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Its hard to be too disappointed when......

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Its hard to be too disappointed when......

Unread postby MacGregor78 » Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:41 am

The Cavs made the NBA finals for the first time ever. Thats really something great to think about.

Its also great to think about the fact that this team is so freakin young. we should be great for years to come. Management now has a very real picture of how far this team has to go to beat the best of the best. Here's hoping we make some nice moves this offseason.
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Unread postby consigliere » Fri Jun 15, 2007 9:08 am

Yeah, it was awesome to make the Finals. Hopefully getting swept in the Finals puts the pressure on management to make the necessary moves to get us back to the Finals and win it.

That all said....I don't come away from this postseason with a feeling that it was a great run from a competitive standpoint, or with memorable games and moments. Outside of the Detroit series, the other three series sucked. We played four series....got owned in one, beat a good team, and beat down two bad playoff teams. I'm still more impressed, from a competitive and memorable moment perspective, with last year's playoff run.

Amazing though, that it was a TWO MONTH playoff. That is insane. We all have to be drained. But, the rumor machine should start right up ASAP, because the draft is next week (will we trade for or buy a pick?), and then FA starts July 1st with the moratorium ending July 15th, no?
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Unread postby mattvan1 » Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:10 am

Yes. We're very satisfied, because no doubt the Cavs will continue their winning ways. They have just scratched the surface. A championship is near, we can feel it.

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Unread postby consigliere » Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:15 am

Yeah, one caveat with all this "we'll be back next year" talk is it no gaurantee. Case in point: Dallas. They lost in the FInals last year, were the best team in the NBA during the regular season this year....and didn't make it out of the first round.

So, I don't buy all the "we'll be back next year" talk. I feel confident we have a chance to make it back, but I don't care if we are the Spurs or Mavericks, it is damned hard to make it there.
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Unread postby mattvan1 » Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:45 am

To me, it's not about getting back - which is hard enough, it's about not dropping off the face of th earth, a la Philly. Dallas has a shot every year. We have LBJ, which should all but guarentee a playoff appearance every year, but I don't see much hope of getting back to the finals without adding 2 starters along the way.

I'm not satisfied about "just getting there".
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Unread postby StewieG » Fri Jun 15, 2007 11:10 am

No, the stars aligned for this playoff run. We need significant improvement on offense. It's not that the team sucks, because it doesn't. It's that the team, aside from LeBron, is completely, utterly, average.

We NEED an inside scoring threat. We NEED a point guard who isn't worthless on offense or defense. And we NEED at least one more shooter. No, Donyell, you're not it. I wouldn't be shy to pull the trigger on a major trade or two.

This team, as it stands, isn't likely to get back to the Finals next year. I don't completely blow up the team, but if I have to trade 5, even 6 people to get what we need, as long as one of those traded isn't LeBron, I'm fine with that. Some teams can get better by staying put. This isn't one of those teams.
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Unread postby MacGregor78 » Fri Jun 15, 2007 11:43 am

Those teams listed were of a little different variety than what the Cavs have. The Cavs have 6 very young players who all should continue to improve. Lebron, Gibson, Varejao, Pavlovic, Brown and Gooden.

Be as pessimistic as you want, this team is going to be in contention for many years to come.
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Unread postby leadpipe » Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:17 pm

you could call it pessimistic.....or realistic. Stewie is spot on. They HAVE to get a point guard in here. God knows they need to find at least another guy to shoot the ball. .

To be characterized as some sort of "hater" because of not being happy with status quo is unfair, but that seems to be a consensus with some.

Sure the Cavs have enough young players to get better, the question is will they get better at the same rate as other teams without a draft pick this year and with salary problems. Chicago, toronto, teams like this aren't too far behind. The Cavs will not hold off these teams as contructed today.
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Unread postby mattvan1 » Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:28 pm

Your point is valid about the youth of the players you mention, although let's be realistic in that Brown wasn't even on the playoff roster. I'm not pessimistic, just pragmatic. You see youth and say "they'll improve" and I see 5 young guys with a tremendous amount of variation in their potential. Bron is Bron, so 'nuff said. Gibson, probably a no doubter. But, are you really going to pin your future championship hopes on Varejao and Pavlovic? I think you're the only one who wants to stand pat. I don't see this team, as currently constituted, ever getting back to the finals.
is going to be in contention for many years to come
Define "in contention". Seriously. Because if you mean "playoffs" then I get your point. I think it's laughable cause with Bron and 4 stiffs we should make the playoffs every season (like this past one).

