobe too, he’s lost twice. Then there is the whole “he had to team up with two other Superstars” to get the two he did win.

So the quest to surpass Michael Jordan has ended—even though LeBron would probably publicly deny there ever was one. But, where LeBron could raise his stature higher in the annals of history, is by winning a title for a city that hasn’t won since 1964. Oh, and it happens to be his home area/market. If LeBron were to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to championship glory, that one title and how ever many others he could win, would be equally worth more than the titles he’s lost or could ever win anywhere else.

But there’s a few things that need to happen before the ball is tipped on this new era.

The first thing that NEEDS to happen is Cavs owner Dan Gilbert should sit next to his prized acquisition at a public press conference announcing his return, and give an impassioned apology opposite of the letter he wrote four years ago. His words and tone were a disgrace and could’ve cost him and this city this moment.


I hope to see more of this in a public presser side by side with LeBron.

The second thing that should happen, is LeBron should give a heartfelt apology to Clevelanders for the way he left (not that he left) in 2010 and express many thanks for being welcomed back home. This letter is a great start.


This is a start. Courtesy:

The third thing he should do or rather not do, is guarantee he will deliver the city a championship and throw a parade along with it. As much as people were turned off by “The Decision” telecast, the show he, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and the Heat threw is what really made them such an easy target to root against. I can bet my entire savings that nothing like that will be happening in Cleveland. Well maybe Cleveland fans will storm through the streets in excitement, but don’t they deserve to?

For Cleveland and LeBron’s sake, I hope he does eventually end the city’s dubious streak. But if it doesn’t happen quickly or at all, I hope you fans don’t vilify him every offseason like you did when he led the team to the organizations first and only NBA Finals, then followed it up with a couple 60 plus win seasons while winning MVP.


In order for this reunion to flourish, there will be a need for a large dose of forgiveness poured out by EVERYONE. Star, Owner and Fans. But, that’s no different from any relationship, personal, professional or romantic. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, in the past four years I hope Cleveland has better learned how to appreciate LBJ for the once in a generation talent he is. I hope he too appreciates what he left behind when he took his “talents” for greener pastures. Not ever one gets a second chance with their first love, don’t blow it Believelanders and Bron Bron. The Prodigal Son has returned.

The Reconciliation: Should LBJ Return to Cleveland?


Happy days could return soon for Cleveland fans.

Mike Brown did. The head coach with the best win percentage and only NBA Finals appearance in Cavalier history returned—and has since been let go again—three years after he was fired in an attempt to tantalize LeBron James to stay and not leave via free agency. Zydrunus Ilgauskus did. Big Z made his own “Decision” to leave Cleveland and follow LeBron to Miami to chase championships. He wasn’t vilified like LBJ, but several fans were unhappy with him. Ilgauskus now has his number eleven Cavs jersey hanging from the rafters and has a prominent position in the organization. But neither of them were disrespected on their way out the door by owner Dan Gilbert the way LeBron James was.

Four years ago when LeBron James announced his “Decision” to leave Northeast Ohio and take his talents to South Florida, Cavs fans were understandably grief stricken and stunned. Several of them burned his number twenty three jersey deep into the dark of the night and into the dawn of the morning. But, it was Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert who shocked everyone with his response to the franchises’ best player bolting for greener pastures when he wrote his passionate, albeit bitter letter—which has since been removed from the team’s website after having been posted for the last four years—to Cavs fans demeaning James.

In the days after the letter was written and posted, Civil Rights activist Jesse Jackson said Gilbert looked at James as a “runaway slave” and that he sounded like “the owner of LeBron James, not the Cleveland Cavaliers.” To me it read more like a letter from a ex-wife or girlfriend trying to make herself look better by telling the new, younger, more attractive lady he left her for, about his impotency issues or how inadequate her new mate would be, while exposing the many insecurities they spoke about over pillow talk. For those who may have forgotten about said letter, below is a refresher.


The Letter was taken taken down for the first time almost four years to the day.

If LeBron James decides to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, many will see it as the equivalent of a runaway slave returning to live and work for his scorned owner. Somebody would have to get Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al Sharpton on the phone to discuss that. But, we all know, there are many who wish LeBron never play for Cleveland as long as Gilbert is the owner.


Actor Laz Alonso is one of many who think James should NEVER play for Gilbert again.

I prefer to look at what impact a reconciliation would have on the court. From a basketball standpoint it would make sense for LeBron to once again don the wine and gold. Point Guard Kyrie Irving has blossomed into an All Star who can take the ball handling, scoring and distributing responsibilities off of LBJ. Irving could also benefit from playing next to a superstar in James who will draw ninety percent of opposing teams attention. Andrew Wiggins, who many analysis have compared to a young LeBron James, could now be groomed to be Scottie Pippen to James’ Jordan. You mix in a savvy veteran in Anderson Varajeo, a up and coming dominate front court player in Tristan Thompson, along with a scoring threat off the bench in Dion Waiters and you already have a mix better than what is left on South Beach. All Cavs fans will have to hope is that 2013 number one overall draft pick Anthony Bennett gives them something and LeBron James would be surrounded by talent that could extended his championship window in the way Tim Duncan’s has been by the wealth of talent running with him along the Alamo in San Antonio.

Pat Riley and the Heat could possibly retool the roster to keep Miami in contention for another two to three years—although I don’t think adding a past his prime All-Star in Danny Granger and a journeyman in Josh McRoberts are the answer to anything the Western Conference has to offer in an NBA Finals.

Also, with Dwayne Wade getting older and looking more like a shell of himself and couldn’t raise his game in the Finals to give the Spurs a fight, wouldn’t it be better for James to go team up and teach some young guns, even if it meant taking a step back off the Championship stage for a year or two in order to be there consistently at the end of his career?

Cleveland and their fans are the most loyal and hopeful in sports. I truly mean that (this is coming from a Steelers fan). It would be cool to see the player who has the ability of bringing the city it’s first championship in five decades return and possibly end the drought. Like many, I too wish for his sake, he didn’t have to do it for an owner who went out of his way to diminish his character and ability. It will leave a bad taste in many people’s mouth to see him put that wine and gold uniform back on. But, LeBron returning to his home area as a “prodigal son” of sorts would be great theatre, regardless of if he wins them a title or not. So the real question is, can bitter Exes really get back together?