Last Night's Winner: Danny Ferry

In sports, everyone is a winner—some people just win better than others. Like former Cleveland GM Danny Ferry, who despite his new unemployment, should feel a great weight lifted. Why? LeBron James: Not his problem anymore.

When someone "resigns" from a sports job, most people just assume they were secretly fired, but this time it's easy to believe that Ferry wanted no part in the future of the club he helped rebuild.

Look at it this way. The LeBron James saga does not end on July 1. This will take time. Everyone who wants to make an offer will be allowed to talk. He'll visit Chicago and New York. He'll listen to Miami and the Clippers and Mark Cuban and heck, he might even fly to Moscow for a sit-down with Prokhorov. The wining and dining and parades and billboards are part of the fun for him. But when that's over, he will sit down and make one of two choices: Money, fame and the adoration of billionaires and movie stars (Knicks) or the same amount of money and fame, plus the adoration of Northern Ohio suburbanites. (It's just a guess, but I'd wager on the former.)

Advertisement

Now imagine that throughout this entire weeks-long, very public ordeal, you're twisting in the wind as the GM of Cleveland. You have nothing to offer him that he doesn't already have. You're simply praying that LeBron's loyalist sympathies will overwhelm his desire for fancy restaurants. Scenario One: You win the lottery, he stays and now the pressure to build a winner around an aloof manchild multiplies by 100. Yay? Scenario Two: You lose the biggest home town free agent of all-time and fans give you an impromptu Viking funeral on Lake Erie. Neither option is very attractive.

This way, no matter what happens to LeBron James and Cleveland this summer ... none of it is Danny Ferry's fault. He's got a clean slate! He'll get another, more peaceful job in Sacramento or Utah or any flat, salty place and some other poor schmuck will be tasked with convincing the big man to stay—and rebuilding the shattered psyche of a scorned fanbase when he fails.

Boy, I would hate to be that guy.