Sorry, McBoners. I know I haven't been faithful to my weekly sports column. What can I say? I will try to remedy that failing in the future.
The Cavs hit the all-star break with a very respectable 29-22 record. Not phenomenal for the reigning eastern conference champions, but acceptable considering that the following key personnel have missed significant time due to injury or otherwise: LeBron James, Anderson Varejao, Sasha Pavlovic, Drew Gooden, Daniel Gibson. That's five rotation players out of eight. Consider that when James does not play, the Cavs are 0-6. When their starting five are all in the lineup? Try 11-1.
What does it all mean? a) Mike Brown has done a great job plugging holes. b) LeBron has kept his preseason promise to not let his team play bad, in spite of player absences. c) When the Cavs are healthy, they can roll with anyone. d) When they aren't healthy, they can still pretty much roll with anyone. Even with patchwork rotations featuring the likes of Ira Newble, Dwayne Jones and Eric Snow the Cavaliers have peeled off impressive road wins over Dallas, San Antonio, Orlando and Portland. They have beaten the Celtics twice.
Don't expect the Cavs to make a blockbuster deal before the trade deadline. The Cavs have little to bargain with, and will not move the two guys that teams want: Daniel Gibson and Anderson Varejao. Also the Cavs don't make big trades, and haven't since shipping Terrell Brandon for Shawn Kemp. That was in 1997. No, the Andre Miller for Darius Miles deal doesn't count. Why? Because we ended up with Darius Miles. Of course Darius Miles' inept play led directly to the right to draft LeBron James, so maybe I'm dead wrong. I take it back! Andre Miller for Darius Miles was the single greatest trade in franchise history.
Do the Cavs need to pull off a coup of a trade? Not if Larry Hughes keeps up what he's done in the past five games, which is average 21-5-2, including one 40 point explosion against Orlando. This is the kind of production the Cavs paid a shitload of money for, and if it keeps up, and the team gets and stays healthy, expect another deep run in the postseason. I hold to my preseason prediction that the Cavs will reach the finals again, and I do so without reservation.
I hate the all-star game. Every time I attempt to watch it, I can feel precious minutes disappearing from my life. Double that for the slam dunk contest. Depressing. Dunks are impressive in games, when people are trying to stop you from dunking. Humbug!
That said, congrats to LeBron James for his second all-star game MVP award, and to Daniel Gibson, who took home the honor in that game against rookies.
The Indians and ace pitcher C.C. Sabathia have agreed to put off contract talks until after the season. This is code for C.C. Sabathia will soon be playing for another team. I love C.C. and all, but the Tribe should do with him what the Tribe does so well: trade him for a gang of prospects. No way does this team pay 20 million a year in a long term deal. Nor should they.
Why any team would invest as much in a pitcher as, say, the Giants have in Barry Zito, or the Mets have in Johan Santana, is beyond my comprehension.
Now, I suppose Mark Shapiro and co. will hold on as long as possible with C.C. If the Tribe is in contention, they will ride it out for the remainder of the year. If not, C.C. will be gone. And someone will be selling prospects for a pitcher of C.C.'s caliber, boatloads of them.
Nice to hear Andy Pettitte's contrite attitude about his use of HGH. Are you listening Rocket?
Kellen Winslow wants to restructure his contract? Maybe he should fall to his knees and thank the fates that he's still alive after his boneheaded motorcycle accident three years ago. Then he should thank the Browns for putting up with his career and, indeed, life threatening antics. Winslow had a hell of a year. He should shut up and get ready for the next one.
This is tardy, but I can't resist. Former Browns head coach Bill Belichick and his Patriots failed in their pursuit of a perfect season. Excellent. Of course Belichick, the man who trashed our city's most beloved team and unceremoniously ran off perhaps the most popular player in franchise history, will forever have the last laugh. He, after all, has three rings. Still, there is a certain satisfaction...