David Blatt Named Head Coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers

THE CAVALIERS 2014 OFFSEASON MAILBAG MANIFESTO

Mary Schmitt-Boyer wrote my favorite basketball book with Wayne Embry. It’s called “Inside Game” and it’s an autobiography of Embry about his entire life. It reads like his unabridged and uncensored feelings about being hired as the GM of the Cavs, and then what his entire tenure was like, right up to his firing. It’s revealing and interesting. If you read that Bill Simmons basketball book, and you have an encyclopedic knowledge of “Inside Game”, you’ll see references to historical references which are taken from the Embry book.

I covered the Cavaliers almost every game last season as a credentialed member of the media. I planned like I don’t know how many times on bringing the book to the game to have Schmitt-Boyer autograph it and tell her how this book really made me so happy every time I read it. It still does. So Schmitt-Boyer, who has covered the NBA in Cleveland for the Plain Dealer for over two decades, had her resignation party this week in Ohio City, and I never got my book signed.

It’s weird to have someone cover this team for so long and then vanish like she intends to. Jarring in a way.  This medium is unforgiving, it moves incredibly quickly and it requires, it mandates, almost constant attention and almost photographic memory. I haven’t had the chance to ask Schmitt-Boyer how much it’s changed during her tenure covering the team and ending with her as the President of the Basketball Writers Association of America, but I assume she’d probably have plenty to say about that.

I just want to say before I present this mailbag, and on behalf of all of us at Stepien Rules and also Cavs Zine, we wish you well, MSB. I can’t compare you to anybody, you forged your own way here in a tough town that seems to always get tougher and we hope that everything works out and you are happy.

So, without further ado. Here’s the Mailbag: 

Ed Carroll ‏@EdTheRevelator

When will this be published?

Now, right now Ed. This is it. Did you like the preamble and farewell to MSB? I think it’s going well so far.

 

29-YEAR-OLD LEBRON JAMES, CALLING CLEVELAND “HOME”

David Zavac ‏@DavidZavac

“If you could ask LeBron James one question that he had to answer truthfully, what would it be?”

The bottom line with Lebron James is and always was this:

He was really genuinely from here, despite what he did to try and draw an imaginary line in the sand between Cleveland and Akron, first as a kid by being a Bulls and Yankees and Cowboys fan, then as an adolescent, by acting like he was this worldly guy who was out there appreciating fine culture in New York City or wherever. You’re born in Akron the way someone’s born in the far Western suburbs or the far Eastern suburbs but still has Cleveland in them, who still ends up going to work in downtown Cleveland even when he’s still a teenager.

No matter what happens or what you do, if you’re from here, you remain one of us. Somewhere else he may have been Superman from another planet, but this here is Cleveland and Superman really is actually from here. You could look that up, by the way. So we’re bound to welcome him back and treat him like every other one of us who left town thinking he was too good to be here, but later realized that this, being from here, is a big part of what makes someone special. And returning here, you’ll always belong.

That’s who we are. We love each other and our Cleveland-ness ridiculously. And that’s who he is too.  Like it or not.

Note that I am not some corncob telling you how to feel or telling you to “get over it”.  We’ve been holding grudges against each other for years. That’s a whole different story. It’s just something we do which is silly but understood and it doesn’t stop us from loving each other’s Cleveland-ness anyway.

It’s hard to always understand the value of being able to identify where you are from or where you belong. I’m not even saying that’s what happened with James and that’s why he decided to play for the Cavaliers (for the next two years with an-opt out after next season, allegedly for brilliant salary maximizing reasons). I don’t know the real reason. James did write a Sports Illustrated piece that appeared on its face to be heartfelt, but it’s hard to judge what that means coming from James.

It’s pretty much accepted fact there was this huge manipulative process that took place leading up to the 2010 decision to leave Cleveland. Without really feeling any sort of empathy, I can state that it must have been difficult to muster the desire to play and conduct himself like a champion with so many other things orbiting around him during that first tenure in Cleveland. Namely, an entourage of people that had been taking care of him and his mother for as long as he had memories. Was he beholden to too many people here in Cleveland as a teenager for him to focus on his job?