Look, MgcGregor78, I've done the in contention thing before - '85-'89 and '95-'01 come to mind ard it's fun - a lot of fun and you get hooked and then your kids get hooked and you go to games and buy the gear and have the Sunday Ticket and Extra Innings and it's all good.

Call me selfish, but I want more than contention. I want a championship in one of the major 3. That's really not asking too much, is it? It's pretty much us and Buffalo at this point (New Orleans doesn't count as they only have a team and 1/2) so I get a tensy jealous of my friends that are Boston or New York or Dallas fans (hell, even Houston had the years Jordan was banned). If that makes me cynical and "pessimistic" so be it.

I need a title. We all need a title. We fucking deserve it.
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Unread postby StewieG » Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:40 pm

I'm not going to jump on and say you're outright wrong about standing pat. From a certain point of view, that's a good thing. The Spurs for the most part did it (they kept their core intact, just rotated spare parts), and that's the model this team is trying to follow.

But this team currently has nobody who can score consistently inside, whereas the Spurs have one of, if not THE best in the league (Duncan). We currently have no PG who is worth anything, whereas the Spurs have a guy who killed us (Mr. Longoria). We have one guy who can somewhat consistently hit the outside shot, whereas the Spurs have...like eight (Horry, Finely, Ginobli, Barry, and probably some other guys who didn't get action).

It's not an unreasonable expectation for Varejao, Gooden, Boobie, Brown, Roker, Bron, and Sasha to all make somewhat significant improvements for next year. But I personally don't think we'll be able to make it past the second round next year with what we have, unless we get another incredibly favorable draw in the playoffs - which is probably not something to expect more than twice in a 20-year span. Yes, we beat a good Detroit team. We'd probably beat them again next year. But Chicago? They're going to get a lot better. Toronto? Same there. Washington? They'll be healthy. Orlando? Watch out for them. We can't sit back and watch other teams pass us by. We need to be proactive, not reactive.

And don't misunderstand my point. I'm not saying we have to completely blow up the team. We don't. Just one or two trades for some GOOD players at key positions, and use the MLE to sign a guy who will contribute (Mo Pete?), and we'll be ready for another run.
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Unread postby MacGregor78 » Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:45 pm

I completely agree we need a title but I dont want to sell the future to do it. A one and done title (ala Miami) would not be what I want. I want a foundation of which we build off of every year.

We have some great trade bait this year that hopefully we can leverage into some veterans that can actually play.
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Unread postby consigliere » Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:01 pm

IMO, the Cavaliers may trade one if not both Sasha and Varejao. Yes, they are RFA....but we can use that RFA status as leverage in a sign and trade. Really, these are the only two players we can use to maybe bring back a need in return.

Trading Marshall, Jones, Hughes and Newble ain't going to bring in what we need, nor is anyone going to give us much for them....nor would anyone really want them. To dump any of them, we'll have to give up a Sasha, Varejao, or Boobie.

I don't want to see this offseason end up like last offseason, where we knew exactly what we needed, but did nothing except sign Scott Pollard and David Wesley. That was a waste of an offseason, and had we been a bit more proactive who knows if it may have made a difference in us maybe having the right piece or two to take on SA in these Finals.
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Unread postby Dozen » Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:08 pm

Actually Newble may get something just because he's in his last year of his contract. Sasha isnt going anywhere but flopper could very well be dealt in a S&T deal. I always felt we were a pg away but all they need is a consistant shooter and things will open up even more for Z and Gooden.
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Unread postby leadpipe » Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:16 pm

Consigliere wrote:IMO, the Cavaliers may trade one if not both Sasha and Varejao. Yes, they are RFA....but we can use that RFA status as leverage in a sign and trade. Really, these are the only two players we can use to maybe bring back a need in return.

Trading Marshall, Jones, Hughes and Newble ain't going to bring in what we need, nor is anyone going to give us much for them....nor would anyone really want them. To dump any of them, we'll have to give up a Sasha, Varejao, or Boobie.

I don't want to see this offseason end up like last offseason, where we knew exactly what we needed, but did nothing except sign Scott Pollard and David Wesley. That was a waste of an offseason, and had we been a bit more proactive who knows if it may have made a difference in us maybe having the right piece or two to take on SA in these Finals.


