My kingdom for a GM! – It’s really not a big deal that Dan Gilbert still hasn’t made any decisions regarding the Cavs’ coaching or front office situations. With the playoffs still going on, the draft is still a long way away and free agency is even further away. No trades can happen right now. For Gilbert, it probably makes a lot of sense to be patient and wait and see what GM and coaching candidates are out there and which ones might yet still become available.
But that doesn’t make it less frustrating for fans (and presumably for acting GM David Griffin). You have to believe Griffin would like to know his fate as soon as possible so he can make appropriate plans. From the fans’ point of view (and by no means should Gilbert take fans’ feelings into account), it’s just tough to look forward and think about what moves the team could make when you don’t know what kind of philosophy the team will have this offseason.
When it comes to Mike Brown, I’d guess there’s a pretty strong chance he’ll be back. I still think that unless an absolute knockout candidate shows interest, David Griffin will get to keep his job. And if he does, I think Mike Brown will be given another year. It’s extremely hard to justify firing a coach after one year (something fans in Cleveland know all too well). The only way I see it happening is if the Cavs bring in a new GM and he makes it clear he wants to bring in his own coach. It could happen, but I just don’t think it’s all that likely.
That’s not to say there aren’t candidates who want the Cavs job. According to a blurb in the NY Daily News, “several candidates” are still waiting to hear from Gilbert. There’s no word on who any of the candidates are, but it’s interesting that they haven’t even heard from Gilbert yet. This tells me that Gilbert is both content to take his time and giving serious consideration to keeping Griffin.
A part of me would like to see Griffin stick around. But we just don’t know much about him and how much of a role he has had in the Cavs drafting strategy and team building philosophy. We do know two things, though. One, the Cavs played much better after he took over, and two, the trade he made in acquiring Spencer Hawes had a much better impact on the team than Chris Grant’s last trade for Luol Deng. I don’t know how much credit he deserves for the first part, but in fairness to him, the one move he made as acting GM was a pretty decent one.
Buy a shirt, fight discrimination – Immediately after Donald Sterling was banned for life from the NBA, the Los Angeles Clippers changed their website to an all-black page with just the team logo and the words “We Are One”. Now, the NBA is selling T-Shirts with the words “We Are One” on it and the buyer can choose between either the NBA logo or the Clippers logo on it. According to the league, all proceeds will go toward anti-discrimination and tolerance organizations.
It’s kind of neat that the league is using the phrase as a rallying cry and trying to turn this into a positive outcome. However, turning scandals into sell-able goods feels a little strange to me. I think it’s great that all the money is going to help people and won’t be used as a means to profit off the situation, but it still just feels funny to me. It would be nice to raise awareness and money without having to sells goods on a website.
It’s not a big deal at all, though. Just something that struck me as a little off.
A couple NBA Playoff thoughts – Man, what a first round. So many great games, Game 7s, and general intrigue. In watching all these games, though, I just find myself sad thinking how much I miss the Cavs being in the playoffs and also just how far away the Cavs are from looking like these teams. It just drives home how poorly constructed the Cavs are as a team.
If the Cavs are going to get back into the playoffs and be able to go toe to toe with these teams, they at least need to get much bigger. They need more floor spacing shooters, they need more players capable of scoring consistently inside, and they need better defenders all around, but primarily a guy or two who are rim protectors.
Going back to the teams actually in it, though, for a while it looked like teams might be laying the red carpet for the Miami Heat to win their third straight title. The Pacers, Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, and Nets all were in danger of going home, but all won big Game 7s to stay alive. I think those are the five teams most capable of knocking off the Heat, although Miami certainly looked like the best team in round one.
Well, I should say, the Pacers were one of the best bets to beat Miami. What on earth happened to the Pacers? I wonder if we’ll ever really find out what happened or if this will be just one of those things fans are always left wondering about, kind of like LeBron’s last playoff series against the Celtics.
The biggest mystery is Roy Hibbert. After making his first All-Star game and looking like one of the game’s elite big men and defenders, Hibbert has become an absolute non-factor. He had a 0 point, 0 rebound effort in Game 5 against Atlanta, and last night he put up 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 5 fouls in 18 minutes in Indiana’s 102-96 loss in Game One against Washington. How does that even happen? It’s beyond head-scratching trying to figure out, and as a fan who has seen his team inexplicably fall apart in the playoffs, it’s really tough to watch.
All year long we were all gearing up for an epic Miami vs. Indiana battle in the Eastern Conference Finals, but now it’s hard to see any way Indiana gets there. And even if they do, they are in no shape to beat Miami. What a crazy, crazy collapse. In all my years of watching NBA basketball, or heck, any sport even, I can’t recall a collapse quite like this. The closest thing that comes to my mind is Chuck Knoblauch. Which makes me wonder. Knoblauch was never able to recover from his throwing issues. He eventually was moved to the outfield, but his pre-occupation with his throwing problems also led to his hitting beginning to fail as well. If Hibbert doesn’t turn this around quickly, I wonder if he’ll ever return to his old form as well, or if he too is destined to slowly and spectacularly fade away into memory.
New Music Release of the Week – There’s nothing too exciting coming out this week for me. Liam Finn, the son of Neil Finn of Split Enz and Crowded House fame, has his latest solo album out called “Nihilist”. Fans of Pearl Jam likely best know Liam Finn as the guy who seems to open for almost every Eddie Vedder solo show. Finn’s live performances are incredible. His live album from 2008 is one of my favorite live albums of all time. But unfortunately, Finn has never quite been able to capture the same spirit in the studio. Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li’s crushingly sad new album about heartbreak called “I Never Learn” is out as well.
The album of the week for me, however, is something that actually came out on Friday but is technically considered part of this week’s new music releases. The album is called “Melting Sun” by German black metal/post-rock band Lantlôs. The band is probably better known because of their association with Alcest frontman Neige’s frequent association with them, lending his vocals to a handful of their releases. “Melting Sun” doesn’t feature Neige at all this time, but that doesn’t mean Neige’s influence isn’t still prevalent.
Much like how Neige took Alcest in a different direction, forgoing the doom and metal side of the band and instead embracing a more lush and shimmering side of shoegaze, Lantlôs also sets aside a lot of their metal influences for a more lush and expansive sound. I’d be lying if I said I was a long time Lantlôs fan. I actually just discovered them this year. But I still quite enjoy their new album and the first song, “Melting Sun I: Azure Chimes” is a really fine example of shoegaze and post-metal intertwining into something new and exciting.