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Watching Cleveland lose at home to Boston last week in the game before the team fizzled in the showdown with the Heat is proof enough that the Cavaliers did not have a Plan B in the event that James left, a responsibility that falls on the shoulders of the owner -- who not only lost his best player, but also fired the coach and general manager responsible for the two best years in Cavaliers history last offseason. It is Gilbert, and not James, who is primarily to blame for the state of the franchise ...
... Successful organizations must adopt and believe in an institutional philosophy. The Cavaliers had won 66 and 61 games the previous two seasons, the two best win totals in franchise history. Gilbert sent the message that he did not believe in his front office, firing coach Mike Brown and general manager Danny Ferry even as the possibility of losing James as well hung over the team.
The takeaway is that Gilbert is blaming everyone but himself.
But in preparation for a potential James departure, Gilbert stood pat, let James control the negotiation and then was left without a chair when the free agent music stopped. Judging from his actions and his words, Gilbert apparently believed that his team wasn't very good, that his star was a quitter and that his coach and general manager weren't good enough to win a championship -- harsh assessments for a team that crossed 60 wins in consecutive years. What is more likely is that Gilbert clearly did not know what he wanted after the tough playoff loss. The result is a 2010-11 team without a compass and a fan base of season-ticket holders who thought they were going to be watching championship-level basketball paying to see a team that might not even make the playoffs.