First off, I do know that the Chris Paul to the Cavaliers idea is, and has long been, a dream rumor around here for a few years now, and I'm not here to say it's by any means "likely." I also know the idea has been completely shot down just about as quickly as it comes up every time it does, so to be clear, I'm just thinking out loud right now.In doing so, I can't help but think that in the current NBA climate where the Clippers organization is granted a sit-down with the most high profile free agent in the history of professional sports, a team owned by the Dolans is said to have a chance at landing LeBron James, reports of a Bosh-Wade-James super team are deemed credible, Darko Milicic is offered a $20 million deal, Rudy Gay is considered a "max player," and Drew Gooden of all people gets a five year $32 million deal, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that anything is "possible." So stay with me on this for a minute on this...
Apparently the Cavaliers have decided on their next Head Coach, and it will be none other than Tom Izzo, Byron Scott, Brian Shaw, Byron Scott. This first according to Chris Broussard who first broke the news on twitter Wednesday night around 9pm when he tweeted "The Cavaliers are in contract negotiations with Byron Scott. He will be the club's next head coach."
With free agency one day away – yikes – I’m staying away from the obvious blog topics, you know, the will he stay won’t he, who can we get if he goes-stays, that sorta thing. Today is all about the mailbag baby – yes, it’s hit the ground running. Kinda. I wasn’t expecting a big response, after all, I don’t send questions to writers on the internet, so why would I expect to get any from you, right? I did get four though...the first four for the mailbag. So in response to my Aftermath of the Draft, posted on Sunday, let's get after it...
Q: Which team outside the lottery won the most on draft night? – Luke, Pittsburgh
Had time to digest what went on Thursday night? Good. I took my time in getting this piece up because of fear that A) Trades may have gone down in the days after the draft or B) Fear that ESPN would have gone overboard in their analysis of the draft. Neither happened, making this a whole lot easier to do. I had a piece done up previewing the draft that was posted Wednesday, but due to a server error the piece got wiped from the site, which was a shame, but nonetheless let’s dive right into the draft and discuss what moves got the big ol’ thumbs up and what moves didn’t.
In the lottery – can’t really argue with the top two picks can we?Those two guys were 1-2 no matter what way you looked at it, and both make their respective teams better already. For Washington, it got the one true franchise player in the draft and has (if a team were willing) made Gilbert Arenas expendable, if a team fancied paying him $15 million over the next twelve years on his mammoth contract signed a few summers back. They could also keep Arenas and produce a very productive backcourt, we know Arenas can shoot the ball and we know that Wall can score in the lane whenever he wants, so maybe it could work? Flip Saunders would have to coach the hell out of it though, because it could turn out that the other three guys would become nothing more than moving screens in an Arenas/Wall offense.
Ok, ok, ok. I’ve had to sit there for two whole weeks and read rumor after rumor about who’s coming in as the next coach of our Cleveland Cavaliers, who’s not coming in, and what LeBron James has to do with it all. Enough is enough. We are not in a position to hire a frontline head coach until LeBron signs, or doesn’t sign. Simple as that. It's the reason we didn’t get Tom Izzo, because he was unsure of LeBron’s status and couldn’t get to talk to him. If he had spoken to the King and gotten some kind of inclination of where he plans to lay his head for the forthcoming six years, he might of took the ridiculous offer we had on the table. But he didn’t, and now we’re back to square one in our search. And you know what, GOOD!!! We don’t want a college coach to try win an NBA Championship, not going to happen. The guy who seems to have been moved into the front running position is now Byron Scott. Reports indicate that sources have said the Cavs have reached out to Jason Kidd and Chris Paul to get some firsthand feedback on Scott, if you believe what sources these days say that is. But look, like I said a few lines back, our coaching situation should be firmly put on the back burner because right now there are two bigger obstacles facing this franchise: July 1st and the saga that has been coming since 2006, and, the fact that the team we have in place right now isn’t good enough to get the job done
Let’s start with the less talked about issue these days - the current team: For some bizarre reason, Mo Williams' salary increases next season, then decreases the following two. I’m not asking somebody to explain to me why this is the case, I’m asking somebody to justify it to me. He’s a pretty good regular season guard – like I’ve said before – but when it matters, when defense outweighs taking 20 shots a night against Minnesota, he has left us wanting. I love Anthony Parker; he’s pretty solid for a guy who offers us no foreseeable future seeing as he’s like, what, 40? Our small forward position gets a “pass” right now, because we all know the story there. I’ve made my pitch, as have the rest of Akron over this past weekend. The time is up for last-ditch bargaining, he knows what he’s doing himself, his mind is made up, and I’m fully convinced of it. He didn’t speak to Izzo because he has stated that he wants a coach with “NBA experience” - be it as a player or coach. Imagine this - what if he did speak to Izzo, and Izzo got a hunch that he was staying, and took the job. Think about it, we then would have hired a guy with the criteria that LeBron openly stated he didn’t want. Where would that leave us? Exactly – sort out the team first and coaches will come to us...
