Tag Archives: Cleveland Cavaliers

DubNation: Here Comes Revenge

I return this nightmare I will find you.

Sleepless, cloaked in despair, I’m behind you

Far too late for frail amends, now its time for Sweet Revenge

Sweet Revenge I’m Dreaming….I will end you

The snickers, the derisive tones, the 3-1 jokes will come to an end when these NBA Finals are over in a few weeks.

That is because the Golden State Warriors 2017 Seek and Destroy mission is only missing one thing……the decimation of Cleveland.

How does that happen and why I believe this thing will be over sooner rather than later ?

  1. Revenge Factor……these aren’t the Washington Generals that want a piece of LeBron and the Cavaliers. This is a team that has gone 207-39 over the last three years. And, despite what the talking heads want you to believe this team is driven by one sole purpose, BEATING CLEVELAND….PERIOD. The fire burns hot in the guts of these Warriors who were shocked, stunned and frankly embarrassed by their 2016 Finals meltdown. This entire season has built to this point. Don’t under-estimate the fire that burns below.
  2. Warriors are just better…….When healthy and at full strength (which they are) the Golden State Warriors are simply better than Cleveland. Their multi-faceted star-studded attack. Their trio of deadly three-point shooters and more importantly their ability to defend. The most-underrated aspect of the Dubs is their ability to defend as a team. Their help-side is some of the best in the league and Cleveland isn’t in their same league. WHEN Cleveland wants to, they can defend at an elite level in spurts. But, consistently you can get good to great shots against the Cavaliers. This will ultimately be their downfall.
  3. TRUST…..The only player I trust on Cleveland to play well in each and every game is LeBron James. To be fair the player the Warriors should most fear is Kyrie Irving. His clutch gene was on full display in the Cavaliers Finals comeback last season. Trust is one of the biggest reasons why the Warriors are so great. They trust each other. They believe in each other. They recommitted themselves to this organizational doctrine after last year’s Game 7 last 5-minute debacle when they went off script and quit trusting and quit sharing. I don’t see that this time around. The Warriors have learned from the ills of last year and the weaponry is different. Their ability to play off of one another and not solely focus on going for “theirs” is what separates this team from 2016. If I’m Cleveland do I trust Kevin Love to make big shots down six with three minutes to go ? I wouldn’t…..
  4. Lest we forget…….Something strange happened on the way to the Warriors blowing that 3-1 lead and Cleveland capturing “The Land” their first basketball title. We forgot how God-awful Kevin Love was the entire series. We also forgot how terrible Kyrie Irving played in Game 4 at Quicken Loans Arena to give the Dubs a 3-1 series lead. Watch the game. I have, he was dismal. Now, Irving responded with three amazing and clutch games over the final three, but the margin for error for this Cleveland team is much smaller than Golden State’s. Irving needs to be great ALL THE TIME. Love needs to be great ALL THE TIME. If they aren’t, this thing won’t be competitive.
  5. IT’S TIME…….If Kevin Durant wants to cement his greatness he will perform and excel in this series. It’s pretty damn simple. He left OKC because he didn’t want to play with a ball-hogging selfish stat accumulator in Russell Westbrook and he wanted to win in a free-flowing selfless brand and style of basketball. He has helped bring the Warriors to the precipice of a championship and it is his time to shine. No, not by scoring 40 points a game but by helping Steph lead this group with the same selfless style that had them win 67 regular season and 12 straight playoff games. It’s Durant’s time to shine. If he tries to do it by himself, then that is when trouble could creep in. He must remember why he came here and trust that the guys he is in the fox-hole with will help him bring it home.
  6. NO KLAY….NO RING…….As confident as I am that the Warriors are going to win this thing, the only thing that would bring me trepidation is if the Warriors don’t feed Klay Thompson and try to get him going. You notice that I don’t think the Warriors MUST get Klay going, but they need to make the effort like they did in the San Antonio series. I saw Curry, Draymond and Durant all pass up numerous open shots and opportunities to try and get Klay going. He never did. That’s OK. I believe if the Warriors get Klay on track then it opens EVERYTHING up for the squad and it will be “all she wrote.”  Klay needs to find his shot. If its not there, then take the ball aggressively to the hole, back-cut get a lay-up, get to the line. He is too good a player to not be a threat. The Warriors know this.
  7. I LOVE CURRY……..Yes, I love yellow curry, green curry, and red curry. I also love that Steph Curry is being discounted in these Finals. The story-lines are all about LeBron chasing Michael and Durant’s legacy. I think Steph needs a great Finals to cement his. Cleveland is going to attack him at every turn, running him off of screens and making him work for all his looks. The problem for the Cavaliers is they will not be seeing the hampered Steph of 2016 or the deferring and dis-engaged Steph of December and January. This current Steph is engaged, in-sync, and playing spry and ruthlessly. I think Cleveland will have a very difficult time defending him with the Warriors dizzying ball movement. LeBron may need this, as does KD, but Steph needs this as well.

