The Cavaliers tip-off the post-LeBron James era tonight, coincidentally the same way LeBron kicked off his post-Cleveland era last night — against the Celtics. It will probably end about the same way for both of them.
Tied into the season opener, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert had a lengthy interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where he said some interesting, and at times odd, things. Such as…
My letter was to the fans and supporters of Cleveland. People get a little confused because they think it was a general statement to the world or even to LeBron or to whoever. It really was to the fans and supporters of Cleveland, and I wanted to make sure they knew where I stood and where the franchise stood and how we felt, which apparently was pretty similar to the way they were feeling. No, we don’t have any regrets. We’re looking forward to the future and we’re focused on the future and all that other stuff, but I don’t really think about it in that way.
You should have some regrets about the letter. Here’s the deal — if you had that letter typed up and mailed to each and every Cavs season ticket holder, then you can argue it was for the fans and supporters of Cleveland. The Internet doesn’t work that way — it is a public soapbox. Doesn’t matter what it says on your soapbox, once you stand on it and start talking it’s public for everyone.
The letter played well in Cleveland, I get that. But it didn’t help you with other players that you’ll be trying to recruit to your city and team the next few years, I can promise you that.
In fact, this year we’re projecting our highest revenue that we’ve ever had, so nothing that’s occurred has affected our finances going forward.”
Henry Abbott at TrueHoop said it best about this comment — if this team in this economy at this time is having revenue increases and its finances are fine, then it’s pretty hard for David Stern to tell the union in a Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiation how terrible the league’s finances are.
Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.
The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.
The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.
Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.
Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.
Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.
“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”
The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.
Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.
LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.
Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?
Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.
LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.
To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.
It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.
With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.
There were a couple of good ones, however.
Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.
One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.