Thursday, February 25, 2010



That word has no business in modern day sports, which is exactly that: a business. People are saying that Z should spurn the Cavs, for the sole reason they dumped him at the trade deadline. They are morons. Forget the fact they gave him a 5 year $55 million contract, when everyone and their mother thought it ludicrous to give an aging center with chronic foot problems a contract that long. NBA teams have a responsibility to their paying customers, to put the best product on the floor as possible, in hopes to win a championship. Similarly, players have a responsibility to themselves and their families to put as much bread on the table as possible. And I am perfectly okay with this set up. Not long ago, the Boston Red Sox broke a ridiculously long championship drought. In the middle of what turned out to be their dream season, they traded their franchise golden child, Nomar Garciaparra, to solidify their chances of winning. People were quick to point out that Nomar deserved to be part of a Boston championship, because he was the face of the franchise, and put so much time and effort into making them a contender. Which is a fair point. But ultimately, he was shipped out and the team won. Some people were sad that he wasn't part of it, but the vast majority of Sox fans cared only about a championship.

I am not saying I don't want Z back, and I really do appreciate the effort and hard work he has put into the team and the city. But really, Clevelanders have been crushed time and time again by players bolting for greener pastures. Belle, Thome, Manny, Boozer, the list goes on. The underlying theme of this season, and for ESPN the go-to controversy starter, is Lebron bolting town this summer. Quite possibly the Cavs window of opportunity to win an NBA Championship is 3 months. It is widely known and accepted that Lebron was pushing the team to make a move prior to the deadline. I am pretty sure he was well aware that to make a move of any significance, the club would have to give up the expiring contract belonging to Z, or his personal project, JJ Hickson, or both. Which brings up quite a debate...

Where is the supposed loyalty due? On one hand, you have one of the longest single team tenured player in the league in Z. He's been through the rough times, he stuck around, he has reaped the benefits of the Cavs resurgence. On the other, you have the chosen one. He made Cleveland relevant (again?). He took a team of misfits to the NBA Finals virtually by himself. He has generated more money for the team, the city, and the state than any player in the history of Cleveland Sports (no official stats, just my educated guess).

If there is such a thing as loyalty in sports, I think Lebron wins out. He may leave after the season, he may not. I think he'll stay, but that's neither here nor there. The bottom line is, by pushing for this trade, Lebron ensured that even if he leaves, the Cavs will have a pretty good product to put out on the floor next year. The Cavs, meanwhile, have upheld their responsibility to the paying fans to put the best product on the floor as possible. And for all I know, and hope, this posturing by Z's agent is all a charade to make the league not investigate a pre-arranged deal for the center to come home. But the fact that some people are deeming this trade a karma killer for the Cavs is simply asinine.

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