I remember when the Cavs won the 2003 draft lottery, that thought crossing my head about the added pressure of playing professionally and dealing professionally near and with the same people who had raised and supported him personally and financially for his entire life to that point. Although his initial bizarre behavior, engaging in Twitter battles and making ridiculous comments in press conferences, and this is 2010-11, seemed like an extension of his The Decision-persona, there’s a whole thing with the delayed personal development of the child star, and James was certainly that.

BRIAN BONSALL PLAYED THE YOUNGER BROTHER ON FAMILY TIES

There’s a handful of child stars that survived and made themselves into better people. With James, it’s always been hard to tell what was really going on, what with him leading with a branding persona first, with a giant banner made by Nike representing him, with a hoard of media pushing to get close to him, mouths agape with joy, laughing nervously after every answer to every boring question.

However, he’s chosen to return to Cleveland. That’s where he’s going to work. So what do you really want to know if you could force a truthful answer. Now, in Zavac’s question to me above, he proposes that you get one question and Lebron James must answer truthfully. Here’s some candidate questions:

  1.  “Why did you quit in Game 5 against the Celtics?”
  2.  “Did you actually write or contribute to the writing of the Sports Illustrated piece about returning?”
  3. “Regardless of your-opt out after the 2014-15 season, how long do you really intend to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers?”
  4. “Was ‘The Decision’ really planned in 2008 in Bejing at the Summer Olympics with Wade and Bosh and did you string Cleveland along through the whole thing because you didn’t think it mattered?”

Honestly though, I don’t know if any of these things, including the opt-out intention, are really relevant enough to press or want the answers to anymore.  There’s something bigger at stake here in Cleveland and it’s tough to wrap your head around.  Lebron James is supposedly worth around $500 million dollars to the City of Cleveland in terms of economic activity.

I think someone worth $500,000,000 in economic activity, that really understands that he has that value to the city, and who cares about the city would understand the facts. Real power doesn’t come from being able to dictate what colorways of a Nike shoe get manufactured. Real citizenry isn’t just coming back to Cleveland or having a banner with your face on it hang across from the building where you work.

I appreciate what James had done with his foundation in terms of helping people, organizing a bike rally and giveaway in Akron and whatnot. But isn’t there something bigger at stake with the city if this one person can create a $500 million swing in the local economy? Why would we ever be talking about shoes or cars or soft drinks? Even basketball is a secondary issue, and certainly basketball transactions that took place four years ago. This one man is about to generate $500 million in local economic activity.

If a corporation was moving to Cleveland tomorrow and could make a promise of that kind of projection, our government here would be throwing all kinds of perks, tax incentives and whatever it could to encourage that company to come here and to stay. Isn’t it possible that every thought that’s been had about the kind of impact that one player, one person can have in a community has been too small for the current situation and for Lebron James?

What’s the answer to Zavac’s question?

“You are in a position to push the hand of a local government in a city or at least region that you have claimed to care about to take action to address any issue or civic project that you are deeply passionate about, and with your leverage they are in a position where it would likely not make economic sense for them to deny you whatever kind of change you are requesting. You hold this very serious power for only a short time due to the uncertain nature of a professional athlete’s career length, but because of the unique characteristics of the city and region, being a relatively small and shrinking local market, this power is very real.  You have a voice, and they will listen and do what you want them to do.  So here’s the question:

What are you going to do to make Cleveland a better place?

I’m pretty sure that everything else you’d want to know about Lebron James you’d find out from that truthful answer.

KEVIN LOVE  DOUBLE SHOT

OUTLET PASS EXPERT
  

1.       EricDCavsInsider  ‏@ericj_d  

 “Question 1: Do you think the Cavs should trade Wiggins for Kevin Love?”

