|ESPN.com: Opinion||[Print without images]|
Chuckling at the misfortune of others is fun sometimes. It's why we laugh when someone falls. It's why we watch "To Catch a Predator" reruns. We're laughing because we're glad it's not us.
Everyone except Cleveland fans pointed and laughed as the Cavaliers fell to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night and set an NBA record for futility with their 25th straight loss.
Upon his departure to Miami, LeBron James probably didn't want the Cavs to win a championship without him, but, in all likelihood, he didn't want them to end up in the bowels of the Eastern Conference and on the wrong side of NBA history, either.
Last season, Cleveland had the best record in the NBA at 61-21. This season, the Cavaliers are a league-worst 8-44. The Cavaliers are experiencing more ill will than one team can handle: No team in NBA history has gone from the best team in the NBA to the worst in consecutive years.
Ranking third in home attendance (20,416), Cleveland fans are still holding on to some hope of redemption. But with a declining squad, attendance numbers are sure to recede quicker than James' hairline.
All joking aside, the Cavs' dismal season could indicate what's to come for two squads that are in danger of losing their franchise players. The New Orleans Hornets and Denver Nuggets are just one decision away from becoming the Cavaliers of tomorrow.
NBA rumor mills are putting free agent Carmelo Anthony out of the Mile High City and closer to a Decision 2.0 special this summer. Denver fans should pay attention; Cleveland's present misery could be a glimpse into your future.
The Hornets are in the same boat, as soon-to-be free agent Chris Paul toys with the possibility of leaving the struggling franchise. Although Paul isn't the No. 1 scorer on the team, he is the most integral, dishing out 9.8 assists per game. Thanks to injury, New Orleans had a glimpse of life without CP3 last season and dropped 17 of 25 games without him.
The balance of an NBA squad is a delicate one, and no team is immune to being "LeBron-ed" by the departure of a franchise player. So the next time you laugh at the Cavaliers' expense, stop and think -- with one Decision, your team could be next.