Miami Heat logoCleveland Cavaliers (21-18) vs Miami Heat (8-29)
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
Monday, January 21, 2008
8:00 PM EST
TNT, WTAM

It’s always fun when LeBron and Wade meet up and square off. Traditionally, their matchups against one another have been highly competitive and a blast to watch. Will this change now that the Heat find themselves in the midst of a 13 game losing streak, or will the challenge of facing his good friend cause Wade to elevate his team to a much needed streak-snapping victory?

Starting Lineups

Cleveland Cavaliers:

-G Larry Hughes (9.2 ppg, 2.2 apg, 28.8% 3pt, 7.94 PER)
-G Sasha Pavlovic (7.1 ppg, 1.6 apg, 27.6% 3pt, 5.89 PER)
-F LeBron James (29.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 7.5 apg, 30.15 PER)
-F Drew Gooden (11.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 0.6 bpg, 13.17 PER)
-C Zydrunas Ilgauskas (13.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 18.01 PER)

Miami Heat:

-G Jason Williams (8.9 ppg, 5.2 apg, 1.4 spg, 12.41 PER)
-G Dwyane Wade (24.4 ppg, 6.7 apg, 25.0% 3pt, 22.17 PER)
-F Dorell Wright (6.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.2 apg, 14.14 PER)
-F Udonis Haslem (12.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 0.4 bpg, 13.40 PER)
-C Shaquille O’Neal (14.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 18.53 PER)

Team Efficiency Stats

Cleveland Cavaliers:

-Offense (96.4 ppg, 44.5 rpg, .434 FG%, .717 FT%, 19.1 apg, Efficiency-100.7, Rank-20)
-Defense (98.5 ppg, 41.8 rpg, .461 FG%, Efficiency-103.4, Rank-17)

Miami Heat:

-Offense (93.3 ppg, 38.8 rpg, .460 FG%, .693 FT%, 19.8 apg, Efficiency-99.0, Rank-27)
-Defense (100.1 ppg, 41.4 rpg, .464 FG%, Efficiency-105.3, Rank-25)

Game Notes

The Cavs find themselves playing yet another team that plays no defense. Additionally, the Heat have no offensive identity, they don’t rebound well, and they just don’t win games in general. On paper, this is a team the Cavaliers should beat handily (and there just aren’t many teams I would say that about). But that’s on paper. In real life, on tyhe court, the Cavaliers, and LeBron in general, tend to bring out the best in Dwyane Wade. The Cavaliers have struggled to defend the perimeter all season, and with the Cavaliers sure to focus so much attention on Wade, some open shots will be there. In general, though, this is an offensively challenged team and if Cleveland plays with the kind of defensive intensity they are capable of, they should really be able to limit the Heat’s output in this game.

For the Cavaliers, they will look to get continued good play from the bench. Varejao will be key in helping the Cavs dominate the smaller Heat lineup on the boards, as well as defending Shaq. Daniel Gibson, who has hit a 3 pointer in 25 straight games (2nd only to Mark Price’s 34 stragith in franchise history) and who is 3rd in the NBA in 3 pointers made and 3 point percentage, must continue to get his shots in. LeBron needs to just be himself and stay agressive, while Z and Gooden need to take advantage of some big time scoring chances when Shaq goes to the bench (which he does quite frequently these days). The Cavaliers will lose this game only if one of two things happens…..either Dwyane Wade has a Superman game, which he does from time to time, or the Cavaliers overlook the Heat and don’t come out with energy.

Vegas Line

Miami +3.5
Over/Under 187

Champs2007 Recap…

First, the obvious. The ’06-07 season was a miraculous season. It was way better than I think any of us imagined it would be, and I think it raised all of our collective expectations as to what this team and LeBron in particular can accomplish. Unfortunately, the season came crashing to a halt way too briefly in the NBA Finals. But even the brutal sweep at the hands of the Spurs wasn’t enough to put a damper on our mood. We were excited and looking forward to the off season and seeing how Danny Ferry would improve the team to get us over the hump.