Here's where my opinion starts to clash with some Consig. I believe they signed Wesley and Pollard because that's the only type of player they can bring in with their salary situation. I happen to feel this off season they are as hancuffed as last, or close to it. Again, I so hope I'm wrong, but you really are going to need to find some humps to take Marshall, Jones Newble or hughes off your hands.

When it comes to the off season, and making moves, it's not so much a question of talent, but value. If you took the Cavs roster, and looked at salary to player, the value on the Cavs is the worst in the league by far. Someone mentioned that a team that has some perimeter players could use a slasher like Hughes. Well, from a talent standpoint you could make an argument, from a value standpoind it is very, very difficult. Value ratings from 1 to 5, 1 being the lowest, off the top of my head you would have Jones, Snow, Marshall, Newble, Pollard, Wesley and Hughes ranking as a 1. That's half the squad. A couple of the rest are rookies, and another one you might not re-sign. This is not an enviable off-season situation, especially with no draft pick in a deep draft.

What happened last off season, and at the trade deadline is a pretty good indication of what might happen now. They are in the same position.
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Unread postby MacGregor78 » Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:26 pm

Well, I am pretty sure Wesley and Pollard are done (I think their contracts are up). Newble is also going to be in the least year of his deal.

I honestly see us getting rid of Gooden before Andy (although I am not sure how I feel about that)
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Unread postby leadpipe » Fri Jun 15, 2007 2:04 pm

Good news and bad news for you Mac. Good news first. Pollard is done. The bad news is Wesley will be making $1,750,000 next year. Still worse news is your other back-up point guard is making $6,700,000. So, when you have upwards of 8 and a half mil tied up in back-up point guards, it makes things a bit difficult
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Unread postby Kuiper » Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:09 pm

Lead Pipe wrote:Good news and bad news for you Mac. Good news first. Pollard is done. The bad news is Wesley will be making $1,750,000 next year. Still worse news is your other back-up point guard is making $6,700,000. So, when you have upwards of 8 and a half mil tied up in back-up point guards, it makes things a bit difficult


Wesley has a $250,000 club buyout, so he is done. The good news, though, is actually that he effectively has a ~$2 million cap number. He will be one of our most tradeable commodities this year. We can trade him to a team for a draft pick or a player who has a salary in the same ballpark (+ a fixed percentage).
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Unread postby leadpipe » Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:19 pm

Thanks for the info. Good news. Anytime you can get rid of a guy that almost killed himself with a lay-up, well, that's a good thing.
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Unread postby MacGregor78 » Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:43 pm

Snow is definitely killing this team. His salary is just insane. He will most likely be a 3rd string PG next year (I really think we find someone this offseason, Caldron maybe) and be killing our cap
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Unread postby pod2dawg » Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:04 pm

mattvan1 wrote:

I need a title. We all need a title. We fucking deserve it.


Yes fellow bloodletter, how f@#$$%ing painful last night as the curtain fell watching Jones hit the three to bring us within one...when it was hopeless.

The good news: Our untalent ladden roster gives Ferry the" flexibility" to flush whomever another team is willing to take in an effort to secure :

1. PG
2. low post presence with hands AND feet
3. anyone that can score

The bad news: Finding a team willing to dance with our dance card. I am sure our improvement will be incremental and painful.

Lastly I'll go on record and show you all the damage done to my grey matter over the the last half century...the First Pro team of the Big 3 to bring us a championship will be......grab your chest......Browns.
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Unread postby leadpipe » Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:43 pm

MacGregor78 wrote:Snow is definitely killing this team. His salary is just insane. He will most likely be a 3rd string PG next year (I really think we find someone this offseason, Caldron maybe) and be killing our cap


Worse news of all Mac, he'll make over 7 mil in 08-09. Thanks for that, Paxson
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Cavs contenders for along time

Unread postby Cavmanamal » Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:49 pm

:mrgreen: Making to this year finals was great,Yes it was disappointing, but the Cavs reached the Finals ahead of schedule. It showed, That is a positive! It's great. Like Lebron said in his postgame interview, They all have to work in the offseason extra hard to improve themselves exspecialy himself. Danny Ferry has his work cut out for him to get Lebron more help. The Cavs are contenders for years to come. We will be NBA Champions sooner than later. Ferry needs to be creative this offseason with the limitations he has.
I am proud of the Cavs and the season they had, What a ride. Looking forward to taking a bigger and longer ride this year coming...
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Unread postby jb » Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:50 pm

StewieG wrote:No, the stars aligned for this playoff run.


