Cavs GM Jim Paxson appeared to be next. Less than two weeks after Silas' exit, it was reported that Paxson would be gone "within 48 hours." Then came the news that "because of the decisions being made," LeBron wanted out before the end of his contract. In Cleveland, chaos and panic set in.
The new local (and national) anthem became, "What in the hell is going on?"
The perception of the Dan Gilbert Era one month in: "This dude doesn't have a plan."
"I'm struggling right now. This is driving me crazy!"
His name is Jamal Jeter. Distant cousin to Derek. Cavs fan to the death. LBJ protector. Say anything bad about "his team," he gets heated. Calls people, asks for numbers of those who make ill statements. He's like Cube, "XXX" ready.
"I think [Gilbert] saw the bright lights, the future, the growth potential and bought it. He dropped his 350 million dollars, but he didn't see everything. He didn't realize how much of a mess he was in until he got the team. No Carlos Boozer. The GM and coach weren't getting along. No draft picks in 2006. No first-round draft pick in 2007.
"The team, if you seriously look at it, is really not that good. They're right where they're supposed to be. And as bad as it is now, the future looks even more bleak. It's like putting a round peg in a square hole. Plus, the perception we're getting is that he's not communicating anything with the players, so they don't know what's going on, either. But I can't blame him for their losing. I think it's the ownership change, not the owner."
Webster's defines perception as such: "Discernment or judgment; insight gained from observation."
Perception is a funny thing. Some will tell you that perception is reality. And once you don't have control of perception, it can ruin every plan you have to turn a once-doormat franchise into the old-new Bulls.
But perception is not reality. Reality is. And the reality is that Dan Gilbert has made only one move since coming in as owner of the Cavs. And judged against the number of coaching changes in the NBA this season alone, he's done nothing different than half the owners in the League have done.
Reality will tell you that Paul Silas was gone before Gilbert even asked him to leave. Not only was the relationship between Silas and Paxson beyond repair, Silas apparently was upset with what insiders say was "meddling" by outsiders with everything from his philosophy to his "rotation of players in games." Silas even went so far as to tell some reporters during his final days that he wanted out. That known, Gilbert's hands were basically tied.
Paxson is still GM. That's reality. There has been no change. Information false. But the impact of the rumor has been damaging which is something Gilbert might not be able to control.
The reality is, as bad as things look right now, and even if the Cavs don't make the playoffs during the length of his contract ... until 2007, LBJ is going nowhere.
But in this case, the perception of what's going on in Cleveland is more real than any reality could ever create.
"We stopped playing our No. 1 point guard for no reason; and as a team, we didn't know why."
His name is LeBron James. Franchise. League. Damn-near MVP. Best Ever?
"We lost our coach, we get new players, we get new ownership, and now 'Pax' might be getting fired it's been difficult. The chemistry has all been shifted. That bothered me."
Webster's defines chemistry as such: "The study of the properties of matter."
Does it matter that right when the Cavs got a win they desperately needed, the New York Post reported Spike Lee as saying, "There's no guarantee that LeBron is going back to Cleveland"? Backed with the matter that 'Bron's Nike deal gets "bumped up" past its existing $102 million if he signs with the Knicks?