 

Excuses won’t win an NBA Championship; playing better will

It wasn’t the refs.

It wasn’t the NBA headquarters.

It wasn’t a conspiracy.

It was Cleveland.

If you call yourself a Warriors fan and you are blaming the Warriors predicament on some vast right-wing conspiracy, take a seat and get some knowledge.

The Warriors have been pushed to the limit in these NBA Finals for one reason and one reason alone. The greatness and dominance of LeBron James. Yes, I said it. LeBron James, who was roundly vilified and ripped for his passive play in Game 4 has come out with reckless abandon in Games 5 & 6. His controlled aggression and play-making ability has dictated the game and tempo for his Cavaliers. His decision-making has been impeccable as he distributes when he needs and attacks when he sees a sliver of space. To not admit as much is being blinded by fandom.

Warrior fans have been up in arms  and have been preaching that conspiratorial anthem since Draymond Green was suspended for Game 5. The fact is, is that Green put himself in a horrible predicament by not showing any self-discipline earlier in the playoffs. His chippiness and constant chatter put him in a position of focus. His energy and passion is the life-blood for this team, but his energy can also be a detriment and we saw that at the end of Game 4. The NBA didn’t suspend Green. His lack of discipline dictated that he be penalized for that the Dubs paid a steep price.

Warrior fans are crying foul after tonight’s Game 6 where Steph Curry was called for several ticky-tack fouls. Blah blah blah……Even with the fouls Warriors head coach Steve Kerr kept him on the floor, so it didn’t for all intent and purposes affect the amount of minutes Curry played. The fouls called on Curry had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. Curry scored 30 points and played well.

The Warriors find themselves in a Game 7 because LeBron James and Kyrie Irving played from another dimension in Game 5 and took advantage of Draymond Green’s absence to confuse the Warriors on the defensive end. They each scored 41 in epic performances.

The Cavaliers perimeter defense on Curry and Klay has been splendid. With every pick and roll there are two bodies there to ride and harass Klay and Curry. Kerr made mention that the Cavs are riding Curry and Klay off of these screens and that was certainly a seed planted for Game 7. Without Green in Game 5 and Bogut in Game 6 the Warriors post-play has been in one word….ATROCIOUS.

Festus Ezeli has been awful and looks like he has regressed over the last two weeks. Kerr can hardly leave him on the floor. Harrison Barnes combined to go 2-for-20 in Games 5 & 6. The Cavaliers can’t guard everyone when they are doubling and bodying Curry and Klay, so they are leaving Harrison Barnes open. He has been awful. Just putrid. I can make an argument that if Barnes hits even half of his open looks in Game 5 the Warriors are having a parade tomorrow in Oaktown. Barnes is a HUGE reason why we are seeing a Game 7 on Sunday.

And, other than Leandro Barbosa the bench was pedestrian in Game 5 and in Game 6. Throw in Andre Iguodala’s back spasms and the DubNation has reason for some consternation.

Throw out any of these reasons, but please do not say the Warriors have been forced to a Game 7 because the refs have it out for them or there is some type of conspiracy. It makes you look amateurish and foolish. When the Warriors beat the Cavs in Games 1, 2 & 4 it wasn’t because of the officials or some type of league-wide conspiracy. The Cavaliers winning Games 5 & 6 is simply because they are playing better, stronger, and are more tenacious on both ends of the floor.

