The Cleveland Cavaliers are quickly becoming the laughing stock of the NBA. Oh, pardon me, they already are the laughing stock of the NBA. Boasting the worst record in the league with a laughable 12 wins, the Cavs have managed to go from being playoff contenders with a potential title in their future to the D-League rejects in less than a year. During their forgettable 26-game losing streak, fans created viral websites like this one dedicated to mocking the struggling franchise.
The question is: what should be done? From a public relations standpoint, the team is flailing hopelessly. The citizens of Cleveland are still supporting their team, but many of them are diehard Cavs fans purely out of anger towards LeBron James. The franchise is surviving more on negative energy than on anything positive. It is time for one of two things: either a new image that does not rely on the backlash of LBJ’s decision, or relocation of the franchise.
So as not to make Cleveland a less desirable city, the Cavs would be best suited by the first of these two suggestions. Let’s take a look at some past franchises that dealt with similar situations. When Shaquille O’Neal left LA, the publicity shifted to Kobe Bryant. When Carlos Boozer left Utah for the Bulls, the franchise moved its attention to Deron Williams. Instead of focusing on the negative effects of the trades, the teams chose to react positively and focus on themselves rather than the players that left them.
This is where the Cavaliers’ problem lies. Some may say that any press is better than no press—that is not the case. Negative press, which is what the Cavaliers have relied on since “the decision”, is slowly killing the team. The potential here for some positive, grassroots public relations is huge. The first step to rebranding the Cleveland Cavaliers is to ignore the LBJ situation. It happened a year ago—let go, Cleveland! By using PR to turn the negatives into positives, the team can recreate itself. Yes, LBJ left—it’s business. But look at everyone who stayed, and how they stuck together through the low points. That is where public relations for the Cavs should focus. By giving the franchise an identity as a whole, rather than individual units, Cleveland will be more of a family rather than a business franchise.