And then the off season came…….and nothing happened. Deafening silence. Oh, sure, we added names like Cedric Simmons and Devin Brown, but those were moves that barely made us lift our eyebrow other than to say, “who?”. Then we realized we had no draft picks (Jiri Welsch??? Thanks, Paxson) and so reloading through that route was not an option. Then came the news that we were losing two key members of the eastern conference champion roster in starter Sasha Pavlovic and 6th man Anderson Varejao. Rumors of a trade for Mike Bibby came and went. Rumors of buying into the draft came and went. We kept waiting…and listening….and yearning….and hoping….for something, ANYTHING, that would make our team better in the ’07-08 season. But nothing came. And so we begin the season tomorrow against Dallas with this team:

Cavs Your 2007-08 Cleveland Cavaliers

We enter the season tomorrow with the following starting lineup:

PG – Daniel Gibson
SG – Larry Hughes
SF – LeBron James
PF – Drew Gooden
C – Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Our reserves:

Guards: Eric Snow, Damon Jones, Shannon Brown, Devin Brown
Forwards: Ira Newble, Donyell Marshall, Demetris Nichols, Anthony Tolliver, Cedric Simmons
Centers: Dwayne Jones

Our starting lineup isn’t much different, but Boobie Gibson starting instead of Sasha does change the dynamic of our starting lineup. Remember, last season this team didn’t truly take off until Mike Brown removed Eric Snow from the starting lineup and went with Hughes at the point and Pavlovic at the 2. Now, Gibson will be playing the point and Hughes is back at the 2. This subtle change worries me. I feel like having a shooting guard who can’t shoot is a gigantic liability for this kind of team. There’s been all kinds of talk in the off season about Mike Brown implementing a drive and kick system. Well, that sounds good and all, but you need your point to be the slasher and your 2 and 3 to be able to knock down open shots. We know Larry can’t do that. Has LeBron’s jumper really improved to the point of reliability? Well, only time will tell. We know he worked on it extensively this summer with assistant coach Chris Jent. If this offense is going to succeed at all, LeBron needs to not only show the ability to knock down the open shot, but also to quickly drive and kick, rather than his customary stand around and dribble for 18 seconds act. I’d like to think that Gibson will be a point guard in name only. I look for him to quickly distribute the ball to Larry Hughes who can then drive, or else get the ball into LeBron’s hands to let him do his thing. The front court duo of Gooden and Z is still a solid enough one. They will continue in all likelihood to clean up the boards, specifically on the offensive end. It’s entirely imperative that they hit the offensive boards when you consider the low field goal percentage this team is likely to shoot. There’s going to be a lot of loose balls to be had. Defensively, I look for this team to continue to be one of the 2 best defensive teams in the East and one of the 5 best defensive teams in the NBA. There’s no defensive dropoff from Sasha to Gibson other than height. But what Gibson lacks in height, he makes up for in quickness, resolution, desire, and awareness. This team will play great defense. I’d like to see LeBron continue to develop his defense as well, as that’s one major way this team is going to have to make up for it’s lack of depth.

Speaking of lack of depth, lets talk a little bit about the bench. This is not a deep team, especially without Pavlovic and Varejao. Their absences means one of our key reserves, Gibson, is now starting and another, Varejao, is no longer around. This means more minutes for Dwayne Jones, Donyell Marshall, and Cedric Simmons. I’m not going to talk about Juwan Howard at all because Brian Windhorst is reporting that Howard has turned down the Cavs and will play for the Mavericks. What this all means is the Cavs are looking at a paper thin frontcourt behind Z and Drew. From what I hear, Demetris Nichols is sort of like the second coming of Donyell Marshall, a forward who is much more comfortable standing around the 3 point line than on the blocks. Frankly, Andy Varejao is banking on this thin line of forwards and centers as his only source of leverage.

Going back to Gibson taking Pavlovic’s starting spot, the one thing I’ll say about it is that Gibson definitely sounds like he’s ready for the challenge. He’s been working on improving all summer, and is hoping it will pay off for him,

“I can’t afford to get complacent because as quick as I got into this league, as quick as I can be gone. I haven’t accomplished anything yet. I could’ve vacationed after the Finals, but I would not have been getting better. Those three or four or five days people took off, I felt I could catch up or gain some ground.”

And for what it’s worth, he finds inspiration in those who have cleared the same path before him,

“Michael Redd, Carlos Boozer, Jason Kapono, Gilbert Arenas, Luke Walton, Kyle Korver and my man, Mo Williams…They were all second-round picks, just like me. I use what they’ve done as motivation.”

The good news is that Gibson seems to get it, much in the same way LeBron does. I really think if these two can develop together in a system for a few years that they can really nurture a strong bond on the court. Their styles can definitely compliment each other. I look for a big year out of Boobie Gibson.