2.       Ben Cox  

would you trade Andrew Wiggins (G/F Kansas, No. 1 pick) for Minnesota PF Kevin Love?”

On its face, this is not that complicated. Kevin Love is an amazing basketball player. Not only is he a better basketball player than Andrew Wiggins is right now, he is likely to be a better basketball player than Andrew Wiggins will ever be, even if Wiggins reaches his ceiling as a player, which I realize I have said previously does not exist.  That’s just how good Kevin Love is.

However, Kevin Love has two years left on his contract, and has the option to opt out of his contract completely next season. He could be a free agent next season.  Meanwhile, Andrew Wiggins is on a rookie contract. Essentially, 4 years, with restricted free agency and up to 4 or 5 more years after the rookie contract.

So the comparison of the two players is vastly uneven.  Love might be only one season and Wiggins could be up to 8 seasons and is a lot to give up for just one season of Kevin Love, in which it is possible but unlikely that the Cavaliers would be able to win an immediate championship.  I thought this was a pretty good summary of the situation, by @KirkLOB.

There’s a lot of complex evaluations of Kevin Love and his motivations and feelings about things going on in speculation that he would continue playing for the Cavaliers beyond the one season he has before he can opt out and obtain free agency and leave.  Marc Stein at ESPN and Chris Broussard of ESPN have reported that Love would have interest in possibly continuing with the Cavaliers after the singular season.

The speculative factors are robust.   Love’s monetary situation improves by staying with the team that trades for him, possibly.  There’s an expected increase in salary cap that could alter his compensation possibilities.   Lebron James and Kyrie Irving being on the Cavaliers could sway him.   David Blatt’s coaching schemes could impact his decision making.

There are other issues as well.  When Carmelo Anthony was forced to strongly request a trade to the Knicks in advance of the 2011 lockout to avoid the uncertainty of not being able to receive the max contract he knew he could get before the lockout, it forced the Knicks to give up 4 assets including picks and players for him.   Without getting into the details of the relative value of those players and picks, it stands to reason that the fact that the Knicks had to give them up impacted the ability they would later have – with Carmelo Anthony, to improve the team.

Anthony has now been a Knick for 3 seasons and the team seems resigned that it will take a fourth year of non-contention, after which it will finally have a more clear cap space situation and be in a position to accumulate assets.   Incidentally, the Knicks are expected to be in a position to pursue Kevin Love, whom Carmelo Anthony has already discussed the desire to play with, so there will be other “superteam” options.

Ultimately, Carmelo Anthony was put into a difficult position because of the lockout, but he could literally see the team getting worse and itself being put into a difficult position because of the assets going the other way.  Ideally, a free agent would go to a team to improve on what they have instead of significantly reducing a team’s assets and trying to both offset those losses and elevate the team.

There are other possibilities with Love.  For example, although the Cavaliers will not be in a position to sign Love as a free agent next season if he opted out due to being over the salary cap, however, a sign and trade with the Timberwolves for Love would be possible and would likely not be as costly in trade as the straight up trade this season right now would be.   This assumes of course that the Timberwolves would decide to not trade Love to another team, for which he would then have an economic incentive to remain and where he could develop chemistry influencing a decision to stay.

In the present situation, however, assuming Love does intend to re-sign with the Cavaliers for a period longer than the one year after a trade, Love is certainly in a position of conflict between is current team and his future team.   The more assurances that Love gives to the Cavaliers of his intent to re-sign with them that the Timberwolves become aware of, the more the Timberwolves can demand from the Cavaliers in trade and consequently, the weaker the Cavaliers, where Love would be headed, would become as a result of his trade.  Naturally, where Love is unlikely to extend his contract and forego his rights to free agency after one season, it would be almost impossible for him to give assurances to the Cavaliers that he will re-sign with them after opting out.