Bah!

Stew, we were the 2nd seed in the East. We knocked off seed one.

This was no Cindarella story. We were one of the best teams in the east and we knocked off the one team that was better.

We will contend for the east next year.

The issue is what do we need to do to compete w/ Phoenix, Dallas and SA ?

But I don't want to hear all this doom and gloom shit about how we had one shot. We have a window of opportunity that is open for as long as Bron is here. We need to improve some areas to compete w/ teh west, yes. Tait is wrong, we need more than tinkering and we can't stand pat. But Jesus, I can't subscribe to the point of view that this was our one, only shot.

Sure, there are no guarantees. But we'll sure nuff contend next season. And by "contend" Matt, I mean for the enchilada, the Trophy, the Title. As much as people don't want to hear it right now, my perspective on the series is this.

We got housed in SA. They had stars in their eyes and had no idead of what it took focus and effort-wise to play title ball. From what I can tell Mike Brown got destroyed on matchups. But in games 3 & 4, it was a matter of the shitty Cavs we saw too many times this season showing up. We say the team tat would beat the best teams in the Association when we saw them play Detroit, and we saw the team that lost to NY and Charlotte in the Finals. I give SA all the credit in the world. They are a great team in the true sense, and a legit Dynasty. But the facts are we had tons of good outside looks and shot like complete shit in games 3 and 4. They were entirely winnable and we should have won if we'd shot average and if we didn't have end of quarter concentration lapses. But shooting average would have been good enough.

I dunno who said it here, maybe it was Lead Pipe, but it was nuts on. You don't lose Finals' series on the road, you lose them at home. This series should be 2 - 2 right now had we played anywhere near OUR game, and OUR capoabilities, no disrespect to SA. If we were as bad all season as we were in the Finals, we win about 35 games.

There is really no logical reason to be this donw on next year. feel bad now, yeah. Even as big underdawgs it hurts. But this is a 50 win team and a 2nd seed and legit Finals contender. Nothing is over until we say it is over.
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Unread postby jb » Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:51 pm

Lead Pipe wrote:To be characterized as some sort of "hater" because of not being happy with status quo is unfair, but that seems to be a consensus with some.


Rack it.

I am slightly more optimistic that you at this point, Pipe, but I dn't see what you see as realism as negativity.

My rack doesn't diss MacG, BTW. Just sayin' I feel you. It's 5pm on Friday. Maybe I don't know what I'm sayin"!!!!!!!!
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Unread postby jb » Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:53 pm

MacGregor78 wrote: A one and done title (ala Miami) would not be what I want.


I dunno Mac. I got champisnhip blue balls to the point where if we won one I think Ted Stepien could move 'em to Toronto for as happy and satisfied as I'd be. LOL.

At any rate, I'd love the chance to find out.

One and done beats all hell outta none and none.
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Unread postby FUDU » Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:47 pm

One and done beats all hell outta none and none.


Finally somebody said it.

I agree completely.

Murray Head agrees as well.
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Unread postby StewieG » Fri Jun 15, 2007 9:09 pm

JB wrote:
StewieG wrote:No, the stars aligned for this playoff run.


Bah!

Stew, we were the 2nd seed in the East. We knocked off seed one.

This was no Cindarella story. We were one of the best teams in the east and we knocked off the one team that was better.

We will contend for the east next year.

The issue is what do we need to do to compete w/ Phoenix, Dallas and SA ?

But I don't want to hear all this doom and gloom shit about how we had one shot. We have a window of opportunity that is open for as long as Bron is here. We need to improve some areas to compete w/ teh west, yes. Tait is wrong, we need more than tinkering and we can't stand pat. But Jesus, I can't subscribe to the point of view that this was our one, only shot.

Sure, there are no guarantees. But we'll sure nuff contend next season. And by "contend" Matt, I mean for the enchilada, the Trophy, the Title. As much as people don't want to hear it right now, my perspective on the series is this.

