No use in Cavs crying

FRANK ZICARELLI,QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:41 PM ET

Now that the NBA’s free-agent pool has all but dried up, the second-guessing does no good for anyone when reflecting on what could have been.

In Toronto, general manager Bryan Colangelo had to face the music on Thursday and insists, at no time, was it wise for him to move Chris Bosh.

In Cleveland, Colangelo’s counterpart, Chris Grant, met with the media on Friday, a day after LeBron James announced on U.S. and Canadian television that he was going to the Miami Heat to join Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

“Looking back at what we’ve done, I wouldn’t do anything differently,” Grant said.

“We had a very competitive team that was in contention to win this year. So, if you look back and say: ‘You should have traded him at the trade deadline’, I don’t even think that’s realistic.”

Like the Raptors, the Cavs did their best in pursuing every option in trying to surround James with quality pieces.

Unlike the Raptors, the Cavs spent well beyond the luxury threshold, the ultimate signal that a team wants to win.

Grant told the media gathering that James called the team minutes prior to his decision.

The loss of James is devastating to the Cavs and to the Cleveland region. Like Toronto, there is no face for franchises clearly in transition.

James, Bosh and Wade represented the biggest fish in this free-agent frenzy, followed by Carlos Boozer, who went from Utah to Chicago; Amare Stoudemire, who left Phoenix for New York; and Joe Johnson, who stayed in Atlanta when the Hawks offered their shooting guard a max deal.

In the coming days and weeks, perhaps even months, bit players will sign, minor moves are likely to get engineered, but the most impactful deals have already been consummated.

There are household names such as Shaquille O’Neal, Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson available, but each is well past his prime.

By far, the biggest winners this off-season is the Miami Heat. President Pat Riley hit the jackpot by securing the services of Wade, James and Bosh, creating a buzz in South Beach and causing much anger in other parts of the NBA landscape.

While disappointed in losing Bosh, the Raptors weren’t surprised, but Toronto does emerge as one of the biggest losers.

Its loss, though, pales in comparison to the hole James leaves in Cleveland and the bitterness his departure has elicited.

New Jersey isn’t far behind, losing in the draft lottery when the club fell to third spot after having the best odds of winning the rights to take Kentucky’s John Wall, who went to Washington.

The Nets put the full-court press on James, erected a huge billboard right in Manhattan to thumb its nose at the Knicks, but came away with Travis Outlaw, who agreed to a five-year deal worth $35 million US.

“We have a vision of a championship team and need to invest wisely and for the long term,” owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a statement after James announced he was heading for the Heat. “We have more than one plan to reach success and, as I have found in all areas of my business, that is key to achieving it.”

For a guy who was aiming high, Prokhorov struck out.

The team he so desperately wants to upstage, the Knicks, did get Stoudemire and New York engineered a solid trade by moving David Lee to Golden State for Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike and Ronny Turiaf.

Through this sign-and- trade, Lee hit the jockpot by earning a six-year deal worth $80 million.

Dallas kept centre Brendan Haywood, paying him $54 million over six years, but the Mavs are said to be very much in the market to make more moves.

In Boston, GM Danny Ainge took care of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and will add veteran big man Jermaine O’Neal as the Celtics seem poised to challenge Miami and Orlando in the East.

Memphis overpaid to keep Rudy Gay ($82 million over five years) and it’s easy to see why so many have been critical of Atlanta’s max deal for Johnson, who has yet to get the Hawks out of the second round.

Milwaukee kept John Salmons, while Darko Milicic, the forgotten member of the 2003 draft class, accepted Minnesota’s four-year deal worth $20 million.


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