Think about this starting five…
Mo Williams, Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, Antawn Jamison, Shaquille O’Neal (with J.J. splitting the time so they can run small ball. )
Look, I know what you’re thinking. They’re washed up. They’ve got nothing left. Iverson, McGrady, and Shaq can’t play together. All of them want the ball all the time.
I could see the vets yucking it up. I could see Shaq make jokes: “We’re the Geriatric Trio.” But I could see them playing with absolute purpose, knowing full well the idea of compromise. Think about it. Iverson has his stats. He wants respect. McGrady has shown his skills. He wants respect, and a playoff series win. Shaq, with each season, wants to prove over and over again that he can still dominate the big men in the league. Do you see him absolutely destroying the Heat center….(sorry, Z…or anyone else they put in there). Don’t you see Miami even having Bosh come over for a double team?)
This could happen right now.
This coming season is unlike any other. The Cavaliers have a unique opportunity to pick up fans in a new way. Lebron stuck it to us on national television. The nation is waiting to see how we’ll react. I know all the practical thinkers out there are saying blow up the team, it’s time to rebuild. We don’t want 94-02 again, with the forty win seasons and the numbing mediocrity.
I understand that angle, but this coming season is very important, not only for the city of Cleveland, but for the people and the players watching how we attract what could be a new level of popularity.
We CANNOT blow up this team up.
Signing these star veterans would be looked at instantly as some kind of act of desperation, a way of sticking it to Lebron. But Iverson, Shaq, and McGrady are too angry and proud to simply fall down and die. We are in a perfect opportunity to sign them to short-term deals, something we are trying to do, if or when we do indeed have to rebuild.
Sign them all to one-year deals. Give them as much money as you can, which will probably be more than any other team. Give them a chance to repair or reignite their image, and give the Cavaliers a chance to show other players in the league that Cleveland is one incredible place to play.
Sports is supposed to be entertainment, folks! Not a series of practical decisions meant to steadily improve a small-market team.
This is a great time to put on a show, to steal some of the thunder from Miami, to create a one-year rivalry, pitting age and experience against talent and hubris. Will we win? Perhaps…Perhaps not…but it’s how we fight that respect is gained.
And we have a coach with the determination and vision to fit all the pieces together. Would Shaq slow down the offense? Possibly, but he’ll be playing 20-25 minutes a game, whereas we have J.J. to create what could be (through practice, compromise, and one helluva of a collaborative rebounding effort) one of the flashiest starting fives in recent years.
Chemistry is not something someone can predict accurately. But what you can’t do is hold these star’s pasts against them. They want to win. They want to be relevant again. Let them try it together, with a team surrounded by players with playoff experience and, perhaps most of all, a chip on their shoulders. Let them try to inspire a fan base with revenge on their minds. Is that emotion not the exact same thing they (A.I., T-Mac, and Shaq) are feeling? Don’t they want to prove everyone wrong? Doesn’t this Cavaliers team want to prove that they can win without Lebron? Doesn’t Byron Scott want to prove that he can win a championship?
The pieces are all in place. All it takes is a call to their agents. Call them, Dan Gilbert. Give them whatever’s left, and let this team duke it out and give everything it has. When it’s over, then…well, you’ll be where you are now, which is probably where you’ll be next year too. What do we have left? We need this year. We’re in the same conference as the Magic, the Heat, the fountain of youth Celtics. This is our chance to push the fight back at everyone else. When in our history has there ever been opportunity quite like this?