Game 7 will be amazing and I fully expect the Warriors to finish off this amazing 73-win season with a win on their home floor. They have been pushed and tested this entire post-season, as it should be. They will have traversed through the ultimate gauntlet and will have won back-to-back championships. But, if they don’t, do not blame. Here is a novel concept, how about recognizing the greatness of their opponent and giving Cleveland some credit. After all, they were 10-1 underdogs after Game 4 and were left for dead. Besides, if ANY team can beat this great Warriors team three straight times, including two at the Oracle, then they deserve it. Should be an amazing Game 7 !

 

NBA FINALS: Warriors as national villains ??

 

Not only has the NBA Finals not gone according to plan but something almost unthinkable has also transpired. LeBron James and his merry band of complementary pieces have turned into sympathetic figures on the national stage. Think about that, LeBron James as a sympathetic, “woe is me” figure.

I am seeing story after story painting the Cavaliers has this little train that could and building up the story-line of this upstart little Cleveland team taking on the big, bad Warriors. What kind of alternate universe am I living in ? When the did the Warriors and their run-and-gun style turn into what’s wrong with basketball ?

The LeBron love is at an all-time high. The gushing in a lot of circles is over the top. I can also understand it. He is doing something that has never been done before. He is leading a band of role players toward a possible NBA Championship. He is inspiring ordinary and mediocre players to play spectacularly. He has them believing they are better than they really are. It is quite the story.

With that said, the Dubs have suddenly turned into the villains. The nation wants to see LeBron lead his band to an improbable title. Everyone wants to see it except for us long-suffering Bay Area basketball fans. The vitriol and even the hate towards the Warriors is quite alarming. I haven’t seen so many national media members and fans of the game denigrate the Warriors like this……EVER.

I hope the national media is lamenting this Warriors title. I hope when the Warriors win this championship there is frustration, angst and anxiety among national fan bases. I don’t care what they think or how they feel. This is our team. This is our quest. We are told to recognize LeBron’s greatness. I say recognize us, the DubNation.

Cleveland has had their fun. Reality sets in tonight.

Warriors in 6

NBA FINALS: Cavaliers grab 2-1 series lead as listless Warriors cede control

 

At the outset of the series I wrote that the team that was more mentally tough would win the series. So far the Cleveland Cavaliers have shown the Golden State Warriors how a championship team should compete for basketball’s biggest prize.

The media experts will try to convince you that there is some strategic genius to what the Cavaliers are doing, there really isn’t. They are winning this 2015 NBA Finals with guts and guile. A willingness to play as hard as they possibly can and leaving the rest for the weary. Matthew Dellavedova epitomizes the grit of this team. He is out-manned and out-gunned at every turn yet his hustle and determination wins him possessions and helped the Cavaliers grab control of the series

LeBron James was super again with 40 points 12 rebounds and 8 assists, but Dellavedova’s 20 points gave the Cavaliers that second option to give them a 2-games-to-1 lead.

What has to be infuriating for Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is it appears the Warriors aren’t exerting the same effort as Cleveland. Kerr wasn’t about to bury his team in the post-game, instead he simply praised their effort in the 4th quarter. We all know how he felt about their effort through the first three-quarters. Despite only losing the game 96-91, the Dubs trailed by 20 late in the third quarter and simply dug to big of a hole. Kerr said he didn’t like how his team began to feel sorry for themselves in the waning moments of the 3rd.

Tell me about it Coach……

Steph Curry even intimated that the Warriors are not coming out with enough energy at the starts of these games. How does that even happen ? How do you play nine months of basketball at the highest level in the world. You are suddenly playing for the sports biggest prize and you aren’t playing with enough energy, not playing hard, getting out-worked and out-hustled by a team with inferior talent. I can not begin to comprehend how that is even possible.

Kobe Bryant had this amazing tweet in the aftermath of the Game 3 carnage for the Warriors tonight……

‏@kobebryant
Cavs playing as if their life is on the line G.S playing as if they have more #NBAFinals down the line #ThisIsNOW #competitionIsEverything

Nuff said.

The Warriors scored 35 points combined in the second and third quarters. They scored 36 alone in the 4th quarter when they played with a sense of frenetic energy and pace. Unless this team is prepared to expend that 4th quarter like energy then they will be in trouble in Game 4.

Draymond Green is nursing a sore back after a hard fall in the 4th quarter of Game 2. He certainly didn’t look like himself in Game 3 and that is bad news for Golden State. The Warriors have relied on his stretch-4 abilities all year to make shots, board and make decisions off of the Curry double-team. David Lee filled in admirably and gave the Dubs a shot in the arm with some spirited 4th quarter play. He is sure to get more minutes in Game 4.

