Factory of Sadness

A blog dedicated to Cleveland sports

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The Decision, Four Years Later…

Four years ago LeBron James got on national TV and “took his talents to South Beach”. I was studying abroad in Greece at the time so I didn’t get to see it. I attempted to stream ESPN Cleveland through the cheap hotel Wi-Fi, but was only able to catch bits and pieces. I was finally able to figure out what happened during a spot of clarity where I heard someone call in screaming and get dumped off the line pretty quickly - I think this was probably around 30 minutes after the actual announcement happened. I even made sure to have the broadcast DVR’d, because I, like many others, thought there was no way he gets on national TV for a one hour special to leave Cleveland. Needless to say upon my return to the States I never watched the special, though I did keep it for awhile considering whether I should or not. I never did, it eventually got deleted, and I never even saw a highlight of that night until I was watching the broadcast of LeBron’s return to Cleveland in the season after.

Now, four years later, it almost feels as if nothing has changed. Sure, LeBron now has two titles and has made the last four finals - but he is currently a free agent and through pure media speculation he is choosing between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat in the coming days. All along I’ve felt LeBron’s people are using Cleveland to force Miami into spending some extra money, but maybe he is legitimately torn between what to do. No matter what sides he chooses he is going to be a villain to someone - though choosing Cleveland probably paints him in the better light to the larger majority of NBA fan.

Cleveland also seems like the better choice from a roster stand point. Maybe Cleveland isn’t built to win next year due to inexperience in the playoffs - but they’re set up  for a longer run than Miami currently is. Kyrie Irving is far and above the best player between the Cavs and & Heat for potential teammates. I’d also argue that Andrew Wiggins is going to be more reliable that Dwayne Wade, since there’s always a large chance Wade will be out with injury. Wade is a great name, but no longer the great player he once was. Miami added Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger earlier in the week, but I don’t think that improves Miami’s roster enough in the long term.

Furthermore, nothing builds LeBron’s legacy more than bringing Cleveland it’s first major sports title since 1964. He’s got Miami to the finals four straight years and won two titles now. If he doesn’t see Miami being able to win more long term why does he go back? Nothing will ruin his legacy more than staying with the Heat and being unable to win titles. He’ll always be one of the best players to ever play the game, but he wants more titles.

At the end of the day, I think only LeBron knows what he is going to do and he has not told anyone (despite all the rumors of random people being “in the know”) except maybe his family & agent. As of now it seems like a 50-50 shot on which team he chooses, so why not draw a ton of attention to yourself (especially if you’re a business, entertainer, etc.)? I bet most people who have done so have gained a large chunk of followers on Twitter from one fan base or the other (if not both). What’s it to them if they guessed wrong? Nothing.

Where does everyone think LeBron will end up & why?

Filed under cleveland cavaliers cleveland cavs miami heat nba lebron james cleveland cavs cavaliers

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NBA Free Agency Frenzy: LeBron Edition

Things have escalated over the last week in regard to the NBA free agency period. Specifically in relation to LeBron James and where he will be playing his basketball next year. All the rumors lately point to LeBron returning to Cleveland. It should be noted none of these rumors are being started/reported by national media sources - but by a local Clevelander and Q-Tip. It has been capped off today by reports that Dan Gilbert was flying to South Florida today. Dan later tweeted that he is enjoying the day in his back yard, but obviously until he posts a photo with today’s paper proving such, there’s no reason to actually believe him…

I think everybody knows (or at least should know) nothing is for certain until it comes out from LeBron or his agent. Remember when all Cleveland fans through LeBron wouldn’t leave Cleveland once it was announced he was going to have an hour long “decision special” on ESPN? No way LeBron goes on TV to break the heart of Cleveland fans everyone thought. Nope, we all (should) know better.

Personally, I think Miami felt they had the big three locked in for a return once they all opted out - potentially selling them on something that they cannot now deliver, a better roster. Over the past years we’ve seen players take pay cuts to join the Heat - but it looks like the players who were identified as the new wave of take less to win now players may not be as apt to take less. What we have now is LeBron’s agents and marketing team getting a little restless and wanting to see an improved roster. What does that mean if your working for LeBron? Let’s start Cleveland rumors - knowing full well they will get back to the Heat.

