January 14, 2010

Cavs tanked to get Lebron... well duh

Is anyone really surprised or disappointed that Cleveland may have tanked a season in order to get the best basketball player of this generation?

Did the Cleveland Cavaliers tank the 2002-03 season to ensure a better shot at drafting LeBron James? Former Cavs coach John Lucas, who was fired during that season, said he believes that's the case, according to a published report.

"They trade all our guys away and we go real young, and the goal was to get LeBron and also to sell the team,'' Lucas told AOL FanHouse. "I didn't have a chance. ... You can't fault the Cavaliers for wanting to get LeBron. It was hard to get free agents to come there.''

The Cavaliers finished the 2002-03 season with a 17-65 record, tied with the Denver Nuggets for the worst record in the NBA. Cleveland won the NBA's draft lottery and selected James with the No. 1 pick. Lucas was fired midway through that season.

While it does sound partly like a coach complaining about a team he got fired from, I wouldn't be surprised if the team philosophy was to sell off assets and gear up for the next season. Teams do that all the time in every single sport, so this really isn't a shocking revelation. Since Lucas was whining about it, I think that the team was trying to win, but perhaps not the front office. He was complaining more about the fact that management didn't fill his roster will All-Stars that year, but frankly sometimes you have to break things down and build them back up.

I mean it wasn't like the Cavs were the Jordan Bulls or anything.

And they couldn't specifically plan to tank to get Lebron because there's a lottery draft, meaning they don't automatically get the No. 1 spot. Planning to improve your team by breaking everything down, getting a good draft pick, getting a superstar and then building up from there? That sounds like good management to me.

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