Harrison Barnes was beyond awful. He missed wide open jumpers off of creative dribble attacks by his mates. He even missed a bunny lay-up with no one near him. Barnes must be better.

Andrew Bogut is getting dominated by Timofey Mozgov. At the start of the series I thought the combination of Bogut and Festus Ezeli could play that to a draw at least. Bogut looks worn down and slow and Ezeli has great energy but sometimes his decision-making on the offensive and defensive ends is lacking.

The Warriors bench is playing well but with such sub-par performances by starters Green, Barnes and Bogut the Warriors are in deep.

The troubling aspects of this series so far from the Warriors perspective have nothing to do with X’s and O’s. It has everything to do with the Warriors heart, guts, energy, will-to-win and belief. If they don’t find it, and find it soon they will be on the losing end of one of the great upsets in sports history.

Game 4 is Thursday in Cleveland

NBA FINALS GAME 2 Post-Script: Simple Adjustment Will Change Series for Dubs

 

Furrowed brows and consternation will turn to joy and happiness after Steve Kerr and staff have a chance to survey the damage of the first two games of the NBA Finals.

First and foremost all the credit in the world needs to go to David Blatt and his staff for devising a game plan that has taken Steph Curry out of his comfort zone. As I wrote before the series started, the only way Cleveland can win this series is to make the game ugly and slow. They have done a masterful job of disrupting the Warriors rhythm by mucking the game up. Here is how they are doing it…..

Cleveland is suffocating Curry once he gets past the time line. This isn’t a soft double-team or a funnel to help side defense. This is a furious trap after the predictable high screen. Once they trap, they are being physical with Steph, pushing him to the sidelines. Steph is not handling this trap well because to be honest, no team has done it better this season than the Cavaliers against the Warriors. If Steph tries to dribble out of it there are three defenders there. The goal is simple, “get the ball out of Curry’s hands and make the other guys beat you.” Curry has been inconsistent in getting the ball to his other play-makers and this has hurt the overall continuity of the offense.

Curry needs to attack and be more decisive in getting rid of the ball after the high screen. Usually the screener is Draymond Green. Green has not handled this situation well at all. His hesitancy on whether to shoot or attack the lane exemplifies that dis-jointedness of the Warriors offense. Draymond is wide open…….WIDE OPEN. He never hesitated during the regular season. He can’t hesitate now. If the Cavaliers are going to trap as hard as they are, you need to confidently knock down the jumper if you are open, or attack the lane. Once you drive the ball to the middle, Cleveland has to help and when that help comes he can become the play-maker he has been all year. Dish it to Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes for the corner three or lob it to Andrew Bogut. What Green can’t do is hold the ball and try to figure it out. Cleveland is willing to give open looks to complementary pieces, the Dubs need to knock them down like they have all year. If the Warriors act decisively and swiftly off the high ball screen, they will have open shots.  Cleveland’s defense  will be jumping all over the place. Good ball movement will beat good defense every time. But, when you move the ball you must knock down the open shot.

I think Cleveland has played wonderfully in this series. The first two games have gone exactly according to plan for them. I could care less about all the missed shots for LeBron James. He is all the Cavaliers really have offensively. James had 11 assists in Game 2. The Cavaliers had 14 TOTAL assists. He is the best player in the world and is playing like it. The post presence of Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson is problematic for the Warriors but certainly not something that is their death-knell. When the Dubs go small the Cavaliers can only stay big for so long before good ball movement will negate the size advantage and Blatt and staff will have to match the Warriors smaller line-up.

Cleveland can win this series if they continue to muck up the game. James continues being James. And if Matthew Dellavedova continues perpetrating his hex upon Steph Curry.  I think it’s really simple. Cleveland is riding their super-star and the supporting cast is following his lead.

The Warriors win this series if they revert back to the ball movement that made them an 80-18 team entering these NBA Finals. Make Cleveland pay for the aggressive double-and-triple teams. Attack the lane, make Cleveland commit and move the ball. Remember, the Warriors had similar issues with Memphis but when they figured it out, it was game over. I fully expect film session to be valuable in righting the ship. I also expect David Lee to make appearance. Two of his better games over the last two years have been against Miami last year and Cleveland this year. Lee might be rusty but I think he can help if the offense becomes bogged down.