Every team would love to have LeBron - few actually have the cap space or connection to make that happen. Cleveland is one of the teams that could get LeBron on a max contract (which he is reportedly seeking) and would be an intriguing option. It’s probably one of the few teams Miami actually fears LeBron could bolt for. Thus, by putting word out LeBron is “all but signed” with Cleveland, the pressure is on the Heat even more to deliver. Just today we’ve heard reports that the Heat are talking to Chris Humphries and Marvin Williams. Yesterday it was Luol Deng.

Don’t think we’re hearing about these now by accident. I’m sure Pat Riley has talked to numerous other people prior to this, but there was no need to make it public knowledge. Now there is a need - the need to show LeBron that there is a plan and the team will be better than it previously was. If the big three were sold on a better roster being put in place after an opt-out the time to act is now, but will they find any buyers without official word from James on what he is going to do? It’s a tough situation that requires a lot of backdoor communications that no one who is reporting on this is privy to.

As of today, I think LeBron will resign in Miami with the other members of the big three and the roster will get a tad bit better (it would be hard to get much worse from a bench stand point). When you make the finals four straight years you’re doing something right. The fact that you’re doing it in the much easier conference means nothing, other than the fact that you should be fresher come the finals. 

I sincerely hope I am wrong and LeBron does come back to the Cavs, but I refuse to get caught up in any of the hype and rumors currently surrounding this topic. Based on LeBron’s past actions I don’t find it hard to believe in the least he is using Cleveland as leverage against Miami right now - and part of me doesn’t blame him - because it is the best leverage he has to making Miami spend more money.

Filed under NBA Cleveland Cavs Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James LBJ Cleveland Cavs Basketball

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Stupid Tweet of the Day: 7/5/14

Maybe I could get behind this statement if that best season ever resulted in a Super Bowl win. I’d even accept that statement if it meant the Browns made the playoffs. But, unfortunately, that best season ever resulted in a 4-12 record. A second round pick should be for someone who has talent AND can stay on the field. I’m sure I could go through the list of second round picks in the draft we lost our second rounder and find many players I’d take over Gordon after his latest run in with the law in North Carolina.

In Gross’s defense, he also Tweeted something I completely agree with regarding Josh Gordon.

There’s absolutely no need to release this guy right now. Try and rehab him the best you can and hopefully you have a future contributor to this team. If he goes completely off the deep end so be it - just don’t let him walk to another situation and potentially thrive. 

Governor Pat McCcory (of N.C.) always talks about N.C. citizens not putting their “stupid hats” on in times of extreme weather. That’s some advice Josh Gordon could follow 24/7 for the rest of his playing career - if there is one left to be had.

Filed under NFL Cleveland Browns Cleveland Browns Josh Gordon

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Today in Cleveland Sports News

Kyrie Irving set to get max extension offer from the Cavs:

According to Chris Broussard, and reported in multiple outlets, the Cleveland Cavaliers will offer Kyrie Irving a max extension tomorrow, the first day of free agency.

This should come as no surprise. It’s hard enough to get stars to come here, let alone stay here. When you have the opportunity to keep a guy of Kyrie’s skill and potential around you do it, at whatever the cost. Am I scared to be offering an injury prone PG this much money? Absolutely. But he has been the Cavs one bright spot since LeBron left and if this team goes anywhere it is going to be because of him.

The Browns are trying to extend Brian Hoyer’s contract:

Hoyer’s agent confirmed that the Browns are trying to sign Hoyer to an extension but it will be very difficult to do, as agent and Hoyer are content on taking a wait and see approach.

Again, not surprised. Get Hoyer at a discounted rate now if you can, because chances are he’s going to play at some point this season and at the very least look like a good back-up, if not much better. I take this as a good sign in regard to Hoyer’s recovery from his knee injury. If there had been any set backs or concerns about the healing process I don’t think this news is out there. There’s obviously no scenario where Hoyer resigns right now (unless the Browns greatly overpay), but can’t fault the Browns for trying.

Chris Perez does an interview for the Plain Dealer as Indians begin three game set in L.A.

His response to do you miss anything about Cleveland… “Not really”. 

