INDEPENDENCE, OHIO (AP) - Emerging from his office in sweats and a T-shirt, Byron Scott scooped up a stray ball and dropped a hook shot before heading over to the final press conference of his first season coaching in Cleveland _ an extreme season.
Asked to describe the 82-game, six-month odyssey of highs and lows in one word, Scott had a quick answer.
“Interesting,” he said.
Turbulent, eventful, dramatic and chaotic would work, too, in explaining the Cavaliers’ 19-63 mishmash of moments.
Maybe Scott’s fashion choice on Thursday best summed up Cleveland’s first-to-almost-worst season. He wore a gray “CSI: Miami” T-shirt, a nod to his favorite TV show and perhaps a not-so-subliminal message about what happened to the Cavaliers this season after You Know Who left for Florida.
It was a crime scene all right, and Scott joked that during some of the tougher times, like when the Cavaliers were embarrassed by LeBron James in his hyped Ohio homecoming or in the midst of an NBA record 26-game losing streak, he considered adding to the carnage.
“I had a moment where I wanted to kill everybody on the team,” he said.
He was kidding. At times, it wasn’t so funny.
The Cavaliers, who finished a dreadful season strong, winning four of their last six games and going 6-6 in their last 12, gathered at their training facility one last time before heading into an offseason of unprecedented uncertainty. As they said goodbye, many of Cleveland’s players wondered if they’d ever be teammates again. And all of them considered the possibility of a labor shutdown.
“I think there is going to be a lockout,” forward Antawn Jamison said. “I just don’t see it going into the season. The most important thing is for both parties to get to the table and discuss things out. Until that happens, we just don’t know which way it’s going to go. I feel sorry for these young guys because they have no idea of what to expect and I hope it’s not as bad as it was in ‘98.
“We might get something done. I think it is going to go into the late part of summer or early fall. I just don’t think it’s fair for fans, for ownership and for players.”
It would be especially cruel to the Cavaliers.
Because, as epically bad as they were for large chunks of their first season in eight years without James, there were enough positives to make the Cavaliers believe better days are ahead. This is the first time in five years guard Daniel Gibson’s season ended in April and not May or June.
He said watching the postseason will be painful.
“Being competitors, that’s why you play the game, to be a part of the playoffs and have a chance to win a championship,” Gibson said. “We’re building this thing the right way. So, it won’t be long before that feeling is gone for us in this organization.”