Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, after his team got dissed by LeBron, made headlines with his blistering open letter--saying things that many Cavs' fans were thinking (and many fans around the league as well) but which are highly impolitic coming from an NBA owner.
Of course, the one thing in the letter that made people wonder if Gilbert is off his meds, wasn't the way he blew up any remaining bridges with James. I suppose it's good to know that an over-the-hill LeBron won't make a Griffey-like return to the Cavs in the twilight of his career--at least not as long as Gilbert is the owner. The most outrageous part was the promise that Cleveland will win a title before WTHL (Whichever Team Has LeBron) does--kind of a curse-of-the-bambino in reverse. While this may be good psychology or good voodoo; the analysts beg to differ: Consensus is that Miami is a favorite to win the title next year, and Cleveland is likely a lottery team.
But, there's a few things that Gilbert could do to make LeBron's life a bit more miseable:
- Start cleaning house--and just as Minnesota and Memphis provided the Celts and Lakers with title pieces on the cheap; send whatever remaining talent he has left to whichever team poses the biggest threat to Miami, for picks and prospects. While guys like Jamison and Williams aren't exactly top-drawer talent (and Shaq is well past his prime), in the right situation they might be beneficial. Trading Mo Williams to the Lakers, for instance--he'd be an excellent backcourt mate for K*be, should the wheels finally fall off of Derek Fischer. As much as I hate him on another team, I'd take Anderson Varejao on the Blazers should the opportunity arise. And if KD and the "Thunder" should continue to advance, Shaq might fit in well there, given their present big-man issues. (Or send him back to Orlando--so HE can do his Griffey stint--to man the middle when Dwight picks up his third with three left in the first quarter).
- Completely, and utterly, tank the season. Don't admit to it of course, but let it be leaked that the the only way for small-market teams to compete is to get lucky in the lottery, and hope the guy going #1 doesn't turn into a total @#!$.
- Band together with other small-market owners (we here in Portland would be happy to help) to demand tighter restrictions on player movement. Bonus points if the new CBA requires Miami to shed one of their new Big Three. Also, insist on league tax equity--compensating players in high-tax markets so that it's one less disadvantage for northern states. (The league used to do this for the Raptors, to alleviate the currency situation back when Canadian dollars were worth far less than the US variety). Take note of how much success the NFL has with this model. It can work in the NBA.
- Staff the roster with goons. Given them lots of playing time (hint) when WTHL is in town.
- Find some young hot supermodel/pop star/actress to pull a Toni Braxton on James and Dwyane.
- Start referring to "King Wade" and "Prince James". Or worse.
- Voodoo dolls.
- Fire up all the factories in town, pump as much carbon in the atmosphere as you can. Turn Cleveland into Miami weather-wise, and turn Miami into Atlantis. THEN we'll see how many free agents want to go there.
- Legalize dope in Ohio. (If California doesn't beat you to it). Instant free-agent mecca. :) And Cavs fans might need some of their own, anyway.
- Consider the longstanding advice for jilted women: "The best revenge you can take on the woman who steals your husband is to let her have him".