As painful as it was for the city of Cleveland, LeBron James‘ departure for Miami back in 2010 laid the groundwork for the Cavs’ title chances this season, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald writes. If James had remained, the franchise would not have been in the position to draft Kyrie Irving, nor have had the opportunity to select Andrew Wiggins, who was the centerpiece of the deal to acquire Kevin Love, Bulpett notes.
“Could he have won a championship if he stayed here? We’ll never know,” said former Cav Jim Chones, who is the team’s radio color commentator. “But we do know this, and this is a fact, that we’re better than we were the first time he was here. And we also have other opportunities down the road because of draft picks that we’ve stored up, so Cleveland is in a position where they’re going to be good for a while, not just a flash in the pan. Looking back to when LeBron left, philosophically speaking, it created an acute awareness within our organization that we had to be better at everything we did. Him leaving … we were so dependent on him, as most teams are with the super players, that it put us in a position that we weren’t prepared for.”
Here’s more news out of Cleveland:
- Though their relationship hasn’t been perfect this season, James understands the difficulties that Love has had to deal with since coming to the Cavs, Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio relays. “He’s been highly criticized this year,” James said. “I know why. For a team that finally gets together, when you have a ‘Big Three,’ they’ve got to find someone. When I was in Miami, Chris Bosh was that guy at one point. I’ve seen it before. When you’ve been in position where you’ve had your own team and now you come and join forces, at one point in Miami we were 9-8. They started pointing fingers at anybody. They’ve got to find somebody.“
- The Cavs’ role-players are proving this postseason that Cleveland is more than just the “big three,” Tom Withers of The Associated Press writes. Just as James, Irving and Love have had to make personal sacrifices, the Cavs’ second-stringers have forgone individual accolades for team success, Withers adds. “It’s like a company. You have your janitor, your CEO. You have your secretaries,” said Tristan Thompson, who knows that his job is to bring energy as a reserve. “I don’t mind being the cleanup guy, punching the clock. I’ll do all the little things.”