don’t claim to have the math skills the NBA used to figure out the draft lottery, which will send Zion Williamson to the New Orleans Pelicans, rather than to Cleveland, New York or Phoenix. But I do know this. The league rules allow such things, like LeBron James coming and going from Cleveland (twice) to Miami and then Los Angeles.  

But what the NBA doesn’t do is try to make the teams that lose franchise players better or at least make an effort, whether franchises are capable of making right decisions if given a little help. Those who watched the television show that revealed the upcoming draft order had to wonder how the Cavaliers lost LeBron James, rolled down to the fifth spot, when they, New York and Phoenix had the worst records in the league – and still see the Los Angeles Lakers get a higher pick (No. 4) than Cleveland.

I keep hearing each team has the same chance to add free agents. In the past 25 years, other than Kevin Love with Cleveland, I can’t think of more than a couple of free agents in or near their primes who have gone to teams that didn’t have either great weather or were glamour teams. When was the last time you heard of an NBA franchise in Detroit, Indianapolis, Denver, Sacramento, Portland, Milwaukee, Utah, Atlanta, Charlotte, New Orleans or even Chicago announce the signing of one of the top five free agents?

Making pitch for the Indians 

While it is easy to complain about Cleveland Indians’ owner Paul Dolan, one must to admit his front office led by President Chris Antonetti and General Manager Mike Chernoff have a way of finding starting pitching. The current group of youngsters, such as Shane Bieber, Adam Plutko and others, plus veteran Danny Salazar, made the thought of trading top-notch starters like Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, somewhat understanding. Dolan gets criticized for cutting payroll, but he has shown the desire to wait until he has the upper hand, rather than chasing trades in an attempt to come from behind. Every trade or signing he has made has been an attempt to throw down the hammer, rather than obtain a player who might help overcome a team ahead of the Tribe. I would expect he would do the same thing this year if the opportunity presents itself.

Browns are catching on

It has been an interesting offseason for the Cleveland Browns and for the first time since they returned to the playing field in 1999, they have the biggest name in the city.

And it’s not Baker Mayfield.  

It’s Odell Beckham Jr.  

Is he worth the trouble? Wait until you see him make one-handed diving catches. And by all indications, his former teammates say he is a good guy in the locker room and receiver room. I think he has put his new coach, Freddie Kitchens, in a tough position. How they both react will be a major deciding factor as to how this team will do this year.

Read Les Levine online at cjn.org/Levine. Follow Les at Facebook.com/Cleveland JewishNews.

Disclaimer

Letters, commentaries and opinions appearing in the Cleveland Jewish News do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, its board, officers or staff.

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