Back in 2007 after the Cleveland Cavaliers took out the New Jersey Nets in the second round of the NBA playoffs, LeBron James strolled out of his postgame press conference in East Rutherford looking like a man who could carry the Cavs all the way to the NBA Finals.
Standing in the back of the press room as James – doing his best smooth operator impersonation complete with shades – exited stage right I remember thinking, there goes the man. There goes the man.
But now I can’t help but think, when will the Cavs make a move this offseason to get the man some help?
Eleven days into NBA free agency – two days if you actually include the time in which deals could be finalized – and a number of teams continue to sit on their hands. Cleveland is one of those teams.
That was my angle today at HOOPSWORLD where I selected six teams who have yet to improve their roster so far this summer by swooping up a free agent: Washington, Atlanta, Indiana, Cleveland, Phoenix and Portland are the usual suspects within the column. Four of those teams made the postseason, which only lends to my argument that those clubs in particular are either playing their cards close to their vest or they’ve already folded.
Now these days I’m not even sure if the Wizards and Hawks return to the playoffs next season. The Pacers are clearly rebuilding. The Suns – namely owner Robert Sarver and team president and general manager Steve Kerr – have obviously lost their minds. And the Blazers, well they opted to gain ground through the draft and apparently will avoid the open market, or so it appears.
As for Cleveland….what are they doing exactly?
Days after they were bounced by the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals this past season, Cavs majority owner Dan Gilbert spoke about what their next move would be this summer.
“We’re going to work this summer to get better and better and we’ll look at everything. We’re going to let a little time go by then re-group and look at everything objectively, try and get better and get to where we ultimately need to be,” Gilbert said on a conference call in late May.
Now three months later and they are frozen like a Heisman trophy. It doesn’t take that long to realize alterations still need to be made in Cleveland.
As I wondered that May day on HOOPSWORLD about if and when the Cavs would acquire another scorer to play off James, Gilbert basically took it a step further saying he couldn’t comment on the whole “sidekick” scenario.
Interesting. James doesn’t need a sidekick. He just needs be put at ease knowing the front office is putting in work this summer. I haven’t seen that at this point. Neither has James.
Instead of bettering their situation (although they are heavily chasing James Posey still) in Cleveland – thus showing the face of the franchise they are serious about contending and locking him up in 2010 – they’ve seemingly hung LeBron out to dry.
It’s hard being the man.