Today, Peter Krouse from cleveland.com posted an article in the opinion section titled “Trade LeBron James: Is it that Unthinkable?” Let’s break this down piece by piece.
“People in my office accuse me of being a LeBron hater. I assure you that I’m not. But while most people believe the Cavaliers can’t win a championship without LeBron, I believe they can’t win one with him.
Unless things change.
The Cavaliers have great talent, but collectively their sum doesn’t come close to the value of their parts. If you could unload LeBron, you might get two very good players in exchange who, when inserted in a lineup with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, might make two plus three add up to six.”
Well sure, if you can trade LeBron for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, why not do it? The problem is, it is absolutely impossible. There is no two/three player combination in the NBA that would combine to the talent of LeBron that a franchise would be willing to trade away. If you trade LeBron, you have to fill his spot. Who are you going to put there? Who can you trade for that can play the small forward position as good as him? He is the best player on the planet for a reason. He is the best at his position.
“The problem is that LeBron’s savior-complex prevents any kind of chemistry from developing. He thinks he has to carry the team on his shoulders all the time. That’s not being a leader. That’s being an egomaniac.
A leader accepts the fact that regardless of his exceptional ability, he is still a cog in a machine that is programmed by a coach. And that machine has to be finely tuned if it wants to perform at its highest level.”
LeBron is the leader of this team. He wants to desperately win a championship in this city. He made a promise to the City of Cleveland and to Northeast Ohio that he would bring a championship here. I don’t call that being an “egomaniac”, I call that someone who really cares about winning basketball games. I call that someone who is really driven and motivated by the great fans who root for the Cavaliers.
LeBron is a cog in the machine that the Cavaliers team is. The team is still building chemistry. They have played less than an entire NBA season together and everyone is still figuring out their roles. LeBron brings championship experience to the Cavaliers. Coach David Blatt cannot do that, he is also learning from LeBron. The entire team, besides James Jones and Richard Jefferson, have not won a championship before. LeBron James has two of those and has been the NBA Finals MVP twice. That experience he brings to this team is undeniable. I will ask again, who can you trade for that can bring that experience that he has.
“LeBron may think these mid-season games don’t matter, but they do. If the Cavaliers develop a system now, it will carry them through the playoffs. If they’re hot against Golden State, they win. If not, the discipline of a system keeps them in the game”
He knows these games matter. LeBron has repeatedly said that they need to continue to build chemistry. It may not matter if the Cavaliers lose regular season games, but what does matter is if in that loss they learn something about their team. Something that helps them in the future, it is okay. That mainly is one of the reasons why I did not declare the Cavaliers season over after the loss Monday against Golden State.
“A leader also doesn’t rely on gimmicks such as skipping pre-game introductions to ostensibly demonstrate solidarity and focus. That seemed like a stunt to draw attention by claiming you don’t want it.”
A stunt to draw attention? What’s wrong with taking the game of basketball serious?
“LeBron’s presence also makes it hard for the team to respect Coach David Blatt. One way to ensure dysfunction is for LeBron to second-guess his coach or to think that he and Blatt are on an equal plane. They aren’t, nor should they be. LeBron has to stop telling everybody he’s the leader.”
LeBron is the leader of this team. There is no doubt about that. Are you telling me that Dwayne Wade is not the leader of his team in Miami? Or that Chris Paul is the leader of his team in LA? Or how about Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City? Sure, coaches are an important part of a team in the NBA, see Phil Jackson, Lenny Wilkens and Red Auerbach.
They can be on an equal plane. I am positive that no one watches more film on the Cavaliers other than LeBron and Coach Blatt. LeBron has the trust of Coach Blatt to call a play because of the kind of player LeBron is. Because he has proven it over and over again.
“Under a healthier franchise dynamic, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert would step in to ensure greater accountability and respect. But as long as LeBron continues to sell out The Q, winning a championship appears secondary in Gilbert’s mind.”
This is a joke right? “Winning a championship appears secondary in Gilbert’s mind.” That is absolutely laughable. Dan Gilbert is the one who is committed to paying over $80 million this season in luxury tax and over $100 million next season in luxury tax on top of what he is already paying in salaries. That argument is completely invalid.
“Blatt may not be the answer, but maybe he is. If the Cavaliers have any hope of going all the way this year, they need to coalesce around him.
And here’s a thought (not just mine). Have LeBron stay down around the basket and use his size and quickness to score and rebound and otherwise cause havoc. The dribbling and driving and the fall-away jumpers from 30 feet should be largely removed from his repertoire.
In the end, all LeBron and the Cavs need to do is go about their jobs in a scheme designed by Blatt with discipline and commitment. That’s how great teams with arguably less talent than the Cavs do it.”
We have no idea if Blatt is the answer. What I do know is that Blatt is a championship winning coach. Yes they were overseas but it still takes a special person to win multiple championships as a coach. You do not do that by accident.
We have all complained about LeBron dribbling the shot clock away, there is no denying that. But to my point earlier, the Cavaliers Big Three have played LESS THAN 82 GAMES together. They are still learning how to function and operate together. The dribbling and driving should NEVER be eliminated from his game. That is what he does best. When LeBron takes the ball into the paint, he draws defenders every time. When that happens, he passes to the wide open player if the shot is not there.
The team should also be included in the design of the scheme. Every player knows what they do best, where there hotspot on the floor is. It takes a team effort to build a system, not just a coach.
“The truth is LeBron blew it with Clevelanders when he skipped town in the prime of his career to play in Miami. And it’s looking less likely all the time that he will be able to redeem himself by bringing a championship to Cleveland.”
The Cleveland Cavaliers are more equipped to win an NBA Championship now than ever before. They have talent locked up for many years to come, see Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love and Iman Shumpert. Not to mention that LeBron said he will finish his career as a Cavalier. LeBron, the Cavaliers and Dan Gilbert are committed to bringing a championship to Cleveland. It is looking more likely that LeBron will be able to redeem himself.