Ball Don't Lie
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie1 hr ago
Cleveland’s biggest basketball-related mistake in the summer of 2010, in the weeks following LeBron James’ departure, was acting as if LeBron James hadn’t departed at all. The team’s then-general manager Chris Grant, in his first year on the job, hired a win-now coach in Byron Scott, decided against trading away older players who served little purpose on a James-less team, dealt for Ramon Sessions, and went into 2010-11 fully expecting to make the playoffs.
Which was daft, as we found out. The Cavs struggled to a 19-win season, and the team hasn’t sniffed a .500 record since despite repeated strikes of great luck (three top overall picks, the amnesty provision that made the partial-year rental of Baron Davis no big deal).
Miami isn’t in as bad a position as Cleveland was, as it waves goodbye to LeBron, what with a capable personnel boss in Pat Riley in charge and scads of immediately available cap room alongside a pristine South Beach setting. Frighteningly, though, the Heat may be working through the same bit of post-LBJ denial that Cleveland suffered its way through. The Heat are bringing back free-agent forward Chris Bosh, but is this the right way to start things over?
- Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie2 hrs ago
Now that the best player in the world has decided he'd like to go home, the question stands: Who figures to benefit most from LeBron James choosing to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in free agency?
A few thoughts on how the Eastern Conference has changed since Friday morning, and which teams might now find their chances of getting destroyed by the San Antonio Spurs competing for an NBA championship improved by LeBron leaving the Miami Heat:
• Cleveland Cavaliers. Well, duh.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie4 hrs ago
You’ve gotta love it when a plan comes together.
The Los Angeles Lakers need warm bodies to fill up a 2014-15 roster that is woefully short on active contracts in the wake of a miserable 27-win season. They need someone to push the ball in what could be Steve Nash’s last season, assuming the Lakers don’t waive him this summer, and as Kobe Bryant creakily works his way back from an Achilles tear and broken leg. The team has plenty of cap space, an unending series of cap holds, and after missing out on Carmelo Anthony, it wants to retain flexibility as it heads into the 2015 offseason.
The Rockets? They want to win, now. And they’re set to pounce on the crackling remains of Miami’s former Big Three.
The LeBron James-is-coming-home front page of Saturday's Cleveland Plain Dealer is fantastic (Photo)Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie4 hrs ago
LeBron James' announcement that he has decided to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers has sports fans across the world buzzing, and has fans in Northeast Ohio beside themselves in joyful anticipation of what Yahoo Sports columnist Dan Wetzel called "the return of the Prodigal Son." The image that will appear on the front cover of Saturday's edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer provides a simple, pretty spectacular expression of the moment they're all anticipating, a moment that many of us thought we'd never see again — James, this time clad in a No. 6 rather than his familiar Cleveland 23, performing his trademark chalk toss while donning the Cavaliers' wine and gold uniform:
LeBron James' return: Saturday's front page of The Plain Dealer pic.twitter.com/h8KFb6UAPX
- Kevin Kaduk at Ball Don't Lie5 hrs ago
Well that didn't take long.
While we haven't seen any LeBron James jerseys being burned in Miami (at least not yet), one big act of public defacement had taken place by early Friday afternoon. A large box was spray-painted over James' face in a cool Miami Heat mural painted in the city's design district. (Here's a second angle from a different Miami news outlet.)
WPLG in Miami reports that it took local mural artist Serge Toussaint more than two years to complete the work, but only a matter of seconds for an unknown vandal to erase the centerpiece after news of James' return to the Cleveland Cavaliers broke.
You stay classy, Miami.
Here's the mural as it looked originally:
No word on if the displeased defacer will be back to paint over Chris Bosh's mug as the forward is headed toward Houston. Whatever the case, the non-plussed look on Dwyane Wade's face seems even more appropriate in light of Friday's news.
- Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie6 hrs ago
I guess my recruiting skills didn't work
While the allure of returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers rendered Embiid's attempts to lure the King to the Philadelphia 76ers unsuccessful, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft still landed one of Friday's premier social media wins, taking a swipe at one of sports' most notoriously fickle fans:
Where are you going next? @Drake
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie6 hrs ago
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s infamous 2010 rebuttal to LeBron James’ move to Miami made the move from meme to legend within the course of an evening. If you scour Twitter during any part of the 2014 machinations that led up to James’ eventual return to Cleveland, jokes about the Comic Sans font Gilbert used to pen the embarrassing diatribe abounded. Even news that the letter still exited on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ official website until recently, when the Cavs seemed to pull ahead of the aging Miami Heat as favorites to land James, was met with more than a few smirking responses online.
Miami Heat owner Micky Arison is no stranger to putting his foot in his mouth over the internet, but his Twitter response to James’ move back to Northern Ohio was classy and dignified in 140 characters or less.
- Kevin Kaduk at Ball Don't Lie6 hrs ago
LeBron James wrote in his homecoming letter on Friday that he wasn't guaranteeing a title.
The oddsmakers in Las Vegas, however, aren't taking any chances.
According to Bovada.com, the Cleveland Cavaliers are now 4/1 to win the 2014-2015 title with LeBron leading the charge. That's tops in the league, followed by the defending champion San Antonio Spurs (5/1), the Oklahoma City Thunder (6/1), the Chicago Bulls (7/1) and the Houston Rockets (8/1).
As for the suddenly Lebron-less Miami Heat? They've tumbled all the way to 50/1 as the franchise faces a future that likely also won't include forward Chris Bosh.
- Maxi Rodriguez at Ball Don't Lie6 hrs ago
After holding the NBA hostage as he weighed his options, causing fans, fellow free agents and team GM's come to a standstill while they waited on his decision, LeBron James announced his return to Cleveland on Friday, causing an Internet firestorm with reactions from fans, media personalities and even fellow players. Here's a sampling of the best reactions to LeBron's return to the Cavaliers, announced simultaneously on Sports Illustrated as well as James' Instagram account.
For their part, NBA players who commented on the decision appreciated LeBron's commitment to his home town.
Congrats LBJ...loyal guy going home!
Welcome back bro. Your city awaits you. @KingJames
Minnesota's Ricky Rubio took a different direction with his reaction.
Well he is not coming to Minnesota 😔
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie6 hrs ago
This is not what Dwyane Wade had in mind when he opted out of the final two years of the six-year, $107 million deal he signed in the summer of 2010. This is not what he thought was going to happen when he willingly passed on a guaranteed $41.8 million, spread out over two years, earlier this summer. This is not the fallout that he expected after dragging his bum knees up and down the court during last month’s fruitless Finals trip.
There is a very real chance, now that LeBron James has moved onto the Cleveland Cavaliers, that Dwyane Wade will be staring down the same mess that he had to preside over in Miami from 2007 until James and Chris Bosh came to South Beach in 2010. Save for the part about Dwyane Wade being, at worst, the second best shooting guard and fourth or fifth best player in the NBA during that term. Yes, the Miami Heat will have cap space after they presumably sign Wade back to the only NBA team he’s ever known, but for whom?