I really only put this here to have something about all three teams in Cleveland. Fact of the matter is I have the MLB.TV package and can barely make it through an Indians game. If it’s not the offense lacking it’s the bullpen. If it’s not either of the above it’s the defense. There always seems to be something going wrong. I am disappointed I missed Josh Tomlin’s one hit masterpiece Saturday night. If this team is going to reach their goals for this year the rest of the pitching staff needs to put in some performances like that. 

Filed under Cleveland Cleveland Cavaliers Cleveland Cavs Cleveland Indians Cleveland Browns Browns Indians Cavs Cavaliers MLB NFL NBA Kyrie Irving Bryan Hoyer Chris Perez

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Andrew Wiggins was the Only Choice for the Cavs

Even before Joel Embiid was diagnosed with his foot injury, Andrew Wiggins was the only choice for the Cleveland Cavaliers to make at pick #1 of the 2014 NBA Draft. Needless to say, I’m ecstatic that the Cavs actually made Wiggins their choice and he’ll be in the wine and gold next year. Who did the pick come down to though? There were essentially three other options at number one: 1) Joel Embiid; 2) Jabari Parker; or 3) Trade. 

Option one, Embiid, lost pretty much any chance of being the #1 pick when doctors for the Cavs discovered he needed surgery on his foot. Even when he was “healthy”, he wasn’t. A back injury sidelined him at the end of the college season and through the post season tournament. If I’m a GM I’m not wasting my first pick on a center with an injury history against smaller and weaker competition. I’m certainly not wasting my pick on a rehabbing center after foot surgery and a prior back injury. The only way Embiid goes one, in my opinion, is if the draft class was as weak as last year’s. I’d take an injured Embiid over Anthony Bennett any day of the week and hope that he lives up to his potential while staying healthy. But, with a healthy Jabari Parker and a healthy Andrew Wiggins (and what has been a “playoffs or bust” mindset for the past two years) there’s no need to make the riskiest pick of all the possibilities. 

Option two, Parker, was without argument the most NBA ready prospect I saw play. He can create his shot and make something out of nothing, but his lack of defensive ability (or desire to play it) cost him immensely. Also costing him is the belief that he’s pretty much at his max potential, so there wasn’t much more to get out of him. I disagree with that assessment. I believe with the right coach and a commitment from Jabari he will improve his defensive abilities greatly. Many people compared him to Carmelo Anthony and I agree with that assessment. If Parker gets his shots he’s going to be lighting up the scoreboard against anyone. I’d take that with the #1 pick in the draft. For me the problem with Jabari was never one of talent, it was one of fit. His size seems to put him in the SF/PF tweener range. He’s likely too big to guard the elite athletic SF like Durant and James, but not the typical size of a PF to be battling down low. The Cavs took someone in exactly the same position last year with their #1 pick - Anthony Bennett. Plus, the Cavs already have Tristan Thompson in the rotation at PF (the #4 pick three years ago). I agree with the theory of drafting the best player regardless of fit, as the NBA is all about star players, but when there is more than one (potential) star player available, I think fit can come into play — plus who has the higher ceiling, and Jabari was second when compared to Wiggins in all those categories.

Option three, trade for draft picks, a veteran, or any mix of the two. It’s hard to analyze this choice because there’s no way of telling what was actually offered. The most reported offers were the Magic giving up their first round draft picks and Arron Afflalo for the first pick; and the Sixers reportedly offering their two first round picks and first second round pick. The Sixers later claimed they never made a run at the first pick, but I don’t buy that (I do buy that they didn’t have that exact offer on the table, though). The thing about any of these trades is that you may end up with two good players, but you’re not getting the superstar. The only chance of that would have been with Philly’s offer and taking Embiid at three, but as I mentioned before I don’t think he is worth the risk presented. When you have the chance to draft someone with the potential of Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins you do it, simple as that. There is a reason the Cavs received no offers for the #1 pick last year but plenty this year - these guys are franchise changers.