We got housed in SA. They had stars in their eyes and had no idead of what it took focus and effort-wise to play title ball. From what I can tell Mike Brown got destroyed on matchups. But in games 3 & 4, it was a matter of the shitty Cavs we saw too many times this season showing up. We say the team tat would beat the best teams in the Association when we saw them play Detroit, and we saw the team that lost to NY and Charlotte in the Finals. I give SA all the credit in the world. They are a great team in the true sense, and a legit Dynasty. But the facts are we had tons of good outside looks and shot like complete shit in games 3 and 4. They were entirely winnable and we should have won if we'd shot average and if we didn't have end of quarter concentration lapses. But shooting average would have been good enough.

I dunno who said it here, maybe it was Lead Pipe, but it was nuts on. You don't lose Finals' series on the road, you lose them at home. This series should be 2 - 2 right now had we played anywhere near OUR game, and OUR capoabilities, no disrespect to SA. If we were as bad all season as we were in the Finals, we win about 35 games.

There is really no logical reason to be this donw on next year. feel bad now, yeah. Even as big underdawgs it hurts. But this is a 50 win team and a 2nd seed and legit Finals contender. Nothing is over until we say it is over.


I should have worded that better. What I meant was the stars aligned giving us a first round opponent with the talent level (after the injuries) of a team picking in the top 5 of the draft, and a second round opponent with absolutely no inside presence whatsoever (Mikki Moore's good series notwithstanding). Plus, we only had to play one of the top 3 teams (other than ourselves) in the postseason. This team, as it stands, would compete for the East every year, and if it makes it to the finals, would get waxed every year. But this year our run to the ECF was as easy as it will ever be.
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Unread postby consigliere » Fri Jun 15, 2007 9:22 pm

Gotta agree with Stew on that point. Had we not got that #2 seed, I don't believe we make the Finals. We'd have had to beat three good teams in Miami, Detroit and likely Chicago to make it. I like our chances against all of those teams, but it would be damn hard to not slip up against one of them.
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Unread postby FUDU » Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:09 pm

I still say we may have lost to Washington if they had Arenas and Butler. Not that they are better than us but they always give us fits, their style of play and some of the match ups are nightmares for us.

Lots of things were exposed with these NBA playoffs, lots.
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Unread postby jb » Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:13 am

FUDU wrote:
One and done beats all hell outta none and none.


Finally somebody said it.

I agree completely.

Murray Head agrees as well.


Bangkok, Oriental setting
And the city don't know that the city is getting
The creme de la creme of the chess world in a
Show with everything but Yul Brynner

Time flies -- doesn't seem a minute
Since the Tirolean spa had the chess boys in it
All change -- don't you know that when you
Play at this level there's no ordinary venue

It's Iceland -- or the Philippines -- or Hastings -- or --
or this place!

[COMPANY]
One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free
You'll find a god in every golden cloister
And if you're lucky then the god's a she
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

[THE AMERICAN]
One town's very like another
When your head's down over your pieces, brother

[COMPANY]
It's a drag, it's a bore, it's really such a pity
To be looking at the board, not looking at the city

[THE AMERICAN]
Whaddya mean? Ya seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town --

[COMPANY]
Tea, girls, warm, sweet
Some are set up in the Somerset Maugham suite

[THE AMERICAN]
Get Thai'd! You're talking to a tourist
Whose every move's among the purest
I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine

[COMPANY]
One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can't be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me

[THE AMERICAN]
Siam's gonna be the witness
To the ultimate test of cerebral fitness
This grips me more than would a
Muddy old river or reclining Buddha

And thank God I'm only watching the game -- controlling it --

I don't see you guys rating
The kind of mate I'm contemplating
I'd let you watch, I would invite you
But the queens we use would not excite you

So you better go back to your bars, your temples, your massage
parlours --

[COMPANY]
One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free
You'll find a god in every golden cloister
A little flesh, a little history
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can't be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
jb
 
Posts: 17730
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Unread postby jb » Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:24 pm

StewieG wrote:
JB wrote:
StewieG wrote:No, the stars aligned for this playoff run.


Bah!

Stew, we were the 2nd seed in the East. We knocked off seed one.

This was no Cindarella story. We were one of the best teams in the east and we knocked off the one team that was better.

We will contend for the east next year.

The issue is what do we need to do to compete w/ Phoenix, Dallas and SA ?

But I don't want to hear all this doom and gloom shit about how we had one shot. We have a window of opportunity that is open for as long as Bron is here. We need to improve some areas to compete w/ teh west, yes. Tait is wrong, we need more than tinkering and we can't stand pat. But Jesus, I can't subscribe to the point of view that this was our one, only shot.

