Not that the way has been totally smooth. "I hope I prove Fitch right," Frazier said before Thursday's game against Kansas City. But that night he made Fitch look like a dunce as the Cavs staggered through a 119-104 whipping by the Kings. Frazier's shooting was off in the first half, and in one 17-second stretch he committed two sloppy fouls. Fitch had to sit him down. In the second half Frazier scored 11 points but was repeatedly burned on defense.
" Frazier looked like walking death tonight," said Fitch. "If he went out tonight he'd get mugged. By a one-armed cripple." But two nights later against Boston he was the old Clyde again, giving the Coliseum folks a 22-point show as the Cavs knocked off the Celtics 103-98.
By week's end Frazier still had hardly seen anything of Ohio except for the Coliseum, the airport and Chones' house. He had not been anywhere near a nightspot or downtown Cleveland. Such time as he had, he spent house hunting. "People in New York make Cleveland out to be Siberia," he was saying, "but I'm going to like it here. When I think about it, what is there in New York to miss? The traffic? The concrete? The hassles? The cost of living and the taxes are lower here. I'll save money. And I'm a different Clyde now. I'm not the guy who's into nightclubs every night. I like being by myself. I'm into nature now."
An attractive real-estate agent took him on a dizzying tour of houses and condominiums in suburbs like Beachwood, Shaker Heights, Lyndhurst and Pepper Pike, all of which are at least 25 minutes from the Coliseum and 45 from the airport. "But right near the freeway," she kept saying. "I can see I'm going to have to get me a chauffeur," said Frazier. She showed him a $150,000 ranch house. "Couldn't get half my furniture in there," he said. Then another, on a one-acre tract. "I thought I'd be able to get some land, have some room. Man, 150 grand in Cleveland and this is all you get?" She suggested he might want to look at Senator Howard Metzenbaum's palatial home, a steal at $550,000. "Three years. That's how long I plan to be here. Not a lifetime," said Frazier. Finally he looked at one of the area's plushest condominiums. "No closets," he said. "In New York I have a dozen closets. Couldn't get the round bed through the door." He was still smiling.
"Ah, but look at the view," she said, ushering him to a window overlooking magnificent red-and golden-hued rolling woods.
"You call that a view?" said Frazier. "I'm used to looking out on the greatest city in the world."
"Wa-alt," said the woman a trifle impatiently. "This is not New York."
"I'm hip," said Clyde.