Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The sky is falling!!!

Well, not really, but the good folks at ESPN would like to have Cavaliers fans believe that. I can really see no other explanation for why this story was released last night and is still featured prominently on the front of I'm already sick and tired of hearing about LeBron leaving and his unrestricted free agency doesn't even begin for almost two years from now. The fact of the matter is that he will not play in an inferior league, even for an outrageous offer like $50 million/year. Marginal talent like Josh Childress (a nice player, but nowhere near a superstar) might signal a beginning of more NBA players heading overseas to chase more money, but I just can't see a star like LeBron ever doing the same. I think the "person close to James" that leaked this story is probably doing this just to hype up the international appeal of LeBron's marketing plan. And what better way to do it than release this information just two days before the start of the Olympics? Now international basketball fans can watch the greatest player in the world and drool over their chances to snag him in 2010. Sounds to me like a great strategy for the making of a "global icon," a goal LeBron has stated many times in the past. But fear not Cavalier fans, he won't be heading to Europe, and he has over a hundred million reasons to stay in a wine and gold uniform.

LeBron to Europe? I don't think so.

Speaking of that, let's take a quick look at the Cavaliers' salary cap numbers. As much as the national media would like you to believe that LeBron is leaving, he has no reason to. Not only can the Cavs offer him more guaranteed money over more years than any other NBA team, but Danny Ferry has also done an excellent job of clearing cap flexibility for the next two off-seasons. The expiring contracts we have this season (Wally Szczerbiak, Damon Jones, and Eric Snow) total over $25 million. You can bet these will be used in a trade at some point to bring in more talent for this season. And Joe Smith and Anderson Varejao (if he opts out of his non-guaranteed year for 2009) will clear another $10 million. Then we will have another $25 million coming off the books in 2010 with Ben Wallace and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. The point I'm trying to make is that the roster you see now will not be the same roster over the next two seasons. It will be more talented and should give Cavs fans everywhere a reason to smile. Just be patient and we will hopefully see LeBron get his 'Pippen' and a few other guys to help bring us the title we crave. And that said, we are already very close even with this far-from-perfect roster. LeBron is that good. The sky is not falling and the future is bright in the short- and long-term for this franchise.

Tribe Update: You knew it had to happen eventually - the Tampa Bay Rays finally figured out a way to beat our Indians (just their fourth win in their last 23 tries against the good guys). All you need to know about this one is that the Tribe could not find a way to drive guys in once they were on base (13 runners stranded!) and Rafael Betancourt continued his downward spiral. Then he decided to make it worse. And then Edward Mujica joined in the home run party. When the dust finally settled the Tribe lost again, 8-4.

Yay, they brought in Betancourt!

Thankfully the Royals lost too, so the Indians are still within shouting distance of finding their way out of the Central cellar. I've given up on my silly dream of .500 baseball this year and am now just hoping to finish ahead of the Royals. Today Jeremy Sowers gets the call for the Tribe in a 12:40 start (the always fun weekday getaway game). This one could get ugly.

Browns Update: Day 13 of training camp brought more details about Josh Cribbs hoping for a new contract. Tony Grossi says that Cribbs is out of line. We also got the news of Gary Baxter's arthroscopic knee surgery, and I was not surprised (let's just hope for no follow-up staph infection). And D'Qwell Jackson expects to have a big year, thanks to the new d-line in front of him.
''My loyalty is to this football team and I'm sure they'll show me the same loyalty in return.'' - Josh Cribbs