The role that the expected increase in salary cap plays with regard to Love and his next contract is also a relative unknown in terms of what he both intends to do and what he is willing to disclose about his intentions.   Allegedly, Lebron James has structured his deal so that he can opt out after next season and then be a free agent after two seasons, maximizing his ability to make as much money as possible.  If Love were to make a similar demand, it would hardly be unreasonable.

As Terry Pluto at the Plain Dealer has pointed out yesterday, Love’s current contract is essentially exactly identical to James’ already.  Why would he agree to anything?

So given the complexity of these issues and the apparent necessity for maximum flexibility for Love similar to James, I do not think the Cavaliers should trade Andrew Wiggins, their most valuable tradable asset, for him.  There are other assets that the Cavaliers should be willing to give up, but barring some other or unforeseen factor, my opinion is that Wiggins and his potential 8 years would be too much to give up for Love.

Now, should a trade happen involving Wiggins, my deductive assumption will be that the Cavaliers have obtained some assurance from Love indicating that he would re-sign with them that satisfied the Cavs.  I probably wouldn’t be happy with the Cavaliers doing business in that manner, but ultimately if it achieved its desired result of keeping Love long term, I’d probably feel better about it in the future.

 

FLIPPER

Shawn Gerboc ‏@Gerbs81

“ Thoughts on the band Flipper?”

So from Timberwolves General Manager Flip Saunders to the band Flipper.  I don’t remember details of the venue or who I was with or what year it was, but I def recall being exposed to Flipper by way of a mixtape someone gave me and also that they played here in Cleveland around that time, in the late 80s-early 90s.  My demands were electric guitars, played fast and loud and angry.  Flipper, regarded as the most guttural, raw, powerful of the early punk rock bands, was too artsy for me to consider.

Flipper is clearly punk rock music.  If an alien came down from space and wanted to know what “punk rock music sounded like” the Generic LP is on the short list of the albums you’d pull down from the shelf and show him or her what it was all about.

That first album, Generic, brings this slow, grinding guitaring, which was a foil to the breakneck speed hardcore that was dominating at the time.  Flipper was also dominating though, in its own way.  Its fanbase was, and remains, to the extent that they survived the era, more of a cult of depravity who were trying to live out something they imagined they saw in a movie.  A lot of them are some of the worst people you’d ever want to meet and hang out with.

Formed in 1979, they were gutterpunks before there were gutterpunks and as with most punk bands, that first album is not only the best, it’s the one that’s essential to own and listen to.  “Generic” by Flipper represents a whole culture.   Don’t tell me about The Meatmen, about Blatz or Nausea.  I would take Flipper over Crass as a representation of this subculture, if you really pressed me.  I bet that debates over that very issue raged on from the 80s and into the 90s over passed around paper bags of hot glue.

You know the type that lived in punk houses, ate mac and cheese for every meal, never showered and that you walked in while they were possibly doing things with your couch in a way that made you never sit in a particular spot again?  The type of person who never has money but always has a 40 oz. of beer or a bottle of Cisco and is making out with a girl with a Chelsea haircut or giant liberty spikes named Darcy?   To me, that was a fan of the band Flipper.   This isn’t to trivialize that band or that style, which everyone who is right minded would appreciate if it was presented to them in the right way instead of through trust fund punks on St. Marks Street in 1996 who got picked up by their moms at the end of the weekend.

So, take a slow grinding tinny punk rock guitar sound, drumming so slow that someone who never saw a drumset could walk into a studio and learn the beats, add a repetitive almost Suicide-influenced baseline, and put a little distortion on it.  Then add lyrics that are either so insane that it’s either art punk drug influenced or its tounge in cheek jokes and you don’t really have to understand what exactly it means to understand that it’s just rock and roll, man, and that’s it.

