Cavs move on after win over Wizards
CLEVELAND -- What’s the best way to end the 2010-11 season?
With a 100-93 win over Washington and a standing ovation for radio play-by-play man Joe Tait. That was the story for the Cavaliers and their fans Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.
There will be no playoffs, there will be no shot at the Finals, there will be no best regular-season record in the NBA -- an accomplishment the Cavs reached in each of the previous two seasons.
On the bright side, there will be no worst record, either. Instead, the Cavs finished at 19-63, which was better than Minnesota’s 17-65.
Yes, the Cavs tied a pro sports record with 26 straight losses this season, yet still didn’t finish with the NBA’s worst record. And that says a lot more about the state of the league than it does about the state of the Cavs.
Those reasons and more are why the league’s owners will lock out the players when the collective-bargaining agreement expires July 1.
And while the Cavs didn’t make the playoffs, this will still be a somewhat busy time for them. The draft lottery is May 17. The actual draft takes place June 23. Neither will be affected by a lockout, so the Cavs will need to do their homework.
They also face some big decisions involving players currently on the roster. Coach Byron Scott said before Wednesday’s game there are no guarantees for any of them. And for those who do come back “there will be no excuses.”
In other words, Scott understandably gave some of the players a pass this season. But when you look around the league, you understand that nobody in this business receives a pass for long.
Next season, whenever that may be, the list will include all the returnees, all the newcomers, and yes, the head coach. You might want to throw in a few front-office members too, because this is, after all, the NBA.
And this is an owner in Dan Gilbert who clearly isn’t going to allow this franchise to become the L.A. Clippers or New Jersey Nets or Minnesota Timberwolves. The Cavs will get back to relevancy -- or there will be turnover, and lots of it. There is no gray area here.
But before it starts to sound too dark, we should get back to the good news, or the potential good news.
The Cavs do have two lottery picks. They do have two second-rounders. They were able to discover contributing members such as Samardo Samuels and Manny Harris -- who were never even drafted.
The Cavs also have a huge trade-exception that can be utilized before July 1. There are plenty of assets, and make no mistake, in a league where one player can make all the difference in the world, this thing can be turned around quickly.
Meanwhile, off the floor, anyone who has followed this franchise for any length of time knows things will never really be the same. At least, not when listening to the radio broadcasts.
That’s because Tait is the one person who definitely won’t be back next season -- calling it quits after 39 years. He went out with only as much fanfare as he would allow. That means a smile and a wave from Tait, and the standing O from fans.
By the time next season gets here, Cavs fans will certainly remember Tait. As for everyone else not named Byron Scott or maybe Baron Davis, well, there are no assurances.
And that’s really the way it should be following a season like this.