Monday, July 19, 2010

A New Letter From Dan Gilbert

Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in a region 431 miles away from the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a brief, humble, unselfish build-up culminating with a national
tweet of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports, entertainment, and probably the history of the universe.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:


You can take it to the bank. (Then come to Quicken Loans to get the loan you will need to pay off your losses on that bet.)

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of another city’s very own has shifted our "motivation" to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels. As a matter of fact, I am on my way to Ace Hardware right now.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to-- Hold on folks, I’m getting a call from David Stern…

Wow, this is embarrassing. Apparently Mr. Lowry was a “restricted” free agent and had no control over the situation. Once Daryl Morey and the Rockets matched our $24 million offer, Kyle had no choice but to return to Houston. My apologies.

Sleep well, Cleveland.

Tomorrow is a new and slightly less darker day....

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU another angry letter in a silly font that you have long deserved and is long overdue....

Dan Gilbert

Majority Owner

Cleveland Cavaliers

Thursday, July 15, 2010

An Open Letter to Randy Foye

You might remember a column Bill Simmons wrote before last year’s draft addressing Blake Griffin and his future with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Sports Guy outlined all of the horrible things that have happened to the Clippers franchise and its players. He summarized, “this went deeper than one person. This was karmic. This was creepy. This was like … they'd been hexed. Like they had built an arena on a sacred burial ground or something. And that's when I realized what happened. In a way, they did mess with a sacred burial ground. They messed with the Indians. And you don't mess with the Indians. Ever.”

The bad luck dates back to June 14, 1976, when Buffalo Braves owner Paul Synder decided to sell the team, and subsequently moved it to San Diego and later Los Angeles. With the cross country move, the franchise stripped itself of all affiliation with Native American heritage, and decided to rename the team the “Clippers”. That seems to be when the “curse” began. Simmons’ satirical column turned eerily prophetic when Blake Griffin suffered a stress fracture in his knee the day before the season started and missed his entire rookie year. I’m going to borrow the idea and write a letter to former Villanova Wildcat and new Los Angeles Clipper Randy Foye…

Dear Randy,

“Run. Just start running. Run for your life. Run like the star of a horror movie. Don't turn around. Run and keep running.”

You just signed a two year contract worth over $8 million with the Los Angeles Clippers. Congratulations, that’s a lot of money, but for the sake of your ACL’s maybe you should have considered somewhere else. You’re really pushing your luck, considering you already have a history of knee injury, missing half of the 2007-2008 season. Just take a look at some of the horrific injuries that have befallen the Clippers’ major draft/trade/free agent acquisitions over the years:

- 1977: A month after the Clippers traded for all star Tiny Archibald, he tore his Achilles and missed the entire season.
- 1979: Clippers signed free agent Bill Walton. He played 14 games for them in his first three years, and just 169 games through his six year contract with the team.
- 1980: Clippers drafted Michael Brooks ninth overall, and after three-plus seasons, he blew out his knee and never played another game for the Clippers.
- 1983: Clippers traded for Norm Nixon, who blew out his knee playing softball after three seasons, then thirteen months later he ruptured his Achilles tendon.
- 1983: Rookie of the Year Terry Cummings was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart arrhythmia.
- 1985: Rising star Derek Smith blew out his knee eleven games into the season and was never the same.
- 1986: Marques Johnson ruptured a disk in his neck after an accidental collision with his own teammate. It was a career-ending injury.
- 1988: #1 pick Danny Manning blew out his ACL after just 26 games with the Clippers.
- 1989: Ron Harper blew out his ACL 28 games after the Clippers traded for him.
- 1997: Leading scorer and rebounder Loy Vaught had season-ending back surgery.
- 2007: Elton Brand blew out his Achilles.
- 2007: Shaun Livingston suffered one of the most gruesome knee injuries ever caught on live TV.

Sure, you can compile bad luck and injury lists like this with just about every team in the NBA, but the difference is the Clippers haven’t had good luck in its history to counterbalance it. I’m sure you had other options, like the Nets, who will be playing in your hometown of Newark this season. Then again, you run the risk of getting banished to Siberia if Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov isn’t pleased with your play. You could have gone across the river to boost your stats in Mike D’Antoni’s system. Or how about “taking your talents to South Beach” and joining the new Triumvirate to chase a ring or ten. You’d have to take a major pay cut, but I’m sure you’d be paid the difference under the table like the rest of the team inevitably will. You even could have returned to your first team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. GM David Kahn apparently has some kind of unhealthy infatuation with point guards that rivals only Jay Wright, so I’m sure he’d welcome you back.

