A Contagion In Cleveland?

John Beilein and the Cleveland Cavaliers “decided to go in different directions” this week.  The Cavs were 14-40 at the time of the rupture and there are plenty of reports out there saying that the locker room was in turmoil and players felt that they were being treated and coached as if they were in college and not in the NBA.  Not being in that locker room, I have no idea if that is the case – – and if it were the case, whether they ought to be coached as if they were in college.  The fact is that the Cavs aren’t any good and changing the coach is not going to turn this bunch of players into world beaters.

The fact of the matter is that the Cavs have stunk for a long time – – save for a few years when LeBron James was on the team.  James arrived in 2003 and the Cavs improved from 17-65 the year before he arrived, to a team that finished a game over .500 two years later.  However, from that point on, the Cavs have stunk when James is elsewhere; their combined record in those years up to the departure of John Beilein is 130-318 or a winning percentage of .290.  Let the record show that the Cavs have a history of ineptitude above and beyond the tenure of Coach Beilein.

Bob Molinaro had this observation in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot

Numbers game: Cleveland is a place where coaches go to be fired. With John Beilein out after 54 games, the NBA Cavaliers have had seven head coaches over the last 10 years. Ditto for the Browns.”

In light of Professor Molinaro’s observation, it seems to me that there are several possible explanations for such a circumstance:

  • Something in the Cleveland water supply causes coaches to fail.
  • An ancient civilization hexed the land there for eternity.
  • Ownership for the two franchises is well short of competency.
  • You make the call…

Maybe there is something to the possibility of a strange ingredient in the Cleveland water supply that causes off-center behavior beyond its coaches.  Browns’ OT, Greg Robinson is about to become a free agent; the Browns let it be known that they would not re-sign him for next year.  In my naivete, I would have expected Robinson to hit the weight room and go on a conditioning binge to set himself up for the best free agent deal he could muster.  Consider these entries on his résumé:

  • He is only 27 years old
  • He was a 1st round pick (by the Rams) in 2014.
  • In 6 seasons he appeared in 83 of the possible 96 games.
  • In 2019, his salary was $5.5M – – rather cap friendly.

Given that environment, I am sure that Robinson’s agent was thrilled to learn that Robinson and another man were arrested in Sierra Blanca, TX and officers found 157 lbs. of marijuana in their rental car.  A drug-sniffing dog pointed out the cargo and Robinson has been charged with a bunch of stuff including possession with the intent to distribute.  I guess you could say that his agent saw his bargaining leverage go up in smoke.

Here is the aspect of this case I want to watch for.  I wonder if the lawyer defending Robinson in this matter will try to spin the circumstances here by saying Robinson had no intention of distributing the marijuana; instead, he intended to throw a “really big party” to celebrate the signing of his new free agent contract later this Spring.  It would be interesting to see if the lawyer could actually say that without giggling.

Speaking of potential NFL free agents, I am intrigued by a report that says Robert Quinn might be a free agent and not retained by the Cowboys.  Something does not compute here.

  • Quinn will only be 30 years old next season; last year he led the Cowboys in sacks with 11.5 sacks in 14 games.
  • He has had double-digit sacks 4 times in his 9-year career and one All-Pro season where he scored 19 sacks.
  • Quinn has been traded twice in the last two seasons.  Once he fetched a 4th round pick (for the Rams) and then he fetched a 6th round pick for the Dolphins.

That seems like an awful lot of movement for what is statistically a proficient edge rusher in a time where NFL teams place a high value on edge rushers.  His salary in 2019 was only $6M.  I need to find a medium somewhere to connect me with Paul Harvey out there in the great beyond so that I can know “The Rest Of The Story”.

The NFL has proposed a 17-game schedule and an expansion of the playoffs as part of a new 10-year CBA; and in exchange for those concessions by the players, the cut of revenues going to the players in terms of  salary cap and salary floor would increase by 1.0 to 1.5 percent.  Estimates say this would put a total of an extra $5B on the players’ side of the table over the 10 years of the proposal.

Let me assume the numbers are real; I have no way to evaluate those sorts of projections.  The players have been solidly against the 17-game season idea; I don’t know if they would be as adamantly opposed to expanding the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams as they have been to extend the regular season.  The proposal here maintains Thursday Night Football games – something else the players say they do not like even a little bit.  Now, however, those negatives come wrapped with a $5B bow ($500M per year for 10 years) around them.  The next move(s) will be interesting to see…

Finally, let me close with another observation from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot about another basketball team having more than its share of difficulties this year:

Deep slide: At 3-12 in ACC play, Carolina will have to up its game to avoid finishing in sole possession of last place for the first time in school history. So, the talent level at Chapel Hill isn’t what it usually is — maybe only three future NBA players instead of the usual six or seven. But that’s where coaching comes in, doesn’t it?”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



3 thoughts on “A Contagion In Cleveland?”

  1. Here in NC there is precious little discussion about UNC basketball. I think the rubber will hit the road during the next off-season. The Tarheels looked like a decent (not great) teams before Cole Anthony was injured. During his absence and since his return they have not been at all decent. You look down the roster and half the ACC would have been happy with that supposed talent level. It makes you wonder.

    In the meantime, NC State beat Duke as if they were NC Central. And State is not a great team either (they own two losses to Ga Tech). As we approach the NCAA Tournament the ACC looks like it may get as few as three bids. It is hard to imagine Duke or FSU making it to the Final Four, so this could be one of those rare seasons with nobody from the “premier basketball conference” playing for the championship.

  2. Doug:

    I told a UNC alum coworker the other day not to fret, it’s really not so bad that UNC is having “another” bad season after 20 years. Unlike Wake Forest, who has been having a bad season for the last decade.

    1. Doug and Steve:

      Carolina looked awfully good beating Syracuse today. I missed the first 7 or 8 minutes of the first half, but UNC looked like a potential “tough out” for the ACC tournament if they play that way from here on out.

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