The Warriors have the best road record in the NBA at 33-15 including the playoffs. This series is not about James and his greatness. This series is about whether the Warriors are truly a championship team and are willing to make the adjustments that will lead to a title.

NBA FINALS GAME 2 PREVIEW: Irving out for Finals; LeBron presented with rare opportunity

 

If you are to believe the national media the 2015 NBA Finals are now over and there is really no need to play the remainder of the series……how disappointing.

Despite the clear advantage the Warriors have with the season ending injury to Kyrie Irving, this series is far from over. The last I checked a bad dude by the name of LeBron James is still healthy and still plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The moment, the circumstance the scene was made for this guy and now he will have something he has never had to play with before…….the expectation of NOT winning.

No one expects Cleveland to win. No one. Not a soul in their right mind thinks the Cavaliers minus Irving, Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao can win. But, there is one bad dude who will see this as the opportunity of a lifetime. Even people who don’t normally cheer for LeBron will now give him the benefit of the doubt with his decimated club lying in tatters around him.  If James can somehow pull this off I believe it would be one of the great sports feats in the history of team sport.

The national media was really pouring it on today. From ESPN to the NBA Sirius/XM channel to Mad Dog Radio. Not one host was giving the Cavaliers a shot to win the series. In fact they were declaring if Cleveland got this thing to six games it would be a minor miracle.

I’m not buying it.

I love sports because of the unpredictability. No one knows what will happen. That is why we love it. Did any of us see the Seahawks throwing the ball from the one-yard line in the Super Bowl on 1st down? Did anyone see the San Francisco Giants win six elimination games on their way to the 2012 World Series? Did anyone see a band of bandits run through the ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament against bigger and badder teams in 1983 and win the national tournament like Jim Valvano’s NC State Wolfpack?

Sports is not scripted. We don’t know how it will turn out. We have a feeling. We think we know. On paper it says the game should turn out a certain way. But, we watch because sometimes we are shocked and stunned by the result.

If LeBron can do this, we should start etching that profile into the Mount Rushmore of all-time greats. If he can do this it would be one of the great feats in the history of sport. For the first time in his athletic life, LeBron James is being given no chance. The Warriors better take notice. They do not need to become the Baltimore Orioles of 1969 or the Washington Bullets of 1975. The Dubs have come too far over the last 40 years for this 80-18 team to become a footnote in basketball lore.

FINISH THEM……..

Mark Jackson Trying to Stay Relevant……..

There has been no bigger supporter of Mark Jackson than me. I was not happy when the Warriors let him go. I think Warriors owner Joe Lacob has piled on the former Warriors coach needlessly with some off-the-cuff remarks that were not warranted. And, I feel the Warriors wouldn’t be the team they are today if it weren’t for Jackson. When he took the Warriors job several years ago, he was the right guy at the right time.

With that said, a little of Jackson is going a long way these days and he needs to back off. His insinuations that he knows what’s best for the Warriors is not needed. Jackson was part of the broadcast crew on Friday night when the Cleveland Cavaliers visited the Oracle to take on the Golden State Warriors. During the game, MJax was given a rousing ovation by the Warriors faithful for a job well done in his three years as head coach. Then, he opened his mouth.

Dubs
Courtesy fanshare.com

“I think Steve Kerr has done a great job. He’s sitting with the best team in basketball right now. He deserves a lot of credit. And I think while giving him credit, there’s no need to take credit away from the past. You cannot disrespect the caterpillar and rave about the butterfly.”

Huh ?

Really ? Who is disrespecting the butterfly ? Certainly not the Warriors fans I converse with on a daily basis. Jackson deserves credit for changing the Warriors culture and instituting a defensive mind-set that helped propel the Dubs to 51 wins last year. But, Jackson’s caterpillar also had some deficiencies that have held this team back.

No longer do we fans have to endure the incessant isolation offense that was Jackson’s bread and butter. He loved isolating his best players against “perceived” mis-matches. While this makes for one-on-one advantages, it also lends itself to players standing around watching each other. It’s not conducive to team basketball and clearly stunted the growth of several Warriors players.