Finally, I look for LeBron to have an absolute monster year. Yes, there’s a lot of negativity surrounding this team. In his ESPN.com chat this week, Marc Stein said the following:

Paul (Cleveland, OH): So has everyone besides Broussard and Holinger pretty much given up on the Cavs?

SportsNation Marc Stein: This season? Pretty hard for a neutral to get excited when there is no new blood, two key players are holding out and Boston did what they did. All along I’ve expected Cleveland to find a way to finally get Mike Bibby there, but even that option has evaporated for now with Bibby needing thumb surgery. You really think the Cavs can avoid a step back after taking all that into account?

And that’s typical of what I’ve been reading from the experts and analysts. For some reason, I’m not totally buying it, and that’s why I think LeBron will have a huge year. First, his shot is supposedly improved. We saw what he did this summer in international competition with Team USA. He was unreal. If his shot is falling even close to that, he is going to be next to unstoppable this year. Second, Mike Brown has come up with a new offensive scheme which is intended to take advantage of LeBron’s strengths while keeping us out of obvious trapping situations like we consistently found ourselves in against the Spurs last year. It may take a while for it to all come together, and the majority of it will be dependent on LeBron’s willingness to embrace it and to run it, but for some reason I’m optimistic it will work. Third, LeBron is a competitor. You know he’s heard all the same negativity we have. You know it eats at him and puts a chip on his shoulder. When that happens, when LeBron is properly motivated…well, watch out. Fourth, he’s LeBron freaking James. If there’s one thing I learned last season, it’s that we should never doubt what we can accomplish with him. Lets face it, this team isn’t drastically different than last year. Yes, the dynamic of our starting lineup is a bit off with Gibson in there instead of Pavlovic. Yes, we’re a little thinner without the holdouts. Yes, we failed to bring in any additional help. But you know what? This team won 50 games last year in a season in which LeBron was accused of coasting for the majority of the season. What’s going to happen when a hungry and motivated LeBron James leads this team this year? We’re about to find out, and I’m ready to get it started. Assuming Varejao and Pavlovic are back on the team within the first 25 games, I am projecting this Cavs team to win 52 games. If neither one plays this year, I think the number falls back in the 47-48 win range.

Final Prediction:

There will be pitfalls. There will be trials and tribulation. There will be a learning curve. There will be an adjustment period without the holdouts around. But is the East really as improved as everyone says? Boston now has the big 3, but they are fatally flawed with their older age and absolute lack of depth. Chicago will be better by default, but no more than 3 games better. If Chicago acquires Kobe by giving up Deng and Gordon, don’t be so certain they’re guaranteed more than 45 wins. Detroit again looks like the class of the East to me, with the same starting lineup minus pariah Chris Webber. Increased minutes for Jason Maxiel will be huge for Detroit. They will once again be the best defensive team in the East and the road to the Finals may once again go through Detroit. Miami is in bad shape with an aging Shaq, an injured D-Wade, and perennial cancer Ricky Davis. Washington will be tough with the Big 3 returning to health and Arenas nearing contract extension time, although the loss of Etan Thomas will be tough to overcome as Haywood has not shown the ability to carry the load alone at the center spot. Toronto, New York, New Jersey, and possibly Milwaukee (depending on health) look to me like teams who will fight for the last playoff spot or 2, but will not be Conference contenders. My predicted order of finish:

1. Detroit Pistons (Central Champs)
2. Washington Wizards (Southeast Champs)
3. Boston Celtics (Atlantic Champs)
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Chicago Bulls
6. Miami Heat
7. New York Knicks
8. Toronto Raptors

Cavs PumpkinFriday Night Tidbits

So, I’m sitting here on a slow Friday night at home, watching the Cavaliers take on the Celtics in preseason basketball. You know it’s a slow Friday in all ways when you’re watching preseason anything let alone basketball. So I decided I’d take a few minutes and give my thoughts on a few Cavaliers articles I’ve had lying around that I’ve been meaning to comment on.

Look, I was so focused on the great Indians season and playoff run, and now I’m drawn into the heart of the Browns season. I’m not left with much to say about the Cavaliers yet. Normally the Browns are 1-5 or 2-4 at this point and so I’m usually just ready for some meaningful Cleveland sports and thus I’m anxious and excited for the NBA season to start. Well, this year’s Browns team is actually fun to watch….they actually look like a real NFL offense, and as a result, I’ve somewhat neglected the Cavs with the exception of a few LeBron posts because, well, it’s always fun to discuss LeBron. But anyway, I promise to do a full (somewhat) Cavaliers season preview sometime before the start of the season on Wednesday.

