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Cavs shake-up already in motion

Updated: March 22, 2005, 10:59 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
The public hand-wringing Monday in Cleveland had everything to do with the Cavaliers' making the playoffs this year. The short term. The next 18 games.

The private hand-wringing was of a different nature entirely, encompassing the long-term future of the franchise. More precisely, how does new owner Dan Gilbert keep LeBron James in Cleveland?

Monday, we got our first glimpse into Gilbert's plan of attack on both issues.

The Cavs had lost nine of their last 12 and appeared to be fading fast. Monday, the team fired head coach Paul Silas, citing concerns the team is in danger of slipping out of the playoffs.

"We felt we have a deep roster, and we believe in our players," GM Jim Paxson said at a news conference announcing the firing. "That progress wasn't being made. We felt if we didn't make this decision, we jeopardize our chances of being a playoff team."

The next day, James led the way with 29 points and the Cavs defeated the Central-leading Detroit Pistons 91-76.

Cleveland is the second team in a week to fire its head coach – the Orlando Magic dismissed Johnny Davis on March 17 – despite massive improvements over the course of the season. Two seasons ago, the Cavs were the worst team in the NBA. Last year they won 35 games. After Tuesday's victory, they matched last season's total, and according to Insider's projections, the Cavs are on course to win 43.

Despite the optimism surrounding LeBron, the team has issues.

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