Chad Ford: Cleveland is in Trouble

» June 23, 2009 8:51 PM | By Brandon Hoffman

Caught the B.S. Report with Bill Simmons and Chad Ford today. Simmons and Ford discuss the Richard Jefferson trade and break down the NBA draft. At about the 55-minute mark, the podcast turns from Sam Presti and Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City to Danny Ferry and LeBron James in Cleveland. Ford postulates:

“Sam Presti and Danny Ferry both came out of the Spurs GM mill. But they had such different approaches. Danny Ferry felt, ‘I have to get a lot of veterans around LeBron and we have to compete for a championship right away.’ And he really set himself up because now LeBron doesn’t have anybody young to grow around. There’s pressure on them them every year to win a title or LeBron’s leaving. And now these guys are getting older.

“The Cavs are in real trouble, because it is going to be hard for LeBron to look at Cleveland, and really come up with good reasons to stay there, other than it’s his hometown and he would certainly break the hearts of Cavs fans everywhere if he [left].

“He will have better options.

“Sam Presti seems to kind of understand, ‘I need to surround Kevin Durant with young talent that can grow together.’ They’ll continue to get better and better gradually, and right when it’s time for Kevin Durant to leave or not to leave is right when they’re going to start to make their run as a real contender. And that’s going to be too alluring for him to walk away from.

“I think the Cavs’ formula was all wrong. They should have surrounded LeBron with young guys. I think Presti has got it right.”

13 Responses to “Chad Ford: Cleveland is in Trouble”

  1. Tsunami Says:

    I’m still waiting on Chad Ford to be RIGHT about one thing Cavs related. He’s had 6 years, and he’s shooting 0%.

    How can he say the Cavs are in trouble when they have more options than they did last year at this time, and they just won 66 games. Other than Big Z, who can’t guard a tree anymore, how are the Cavs getting old?

    Ben Wallace was a non-factor to begin with. Other than a few quarters of solid man on man D against Kevin Garnett last year, he has been worthless. The rest of the Cavs are young.

    Mo Williams is 26, and he’s the oldest rotation player not named Z on the team.

    LeBron, Delonte, Mo, Gibson (who did absolutely nothing this year, and could very likely rebound from his toe injuries), Varejao (should they resign him), are all under 27. They drafted raw youth last year with their first round pick – Hickson.

    Their core is young, and productive. They still have many holes to fill, as was evident in the playoffs, where LeBron was the only one who showed up all three rounds.

    But they won 66 games last year – they will have another good season, and maybe they will match up better with Orlando this year, (and catch a few breaks along the way).

    This is the key point that everyone (Ford including) love to ignore:

    In 2010, LeBron has the option to join another team. That team will need to be about 20 million under the salary cap in order to sign LeBron. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, will have over 20 million to spend on OTHER STUDS, and THEN can sign LeBron. They are the only team that can do that – and you can bet your life they will – Gilbert has spent spent spent at every turn. So if the Cavs offer Yao Ming a max deal, they can sign him, and then LeBron AFTER that. Of the teams vying for LeBron, which of them can do that? Can New York? No. Can NJ? No. It’s time for Chad Ford to find another angle on LeBron’s departure.

    The Cavs have needs to address – they had them last year and addressed them quite well – this year, they have to address athleticism, front court depth, and length on the wings. Adding a freak athlete wing player is probably the easiest hole to fill in the NBA (and I bet the Cavs make an offer to Ariza), and they have a lot of trade pieces and expiring contracts.

    Don’t buy into what Ford says too much, Hoff – seriously, I’ve yet to read him write anything about the Cavs that has held any water.

    You should stick to Windhorst – he’s a realist and definitely has his hand on the pulse of the Cavs, much more so than Ford or anyone at ESPN/Fox.

  2. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    You said, “In 2010, LeBron has the option to join another team. That team will need to be about 20 million under the salary cap in order to sign LeBron. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, will have over 20 million to spend on OTHER STUDS, and THEN can sign LeBron. They are the only team that can do that – and you can bet your life they will – Gilbert has spent spent spent at every turn.”

    That’s not entirely accurate. The Miami Heat will have enough cap space to re-sign Dwyane Wade and another max-level free agent when Jermaine O’Neal’s contract expires. I’m fairly certain the Knicks are going to be in position to do something similar.

