The Alternative Universe Blueprint

Yesterday I finished reading Jason Lloyd’s The Blueprint: LeBron James, Cleveland’s Deliverance, and the Making of the Modern NBA which offers fascinating insights into the salary cap, contract clauses and how trades work. However one Fun Fact was world altering crazy.

In the 70s the Cavs were owned by this Donald Sterling character…soon as a player showed promise he’d trade them away…he constantly traded first round picks basically running the franchise into the ground. It’s the Clippers prequel. By the early 80s he was so hated in Cleveland he explored the possibility of moving the Cavs to Toronto! Like yo everybody, I’m out.

The NBA wasn’t prepared to move to Toronto yet; so they engineered a similar Donald Sterling situation where they kicked the crappy owner out of the league. While those boardroom shenanigans were unfolding the Chicago Bulls drafted Michael Jordan. Once their ownership issues were settled the Cavs quietly assembled their “great” 80s team: Brad Daugherty, Mark Price, Ron Harper and Larry Nance, and head coach Lenny Wilkens. Oh and of course Craig Ehlo…yessssss.

But that’s crazy…the Cavs would have come to Toronto sometime between 1980 and 1983. I dunno if you’d still have the Jordan shot, the whole LeBron thing is done. Fat Shawn Kemp! Would basketball even take in Toronto considering this was slightly pre-ish Jordan (you remember how strong the Force was with the Leafs)? Toronto needed to see Jordan to understand basketball.

That’s an alternative universe I wouldn’t mind visiting but I dunno if i’d recognize that NBA. When a team moves entire destines are shaped…past, present and future. We can’t even mourn properly because we don’t even know what we’ve lost. Or what we would have gained.


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