Set aside the seminal hit “Sex Bomb” which, in my opinion is a misrepresentation of the band’s style.   These compilation people will just cram whatever they think is easiest to package to you.  There’s all these compilations of 70s early punk tracks where they cram a hot song by Eddie and the Hot Rods on with some digestible Television and make you think you’re cultured.   Flipper, real Flipper, real crusty gutter punk rock is pretty tough to compile if you don’t get which parts are a joke on the listener, real genuine stuff or just goofy shit.  Personally, I think “Sex Bomb” is probably the latter.  Do I feel like this era of punk rock is misrepresented because it’s so hard to define?  I might.  Does it make me sick?  Probably.  I love the hell out of the Ramones and Johnny Thunders, but these kids in Southern California from 79 to 88 brought something equally relevant, half as understood and maybe twice as dirty.  It’s confusing math.

Dig into this and crank the track “Life” from that first album. “LIFE IS THE ONLY THING WORTH LIVING FOR”, with those chants “Life!” through the chorus.  Smells a little bit like 7 Seconds posi-core?  Naw, that guy, lead singer William Shatter singing, is like 8 years from overdosing on heroin.   That’s real right there.  Balls to the walls, brutha.  That’s why we’re here.  For that tattoo that your buddy gave you in the living room with a needle and some India ink that you will always always enjoy regretting.

Don’t compare The Stooges just because of the slow riffs, it’s punker than The Stooges.  Punker than The Stooges?  Yes.  The Stooges are more of a glamorous rock band, Flipper are closer to the scumbags that probably have bugs crawling on them from sleeping on a couch next to a wall that has a sandwich plastered inside it.

That’s the way Flipper is, gutter punk for the gutter punks, the Godfathers.  I’d say a certain amount of Flipper is mandatory.

 

Kevin Hetrick ‏@hetrick46 

Will this be the season David Blatt becomes universally recognized as the world’s greatest coach, or is that 2015 – 2016?

From Blatz to Blatt.   It’s not going to be hard to take a team built around the best player in the league and a solid second star, plus possibly a legitimate third star and make them play really good basketball.  There are places where David Blatt is so highly regarded that he does not need to succeed in the NBA to be recognized as the world’s greatest coach, but if he came into the NBA and defeated the Spurs and won a championship, the gauntlet would be laid down.

I’m not even saying that Blatt has to come in and win a championship in his first year as a head coach to get the title of “world’s greatest coach”.  Plus, there’s always going to be debate about this.  I think the coaching game has changed a ton in the last ten years.  Why?  The use of analytics in coaching didn’t really happen across the board until recently.  Scouting and digesting information is at a premium, with more data available than ever before about every facet of your own team and the other team.  Also, and I think this is highly underrated, the game changes like every three minutes in terms of what can work and what has been countered.  Coaches have to adopt a philosophy of flexibility to survive.

I feel like that was what led to Mike Brown’s demise.  His coaching philosophy, fairly or not, became dated and wasn’t flexible enough to adapt.   Blatt is known as an innovator on offense and, even before becoming a famous head coach in Euro ball, on defense as well.  I suspect that Blatt is going to try things that may be unconventional, and if Lebron James runs them, they’re probably going to work and they’re probably going to make everyone look very very smart.

For me, until this point, World’s Greatest Coach has been a one man race, so we’ll see where this coaching hire takes us.  Like I said though, Blatt is so highly regarded overseas that I don’t think this team struggling will shake him.  He has all the confidence on the Old World who never wanted him to leave and surely want him back.  As much as they’re pulling for him to succeed, I bet there’s people over there that are pulling for a ten game slide where Lebron James gives him a shoulder bump and he freaks out and then…. and then the world changes forever and two men, here to take this medium sized Midwestern town up to the next level, but with nothing to lose, embroil it in a matter of international war.  Not saying that’s going to happen, but I bet there’s a kid in Israel right now bitter enough to imagine it.

 

Mark Szczepanik  ‏@THE_DANNY_FAIRY  

What will Kevin Love’s section in the upper deck of the Q be named?

Pulling for “Lover’s Lane” where kids dress like the 50’s, take out their retainers and makeout and when they leave the seats there’s a bloody hook hanging from them or a phone call that is coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE!!!!!