Sure, there are no guarantees. But we'll sure nuff contend next season. And by "contend" Matt, I mean for the enchilada, the Trophy, the Title. As much as people don't want to hear it right now, my perspective on the series is this.

We got housed in SA. They had stars in their eyes and had no idead of what it took focus and effort-wise to play title ball. From what I can tell Mike Brown got destroyed on matchups. But in games 3 & 4, it was a matter of the shitty Cavs we saw too many times this season showing up. We say the team tat would beat the best teams in the Association when we saw them play Detroit, and we saw the team that lost to NY and Charlotte in the Finals. I give SA all the credit in the world. They are a great team in the true sense, and a legit Dynasty. But the facts are we had tons of good outside looks and shot like complete shit in games 3 and 4. They were entirely winnable and we should have won if we'd shot average and if we didn't have end of quarter concentration lapses. But shooting average would have been good enough.

I dunno who said it here, maybe it was Lead Pipe, but it was nuts on. You don't lose Finals' series on the road, you lose them at home. This series should be 2 - 2 right now had we played anywhere near OUR game, and OUR capoabilities, no disrespect to SA. If we were as bad all season as we were in the Finals, we win about 35 games.

There is really no logical reason to be this donw on next year. feel bad now, yeah. Even as big underdawgs it hurts. But this is a 50 win team and a 2nd seed and legit Finals contender. Nothing is over until we say it is over.


I should have worded that better. What I meant was the stars aligned giving us a first round opponent with the talent level (after the injuries) of a team picking in the top 5 of the draft, and a second round opponent with absolutely no inside presence whatsoever (Mikki Moore's good series notwithstanding). Plus, we only had to play one of the top 3 teams (other than ourselves) in the postseason. This team, as it stands, would compete for the East every year, and if it makes it to the finals, would get waxed every year. But this year our run to the ECF was as easy as it will ever be.


Again, we earned that. We didn't luck out. Chicago had a simliar opportunity an what did they do?

The East sucks and will suck for a while unless Chicago gels. That isn't really a fluke. Miami and Detroit are on downward trajectaries, tho Miami may squeeze out one more season and be our biggest challenger in 08.
jb
 
Posts: 17730
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 7:08 pm
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Unread postby jb » Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:36 pm

Pluto brings it. REead thie, get some perspective, and feel better

http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/sports/columnists/terry_pluto/17376177.htm


Posted on Fri, Jun. 15, 2007email thisprint this
Terry Pluto: Cavs answer questions in 2 seasons

By Terry Pluto

It was just two years ago that the Cavaliers had no coach, no general manager, a seemingly impulsive rookie owner and nothing but question marks about their future.

Don't forget that, as you think about where the team is today, the Eastern Conference champion.

``We are hanging a banner in the building,'' Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry said Friday. ``It is not the ultimate banner that we want to hang, but it's still a championship banner.''

One that the Cavs have never hung before. This was the first trip to the NBA Finals in the 37-year history of the franchise. Even being swept by the San Antonio Spurs doesn't change the fact that this was a remarkable season.

Certainly a trip to the Finals was not expected two years ago.

Dan Gilbert had officially owned the team for seven weeks. He had fired coach Paul Silas less than three weeks into his ownership. In the last week of the season, guard Jeff McGinnis either quit the team -- or was kicked off. He disappeared for a few games.

There was a game in which Robert ``Tractor'' Traylor threw his headband into the stands and was ejected. Drew Gooden followed his lead and also was tossed out. They might have set an NBA record for headband heaving leading to ejections in a game.

When the Cavs stumbled to the finish line at 8-10 under interim coach Brendan Malone, he was fired immediately after the season. So was General Manager Jim Paxson. When the players came to the arena to clean out their lockers, it seemed no one was in charge.

With Malone being dispatched, the Cavs were moving toward their seventh coach in seven years.

LeBron James was so upset by the events that the usually cooperative star refused to talk to the media. In the last two months of that season, James desperately tried to carry the team into the postseason. In those 27 games, he averaged 45 minutes, 31 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.8 assists -- but the Cavs were 11-17.

He was exhausted, discouraged and wondering, like every Cavs fan, where the team was headed. The only banner that seemed to be on its way to being hung in the arena was a white surrender flag. Fans feared that James would bolt the first time he could as a free agent.