    The Lakers aren’t going to lose Ariza.

    I don’t know if the Cavaliers are in trouble. But I think Ford’s comparison of Presti and Ferry was spot on. You should listen to the podcast, it’s pretty entertaining.

    Ford also says, “If Mo Williams is your second best young player, I don’t see a future in Cleveland.”

  3. RealGM Magic Fan Says:

    “The Cavaliers, on the other hand, will have over 20 million to spend on OTHER STUDS, and THEN can sign LeBron.”

    No, that’s not how it works with the CBA.

  4. Tsunami Says:

    that’s exactly how it works when you have someone’s Bird rights.

  5. Tsunami Says:

    Kind of incredible they won 66 games with Mo Williams as their second best player isn’t it?

    What happens if they add more talent?

  6. Tsunami Says:

    I will listen to it – I’m just saying, Chad Ford sounds the alarm on teh Cavs every year

  7. 2Cleva Says:

    The problem for Cleveland is that come that summer, they will have to sell another player to coming to Cleveland to play with LeBron because the team won’t have much left to sell.

    What sounds better to someone like Bosh or Amare? Go to NY and try to lure LeBron there as well or go to Cleveland? Best to start anew in the biggest market in the world where there is money for both than piggyback to Cleveland where LeBron already has it locked up.

  8. RealGM Magic Fan Says:

    Tsunami, check capholds and such.

    Will they just go in with like 6 players renouncing anyone not named LeBron? Will they not add anyone in that time period?

  9. RealityChecker Says:

    Chad Ford is an idiot. Not only does he not get anything right about the Cavs he rarely gets anything right. Comparing OKC to Cleveland is a joke. A team that is and will be competing for championships is doing it wrong, while a team that is consistantly in the lottery is doing it right? What Chad Ford fails to realize that when Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Jeff Green are mature enough in 3 years to compete at a high level it will be time for the rookie contracts to expire. See the Bulls who have tried this, see the Mavs who have tried this and the Wizards who have tried this.

  10. xphoenix87 Says:

    Tsunami – The problem with that idea is, as Magic Fan said, the CBA institutes cap holds to protect against that sort of thing. For a guy like LeBron, his cap hold is 150% of his salary from the previous year. That means that he’ll still count as roughly $23 mil against the cap until they sign him. You can get rid of the cap hold if you renounce the player, but then you give up Bird Rights. So, if they renounced everyone but LeBron, that would leave them with Gibson, West, Williams Hickson and Darnell Jackson, as well as LeBron’s cap hold, which would put their salary at about $42.5 mil. Depending on where the salary cap is set (and that’s all up in the air with the state of the economy), I imagine that would leave them about $17 mil to work with. That’s a lot, but if you chucked all that at one guy, you’d be stuck with a pretty limited roster. Realistically, they aren’t going to be able to bring in another max free agent unless LeBron signs for drastically less than he’s worth.

  11. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    Here’s a good blog on Cleveland’s cap situation:

  12. A-Train Says:

    I agree with Chad Ford in theory, and Tsunami in reality.

    So much has been made of this “LeBron to Elsewhere” situation that he better go elsewhere or I’m going to go postal.

    Cleveland has a better shot at signing LeBron than any other team in the league.

    A wise person once told me, “LeBron makes the team a contender, not the players around him.” He can go to the Knicks and the team will immediately win 45 games and reach the playoffs. So, it’s not an issue of him NEEDING to go somewhere where he has Wade or Bosh or whomever as a co-pilot. There’s this obsession with him joining some other elite player somewhere.

    Think about it realistically. Where can he go?

    Brooklyn is out of the question because who knows when that stadium will ever be built, if it’s even ever built. So much for “LeBrooklyn.”

    Knicks because it’s New York City.

    Miami because it’s like Hollywood East. Plenty of young celebrities there. Pat Riley is there. Wade might be there. Etc.

    Atlanta for many of the same reasons. If you’re young, black, and rich, Atlanta is attractive.

    Chicago because it’s the biggest market near his hometown. But I don’t see him going there given the history between the Bulls and Cavs. At the end of the day, LeBron is a bit of a homer.

    Houston maybe.

    Phoenix maybe.

    And that’s about it.

    I say Cleveland and Miami are the favorites.

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