Ziggy ‏@ZiggyOfAk  

Since Kevin Love is definitely bringing us championships shouldn’t he be allowed to wear Nate Thurmond’s number?

No.   Bernie Kosar may be cool with giving up his number but no way should the Cavs let anyone wear a retired number no matter who they are.   Some things have to remain sacred and if you’re going to even consider pulling jersey numbers down, then you shouldn’t have put them up there in the first place.

 

Ace ‏@AgentAce

Do you want the Cavs to build a big 3 like the Heat, or do you prefer they stick with the youngins like the Spurs.

It seems like there’s two major pitfalls involved here.  First, it’s basically impossible to construct a team the way the Heat did.  It’s very rare for that ever to happen and by rare I don’t think it’s ever happened before in that way.  It was a function of the CBA and the way the cap worked at the time that allowed a team up like the Heat and I think that is dictating how teambuilding has to take place as much as anything.

Now, that said, the economics of basketball seem to be radically changing as franchise values spike upward of where anyone reasonable thought they would, as the salary cap goes up, and as we approach the new TV deal which will undoubtedly increase not only franchise values further, but also obviously increase league revenue.  Owners, who got a 7% increase from the players in the last CBA, are going to make a lot of money.

It stands to reason that the next CBA will increase the player’s share significantly.   Therefore, contracts lasting beyond that CBA that are entered into now are likely to be bargains for the teams that signed them.  For example, Kyrie Irving entered into a 4 year deal on July 1.  That deal goes beyond the new TV deal and even beyond the new CBA.

I know there was some  hubbub about whether Irving was worth the contract the Cavaliers would be paying him.  I think the CBA is going to make that answer yes.  Same thing for every player signed to a contract that extend to four years from now.  Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony are the two I can think of now.

But let’s stick with Irving, because he’s the core.  The one guy that’s signed long term.  If the salary cap goes up dramatically, and the BRI goes up also, plus players are able to argue against the restrictive and punitive luxury tax for teams who go over the salary cap and the tax cap, it’s possible to have a superteam with more than three players if you already have one of them under an old CBA-contract.  So superteams could make a real comeback, just in time for the Spurs to finally be too old and need to change their philosophy.

Two things.  First, you can imagine how pissed off the Players Union must be at Lebron James.  He was a scapegoat at the last CBA for having jumped ship and formed a superteam that all these tax rules were invented to prevent.  “Competitive balance” seems to have been used as an excuse to cut 7% of the players entitlement to all league Basketball Related Income, because of the Heat.  Plus, here he was, the best player in the league not getting the full amount of money that he was entitled to and that the Players Union fought for him to have a right to get.  I don’t think we’ll see Lebron James take a pay cut ever again.

Second, Kyrie Irving is bound to improve playing with Lebron James.  I figured him and Dion Waiters and all the young players on the Cavaliers improving this season with James, but Irving the most, because he was the most talented player on the team, because he was held back by Mike Brown’s system issues, and because, and I sincerely believe this, the media messed with his head by accusing him of wanting out of Cleveland.   Most assuredly because of Lebron James though.  Look what he did for JJ Hickson, who shot .555 his last season playing with James.   Kyrie Irving is finally going to get plenty of open looks to make three point baskets.

 

Donald Slump ‏@RyanPGoldchains 

How many shots would a Desagana Diop block, if a Desagana Diop could block shots?

All of them, obviously.

 

 

I LIKE HOSPITAL FOOD AND I’M NOT ASHAMED

Jacob Rosen ‏@WFNYJacob 

Jack, what is your favorite eatery in Northeast Ohio? Do you recall when you realized it was your favorite?

I would say that it changes, and sometimes unpredictably.  A tip for you though.   Fairview Hospital cafeteria has a mean pizza.  It’s not out so you can see it, they bake them individually and you have to wait.  You wouldn’t believe that it’s true, yet, it is.  I certainly hope that you never have to go to the hospital for any reason, but if you do, try the pizza.  I can’t stop thinking about it.  Don’t be afraid to order toppings either.