Under Steve Kerr the ball moves. The offense relies on constant motion and constant movement. This engages all five players, while also taking advantage of the mis-matches based on this entertaining brand of team basketball. Harrison Barnes has flourished under this system as he is no longer asked to play the game on an island and create himself. Now, that he has become more part of the flow, he has become more creative and that has expanded his game. Andrew Bogut was simply a defensive presence under Jackson. What a waste ! Bogut is one of the supreme passing big men in the game. And, despite his numerous injuries, when healthy he is instrumental to the Warriors success because of his ability to pass, set screens and create for his mates. Bogut “feels” more part of the team now that he is a piece of their offense. He is also a dynamic rim protector who gives the Dubs a much needed enforcer. Jackson said on the Friday night broadcast, “the Warriors don’t need a rim protector. Rim protectors are over-rated.” Um, with Bogut the Warriors beat the Clippers in last year’s entertaining seven game first round series. Draymond Green was good under Jackson. He is an All-Star caliber player under Kerr. His talents have exploded, turning him into one of the most sought after free agents at the end of the year.

For Jackson to infer that he is not getting enough credit for the Warriors 29-5 start shows that he is still hurt and bothered by his ouster from the head coaching job. His comments about giving credit to the caterpillar show that he is looking to stay relevant in the Warriors discussion. He will always have a place in Warriors lore. Hopefully we look back and see him as the Paul Westhead of the Warriors run of success. Westhead who helped lead the Lakers to the 1980 NBA Title while Magic Johnson was a rookie was let go after Jerry Buss did not deem him to be the long-term solution despite the successful campaign. Jackson is a solid basketball man but was simply not the right guy to lead the Warriors to long-term and sustained success.

I will always be a Jackson fan, but his comments on Friday night reeked of desperation to stay relevant. In my mind, his pride is getting in the way. Caterpillar comments were not needed. Graciousness would have gone a long way in making Lacob look worse than he did in the whole coaching drama. Instead, Jackson’s dig made Lacob’s move all the more understandable.

Warriors could be big losers in LeBron’s return to Cleveland

 

Without a doubt the legacy of LeBron James was rehabilitated with one well-penned letter. And now that James returns home the trickle-down effect on the rest of the Association will be significant.

Dissecting the winners and losers in this monumental power shift is easy. Winners, LeBron, the Cavaliers, Dan Gilbert and to be quite honest, the league. This is a great move for the NBA. The Association’s biggest star was a villain. His “Decision” in 2010 left a sour taste in many people’s mouths. And while James didn’t owe the fans anything, his dis-respect for his home-town team was shameful.

Now, the league’s best player and biggest star is a sports-hero again. He returns home, with hat in hand, fully aware how he wronged them before and how he hopes to make amends. This is truly a Prodigal Son story. The biblical tale where the pretentious son leaves the house, vowing never to return. Only to return, apologetic, solemn and contrite and asking forgiveness. It’s a great story. It fits, and we are seeing it in motion. The NBA and its fans are big winners here.

The biggest losers, without a doubt, the Miami Heat. The Heat had to feel supremely confident in knowing that they could offer him the most money, along with the possibility of playing with his best buddies. What they didn’t realize is that James missed home. He missed Akron, and the tug of home was bigger than anything Miami could offer. The Heat will now try to piece together the remnants of an aging roster that is deficient in high quality talent but has money to spend.

I don’t consider Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh big losers in this scenario. In my opinion they are partly responsible for James bolting. Wade’s eroding skills and Bosh becoming a shell of his Toronto-self signaled to James that his future was not in South Beach. Wade will get paid by Heat owner Micky Arison, but he is not even close to the player he once was. There is too much tread on those worn tires.

Bosh has become a perimeter jump shooter, that didn’t seem to fit with James anymore. And, while they are great friends, when on the floor together their games just didn’t mesh. With Bosh signing a 5-year 118 million dollar deal to stay in Miami, maybe he can become that dominating player again. He will get his shot, with no James in the picture. I think we could see the Bosh that was such a special player in Toronto because now Miami will need him more than ever.

The other big loser, sadly my beloved Golden State Warriors. Now that James is back in Cleveland he will want to surround himself with other high quality, YOUNG championship type players who are hungry. One of those players is Kevin Love. Love has told the Minnesota Timberwolves he will not re-sign with them and will leave via free agency if they don’t trade him. Love has played six outstanding seasons in the league and has yet to make the playoffs. He exemplifies hungry.

