Wednesday, October 05, 2005

More on LeBron

No secret, LeBron's status as a Cavalier is a touchy subject with many fans. Some, understandably, are refusing to let themselves get too attached to him, telling themselves there is no chance of the Cavs keeping him so they aren't hurt when/if he leaves.
In response to Abrasivist's comment to the post below, "LeBron is leaving Cleveland the first chance he gets," you need to remember that LeBron's millionaire status can also help Cleveland's cause of keeping him.
Certainly, the logical though process says, if you were filthy rich like LeBron, and you had the choice of leaving Cleveland for a bigger city or warmer weather, wouldn't you? But I don't think LeBron views Cleveland like some of the rest of us, like this trap of urban decay to be escaped from.
Remember, if the cold, cloudy Cleveland winters get to LeBron, he is a road trip away from warmer weather. If he wants to spend Christmas in the Bahamas, and time permits, he can. If LeBron elects to stay in Cleveland, he is not a prisoner of the city.
I think a lot of overblown hype is being made of "Jay-Z is going to steal LeBron away and make him a Net." Yes, Jay-Z is a minority owner of the Nets. Of course, he'd love to have LeBron on his team. Does that mean LeBron is going to throw away all he's done for the Cavs (and all the Cavs have done for him) at the drop of a hat just to play for his famous hip-hopper homeboy? Not necessarily.
LeBron and Darius Miles were like two peas in a pod during LeBron's rookie year. Then Miles got traded to Portland. They are still friends to my knowledge, and LeBron is harboring no outward desire to bolt town for the Blazers.
Let's not forget the Cavs' biggest ace: the NBA salary cap. The Cavs can offer more years and more money than any other team could. LeBron also must pass through a year of restricted free agency, sign a one-year deal and play out that year before he can become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2008.
In other words, he would have to turn down repeated Cleveland offers and jump through a lot of hoops before he is free to go. If LeBron is a free agent in the summer of '08, it is because he is dead set on testing the free agent waters. And given that the Cavs will have thrown just about everything they could have at LeBron by that point, it would probably mean it's a safe assumption he's made up his mind to leave.
The Cavs will have plenty of opportunities to sign LeBron (or trade him if signing him appears hopeless) between now and the summer of '08. He is going to have to really, really, really want to be a free agent in 2008 to become one.
I personally don't think that will happen. With the additions the Cavs made this summer, I think they can sign LeBron for at least one more contract, keeping him in Cleveland until the mid-2010s.


Abrasivist said...

My roots are not in Cleveland. They are from Chicago. I think sometimes an outsider can see through the smoke and mirrors a bit better than the locals.

I mean no disrespect, but I think the same people that say Lebron will never leave are the same people that once said the Browns could never leave. Modell blamed an outdated stadium for leaving and soon Lebron's bags will be packed blaming management for giving him a poor supporting cast. One just hopes that whoever Lebron is paying to do his talking for him then is less sneaky about it than the lying family that owned the Browns.

Amar said...

Kudos on a great article and a great site. Yeah, LBJ's status with the Cavs is a touchy subject with me, for sure, and I ambush anybody who threatens his status in the wine and gold on my site. But anybody who understands how NBA and sports economics works would also understand that not only can the Cavs offer far far more money than any other team, but have an owner that is more than willing to do so. And LeBron isn't some movie star or recording artist: he's a basketball player. He can play in Cleveland, Ohio or Cleveland, Tennessee and be successful and marketable. He's already the most popular player in the NBA, isn't he? He didn't need NY or LA to do that. And if the NBA is really rigged, then they would have had it such so that the Knicks, not the Cavs, won the "draft lottery" in 2003 in the first place.