 

BTnH

Ralston ‏@The_HRMan 

What is the greatest song a band/artist/group from Cleveland has ever recorded? #MailBag

A ton of responsibility comes with answering this question.  Clevelanders are as loyal to their bands as they are to their politics or their sports teams.    Plus, there’s a ridiculous number of awesome candidates, so to show I took this question seriously, I’m going to first list a number of candidates I consider worthy of consideration and then give you my final answer and then my explanation.  This is obviously subjective, but I love Cleveland and I love music, so I feel like I’m in a position to judge.  But again, subjective.  As in, I spared you “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen because I personally find it annoying.  First, the candidates for greatest song presented as a 9 song mixtape:

Tha Crossroads (Bone Thugs N Harmony)
Midwest Midnight (Michael Stanley)
Sonic Reducer (Rocket From The Tombs/The Dead Boys)
Street Where Nobody Lives (The Pagans)
The Peter Gunn Theme (Henry Mancini)
Talkin’ Bout a Revolution  (Tracy Chapman)
Go All The Way (The Raspberries)
I Put A Spell On You (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins)

And the final two:

It’s Cold Outside (The Choir)
Final Solution (Pere Ubu)

I feel that I must note that part of the reason I picked these songs isn’t just because of the hot licks in the beginning riff to Go All The Way, or the smooth groves of Peter Gunn, but because I feel like each one took something from Cleveland and put them into the songs.   Such as, Uncle Charlie from Bone Thugs’ seminal hit or Tracy Chapman singing about poor people rising up in unemployment lines in “Revolution”.    And see, I could have easily slipped “Fast Car” in there and you’d probably nod, but “Revolution”, that’s the stone cold killer.

So, “Final Solution”.  Despite its misleading title (which I heard led the band to not play it for a period due to its association with a  truly horribly unfortunate historical event), it’s a song about proto-Cheap Trick (“Surrender” was released in 1979 and supposedly written in 1976) teenage alienation, but it’s got that twist at the end which is pure Cleveland.   It’s decidedly beyond the scope of “Summertime Blues” teenage alienation.  It’s Cleveland, and probably about wintertime 1973 (and we’re talking Rocket From The Tombs, the predecessor band, before they broke up into PU and The Dead Boys) but yeah, it was the rustiest of rusty times.  So at the end of the song, the guy walks into the club:

“Buy me a ticket to a sonic reduction
Guitars gonna sound like a nuclear destruction
Seems I’m a victim of natural selection
Meet me on the other side, another direction”

And boom, his mind is blown and he’s figured out the solution, but the guy in the song isn’t all boo hoo like… The Who, he’s like man the solution is out there and it’s rock n roll and then the song becomes this power baseline and this weird chirping noise and this “wooooooo”-ing and then… AND THEN A FACE MELTING SOLO.  Power.  You can’t push your scooter of a cliff when you’re too busy rocking the dial to 12 and exploding all the speakers and your eardrums and your eyeballs out of your head, your whole head is exploded, Cleveland style.

This is how and where punk rock was born.  In Cleveland.  In 1973, before the Ramones had all met each other (and before Austin Carr’s really bad knee problems).  By Rocket From The Tombs.  And when they broke up, this song went with David Thomas to Pere Ubu who took the evidence and made it into this.  You, Cleveland, it was you who took rock to the next level.  That’s right, we were inventing punk rock while your city was winning sports championships, and that’s pretty good too and you’re welcome.

But a classic rock song is a classic rock song, and there’s nothing more quintessentially Cleveland than a breakup song that literally meshes the rawness of a cold Cleveland weather with the feeling of being crushed and  blaming a woman for that wind off Lake Erie ripping your skin off.  You can just picture the below zero weather in the winter of 1965 and The Choir’s Danny Klawon’s frozen fingers writing on a crumpled piece of paper with a pencil nub that cold as hell end to the sugary chorus:

“Can’t you see?
That now it’s cold outside
And it’s all because of you
And there’s nothing I can do
To make you love me”

That’s some raw shit.  Let’s just let if fade out repeating the line “To make you love me”, alright guys?  Like four times enough?  Ok.  That’s the best song in Cleveland history.