So, on to the articles I mentioned….

First up, lets talk about Donyell Marshall (who’d you expect me talk about first, LeBron James?). Ok, so in case you hadn’t heard, Donyell’s passport got lost when he was in China, creating travel issues for he and his wife. Well, you’ll have to excuse me if I must admit that I caught myself kind of wishing it had prevented Marshall from getting back into this country. And now, guess what? Donyell’s not happy with his role on the team. Please. Has anyone been happy with Donyell’s role on the team? Frankly, I’ve always felt that his role on the team was a little too BIG, not small. Anyway, here’s what Donyell has to say about this matter,

”I’m not going to say I’m going to retire after this contract, I plan on getting another deal. Hopefully, somebody will take me. I won’t play until I’m 40. I know my time is running down. I’m older now….I definitely have a key role on this team, whether Andy is here or not. There are going to be games where I’m needed to spread the floor. You look in Game 6 (in the Eastern Conference finals) against Detroit when LeBron (James) had 48 points, I didn’t score in that game. But I was effective because I helped spread the floor. You look at a couple of those plays, the reason he got to the rim was because I was spread out on the floor. They wouldn’t leave me.”

Oh, wow…I never realized how much credit Donyell Marshall deserves for LeBron’s performance in that game. I’m sure the Pistons were terrified of Masrshall beating them. They’d MUCH rather have LeBron run off 25 consecutive points on them. Sure. I’ve never really understood Donyell’s demeanor or attitude since day 1 when he and Damon and Larry were introduced at that press conference. There was something about his posture and his comments. He seemed almost slightly aloof. And to this day I still don’t think he gets how little of an impact player he really is. I also doubt there will be too many Cavaliers fans having to dry their eyes when his contract expires. If Donyell wants to improve his role on this team, he can start by proving me wrong and actually making an impact in the games this year. John Hollinger at ESPN projects Donyell’s Player Efficiency Rating (PER) to drop under league average (15.00) to 12.99 this season. In a nutshell, what that means is that by plugging in an average NBA player to replace Marshall, the Cavs’ performance should actually increase. Interesting thought, huh, Mr. Ferry? When Donyell Marshall is happy (meaning, no longer in Cleveland) I’ll be happy too. Nothing personal against the guy, I just don’t think he was ever a great fit with this team.

Ok, enough about Donyell Marshall. I’ve said my two cents. Lets talk some more about LeBron James. Bob Cook wrote a great article for msnbc.com about LeBron’s off season and the way he’s handling the Varejao and Pavlovic situations with grace and general silence. He touches on some of the same points I made last week regarding the different scenarios and the way they might play out for LeBron. According to Cook,

“But if James were seething, you’d never know it. Unlike Kobe Bryant, he hasn’t gone on the radio to demand a trade, called his owner an “idiot,” or ripped his general manager or any teammates on a video leaked like a celebrity sex tape. James has acknowledged to reporters that the team would be better if Varejao and Pavlovic were on it, but he’s not inserting his considerable influence into the negotiations.”

More to the point, Cook goes further in explaining the possible motives for LeBron’s silence. He makes an excellent point that this is, really, a win-win situation in the long run for LeBron.

“James won’t say anything about Varejao and Pavlovic because, in a sense, he wins no matter what the Cavaliers do. If the Cavaliers sign Varejao to the six-year, $60 million deal he’s seeking, and if Pavlovic gets the long-term deal he wants, then James at least doesn’t have to worry about the roster turning over for a while. The Cavaliers at least would contend again in the Eastern Conference this year.

But if the Cavaliers don’t sign the two of them — by god, what insane person would give a six-year, $60 million deal to a player whose most marketable skill is flopping? — James might have an even more inferior cast, but he also would have a better shot at getting some serious help in a few years.

After next season, $25 million worth of contracts in the persons of Eric Snow, Drew Gooden, Donyell Marshall and Damon Jones come off the books. Another $10.8 million would disappear if Zydrunas Ilgauskas decided not to pick up his player option, though in his mid-30s, he may well find that’s his best option.

Those $25 million in contracts would be desirable assets entering 2008-09 for a team who might want to get rid of a pouty star with a long-term contract, such as Memphis (Pau Gasol) or Indiana (Jermaine O’Neal). Or they could open up cap space after that season to sign a free agent such as Elton Brand, Baron Davis, Mike Bibby or Gilbert Arenas.”

