Thursday, February 18, 2010

The 1st game without Big Z as a Cav ~ the Cavs win streak ends...

So the matchup I was looking forward to all week is on right now and I have to admit, I'm bored. Moreover, from the looks and sounds of it ~ the crowd at the Q is bored also...  (****Incidentally, I just checked Twitter and Bill Simmons posted the same sentiment about being confused that the crowd was dead...  See, I'm not alone.) The score is Denver 100 and Cleveland 99 with 2:13 left on the clock in the 4th.  It's GO TIME and it seems like everyone is in a haze in Cleveland.

Question:  Why is Jerry West at the game?

OK - so I'm watching this game and something's missing for me.  Where's Zydrunas?  Oh, that's right - he's probably at home watching the game also.  I was working today, so I missed Danny Ferry's press conference.  It's probably for the best though, because I'd imagine it was geared more towards welcoming Antawn Jamison to the "promised land of the East".  I did look to see if there were any quotes from the press conference of interest ~ and to be honest, I saw nothing.

This is such a tight game ~ Denver is up 106 to 103 and...  Oh wait ~ LeBron James just hit a 3 and the crowd goes wild, 48.5 on the clock...  Ok, so the game is now tied.

Let's go ahead and state the obvious.  LeBron is the star and leader of the Cavs.  Everyone in that organization bows down to King James.  The owners, management, and coaches may be paying, "leading", and teaching him, but let's face it ~ they're all subjects in King James' court.

Ok, Chauncey just missed his shot ~ we're going into overtime.

Back to the point I was trying to make.  We all value leadership and there are many different kinds of leaders in this world.  Iron-willed dictators exist, who threaten and intimidate others, to make sure people fall "in line" under their regime or else you die by the sword.  There are also more passive leaders who gently prod you into a direction that allows you to reach your goals and (with finesse) steer you towards self-actualization.

Every leader needs someone on which they may rely.  Jordan needed Pippen.  Magic needed his supporting cast.  And yeah ~ I can't help, but think Lebron needs Zydrunas.  I remember when LeBron lept into Zydrunas' arms when the Cavs made it to the Finals in 2007.  The image is everywhere.  I'd include it in here, but I don't want to steal someone else's pic.  LeBron had to seek Zydrunas out on the court and then jumped into his arms for a big bear hug.  That picture says something.  That's the type of relationship and veteran leadership that is palpable.  That's the type of relationships oganizations strive to foster between a veteran and the future/heart of a franchise. 

I can't help but think that for the next few games, until a buyout is executed and Zydrunas returns to the Cavs (i.e. fingers crossed if that's the goal) that LeBron can't feel that someone/something is missing out on the court also.  LeBron is 25 years old and Zydrunas is 34...  Both have spent there entire professional career with the Cavs organization and it's no secret that Zydrunas holds the record for most games played as a Cleveland Cavalier.  They both have grown up playing basketball for the Cavs.

WTF.  TNT just switched to the Celtics game!  Ok. TNT went back to the Cavs game.  Denver is up 116-113 with 30 seconds left on the clock... Lebron just drove ~ WOOHOO "AND 1".  Nene just fouled out.  Maybe this game will go into D-OT...  I like it when great games don't end!!!  OK - we're tied at 116 now.

Carmelo Anthony just hit for 2 with 1.9 seconds to go.  Denver up 118-116.  Time out called by the Cavs.  TNT is back to the Celtics v Lakers game.  Wow.

Some people are going to say this is a post-All-Star weekend let down for the Cavs.  Nah, I have a different theory.  I think the dynamic has changed for Cleveland and for me, it's OBVIOUS that LeBron needs Zydrunas on the court.

Ugh ~ LeBron slipped once the ball was inbounded to him, threw up a 3 ~ but missed.  The win streak is over now.  I think it was 13 in a row.  LeBron's not happy.  He just walked off the court.

Back to my point, and yes ~ I'm BIASED, but I'm also CORRECT.  LeBron especially, but the rest of the team also, needs Zydrunas on the court.  Shaq is 38 years old.  38 years old...  Wow.  All the years in the league and Shaq can't deliver extensive quality minutes.  Zydrunas can ease that burden.  Zydrunas was supplanted this year with the Shaq trade and never complained about coming off the bench.  In interviews Shaq referred to Zydrunas, not as his back-up, but as his partner and that says something.  When Zydrunas was snubbed on the night he was supposed to break the record for most games played with the Cavs franchise, LeBron was the most vocal teammate and the first to call BS.  He went to Zydrunas' defense and publicly stated that he thought his teammate and friend was treated poorly.

If Lebron was an "Emperor with new clothes", Zydrunas would be the one to tell him to stop running around naked and to go and put some clothes on AND THEN he'd either pick up a hard foul or set a screen so LeBron could hit a game winning shot....

There's a mutual respect and genuine closeness between LeBron and Zydrunas.  In relationships, they say "If/When you love someone, set them free." I don't believe this cliche was meant to be used in NBA trades.  I hope there was a "wink wink" agreement (i.e. after a contract buyout and 30 days) and that Zydrunas is brought back to the Cavs.  However, I can't help but think that Zydrunas feels hurt/angry at the fact that the franchise dealt him away.  After all the surgeries.  All the surgeries ~ that left him with "cuts/indents" in his hips, scars on his foot, and sets of crutches in his garage...  All the phone calls from the previous ownership (e.g. Gordon Gund) and visits from teammates both current and present when he was rehabbing (e.g. Coach Woodson and yeah, Danny Ferry)...  The man was going to retire years ago, but he stayed, rehabbed, and played for all of you because that's all he EVER wanted to do.

It makes me angry.  It makes me upset.  I don't play fantasy basketball.  I would never make a good General Manager because I'm not into the business of looking at contract dollars and seeing who needs to be dumped.  I am more human than that, and I can see relationships and chemistry.  Good luck, Cleveland.  You messed up, big on this one.  Lucky for you, there's still a chance that the situation can be made  "RIGHT".

Actually I think I remember reading some of Danny Ferry's comments from the press conference.  I remember reading that Danny said something about Zydrunas' jersey being raised to the rafters once his career is over.  DUH, THANK YOU FOR STATING THE OBVIOUS!!!  What's next Danny?  Are you going to tell us that "water is wet"?  Come on...  The point is, Zydrunas' career is not over ~ you know it and I know it...  Everyone knows his CAVS jersey belongs on his back, with him running up and down the court. 


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