Curses aside, the Clippers are actually a great fit basketball-wise for you, Randy, and the weather isn’t too bad in LA either. The team has some young talent with Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, Ryan Gomes, and rookies Al-Farouq Aminu and Eric Bledsoe, plus veterans Baron Davis and Chris Kaman. You will likely be the first guard off the bench subbing in for Davis at the point or Gordon at the two.

“Again, I would start running right now. But if you choose to stay, I have an idea: Trek into the desert like Jim Morrison did in "The Doors," bring Gordon with you, drop some acid and try to connect with a Native American shaman. Or you could fly to Buffalo with Baron and Gordon, find some sacred ground and make some atonements. Maybe you could even bring a white buffalo with you. Just make sure you do something. This is bigger than you. And us.”

I don't really believe in curses, anyway. Or do I? No, I don't. But if there is a curse, let's hope you're the one to break it, or at least stay healthy for these next 2-3 years until you join a franchise that isn't cursed. Like the Cavs.

“Good luck breaking the Curse of the Sacred Buffalo.”

Bill Simmons Tim Barry

Thursday, July 8, 2010

NBA Free Agency Summit

It’s finally here… The Summer of 2010… NBA free agency. Teams have spent two years tanking and clearing salary cap space in hopes of signing them. That’s right, Randy Foye and Kyle Lowry are free agents for the first time in their young NBA careers, and they could be wearing new jerseys ( or new New Jersey jerseys) next year. What, you thought I was talking about someone else?

Randy Foye is coming off a tumultuous season with the Washington Wizards where he averaged 10.1 points and 3.3 assists per game (13 pts and 5 assists as a starter). There’s a good chance the former Wildcat will be playing for his third NBA team next fall, or fifth team if you count the draft-day trades in 2006. (Drafted 7th by Boston, rights traded to Portland, rights again traded to Minnesota for Brandon Roy, and last summer traded to Washington for Ricky Rubio). The Wizards still owe gunslinger Gilbert Arenas $80 million through 2014, and they just made a draft night trade to add point guard Kirk Hinrich. I’m sure they would love to shoot Arena’s contract off to another team, but if they are unable to, the Wizards are unlikely to match an offer made for Foye, who is a restricted free agent.

Dork Elvis, aka Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, apparently sees in Kyle Lowry what Nova fans saw in the two years the Broadstreet Bulldog roamed the courts up and down the Main Line. Morey’s recent tweet: “Rockets fans, please send a message to Luis (@LScola4) and Kyle (@Klow7) letting them know much we want them back!” Kyle excelled off the bench as Aaron Brooks’ back-up at the point, averaging 9.1 points and 4.5 assists, and I’m sure both sides would love to stay together. However, on a per 48 minute basis, Lowry averaged 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists. What if another team desperate for a point guard looked at those stats and offered Kyle a starting position? I think he’d have to take that opportunity.

So where could Kyle and Randy be heading if they leave their respective cities? Some teams with available cap space and vacancies at the point guard position are the New York Knicks and Miami Heat. The Indiana Pacers are looking for a new point guard, although they are already over the salary cap.

Scottie Reynolds is slated to play for the Phoenix Suns’ summer league team, but he isn’t guaranteed a spot on their big league roster next season. I hope things work out for him in the desert (Vegas, then Arizona) because there aren’t many better point guards to apprentice under than Steve Nash.

Tim Thomas could take a veterans’ minimum contract with a salary cap strapped team like the Miami Heat to chase a ring with Wade and Bosh (and LeBron?). If he doesn’t return to play for Mark Cuban in Dallas, Tim could be making his tenth team change in fourteen seasons, which has to be some kind of record. Personally, I’d like to see TT (that’s what I call him) join the Boston Celtics, just to see how Bill Simmons would react.

Malik Allen averaged 2 points and 2 rebounds in just under 9 minutes per game for the Denver Nuggets last season. At 32 years old, Allen can provide cheap veteran front court depth, something just about every team in the league can use.

As for Villanova's final representative in the NBA, Dante Cunningham is not a free agent and will be back in Portland for his second year. The Blazers liked what they saw from their second round draft pick and extended his contract through 2011.

Oh, yeah. Apparently there's another big free agent, although he did not attend Villanova. Some guy by the name of LeBron James. After tonight's primetime special, "The Decision", we'll finally know where the King will hold his court. As a Knicks fan, I'm hoping he comes to Madison Square Garden, erases the misfortunes of the Isiah Thomas era, and brings a title to New York. As a basketball fan, I would love to watch him team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, forming the most dynamic trio in NBA history and creating must-see TV for 82+ nights a year. (How much is NBA League Pass?) As an American sports fan, I want him to stay in Cleveland and prove that loyalty still exists in sports, and that hometown fans truly matter to these multi-millionaire superstars.