The following was written on July 30th, 2008.
For Clevelanders across the globe, the development of Lebron James has been a godsend. To the city mired in economic stagnation, the city desperately starving for something, God sent us the man who would be our manna. Like Moses, the Cavaliers organization has served Lebron faithfully, acting strictly in accordance with His wishes. God commanded Moses to deliver ten commandments to the Hebrews; Lebron commanded Gilbert to install leather recliners and Play Stations in the locker room.
Moses issued the tabulae without gripe. And the PS2’s are no big deal; no sweat off of billionaire owner Dan Gilbert’s back. But after 40 years of God commanding Moses to drag his butt across the barren desert, Moses had had enough. 40 years of running from the Roman legions, 40 years of borderline starvation and absolute deprivation; 40 years was the breaking point. Moses finally called the situation what it was: BS. For venting his well deserved frustration, the man was killed before he even laid eyes on the city he had so desperately yearned to deliver his people to.
Gilbert and Ferry are dealing with their own vengeful god in #23. A god whose dictates seem to come out of nowhere and yet require blind, unflinching adherence. The dreadful contracts given out to perennial underachievers like Larry Hughes and Damon Jones were just as much caused by Lebron’s divine intervention as they were Ferry’s ineptitude. Ditto for the Ilgauskas extension, which, while not on the same level as Huhges-gate, still ruined any chances of the Cavs being a serious player in free agency for the next four years. Yet James still clamored for more. More players, more money, more…anything. The Cavs front office was forced into such a sense of careless urgency that the modus operandi of the James years has essentially been “Act first, think later.” They have blindly followed James’ de facto foray into team management, and they have jointly failed.
So when does Lebron take responsibility for his mistakes? The answer, of course: never. So what if God made you walk circles around the desert pointlessly? He’s God. Deal with it. So what if Lebron publicly shamed you into trading away your best young big man for one of the worst contracts in the NBA? He’s Lebron. He is blameless; you are the sinner.
After years of dealing with Lebron’s ceaseless edicts, it is time for Cavs management to finally call BS. And wouldn’t you know it, they have a perfect chance to make a stand right now, via Delonte West. Here is another “nice” but not good player who has somehow earned favor with Lebron. Traditional logic in this situation would dictate that the Cavs meet every one of West’s demands to lock up Lebron’s newest flavor of the week. Common sense suggests a different approach: let him go and save some cap space. Stockpiling overpriced role players may get you a five seed in the East, but that’s not what this quest is about. It’s championship or bust.
Blind faith isn’t always the way to go; it sure as hell didn’t work out for Moses, and Lebron (analogy aside) is no God. Sometimes intestinal fortitude can serve you better.
To Danny Ferry and Daniel Gilbert, my advice is simple: Make your stand with West so that you can win the East.