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All out of sports: While We’re Waiting

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Happy Tuesday, WFNY!

It’s a great Tuesday for those of you who didn’t give up on the Cleveland Indians after three and a half innings last night. With the Tribe trailing 9-2, nobody would have blamed you, of course. But by the end of the sixth inning, the Indians had turned that 9-2 deficit into a 12-9 lead. They would go on to add three more runs for good measure to secure the bizarre 15-9 win. Lonnie Chisenhall called it the team’s “best game of the year”, and who am I to argue with that? Well done, Indians.

The Indians are still a pretty enigmatic team this season. What are they? Every time you think they have things figured out and are primed to go on a big run to put some separation between themselves and the rest of the division, they slide back and give back all their previous gains. In many ways, they resemble the Cleveland Cavaliers of last season.

Both teams were riding the emotions of a long and intense postseason run. Both teams came into this season with sky-high expectations. Both teams are equal parts immense frustration and joyous fun. Both teams seem to ease up whenever they’re in an advantageous position, but as soon as their backs are back up against the wall, they come out fighting. Last year these mirror image teams had opposite end results. Hopefully, that will be the case again this season and the Indians will bring the World Series trophy back to Cleveland, a city the title has not seen in a very, very long time. It’s due.

October is a long way away, though. As we’ll see in the comments below, we are still 40-some days away from the Cleveland Browns start to preseason1. I was talking with a friend at work yesterday about this, but we are officially into the annual sports grind. With the anti-climactic NBA Awards show last night (Congrats, Russ!) and the NBA Draft last week, we just have NBA free agency left to take care of. We’ll have some excitement in early July with that, and the Summer Leagues are always kind of fun (especially for teams that actually have draft picks to see play for the first time), but that’s it. The NFL is still more than a month away. We pretty much have baseball, golf, and tennis, which is fine, but with baseball in the middle part of their season, the part that I personally find to be a little slower and dull than the beginning and end to the season, it can be hard for me to find good topics to talk about for While We’re Waiting.

Do you guys want to talk about Chauncey Billups? Where is Chauncey Billups? A guy with zero front office experience gets offered the job that an NBA Championship winning GM like David Griffin wanted, and he waits a week to respond to the offer? What gives?

I’ve heard the conspiracy theories. Sure, maybe this is all Dan Gilbert and Chauncey Billups’ evil plan to let Billups talk to free agents now already and have it not be collusion since he hasn’t formally accepted the job, or whatever. I’ll admit, it’s definitely strange that we haven’t heard anything from Chauncey yet, especially when it was considered something of a foregone conclusion that he would take the job. Because we prefer corruption over incompetence, that conspiracy theory sounds pretty good. Or maybe it’s as WFNY’s Jeff Nomina theorized, that LeBron is pulling the strings to get Billups this job. If that’s the case, maybe the delay is another power struggle between Gilbert and LeBron. Or maybe it’s something as boring as Chauncey simply doesn’t know if he wants to work for Dan Gilbert.

Whatever the case, this has been a trying couple of week for Cavs fans. And, if I’m being brutally honest here, Cavs fans haven’t exactly been handling it well. Which is to be expected, of course. There’s nothing worse as a fan than to know that the owner of your team is proving to be short-tempered with a quick trigger finger and someone who doesn’t value stability, competence, and leadership at the top of the front office. If he did, David Griffin would still be running the Cavaliers and we would all find comfort in that. Instead, we have this huge unknown and it sucks.

Hopefully, the on-court product will be fine, though. The team should still be really, really great this season and they should be back in the NBA Finals and they should be able to compete for another Championship. Losing Griff doesn’t change those things. It’s just the future beyond this next season that is cloudy and up in the air. And without stability and leadership in place, it’s easy to project LeBron James leaving. And that sucks for Cavs fans.

With free agency right around the corner, hopefully a President and/or GM will be in place soon. Hopefully, the right guy gets the job, the guy who can do the best possible job until Dan Gilbert inevitably lets him go so he doesn’t have to keep an experienced guy around. Whoever that person is, I say good luck to you.

And that’s all I really have today. I’m all out of sports things to talk about. So I turn it over to the comments section. Take us away, folks. And as always, enjoy the rest of your week here at WFNY.

  1. I’d tell you the exact number, but I don’t feel the need to look it up since I know it will be readily available in the comments. You’re doing the Lord’s work, RGB. []

  • RGB
  • Pat Leonard

    I got you, man. I know you were looking for this picture and just couldn’t find it.
    http://cdn2.sbnation.com/imported_assets/337942/15jets_190x239.jpg

  • MartyDaVille
  • Harv

    Wouldn’t mind if one year they all decided to play like that Brown.

