September 21, 2010
By all accounts, Mo Williams(notes) is doing just fine now that he's the top dog in Cleveland. If you'll remember, Williams ran into LeBron James(notes) just a bit after LeBron had decided to join the Miami Heat, and rather than sock him in the nose, Williams wished LeBron well. At the time, Williams said he "wished [LeBron] the best" and that LeBron "doesn't need one more" person rooting against him. That's a healthy response to a basketball player deciding to switch teams.
It's also basically the exact opposite reaction Williams had when he realized he would no longer have his dance buddy in Cleveland. Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears has the surprising story.
Mo Williams is 27, healthy and has three years and $26 million remaining on his Cleveland Cavaliers contract. But none of that mattered much to him this summer after he watched LeBron James leave the Cavs to join the Miami Heat. Williams said he was so depressed by James' exit that he considered walking away from the NBA.
"That's how bad it got," Williams said. "I contemplated it. I really sat down and envisioned life after basketball. ...I really saw myself not playing.
"It just didn't make sense to me. ...It doesn't make sense to me."
Just a bit of an overreaction, I'd say. Yes, it will be very sad for Mo Williams to not have a friend who will choreograph intricate routines for pregame handshakes, but as a 27-year-old former All-Star who is going to be the big gun for an NBA team, he's kind of in a decent situation now, given the circumstances.
He doesn't necessarily see it that way though, telling Spears that he "liked [his] role" because he would "[come] home a winner every night." When he puts it that way — yeah, this is kind of a bummer for him. The Cavaliers are going to lose a lot more than they've gotten used to, and the spectre of LeBron is going to hang over every game.
Aside from losing LeBron, that will be the main problem for the Cavaliers. Spears' piece really gets at how much LeBron meant to the Cavaliers to the point that their team leader is still obviously affected by his leaving. What's to say that mindset won't carry over to the rest of the team? It would be hard enough to adjust to playing without LeBron James if everyone was OK with his leaving, but since that's obviously not the case, it's going to be double hard. Maybe quadruple, depending on exponents.
It'll be very interesting to see how the Cavs deal with being LeBron-less. Just a few months ago, they had a two-time MVP and an All-Star caliber point guard. Now they have no LeBron and a guy who was contemplating retirement because he couldn't wrap his head around James' decision. Should be a fun year for Clevelanders.