As of this morning there were about 4,000 people camped out in Akron in an attempt to convince LeBron to stay a Cavalier next season...and the good news here is they did not decide to collaborate on a song...no word yet on whether James will show or not: Fans turn out early for LeBron James Appreciation Day in Akron - Cleveland.com, James Ewinger
And whether or not he shows up, let's not be so quick to assume he's lost interest in the Cavaliers. In commenting on a report from Brian Windhorst, Ryne Nelson over at SLAM said this morning: "LeBron is merely doing his due diligence...To assume he’s lost interest in the Cavs is ignorance": Cavs and LeBron ARE Talking - SLAM Online, Ryne Nelson
As for the Celtics, the game seven loss may have been the last attempt for glory as one of the greatest chapters in Boston basketball history now appears to be coming to a close. That's right, the Brian Scalabrine era just might be over: Game 7 may have been the end of an era for the Boston Celtics - Ball Don't Lie, Trey Kirby
But on the other-hand, one era that is just getting started is the 'Ron Artest World Champion' era. Shouts out to Ron-Ron, and to be honest, I've found myself pulling for him over the last few years...and I'm also pulling for more Ron-Ron interviews just like these: Ron Artest Post Game Comments and Presser - The Hoop Doctors, Dr. Anklesnap
And on that title won by Ron, ex-Cavs 1st rounder Shannon Brown, and Kobe, I can't help but think back to that Christmas Day game when I watched Mo Williams roll, the twin towers of Shaq and Z seem formidable, and LeBron appear to be now better than Bryant. But that was Christmas, and this is June, congrats to the Lakers: The Sweet Repeat, Brought to you by the Los Angeles Lakers - Midwest Sports Fans, Devon
So now that the NBA season is officially over, its time to get your draft game on. And even though - as of now - the Cavaliers are slated to enter Thursday evening sans a selection, I'm still pumped for draft night, and I'll be weighing in next week on it here myself. But for now, the big board, from our friends up in Minnesota: TWolves Blog 2010 NBA Draft Big Board - TWolves Blog, College Wolf
If you missed it last Friday, check out our friend DiLo's conversation with UNLV Coach - and former college to the NBA coach - Lon Kruger: Thunder Chat: Lon Kruger - Thunder Treats, DiLo
From Wednesday, thoughts on the LeBron speculation circus, and an excerpt of that twitter tirade from Buzz Bissinger directed towards the guy he wrote a book with last summer: LeBron James and the Psychology of Media and Information - Waiting For Next Year, Andrew
And to add some overseas flavor, a look at Patty Mills' Australian team as they prepare to open a series against Argentina in the World Championships competition: Nathan Jawai joins Boomer for Argentina Series - A Stern Warning, Mookie
Lastly, a congratulatory link to our buddy Don, who earlier this year caught a lot of grief when he jumped in our chat room during a couple Wine and Gold Pregame Podcasts repping the Lakers, on a World Championship for the team he blogs about...I so wonder what that feels like: Amazing, amazing - #16 - With Malice, Don
Somewhere Danny Ferry might just be saying I told him not to do that. But whether he is or not, Dan Gilbert did do just that by going "all in" on Tom Izzo and it appears he came up snake-eyes. So what's a risk-taking NBA owner to do now you ask? Well, I can't imagine he knows, but I have a guess. No more guessing on Izzo though for now, it won't be him to replace Mike Brown next season. Per the Detroit Free Press Tuesday evening:
"The weeklong saga of Tom Izzo and the Cleveland Cavaliers ended with the Michigan State coach announcing he would stay in East Lansing and pass on an opportunity to coach in the NBA. In a statement released by the school Izzo said: 'I'm pleased to say I am here for life at Michigan State.'"
So what role did LeBron James play in this decision? None, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard who said this on Sportscenter Tuesday night:
"The fact is that LeBron James was not going to tip his hand to Tom Izzo. Izzo couldn't get a hold of LeBron, but even if he had LeBron would not have told him I'm staying, or I'm leaving so that changes the whole scenario and I think that is the main reason Tom Izzo is staying put at Michigan State."
Now we can speculate all day long as to what this means in the 'will he stay or will he go' debate, but I really don't want to weigh in on that. Like most of you, I'm tired of it already and it's not even July yet. But what I will say, prior to moving on, is that it does appear to me that what seems to be the most important thing to LeBron right now is that he enters this 'free agency, media-frenzy-tour' appearing as genuinely 'free' and 'available' as possible to anybody who wants to watch, woo, or openly wish he plays for their team next season. Everything else, like losing the opportunity to play for a coach he may or may not have wanted to play for on a team he may or may not want to resign with comes second. So do what you want with that.
But back to Gilbert, what he can do - and probably has to do - now is the same thing we're doing. Wait and see what LeBron James does.