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No amount of LeBron James' forgiveness can wash away Dan Gilbert's ineptitude at running a franchise

The Cavs over the previous four NBA Drafts have had five top-four selections, including three overall No. 1 picks. And despite LeBron’s return, Cleveland still might not have enough talent to win the Eastern Conference.
by Berry Tramel Published: July 14, 2014

Talk about loyalty. LeBron has signed back on with an outfit that doesn’t have the first idea on how to assemble a team. And LeBron has left a franchise, the Heat, that does.

There is no Pat Riley in Cleveland. No basketball mind that understands culture and fit and an eye for talent, at least no mind that’s been apparent.

In Miami, LeBron won two titles and made four NBA Finals. But none came easy. The Heat one won title when it wasn’t the better team (2013; the Spurs let Miami wiggle free) and had to stage a rally against the aged Celtics to win the 2012 East Finals before dispatching the Thunder for the O’Brien Trophy.

The point is, winning big, winning championships, is hard in the NBA. Excruciatingly hard. Even when you’ve got the best player, and a great supporting cast, and a brilliant basketball mind calling the shots, and an owner with some class. LeBron had all those in four Miami seasons; he won two titles and was lucky to get that.

Now LeBron is in Cleveland, with no brilliant basketball mind. The weight of Lake Erie is again on LeBron’s broad shoulders. LeBron has brought redemption to Dan Gilbert. Now comes the hard part. Can LeBron bring his owner a clue?

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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