LeBron Leaves Lue With Golden Opportunity

With LeBron departing to L.A., Cavs head coach Ty Lue has a chance to prove his worth to owner Dan Gilbert, Andy Baskin says

Zach Gelb
July 09, 2018 - 1:43 pm
NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Memphis Grizzlies

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In the immediate aftermath of LeBron James signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, numerous people around the NBA gave diverse reactions to “King James” going to Hollywood, but what about those associated with the four-time MVP’s former team — the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Providing the behind-the-scene perspective in Northeast Ohio is Andy Baskin, a radio host for 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland who joined CBS Sports Radio.

Baskin, along with many other basketball fans throughout the country, was not incredibly shocked by James' decision. In fact, Baskin thinks most Cleveland fans were actually quite prepared – unlike the last time James left the Cavaliers, when the four-time MVP famously took his talents to South Beach in 2010.

“It’s nothing like it was the first time,” Baskin said on The Zach Gelb Show. “I don’t think anybody is really surprised. At the end of the day, I think a lot of people here in Northeast Ohio are thanking LeBron for everything that he did for the city — how much they appreciate the fact that we saw a championship here in 2016. It’s just kind of one of those things. In fact, even Dan Gilbert said that his number will be retired someday, so that’s a good sign. That’s not the same Dan Gilbert that watched him walk out the door last time.”

Speaking of Gilbert, questions have been circulating about his next move. Now that James is out of the picture, what’s next for the Cleveland Cavaliers? Contrary to popular belief, Baskin does not believe that Gilbert will tear the team apart and begin rebuilding just yet. From Baskin’s point of view, Gilbert will allow Tyronn Lue to work with this current roster and see what the 41-year-old head coach can do as the team transitions to a new era.

“I got to believe that Dan Gilbert does not want to blow everything up,” Baskin said. “I think he wants to see what he has right now and try to move forward. I think we’re all looking forward to see what Ty Lue can do. I think we’re going to get to watch a team that moves the ball. It might not mean wins, it may not mean the playoffs, it may not mean everything, but I think Ty is going to actually have the opportunity. I really think this is a good place for Ty to be right now — working with a younger team. I don’t think Dan wants to blow the whole thing up, and that’s what he’s going to have to figure out.”

Interestingly, Baskin would not rule out the possibility of James returning to the Cavaliers one last time before he retires.

“I wouldn’t rule out anything,” Baskin said. “I still think he’s welcome here in Cleveland. I think that Cavs fans will always embrace him now. Again, it’s nothing like it was before. If he did come back to finish out his career here, even if it was on a one-day contract, I think it would be a great party. I think it would be a lot of fun.”