Team on a mission

Two years later, James, Gilbert and the rest of the Cavs would be holding the Eastern Conference finals trophy at midcourt of Quicken Loans Arena. Northeast Ohio fans would be walking around saying, ``The Cavs are going to the NBA Finals... the Cavs are going to the NBA Finals.''

Yes, the Spurs booted the Cavs in four games, but the message of hope is clear.

The Cavs are a team that went from no direction to one on a mission, a team that should be a major power in the Eastern Conference in the next few years with James signed through 2010.

``I want us to be in this position again next year, only this time, I want us to win it,'' Gilbert said after the 83-82 loss to the Spurs on Thursday night.

The owner has learned much in the past two years.

He turned the basketball program over to coach Mike Brown and Ferry -- both products of the Spurs' championship factory. Gilbert keeps a low public profile, and when he's asked about basketball issues, he tells the media to talk to Brown or Ferry.

He has grown from an owner who veteran Cavs broadcaster Joe Tait and some fans feared was ``the next Ted Stepien'' to a guy who now preaches stability and ``building a winning culture.''

``Dan asks a lot of questions, and he really wants to learn,'' Ferry said. ``But he has been nothing but supportive, and he gives us a lot of confidence. He has taught me a lot of things about leadership.''

Gilbert willing to spend

Gilbert's Quicken Loans company continues to set sales records. In April and May, it wrote $2 billion worth of loans -- the most in its history. For the third consecutive year, it was named the ``Best Place to Work in Information Technology'' by Computerworld Magazine.

For Cavs fans, this is good news, because it means Gilbert has cash. Given how he has put more than $10 million into the arena -- and is building a practice facility worth about $12 million -- he also is willing to spend.

One of his ``isms'' (belief systems) is: ``Money doesn't lead, it follows.''

That's another way to say you have to spend money to make it.

Gilbert was asked Thursday about the Cavs having no first-round draft choice this season because of the Jiri Welsch trade with the Boston Celtics in 2005.

``We don't have one now,'' he said.

A trade is a possibility. Often, a team can secure a low first-round pick with a player and some cash. The limit is $3 million. It's safe to assume that if Ferry has a deal he likes with the $3 million needed to clinch it, Gilbert will quickly write the check.

The owner also mentioned that, yes, the Cavs are at the salary cap, ``but there are only three teams under the cap.'' He said the Cavs can be ``creative'' if there are moves that make sense for the team.

``I talked to Dan after the game,'' Ferry said. ``He is pleased with the season. But no question, he wants to win it all.''

Gamble on Brown, Ferry

Gilbert has wisely taken the high road rather than taking his critics to the verbal woodshed. He gambled on hiring Ferry and Brown; both were rookies when they joined the Cavs in the summer of 2005.

When Brown was hired, I had major doubts about turning the team over to a first-year coach who never had been a head coach at any level, especially with James coming to the end of his first contract.

Two years and 100 regular-season wins later, Brown has established credibility with the players and most fans. That is especially true in the playoffs, where the Cavs are 19-14. They have been in six postseason series, winning four.

``Mike was hired to establish a defensive mind-set, and he has done that,'' Ferry said. ``I think we are one of the better defensive teams in the league. We still have a lot of areas to improve, but we do have a defensive identity, which is important.''

Gilbert is expected to give Brown a contract extension; the coach has two years remaining.

``He's 37 years old in his second year as a head coach and got us to the Finals,'' Gilbert said. ``That's a great job, especially since it's not a team that has been there before -- or a team that was among the two or three favored to reach the Finals.''

The Cavs will discuss everything in the summer, from the offense to the guards and whatever moves are available. Sasha Pavlovic and Anderson Varejao are free agents -- but both are restricted, meaning the Cavs can match any offer to keep them. The Cavs want to retain both.

The Cavs sold out a franchise-record 32 regular-season games and ranked third in the NBA in attendance. They also sold out all 10 home playoff games.

``We have to win a championship,'' Gilbert said. ``The city of Cleveland deserves a championship, and we'll keep driving until we're there.''


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Terry Pluto can be reached at terrypluto2003@yahoo.com. Sign up for Terry's free, weekly e-mail newsletter ``Direct from Pluto'' at www.ohio.com.
jb
 
Posts: 17730
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