As an aside to this aside, I’ll add that back in the heyday of the Cleveland 1960s garage rock scene, band members switched bands all the time.  The Choir had something like 30 different members, I think.  So it’s basically like tracking the history of a Cleveland sports blog to figure out who was in the bands.

One last note and I hate bashing the Rock Hall of Fame, because I’m glad it’s here in Cleveland, but it seems weird to me that the Rock Hall is probably in Cleveland because of Rocket From The Tombs and the Dead Boys but for some reason they aren’t qualified to be in the Rock Hall and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are.  It might be a cool idea if we had a Cleveland Rock Hall of Fame.  Just a public improvement project that someone in a position of power could suggest.

CHRIS GRANT, LEADING THE TEAM INTO LOTS OF LOSSES FOR FOUR YEARS 

Bill N ‏@bnagel81 

If Lebron & the Cavs win a ring next year how much credit, if any, does Chris Grant deserve?

“Deserves” got nothing to do with it, buddy. Definitely weird how the Deng trade, the Jack signing and the Bynum signing all failed.   Even the Sessions trade with the Lakers that ended up being Tyler Zeller and Sergey Karasev turned out to only have value as an eraser of the Jack signing. Hiring and firing Byron Scott?  Hiring Mike Brown?  Putting Anthony Bennett out there when he wasn’t ready to play?

It’s very tough for me to get over the fact that Grant made us watch over 6300 minutes of Alonzo Gee in a Cavalier uniform, often as a starter.  I don’t know if you’ve ever gone back and poured over his statistics in his game logs for those 6300 minutes, but those were not good times.  I was looking at a starting lineup for a preseason game yesterday and it was Joey Graham, Ryan Hollins, Ramon Sessions, Anthony Parker and Antwan Jamison.   Yes, that was real, that really happened.

I’ll bite though.  Does Grant deserve credit for convincing the Clippers to give up an unprotected first round pick that becomes Kyrie Irving for Mo Williams and for taking on Baron Davis’ salary?  For anticipating that the CBA was going to allow him to amnesty Davis and re-use that cap space to make other moves that would give him flexibility to erase mistakes like the Jack signing?  Those aren’t really what you’re talking about, is it?

You want to give Grant credit for keeping LRMR involved in the Cavs organization, even when a lot of people, including me, we saying that you couldn’t trust that the involvement with them was going to have a positive end, and it looked like we were all getting played.  And for drafting Tristan Thompson at least in some part because Gilbert was already ready to reunite the Cavaliers with James people and possibly future-James by June 2011.  And for leaking that he was interested in LRMR non-factor client Jonny Flynn.

Because some part of you, and by you I mean me, believes that even though it seemed crazy to be pursing Lebron James for 4 years, to have kept his position open, cap space available, and the roster flexible (and terrible to accumulate high draft picks), that those things impacted Lebron James’ decision to return to Cleveland.

I just don’t think he should get credit for making the team terrible, but your question, does he deserve credit, if any?   The guy did keep a line of communication open that a lot of other people, myself included (and maybe Dan Gilbert also), would have decided to shut down.  And that is something, even though if you’d asked me at the time, I really wanted them to win some more games or at least not be historically bad.

I forgot to mention he signed Earl Clark.

 

 

 

 

Pic of Inside Game is the cover of the book

Pic of Lebron’s SI piece is from the SI piece.

Brian Bonsall from HollywoodReporter.com

Flipper from Flipperrules.com

Food picture from theguardian.com

Picture of hook hand from scaryforkids.com

Bone Thugs picture from liner notes of UNI5

David Blatt from wearecavsnation.com

 Chris Grant from Cleveland Sports Chat

Quantcast