What is the first thing you think of when you think of ex-Chicago Bulls GM Jerry Krause?
I think of THE QUOTE.
''Players and coaches don't win championships; organizations win championships.' -''What I said was, 'Players and coaches alone don't win championships, organizations win championships.' I was terribly misquoted. I am an organization man, but a wire-service reporter used the quote without the 'alone' and then everybody picked up on it. Including the team.''
-Krause via the New York Times
Um, he wasn't terribly misquoted. He was slightly misquoted. There's not a lot of difference between the quotes, even if Krause thought that there was. I believe that the late Jerry Krause felt like he was an equal partner in the Bulls Championship runs.
It's not a secret that I'm not the biggest LeBron fan, but I have a question for Dan Gilbert. I'm going to write one sentence down on a sheet of paper with one statement and one statement alone on it.
Players and coaches alone don't win championships, organizations win championships.
Circle: AGREE or DISAGREE
I guarantee you that Gilbert would circle Agree. Then underline it. Then put !!!! after it. The reason I bring this up today is because this past weekend Dan Gilbert fired Championship Coach Ty Lue. You know how many coaches in the NBA have an NBA Finals Championship (as a coach) on their resume? 4. You know how long ago Lue won that Championship? 2 years ago. I'm not saying that Lue was the best coach ever, but.....
Let's review the 2015-2016 Cavs, top to bottom, shall we? And then we'll give you a quick "where are they now?" synopsis. (Still around in Bold.)
Owner Dan Gilbert - Re-investing in the Q and still the owner.
GM David Griffin - Contract not extended
Coach Ty Lue - Fired
Assistant Coach Larry Drew - Earlier in the week he was named the interim coach. He said, "No I'm not."
Dellavedova, Matthew - Gone
Frye, Channing* - Traded (*then later re-signed).
Irving, Kyrie - Gone.
James, LeBron - Decision II, he couldn't get out of town fast enough.
Jefferson, Richard - Retired
Jones, Dahntay - Free Agent (Retired?)
Jones, James - Interim GM Phoenix Suns
Kaun, Sasha - Retired
Love, Kevin - Injured
McRae, Jordan - A player for the Capital City Go-Go. (A minor league affiliate of the Washington Wizards.)
Mozgov, Timofey - Now with the Orlando Magic, his 4th team in the past 2.5 years.
Shumpert, Iman - Scored 0 points for the Sacramento Kings Last Friday night.
Smith, J. R. - If not for an un-trade-able contract, he would be gone. Today he's the basketball equivilent of a dingleberry.
Mr. Khloe Kardashian - Averaging 7 points, 9 rebounds a game for the Cavs.
Williams, Mo - Coach at Cal-State Northridge
So what's left of that championship team today? An injury-prone all star, a washed up has-been, a poor man's Dennis Rodman, and Channing Frye. Oh, and let's not leave out the LEAST important cog in the 2016 Championship Cavs, Director of Pro Personnel Koby Altman.
Koby Altman was promoted to Assistant GM because of his expertise in Pro Personnel and then was promoted to GM. After becoming GM, Altman promptly littered the NBA with terrible trades AND Altman (had) reportedly told James (in 2017) that he had trades lined up and wanted to fix the team's culture, but that James also needed to ramp up his own effort on the court. A guy who played Division III basketball, in Vermont, and was younger than 3 of the players on that Championship Team, called out James and is currently guiding the ship for the Cavs.
Here's an All-Star Team of Former Cavs from the past decade.
G - Kyrie Irving
G - Dwayne Wade
F - LeBron James
F - Anderson Varejao - (Currently playing for Flamengo in Brazil)
C - Shaq
Go ahead and ask them what they think of Dan Gilbert, on the record, today. I bet you'll get ringing endorsements like "he was the owner" or "he signed the checks."
While Cavs management chased away surly veterans, they were drafting busts like Anthony Bennett (#1) and Dion Waiters (#4). To me, the Cavs won DESPITE ownership and the front office, not BECAUSE of ownership and the front office.
Dan Gilbert's strength? He spent money. Not all owners spend money so he gets credit there. These are the top 5 reasons the Cavs won the Championship in 2016.
Dan Gilbert's Spending Habits
2016 was barely a team effort. You had the Big 3 and interchangeable parts.
How many NBA Owners have chased off a Franchise player...TWICE?
You can have a GREAT front office in the NBA, and unless you have 2 or 3 superstars, you ain't winning squat. You can have a HORRIBLE front office (like trading Kyrie Irving for Magic Beans), but if you have the right unhappy players, you can still win.
Ah, and that's the ruse isn't it? Winning in any sport is about having the best players. How do you get the best players? In Dan Gilbert's case:
LeBron: Fell in their lap because the Cavs sucked.
Kyrie: Fell in their lap because the Cavs sucked.
Kevin Love: Recruited by LeBron.
Again, Gilbert's only real skill set when it comes to sports is taking a pen and writing checks.
If I was Dan Gilbert, I would take out the frustration of my basketball team having lost millions of dollars in franchise worth on JR Smith. JR Smith isn't having fun playing in Cleveland on $14 million dollars a year, so he wants a trade. No one wants to pay JR $30 million over the next 2 years. Since LeBron is gone and Kyrie is gone, I'd put the screws to Smith.
I would walk up to Smith, put my finger square in his chest and say "We're sending your dumb ass to Turkey. Since I can't buy you out, I'm trading you to Fenerbahçe in the EuroLeague for a bag of basketballs. I'm paying your contract's worth, through your new club, for you to go away. If you don't show up in Istanbul, you're in breach of contract and won't be getting paid. Nike is the Kit Manufacturer of your new team, and if you're even 2 seconds late reporting, we're 'leaking' that JR SMITH HATES NIKE. Have fun with that PR shitstorm. Oh, and have fun learning Turkish."
And I'd walk away.