Lebron James is coming home. Looking back now, the signs have been there for a long time that this is what he wanted, but that didn’t make the process any less dramatic, particularly in the last several days when panic started to set in for Cavs fans as James delayed his latest decision.
His letter in SI struck the perfect tone, and was much better than contrived public apologies from him and Dan Gilbert. Also, the context made this easier for me and some Cavs fans. Lebron had a mixed record in Miami despite winning two championships, and is leaving the team whose best days were clearly behind it.
I actually enjoyed the free agency process. I knew a return would be great for the Cavs, the city of Cleveland and Lebron, but I also wasn’t holding my breath. If Lebron made the wrong decision again, that was his problem, and the Cavs were set up with a young and talented team with Kyrie locked up for a long time.
But this time Lebron did make the right decision, and he did it with class. He’s created a path for himself that can now lead to a legacy he can be proud of.
Some national reporters are saying this morning that winning a championship in Cleveland isn’t important, but that’s just foolish. Things will get tough again if the Cavs falter, particularly if Lebron buckles when the pressure to win ramps up. But I don’t expect him to falter. Lebron has made it clear that winning at least one championship is critical, and he has embraced that challenge. It’s no longer a burden dumped on his shoulders – it’s mountain he has chosen to climb. That makes this decision even more impressive. Welcome home.
I have no problem with this. Here are some initial observations:
- As I said before, it’s hard to say that Byron Scott had to go. The Cavs were very young and suffered a ton of injuries. That said, there was clearly something missing and I can’t get too upset that Dan Gilbert decided to make a change. The rumblings are that Scott really didn’t work that hard, and they’re clearly happy getting a “grinder” like Brown back in the fold.
- The only reason Brown was fired the first time around had to do with LeBron James, who was sulking like a baby and refusing to give the Cavs any idea of his plans before he took his ego and talents to South Beach. Gilbert rolled the dice, hoping that a coaching change would convince LeBron to stay. But the big baby was gone anyways and he didn’t have enough class to let the Cavs know before they dumped Brown.
- Mike Brown reminds me of Marty Schottenheimer and Mike Hargrove – an excellent coaches who can’t seem to adjust their regular season formulas to the postseason, so perhaps we’ll be screaming about Brown in the future. But Brown will get the most out of his talent by stressing defense so like those guys he’ll at least get decent teams to the playoffs. Brown was outcoached several years ago against Orlando, but I still think LeBron James deserves much more of the blame for the failure of the Cavs to win a championship during his tenure. The world saw LeBron’s weak character when he let the Heat wilt against the Mavs, but we saw previews of that here in Cleveland. He had a meltdown versus Boston, and if you go back to that Orlando series you’ll see plenty of pathetic plays from LeBron, like chucking up lazy threes at the worst possible time.
- I don’t buy the argument that the Cavs have been waiting for LeBron to come back in 2014. They went young because that’s what made sense. They are set up nicely again with this draft and with the cap, so now Chris Grant has to earn his money and put some talent around Kyrie.
- Mike Brown will teach Kyrie how to play defense, and if Kyrie resists, we don’t want him around anyways.
In the end, Brown wants to be in Cleveland and he’s a very solid choice. They can now focus on building a contender for the long haul.
Is anyone surprised that the Los Angeles Lakers fired Mike Brown? Bill Simmons had a pretty funny take on the situation.
This Week 10 picks column is dedicated to the immortal Mike Brown, the only person who ever figured out a way to stop LeBron James and someone on whom I was counting to screw up the 2012-13 Lakers season. If you noticed, I rarely if ever made Mike Brown jokes in columns or podcasts or even on TV — I was hoping he’d hang around for years and years and years, almost like the coaching version of an STD. Mike Brown was the kind of guy who shrugged off halftime adjustments and thought it would be smart to have Steve Nash run the Princeton offense — which is something you run when you have future lawyers and doctors running your team, not someone who’s one of the smartest offensive point guards of all time. The Mike Brown era was like planting my own personal mole into every Lakers season. As an avowed Laker hater, this is a tough day. I’m not gonna lie.
R.I.P., the Mike Brown Lakers era. May we reach those same beautiful heights again someday soon. And on that note, let’s bounce back with some Week 10 NFL winners.
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (L) and teammate LeBron James wait to leave the stadium after losing the NBA Championship to the Dallas Mavericks in Miami, June 12, 2011. REUTERS/Joe Skipper (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
LeBron James chokes in the NBA Finals. You couldn’t have written a better script for Cleveland fans who were punked by this jerk with The Decision. Karma is a bitch!