  • Garry_Owen

    As much as I always need MOAR BRENNAN, thank you for not doing it.

  • CBiscuit

    I hope that Billups signs for no other reason than to quiet the critics. Yet I know that it won’t truly silence them. We couldn’t have offered more than Minn to have gotten Butler so I’m not sure what was expected in terms of opportunity lost? And if we do land someone…be it Melo, Wade, CP3, or George…its going to be panned as an act of buddy team building or desperation anyway…no matter how much salary or luxury tax out owner takes on. The Cavs do nothing on draft day! (Forget that we have no pick or real assets to move) So what’s the magic right answer for this roster rework to beat GS? Is Griffin going to return and trade another 1st rounder for the next Kyle Korver…will that suffice? I get it…the narrative is we are super mad we don’t have a GM at present and Gilbert is hated…so what? Doesn’t really change a thing.

    The funniest thing in all this siliness is that people vision one big empty office call center with only Dan Gilbert by himself answering phones feverishly. Deals are still be discussed and other people work on the front office, you know…

  • Pat Leonard

    Yep, if the other team doesn’t want Love (or Kyrie if offered), then the Cavs don’t have another move to land a star player. There’s no cap room for such nonsense.

  • Harv

    “There’s nothing worse as a fan than to know that the owner of your team is proving to be short-tempered with a quick trigger finger and someone who doesn’t value stability, competence, and leadership at the top of the front office.” Not sure “quick trigger” is what Gilbert suffers from. More worried that, as a self-made billionaire, he thinks he’s as competent as Griffin but just usually has no time to make all those phone calls, and overseeing is enough. To him, Ferry=Grant=Griffin=FavFormerPlayer.

    If I’m right, and I pray I’m not, the Cavs will be competing to win the conference precisely as long as LeBron is here and in his prime. But after the Great Roster Blemish Remover slips or leaves, the fall will be dramatic.

  • RGB

    What moves can the Cavs make to overcome Oakland?
    Is Melo, CP3, and Wade all signing for vet minimums even remotely realistic? Because that’s the only way we’re getting them.
    Does George for Love put us over the top?
    Based on what I saw in the playoffs, the pecking order is Oakland #1, the Cavs a distant #2, and everybody else isn’t even visible in the rear-view mirror.
    Barring catastrophic injures to Oakland, I fear we are in for an even more boring and anticlimactic season than last year.

  • JM85

    Does Gilbert not have a Plan B?

  • CBiscuit

    Yep. It a painful but GS is the perfect storm of cap timing, drafted talent and adding a ring chaser. They are far better. No one can really compete…with us a long shot. Gilbert is an easy scape goat here and logic and reason be damned. Yes he’s earned his bad rep but he has also spent a ton over the last years…and I think that’s our only way out of this. Maybe move Love if you have to…and then wait for buyouts of Melo and or Wade and overpay.

  • CBiscuit

    So Gilbert got lucky getting LeBron back plus lottery balls…but as soon as LeBron leaves and the team falls apart it’s Gilbert’s fault? Huh?

    Let’s be a little fair…with or without Griffin or whoever…after LeBron leaves let’s acknowledge maybe the fall will happen anyway?!

    Maybe our old GM should have gotten us someone like Igudola and not Shumpert? No use revising history in some blame game. We have got to look at the hard facts at some point my friend…this is the roster that Griffin built and it ain’t exactly super flexible now.

  • Harv

    Believe you’re missing my point/fear, which is that he doesn’t respect the GM position and thinks it’s something anyone can do, and therefore devalues having a good one.

    And re Iggy, your timeline is way off. He was a FA in 2013 when he signed long term in GS, a year before LeBron returned and when the Cavs were trying to build a young core. It was his choice, and he wanted to play on a team ready to compete.

  • BenRM

    None of those ways, IMO, give the Cavs a significantly better chance.

    Short of somehow straight up adding George/Melo to Kyrie/LeBron/Kevin the Cavs are boned.

  • RGB
  • BenRM

    That is hilarious.

  • RGB
  • chrisdottcomm

    Love for PG13
    Melo and Wade off the bench in buyouts.
    Those moves puts significant pressure on Golden State, but also us.

    For one; thats a LOT of egos on a team, like way more than ever compiled before. It took two years for Kevin to feel comfortable in the role LeBron wanted him in, we don’t have two years. Second, I don’t know if one regular season gives you the time to adjust all those pieces to a style of play. I mean we all know how much this team LOVES to play in the regular season.

  • chrisdottcomm

    adding a ring chaser

    “adding a two years removed League MVP ring chaser.”

  • Steve

    “Forget that we have no pick or real assets to move”

    This is where the criticism comes from. We forked over first round picks for guys we can’t play against the Warriors, we payed top dollar for Thompson, Smith, and Shumpert, leaving us very limited with what we can do.

