Why It Actually Was LeBron’s Fault
So it’s over. The Warriors are NBA champs, KD’s first title, Dre, Steph and Klay get their second. Before I go on this article has nothing to do with LeBron’s actual performance. The guy played out of his fucking mind and averaged a triple double. No, this is about what LeBron has done to maybe not ruin this team because yes, he got his title but he has set them back.
Let’s go back to when LBJ left Miami. It’s not well noted or documented what LeBron wanted if he was to return to Cleveland. Do you remember when he left “The Land”? The letter that Dan Gilbert, the Cavs’ owner wrote, basically bashing LeBron for leaving. Well Dan Patrick the other day had the opportunity to talk with someone very close to LeBron’s management and they explained to him what LeBron wanted if he was to come back to Cleveland. LeBron’s first offer was for Cavalier’s ownership to buy the Detroit Pistons and for the Pistons to take over the Cavs. That’s not even the best part. According to Patrick LeBron also wanted the coach to be……. wait for it…………….. TOM FUCKING IZZO. This dude seriously wanted an owner trade and he wanted his coach to be a guy who has had a very above average COLLEGE coaching career (however not great lately) with ZERO NBA experience. I can only imagine the response he got when he tried to pull that one. Dan Patrick thought that it was just a test to see how much pull he would have and I think he’s probably right but what if the Cavs would have agreed?! I’m not sure why LeBron had such a boner over Detroit’s ownership but if you follow the NBA you know how trashy the Pistons are. LeBron was looking to be his own GM. Then, the next move LeBron wanted was to trade for Kevin Love. He wanted the Cavs to ship their number one overall pick, Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota. Yes, Love is a great piece and yes you can argue they might not have gotten a title without him but his first year he was hurt during the finals. His second year he only started 5 of the games and averaged 8 points and 7 rebounds on 36% shooting and 26% from three. Yea this year he might have been better statistically but who would you rather have? The big slow Love who can’t defend stretch fours and shot less than 40%, or the young, long, athletic Andrew Wiggins who can guard everyone and can score 20 a night. Easy decision! And Wiggins is still on his rookie deal and costs $16 million less! That move alone could have changed this team drastically. 16 million to go get someone else. There were all kinds of options that offseason from Bosh to Greg Monroe to Zach Randolph to so many others that they could have signed.
All that aside I understand at the time this was such a nobrainer for Cleveland. A gangly unproven rookie in Wiggins vs a 4 who can snipe from three and was a guaranteed double double in Minnesota.
Next, Tristan Thompson. In 2015 Thompson signed a 5 year, $82 Million contract and my god what the fuck were they going off of? He’s a 6 foot 9 inch center who is supposed to get rebounds and he couldn’t even do that during the finals! The Cavs need a guy who will snatch a guaranteed 10 rebounds a night and can protect the rim. Yes Thompson is an above average defender but he has to cover guys who are 3-5 inches taller than him. You may wonder what that has to do with LeBron. Well, Thompson and LeBron share agents and it’s widely accepted that Thompson was “given” this deal by LeBron and hadn’t “earned” it.
My next beef is with the signing of LeBron’s BFF JR Smith. When the Cavs got Smith and Shump from the Knicks they were getting a pair of guys who, at their best were solid guys who could come off the bench. The Cavs took that a step further and JR became their starting shooting guard and then proceeded to give him twice as much as he had ever gotten paid. JR is a defensive liability that will once in a while hit a three and go crazy. Don’t get me wrong, he’s one of my favorite players in the league. Fuck a shirt amiright? But overall he is another piece that has let the Cavs, and LeBron down.
My last thought is on this past year. With these additions the Cavs didn’t exactly have a whole lot of cap room left so they were forced to try and get veterans who would be willing to play for less money. If you look at the Cavs this past year it wasn’t their starters who were mostly getting outscored. It was how horrific their bench was. So minus the 5 starters and Shunpert, the next four highest paid player’s ages average out at 35 years old with Frye, Korver, Jefferson and James fucking Jones (Love this mf). They also called on 32 year old point guard Deron Williams to come off the bench and play point guard. Having to guard the likes of Steph and Klay Thompson during the finals. These guys are too old! Golden State had veterans coming off the bench too. The difference? About 4 years. Iggy, Livingston, Clark and West averaged 31 years old. They had their established players, but they didn’t get them horrendously out of their prime. Iggy came off the bench in Game 5 and dropped 20. None of the veterans that the Cavs’ bench is filled with are capable of anything like that. Richard Jefferson’s 9 points in Game 1 was the most scored by a Cavalier bench player this series. Take out the 37 year old Jefferson and the next best would be this “threat” that they have named Kyle Korver. Another huge bust. Incredibly underwhelming due to the hype when he was acquired.
This isn’t about LeBron’s play. He averaged a damn triple double in the NBA Finals. This is about LeBron overstepping his role with the Cavs. Let your GM build his team. He was spoiled with Pat Riley in South Beach. The best team builder around. He needs to stay in his lane because if anything has been proven it’s that LeBron is in no way ready to control a team’s front office moves.