Cavaliers

The Bitter/Support Scale – Cavaliers Edition

Everyone leaves eventually.

Whether it’s a trade, free agency, or retirement no player’s career lasts forever. The prevailing question fans must answer is how they will regard their onetime heroes who go elsewhere. Are they the recipients of scorn or begrudging respect? For this reason I have developed the Bitter/Support Scale to attribute a value to those players who depart and how we should consider them as their careers press on.

The scale ranges from 1-10, “one” being almost full support as if they never left and “ten” being a burning vinegar fire and wishing them a lifetime of heartbreaking defeats (LeBron James one hour after The Decision).

Several factors go into a player’s score: how beloved they were in Cleveland, the circumstances under which they left, and where they went. If your favorite player goes to play for your chief rival then it pushes the score a little higher. Also if a player’s career blossoms away from Northeast Ohio there are bound to be some sour grapes. Today, for obvious reasons; we will focus on the Cavaliers.

Andrew Wiggins: 1. Wiggins was barely a Cavalier and seemed to just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Instead of playing with a newly returned LeBron as a rookie he was banished to the ice and cold of Minnesota. If he does well, good for him. Wiggins certainly seems to enjoy playing his original team; in six games he is averaging 29.8 ppg which is noticeably better than his career average 20.4.

Matthew Dellavedova: 2. Delly played basketball the way we imagined we would play if given the chance: full tilt, dive on the floor, take charges, and go to work. He levitated the Q in the 2015 Finals and after he and the Cavs sealed the deal in ’16 he was going to get paid. Even though Delly signed with division-rival Milwaukee it’s hard to put down a guy who still plays with his hair on fire even with money in the bank – $38 million to be exact.

Dion Waiters: 4. Oh Dion. Waiters fancied himself a star, but the 2012 first round pick could not ascend while in Cleveland. Rumors of clubhouse issues swirled and his on-court play could not justify his ego. David Griffin sent him to OKC where he had a little out-of-bounds snafu. He seems to enjoy Miami though which is reason enough to be less than supportive, but his improved play can make one feel a little bitter. He has a nice Island though.

Shaun Livingston: 6. Livingston did not make a significant impression as a Cavalier. He played in that amorphous blob of seasons I call “Between LeBron” and had a few nice games in the wine and gold. Since leaving, however, he has been a thorn in Cleveland’s side come June. As a Warrior he has played great defense while contributing buckets off the bench. His game is respectable but Cavs fans don’t have to root for the Warriors to have any more success for his sake.

Kyrie Irving: 8. It still hurts to think of Irving as a “former-Cavalier,” but here we are. Kyrie asked for a trade after playing in three straight Finals. He created a month of drama and is still 25 years old with unbelievable handles. He is going to succeed and a lot of it may come at Cleveland’s expense. Bunker down for a decade of bitterness. To clarify, I am neither endorsing nor opposing fans’ booing of him during the season opener. I’m just saying that every time you see him finish an impossible layup with a physics-defying touch while wearing Celtic green your stomach is going to tighten up.

LeBron James: 10???  When the King deserted his people in 2010 he received a bucket of spite, anger, and bitterness unlike any player before or since. That animosity evaporated in 2014 when he returned home. However, with his impending 2018 free agency “Sources” and “People who know people who know things” insist he is Los Angeles bound to play for the Lakers. Nothing is certain, but if he departs it’ll be interesting to see where he ranks on this list again. Another departure would be brutal, but the King kept his promise, winning a long-sought title for his beleaguered hometown. My feeling is he would be somewhere around 5. Tough to see him go, but there is no mistaking that his legacy in Cleveland is secure.

Did we miss anyone? Feel free to share in the comments.

  • Chris

    7 – Carlos Boozer. Definitely more bitter than Livingson considering how he slithered his way out of town. His success in Utah suggests that he would have been the best sidekick LeBron had during his first tenure in Cleveland. Boozer wouldn’t have helped beat the Spurs, but he could have tipped a couple of the the Magic and Celtics series in the following years.

  • Backwoods

    Boozer has to be a 10. I’m from Akron, so Lebron leaving was more like a 6. He never left his hometown. I mean, he’d say he’s over at swensons or best buy and you could go say hi. Sure, he wasn’t sporting a cavs jersey, but his leaving opened the door for the team to finally amass some talent through the draft. It was painfully obvious that stars are NEVER going to willingly sign in Cleveland. Now, good ole “see you next tuesday” scores high on this list. His leaving created a big void that played a part in Lebron’s leaving later. (just a part, but man, the cavs failed HARD at putting any talent on those teams).

    Irving wanting out has an affect on how I view Waiters now. Seems it wasn’t just Dion with the big ego. Makes sense, takes two to tango.

    Irving is low on my scale. Watching him in person was just such an amazing treat. The things he does with the ball is just amazing. Seeing it on tv is one thing, seeing it in person is another. I’ll never forget seeing him and Dion beat the grizzlies a few years back. Irving had this break where he spun and then tight roped the line that just was amazing. It was when I realized how controlled this guy really was.

    https://youtu.be/YrmIJWtDAQE?t=58

    He entertained us and gave his all. He played the 2nd most important role in bringing a title to Cleveland and finally gave us a “shot” to remember in basketball history. What more can we ask for? Go East young man and grow up into the leader you dream of becoming.

  • JNeids

    Did you add in the +2 for lying to a blind man?

  • Chris

    Ahh… the good ol’ Buddy Ball days.

  • Corey Barnes

    Boozer is a good call. It is an interesting “what if?” to wonder how he would have impacted the team in subsequent years.

  • paulbip

    If LBJ goes, Cleveland should show its class by throwing a great big party and celebrate one of the greatest persons to ever grace NE Ohio.

  • Michael Sonby

    Boozer still ranks as the only 10 among the Cavs. (LeBron was that high after the Decision, but returning and leading the Cavs to a title made everything better). Not only did Boozer lie his way out of the contract, but the Cavs were willing to void the contract that had him in Cleveland for another year at less than a million a year- and he was a great sidekick to LeBron.

    If we bring in other sports besides basketball, Art Modell is a 27.

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