The point here, as I’ve been saying all summer, is that LeBron is a smart guy. He knows what’s at stake for this franchise and for his career. I’ve always gotten the impression that LeBron would like to stay in Cleveland, but he’s not going to do so out of any kind of altruistic sense of loyalty to the community he grew up in. He needs incentive to stay, and the only incentive that matters to LeBron is winning, and so Danny Ferry and Dan Gilbert’s currency to buy LeBron’s loyalty comes in the form of championship caliber players to bring in who can play with LeBron and help the team get where it needs to go. Again, Cook touches further on that point,

“James also has one more reason to stay quiet. He has meant so much to a previously irrelevant Cavaliers franchise, and means so much to Northeast Ohio as a whole, that he doesn’t have to tell owner Daniel Gilbert and general manager Danny Ferry to do right. They know, James knows, and everyone in the 216, 330 and 440 area codes knows that while James would love to stay, he also needs the Cavaliers to give him reasons to stay.

In fact, the biggest difference between James and the other, more petulant superstars is that James doesn’t have to say a word to get what he wants. If James is unhappy, when the time comes he can just put a “See Ya Later” sign on Gilbert’s door and walk out — with his reputation intact.”

And that’s the bottom line. I can sit here and type out scenarios and coulda, shoulda, woulda’s until my fingers are crippled with arthritic pain, but at the end of the day, this thing is going to play out organically in the way Danny Ferry sees fit. And after Ferry makes his chess move, LeBron knows he will get the last move, and he can wait to decide on his move until he sees the way Ferry plays his trump card. Until that time, LeBron’s going to sit back, keep quiet on these matters, and continue to play simply amazing basketball for this city and this community.

Oh, and in case you wondered, the Cavs fell to the Celtics in the final preseason game of 2007 for the Cavs. Just another Cleveland loss at the hands of a team from Boston. At least this one doesn’t hurt so much.

 

LeBron - Global IconTrouble In Happy Waters?

LeBron James doesn’t seem particularly happy these days. It would be nice if he was just cranky still because his beloved Yanks fell to the Tribe in the playoffs this year, but unfortunately for us all, there’s some actual merit to his gripes. I said last week it would be interesting to see how LeBron handled the absences of Sasha Pavlovic and Anderson Varejao, who are holding out for ridiculous amounts of money they’re probably not going to get. Well, we’re starting to see some of that come to fruition. I wondered whose side LeBron would take on this matter, and as reported in Chronicle-Telegram today, LeBron hath spoken:

“We’re worse,” James said following the Cavaliers’ first workout since an eight-day stint in China. “We’re not as good when we don’t have those guys. We all know that. Those two guys are a big part of our team.”

LeBron would continue,

“We didn’t do any reshaping,” James said matter-of-factly. “We didn’t do any regrouping. You start to think a little bit, ‘How are we going to continue to get better?’”

“Me being the leader, I am geared for them not being here,” the 6-foot-8, 250-pounder said. “As an individual, I know I am ready. When I’m ready, I know our team is ready. Their names are still in the locker room (above their lockers),” he said. “They’re still a part of our team. At the same time, we have to go with who we have. … Some things are going to happen in the next week or so where we know for certain what is going to happen with those guys.”

I actually empathize with Danny Ferry and his situation. He simply cannot bid against himself and sign the two players for more money than the market seems to be dictating that they are worth just to appease his biggest star and most valuable asset, no matter how much it must hurt to hear LeBron’s pleas for help. And for what it’s worth, I also empathize with LeBron and the situation he finds himself in. Here we are about to enter year 5 of the LeBron James Era, and is the team really any better than they were in year 2? Consistently carrying this team all by himself year in and year out has to be exhausting. It has to be frustrating. So maybe it’s a bit simplistic and a bit of a reach to read too much into any kind of deeper meaning in LeBron’s comments other than to state the obvious….we got embarrassed in the NBA Finals last year. We had zero chance of winning a single game, let alone an entire series against the Spurs. And LeBron knows it. And to look at this year’s team as it stands at this exact moment and to see that it is clearly weaker than last year’s team, perhaps LeBron really is only asking for the help he deserves. It will just be up to Danny Ferry to decide what the best way to get some help in here will be. Choose wisely, young man. Choose wisely.

LeBron likes his new Indians hatWhose Side Are You On??