That leaves us with the newest Cavalier, Andrew Wiggins. Why him? Because he has everything you look for in a #1 pick. High upside, an athletic freak, and already comes in likely as the second best player on the team (I’ll put him behind Kyrie). What I love most about Wiggins is he doesn’t need the ball in his hands to create his scoring opportunities, but it’s not like he is incapable of doing so if need be. Also, the kid plays defense - something this Cavaliers team seemed to not do last season, even with a “defensive mastermind” at coach. I’ll admit, I was a little confused about GM David Griffin saying he saw Wiggins at SG, because I feel like once Wiggins puts on a little more muscle he is a prototypical SF — but then I looked at the free agent class of SFs and I have to believe he was trying not to scare any potential target off. 

All in all I think the Cavs are well positioned for a playoff run next year. I think GM David Griffin made all the right moves in the draft. I obviously love the Wiggins pick, but I might love the Joe Harris pick just as much. In addition to the new players the Cavs have a new coach who only knows how to win. I believe the attitude he brings along with his offensive playbook will vastly improve this team from where they were last year. As bad as last year was, we caught a break scoring the #1 pick in this past draft - and now it’s time to respond to the expectations of making the playoffs.

Filed under Cleveland Cavs Cleveland Cavaliers Cavs Cleveland Jabari Parker Andrew Wiggins Joel Embiid NBA NBA Draft

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Native American group plans to file a $9 billion lawsuit against the Cleveland Indians over Chief Wahoo

This is laughable and, quite frankly, nothing but a misguided attempt by the American Indian Education Center to profit off the recent attention that has been drawn to the Washington Redskins (as well as an attempt to gain some headlines). I personally can’t wait to read the legal filing and see how they’ve arrived at their $9,000,000,000 damage figure.

Filed under Cleveland Indians MLB Cleveland Indians

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Reviewing the USPTO Ruling on “Redskins” and it’s Impact

Making news this past week was the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) deciding to cancel trademark registrations dealing with the Washington Redskins. While most people seem to be addressing the impact this will have on a team from a business standpoint, there are also people now calling for the Cleveland Indians to be next on the USPTO’s radar. What everyone seems to be missing is, despite the headlines, the Washington Redskins still have an active and not cancelled trademark for their team’s logo.

The Redskins logo falls under Trademark Registration No. 2902746. This trademark was not a part of the ruling from the USPTO. Why? Likely because the word “redskin”, which was deemed disparaging, does not appear anywhere in the logo. Thus, all this talk about people being able to print their own Washington Redskins’ apparel is off base when it involves people being able to use the team’s logo. If the cancellations hold up you wouldn’t have to worry about printing the words “Washington Redskins” or just “Redskins”, but you still would not be able to use the team’s logo. Which is likely why the team is not overly concerned at this time. (One of the cancellations contains the logo and the word Washington Redskins - but just like the other logos cancelled, it was cancelled on the grounds of “redskins” being disparaging. The trademark for just the logo, as referenced, remains active and not a part of the ruling).

So, from NFL to MLB, that leaves the Cleveland Indians being next in line to deal with challenges to their team name (at least if you believe the columnists). The difference here is abundantly clear. “Indians” doesn’t have the same disparagement that “Redskins” does. It will be a much hard case for Native Americans to make against the term “Indian” than it was the term “Redskin”. Even that challenge wouldn’t affect the issue most take with the Cleveland Indians - that being the logo, commonly referred to as Chief Wahoo. The Indians themselves seem to be straying away from using the logo, as the “Block C” logo which used to be secondary appears to be the most prominent design on team apparel now a days.

Ultimately this ruling has no impact on the Cleveland Indians like many believe it should, nor does it eliminate the potential of the Washington Redskins to profit off their logo.

Filed under NFL MLB Washington Redskins Cleveland Indians Trademark Intellectual Property

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I can’t decide if I’m more excited about the Cavs season (thankfully) coming to an end or the Indians managing to win tonight’s game batting 1-13 with runners in scoring position. 

Filed under Cleveland Indians Cleveland Cavs Cleveland Cavaliers

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Free Agency Reaction: Where Are the Browns Now, and Where Do They Go From Here?

I have not been able to write an update regarding the Browns free agent acquisitions and departures, but came across one at the blog Dawg Pound Nation that analyzes and rates each one. I recommend it as a good read for those looking to gain some more insight on what the Browns did and where they are headed this upcoming season.

Filed under Cleveland Browns Cleveland Browns NFL