  • Steve

    “So Gilbert got lucky getting LeBron back plus lottery balls…but as soon as LeBron leaves and the team falls apart it’s Gilbert’s fault?”

    Umm, yes? In the first part, Gilbert didn’t do anything too skillful to put a successful team on the court, and the latter, if he continues to not do anything skillful, we will really struggle without Lebron.

  • jpftribe

    Seems to me Billups and PG want to hear Lebron say he isn’t leaving next year before signing up for the program. I’m sure Wade and Melo factor into that as well.

  • Pat Leonard

    So LeBron is holding the team hostage while he makes a Decision? Seems familiar.

  • Saggy

    Very true.
    But I’m ok with the current situation because the Cavs said they were all-in and they WON.

    Of course I’d love to have flexibility but not in lieu of a title. Those deals were a necessary transaction cost for a crown, and while they’re seen as burdensome saddle-bags right now, those bags are heavy with the golden spoils of victory.

  • jpftribe

    Hear ya, but I’m not knocking LBJ here. I think he would be a fool to give up his 2018 leverage to Gilbert.

  • Pat Leonard

    He has every right to wait to make a decision, just saying that it is what it is. If Gilbert can’t get PG-13 to sign a long-term deal, I get why he’s hesitant. In the end though, I don’t know what other options Gilbert has. As much as I like Kyrie and Love, the Cavs aren’t going anywhere with them as the headliners.

  • RGB

    Nobody is going to come here unless LBJ is here.
    And LBJ isn’t staying unless some of those guys come here.
    Very Catch-22-ish.
    There’s a fine line there that I don’t believe GIlbert by himself is clever enough to navigate.
    LBJ needs to convene a Banana Boat Summit to resolve this…

  • jpftribe

    He was in front of me walking into a bar once. He was a few inches shorter, and his shoulders were about a foot wider. Proportionately, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone with wider shoulders.

  • jpftribe

    Indeed, Gilbert seems to be more of a problem than solution.

  • Steve

    We have traded away six first round picks in the Lebron 2.0 era. One for Korver, one for Frye, one for Cedi Osman, two for Mozgov, and one to dump Jarrett Jack’s contract, because we preferred him to Livingston.

    Those guys provided 58 total minutes for us in the 2016 NBA Finals, between Frye, who had a 66 ORtg and 114 DRtg, and Mozgov, who had a 72 ORtg and 97 DRtg. We have squandered our draft picks, chasing meaningless upgrades.

    The contracts aren’t great, and they probably don’t have much room to do anything noteworthy if we didn’t have them. But the issue is that, like the Jack contract, being so flippant about handing out money makes these guys liabilities when it comes to a trade. Thompson is a useful player that is young enough that other teams may want to take him, but not at that salary.

  • CBiscuit

    Yeah, it’s sort of amazing. We (myself included) seem to overpraise Griffin for his good moves–but there were some headscratchers in there….and well, some moves he made that frankly don’t leave us with much operating room now. I mean–I understand why we made the moves at the time to win now–but the reality is we are very limited as you say.

  • CBiscuit

    I said and meant someone *like* Iguodala. I was just kind of jabbing at the idea that we can always look back and blame the GM for signing a bench or role guy who ends up being a dud vs. a supersub. It’s not always fair, and it’s certainly a crap shoot I’m sure. But Griffin did his best to win now (and we did, remember?!). And now the team is hamstrung because of his moves and signings and trading away the future. That’s the reality. And I get your point–and you’re probably right, Gilbert doesn’t value the GM highly, but that doesn’t change anything really with the Cavs now or in the foreseeable future roster wise.

  • BenRM

    Moz was legit in 2015 though.

  • Saggy

    I’m curious if, after one more year of elevated cap, Thompson’s salary will look as bloated. He’s at about $16m, right? I am curious to see who gets that kind of money this offseason.

  • Steve

    16.4 next year, and that’s a very good point. A quicker rising cap can help make our contracts look better, along with the obvious benefits of getting us closer to the tax and cap lines so we can make moves again.

  • CBiscuit

    So Gilbert gets no credit for anything leading to a championship? And it’s conveniently not Griffin’s fault for anything, including if we can’t make any big moves this off season? Oh and when we’re inevitably hamstrung further down the road from making moves, including if Lebron leaves, then we can also say it’s all on stoopid Gilbert?

    Why don’t we just say we hate him, and he can’t win period? That would be quicker and wouldn’t defy logic. Man, the guy may be a turd, but there are some angry Quicken Loan borrowers on these forums here…

  • mddawg

    Iguodala signed on as a starter, he was “persuaded” to become a bench player by Kerr after joining the team.