The Cavaliers have assets and picks to trade. Ironically, they have first round picks galore, including a Miami Heat first rounder from the 2010 LeBron DECISION to leave Cleveland. I can see the Cavs packaging a few first-rounders and a couple of young players for Love. This package may be something the Wolves jump at as they try to get impact players and rebuild. Minnesota GM and head coach Flip Saunders has said he doesn’t want the TWolves to rebuild.  He says he wants to compete now. But if he is honest with himself and his fan base, they will need picks and some ping-pong ball love  in the draft lottery to become a playoff team. He may not WANT to tear the team down and rebuild it, but I think he has to.

Sadly, that means the Warriors and their flirtations with the Wolves in trying to acquire Love may fall on deaf ears. It may also force the Warriors to part with Klay Thompson, someone new head coach Steve Kerr and consultant Jerry West DO NOT want the Warriors to trade. The Timberwolves have insisted they get Thompson in any deal for Love. If the Warriors want that possible franchise turning power forward they may have to include Thompson.

This is a bad day for the Warriors who were the clubhouse leaders in the race for Love. They may have been able to get him without dealing Thompson, that seems far-fetched now. ESPN quotes Love as saying he is “intrigued” about joining James in Cleveland. If the Warriors truly want Love, they may have to act and act fast.

As the league celebrates its biggest star returning home, the Warriors need to make some hard and fast choices on whether they currently are constructed to win a championship, or whether Kevin Love is that missing piece. The Warriors war-room has some strong personalities with varying opinions, ultimately Joe Lacob signs the checks and will be making this decision, regardless of how much Kerr and West plead to keep this current core together.

Oh to be a fly on the wall in those Dubs offices…….

Hey Bron Bron, about that DECISION…….

Oh, let the great mea culpa begin. If I am reading the tea leaves correctly the Cleveland Cavaliers are about to bag the biggest free agent of them all in a coup’ de’ tat of epic proportions.

While there has not been an official announcement it appears Le Bron James is about to call Cleveland his basketball home once again. After being non-committal with Heat President Pat Riley in Vegas today, there are some subtle signs that LeBron is going to let bygones’ be bygones and return to his home town team.

If LeBron returns it will be of Prodigal Son proportions. James not only left Cleveland four years ago, but he left them in the cruelest fashion. This was not leaving a loved-one at the altar type of break-up. It was a Rory McIlroy break-up. Let’s mail the invitations, have dinner with the fam, call a presser, and then dump you while your family is watching.

As bad as LeBron looked with his media manipulated decision, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert looked just as bad. He played the jilted lover role so well. He was bitter, scorned and hurt and it showed for the whole world to see. The Cleveland fans in my opinion had every right to be PISSED. And they let the self-proclaimed King know it. They burned his jersey, they made hilarious parody Nike commercials, they dis-owned a player more than I have ever seen a player dis-owned by his home-town.

Now, with this amazing turn of events, LeBron could be returning to the scene of the break-up. Not only looking to make amends, but looking to lead the jilted lover to the promised land. How do the fans react ? How do the fans deal with this ?

We have precedent.

When Al Davis crapped on Oakland Raider fans in the early 80’s he was vilified by Raider faithful. His name was dirty language in the Bay Area. When Davis starting flirting with the Oakland again, many of those same fans were not going to be screwed over again. “A pox on you Al Davis, a pox on your team.” But, there was a core of fans that stayed faithful to Davis. Forgetting that it was the same man who had taken their beloved team away some 20 years earlier. They forgave the gangster, and welcomed him back with open arms, even  at the expense of funding police officers and schools. The city of Oakland guaranteed Davis sell-outs, and even if the Raiders failed to sell the games out, the city would make up the difference. A colossal financial failing.

I expect Cleveland to welcome back James overwhelmingly. They will forgive and forget. They will cheer their favorite son wildly. They will take their tattered and torn James jersey’s that they were using to line the bottom’s of their bird cages and throw them in the washer. If they had burned their jersey’s, they will fork over another 149.99 to get another one. Why ? Because James’ return promises something greater than sports vitriol. It promises a championship. Oh yes, the magic elixir, a beautiful, wonderful, miraculous championship. If James can deliver that, then THE DECISION of five years ago will be nothing but a forgettable footnote in the return of their favorite son.