The more and more I read about this upcoming Cavaliers season, the more and more I find reasons to be skeptical. Namely, LeBron’s reaction to Danny Ferry’s game of chicken he’s playing with Anderson Varejao worries me. LeBron is perceived as a loyal teammate, and that loyalty may be put to the test. Peter Vecsey wrote about this subject in the New York Post today, asking the question….is there trouble in LeBron’s ‘hood? For 4 seasons, the LBJ show has been nothing but smooth sailing, for the most part. Yes, we’ve gone through coaches, offensive systems, defensive systems, etc., but for the most part, the fans have adored LeBron and LeBron has lived up to become everything we thought he could be and more. But lately, there’s been more and more of a feeling of turbulence on the ride.

Perhaps the most notable example of a public falling out is this latest “controversy” involving LeBron showing up at Jacobs Field with the infamous Yankees hat on. I feel like we got the last laugh and its time to move on, but the amount of hateful vitriol being spewed in LeBron’s general direction has been nothing short of stunning. LeBron hit a definite nerve with the Cleveland fan base, and managed dig a deep wound that, from the looks of things, is going to take some serious time to heal.

Additionally, larger questions are looming in the horizon. A big test of where LeBron’s loyalties lie will be presented in how he deals with the contract situation involving Sasha Pavlovic and Andy Varejao. According to Vescey,

“At what point will LeBron James flex his all-mighty muscle and put pressure on Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to resolve the contract gridlock with restricted free agents Anderson Varejao and Sasha Pavlovic?

The franchise force says he won’t get nervous until wins and losses begin to count for real. But word has it his habitual nail-biting has increased its intensity and velocity. It may have everything to do with negotiations turning very ugly, especially in Varejao’s case.”

What makes this case fascinating to watch, are the implications that reside between the lines…..a LOT is going to be learned depending on what kind of pressure LeBron applies, particularly in the context of LeBron’s own expiring contract in 2010.

LeBron seems to be a smart guy, and clearly he can see the folly of giving in to Pavlovic and Varejao’s demands, essentially bidding against ourselves because there are no other suitors. The ONLY reason to do that would be for immediate results on the court this season, with no regards for the future ability of this team to sign impact free agents. If LeBron starts leaning on Ferry and putting quiet pressure on the organization to pay Varejao what he wants to get him back on the team, I would take that as a very foreboding move if you are one who is inclined to put hope into LeBron playing his entire career in Cleveland, such as I am. It would seem to show a blatant disregard for the future of the organization. In other words, LeBron wants to win, and he wants to win NOW.

On the other hand, if LeBron should choose to sit back and let Ferry ride this out (keeping in mind that Ferry clearly has the upper hand in terms of leverage with both Pavlovic and Varejao) and make the shrewdest move he can make, thus setting up the future of the club, I would take that as very promising sign for the future all around. LeBron is a competitor, and the ONLY way he would want to play without a full arsenal on the court would be if he knew it was in the best interest of the future success of the franchise. Lets face it, 3 years from now, this franchise is going to be at a crossroads. Being able to free themselves of Larry Hughes, Donyell Marshall, and Damon Jones’ contracts while re-signing Varejao and Pavlovic for what they are truly worth, will set the franchise up twofold. One, it will allow them to try again to sign impact free agents who can help LeBron. Two, it will make re-signing with the team that much more of an attractive option for LeBron.

This is a pivotal time for the future of this franchise. As much relief as was felt when LeBron signed his extension last year, it’s back to business and this team must always keep one eye on the future to ensure that they have the best chance possible to keep LeBron in the Wine and Gold. And that’s why Danny Ferry is stuck in a position of playing chicken with Varejao. According to Vecsey’s article,

“Without the knowledge of agent Dan Fegan, GM Danny Ferry traveled to Brazil and met with his 6-10 backup center/macho forward to promote management’s perspective, and, perhaps cut out the hardcore middle man. Evidently the backdoor play backfired. Indications are Varejao is remaining loyal to Fegan and adhering to his demand.”

Again, this move of desperation reeks of ulterior motive. Ferry understands the implications of signing Varejao through the context of the weight of LeBron’s magnitude within the organization. Time will tell what happens in the future, as things tend to end up being as unpredictable as can be, but over the next few weeks, keep a sharp eye on the back and forth between Pavlovic, Varejao, LeBron, and the Cavaliers organization, and look between the lines, because an interesting story is devloping there.