Mailbag! with David O’Leary

Last time I wrote up a mailbag LeBron was still a Cavalier, likewise Z. So needless to say, a lot has changed in between mailbag one and the one I’m presenting you right now. So for mailbag number two, I’ve picked the four best questions from the emails I received from our readers. So without further ado…

 

You said, “Starting tomorrow night the pieces that will soon formulate a Cavalier dynasty shall fall into place”. That was before LeBron left, and every free agent rejected the chance to play with you, what now? – Matt

 

Well, in case you were under a rock the past three weeks, we all know he didn’t stay and the dynasty might not be happening for a while. As for what we do now? We run, and run often. Get out in transition and make things happen. He’s gone; he’s not coming back – let’s move on. I though Coach Scott handled the whole ordeal magnificently, now it’s time for us to follow suit. Look, we all know we’re not going to win 61 or 66 games, we probably won’t win 50 – but we’re not going to be New Jersey. HOOPSWORLD, a site I blogged for in the past had us ranked second-last in their preseason look at the East. I can’t see that being the case either. We’re better than New Jersey, Toronto, Indiana, Detroit, arguably Philadelphia and arguably Washington.

 

Those were all the teams that didn’t make the playoffs last season, are we really going to fall that far? The East should look like this – Orlando, Miami, Boston, Chicago, Charlotte and Atlanta being locks for playoff spots. The other two spots are up for grabs, are we really going to fall completely off the face of the earth? No. If the players buy into the new system

– which they will – and we hit the ground running, we’re there, believe me. 8thspot in the final standings of the East, I’d take that right now, thank you very much. Wouldn’t you? Make the Q a fortress once again, play tough, hard nose defense and a steady well-balanced offense with the pieces in place. Possible X-Factor here is our defensive options on the perimeter – with Moon and Parker’s length and defense we can be very active on the wings, and if you throw in Varejao name a team in the league who’s going to out-hustle that line up? The future isn’t as rosey as it could (and should) have been, but it’s not all doom and gloom. Seven 1st round picks and seven 2nd round picks over the next five years and a huge trade exception thrown in. Things will be bad before they get good, but they will get good.

 

Why don’t the Cavs take a chance on McGrady, or Iverson? Makes sense, they need scoring and those guys can score?

 

I agree, we need scoring, but not from individuals. We need a “team first” mantra next season, not just one guy and his backup. We need our main three guys (Mo, JJ and ‘Tawn) to all average at least 15-19ppg. I can see Mo having a very good season this year, maybe in the range of 22 – 25ppg. There’s no reason JJ can’t put up those numbers as a more involved and more confident starter. Jamison is the kicker, how will he react to being sixth man, which is being mentioned as an almost certainty at this point? He thrived in Dallas, and I see it being the same with us. I’d have him as co-captain with Mo, his experience and knowledge will be invaluable to us this season, he’s by far our most seasoned campaigner, and is almost 40 years older then Christian Eyenga. He’ll be the steady hand off the bench, and don’t be surprised to see him end the majority of games. Don’t be surprised to see him play small forward or center either. McGrady would fit a need for us, but we never really showed an interest, likewise with Iverson. Besides, the last few seasons our success was built upon a steady foundation of team chemistry – why would you want to mess with that? Neither Iverson or McGrady would accept a limited role on a non-elite team, and when it gets to the stage where they begin to get unhappy it could ruin it all. Now, if by some miracle Dan Gilbert could sign either of them to a deal with a “moan and you’re out” clause, I’d think about it. But at the end of the day, expect to see neither of these former greats rocking the wine and gold come opening night.

 

Where do you stand on retiring LeBron’s jersey? I say do it, he was incredible and we should remember the good times in spite of what happened. – For the health and safety of this reader, I’m not naming him.

 

Here’s where I stand – no way, no how do we hang him up in the rafters. Sorry, not him, his jersey. The brilliant Bill Livingston did up a great pieceon the matter, a piece I support in full (that Brendan also weighed in on over the weekend here). Reason number one his jersey shouldn’t be retired – he screwed over a franchise. Do you think Orlando will retire Shaq’s jersey when he hangs up his Nike’s? Exactly. I’ll be the first to admit that LeBron James is the reason we are relevant (were relevant??) in the NBA today, but he’s not the only reason. All superstars need to be coached, need players to play with and need fans to support them. If you retire number 23, you need to retire Mike Brown’s clipboard and shattered ego, Dan Gilbert’s now infamous letter to LeBron (comic sans font baby!!)and every Cavalier fan that paid to see LeBron and the other Cavaliers through his seven years. Reason number two – HE CRUCIFIED THE ORGANIZATION ON NATIONAL TV!!! He dumped the cute, solid steady girl for the trashy blonde with big boobs who isn’t that much of a safety-net long term. By the way, if you’re a blonde with big boos reading this, I mean no harm. But anyways, LeBron gave us seven good years, but at the end of the day, he never broke into the upper echelon known as “Champions”. He never delivered a championship to our franchise, and when he was closer than ever he backed down in the face of adversity. Would you want to look up at his jersey 41 times a season while he’s playing Harlem Globetrotter-esque ball in Miami? Exactly. I’ll always admire him for the way he turned the franchise, but loathe him for the way he left it. The six guys hanging up there already, when did they ever back down or quit on the franchise? That’s why they’re there. He’ll always be remembered as the greatest player in franchise history, that won’t change, but lets not show him the respect he didn’t show us by hanging his jersey in the rafters.

 

I received an email – as did Brendan and Amin I think – from a John Cales, who pitched an idea to “Stay home” when LeBron comes to town. He said that it would make the most sense for us all to not attend the game in protest. He suggested that we organize a carwash, or rib cook off to pay for the tickets to accommodate for loss of revenue. Should we abandon the Heat @ Cleveland game? – John Cales

 

It just couldn’t work. We need that night more than ever to be a sell out, with every die hard in attendance. We need Austin Carr commentating; we need Brian Windhorst courtside with a t-shirt that just says, “We all came to see Wade”. We have to show him that just because he’s gone, we’re not. Cleveland fans will always be there – good or bad. Plus, we need to be sixth man that night. Every missed LeBron shot, we need to cheer louder than ever. Every made Cavalier basket, we need to raise the roof. The biggest opponent to LeBron that night will be the fans, simple as. Don’t not go to the game, if you can’t make it to the Q then simply watch Grey’s Anatomy or something. But if you’re at the Q, raise all kinds of hell. Here are my suggestions for we could do to make the night even more memorable;

 

1) Everybody wears Wade jerseys with “The only king of Miami” scribbled across the front of it

2)The front row is filled with kids aged seven to ten, all crying clutching LeBron jerseys and screaming “Why, Why, Why” every time he runs by

3) Hold up signs saying, “Even Darko won a ring!!”

4) During the warm up, we give our guys shirts that read, “Jordan, Magic, Bird – loved a challenge” or “Kobe 5 – LBJ 0”

5)And finally, and this is the seller, every time LeBron makes a basket, one of the kids sitting courtside (or Windhorst) stands up and jams a toy knife into his/her back, you know, like he did to us…

 

Just one guy’s thoughts on what I’m sure will be an emotion-loaded night at the Q. A warning to Cavs fans that night; expect nothing, but cherish everything that happens that night.

 

Contact me via email on dol-17@hotmail.comfor use in the mailbag, Twitter @DOL17 or Facebook under username David O’Leary.

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of StepienRules.com. I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine, Cleveland.com, BleacherReport.com, InsideFacebook.com and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.

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