How Cleveland regroups for 2010 and re-signs LeBron James
Since losing the Eastern Conference Finals to the Magic, all sorts of rumours have emerged in Cavalier-land. There has been talk of firing a good, developing coach and bringing in an ancient sideline boss who expired years ago. And the roster has been revamped dozens of times on-line and on talk radio …
Warning: reports are surfacing that Cleveland is panicking. Such an emotional state often leads to harmful decisions. Proceed with caution.
Since losing the Eastern Conference Finals to the Magic, all sorts of rumours have emerged in Cavalier-land. There has been talk of firing a good, developing coach and bringing in an ancient sideline boss who expired years ago. And the roster has been revamped dozens of times on-line and on talk radio.
Cleveland needs to change, not overhaul the franchise. After all, the right moves could produce an NBA Title and convince LeBron James to sign a long-term extension, while the wrong moves could backfire and force the King to leave.
Sure, his 1-4 sets are basic. And sure, he got out-coached by Orlando’s Stan Van Gundy. But pink slipping Mike Brown would be disastrous because he’s hungry. The young bench boss is already an elite defensive coach and, most importantly, will put in work to improve his offensive shortcomings.
Firing Brown would be bad. Replacing him with Pat Riley would make things worse. The oil slick, after winning the NBA Title with Miami, became a natural disaster. He lost touch with his players and, after preaching commitment to James Posey and Antoine Walker, departed mid-season to scout college talent. Cleveland should leave Riley in South Beach.
There should be changes on-court, though. First, the Cavaliers need a true point guard and not a combo guard or scorer, who happens to be filling-in at the one-spot. Jason Kidd, a future member of the Hall of Fame and a classic table-setter, is an unrestricted free agent and could play some key minutes.
Second, they must get bigger at the two-spot. Daniel Gibson and Delonte West are perfect as third guards, but their smaller stature becomes an issue when logging heavy minutes. Cleveland must add a versatile athlete, especially if they face Orlando next year in the playoffs.
Third, find another inside presence. For whatever reason, Zydrunas Ilgauskas has failed to provide a consistent scoring presence on the block. Rasheed Wallace, an unrestricted free agent, is a possibility –but only if plays the post, not the three-point line.
A better option exists: Shaquille O’Neal. Reports have again surfaced that Cleveland and Phoenix are still discussing a deal for ‘The Big Deal’. Shaq, if last year were any indication, would be a solid co-star for James. Best of all, the Suns are only seeking expiring contracts for O’Neal, who also happens to be in the final year of his own contract.
Irrational and hasty decisions will hurt Cleveland. Instead, the organization should take its time and make smart modifications to an already strong team.
What changes must the Cavs make for 2009-10? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts and come back to HoopsVibe the Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of JBM216.