Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A different perspective on LeBron

I received an e-mail today in response to my post below on LeBron James.
In the post, I get a little pushy in asking for LeBron to accept his contract extension offer from the Cavaliers. If you read the post, it sounds like I am taking his acceptance for granted.
I used the wrong language. What I should have said is that if LeBron is going to accept the extension, he needs to do it soon so that the Cavs have the best chance to re-sign Drew Gooden and make a splash in the free agent or trade markets.
If you are assuming LeBron is going to accept the five-year extension hook, line and sinker, you might have another thing coming, the e-mailer warns.
He is convinced LeBron will not sign a contract extension for the full five-year amount offered.
He says LeBron might sign a two or three-year extension, but will not sign a five-year deal because he doesn't want the Cavs to get lax in building a winner around him.
I could see that happening. LeBron was burned with near playoff misses in his first two seasons. He had to carry the team through two playoff rounds this year. All in all, the Cavs still have some upgrading to do if they want to build a championship team around LeBron. A LeBron-worthy roster is not something GM Danny Ferry can simply make materialize. It takes time and some misfires to put that type of team around LeBron, considering what a total abomination the Cavs were when the team drafted him.
LeBron might want the threat of him leaving hanging over the Cavs' heads to ensure that they remain as vigilant as he is about winning.
If LeBron keeps the threat of departure in place, it also dramatically increases his leverage within the organization. Right now, LeBron says "jump" and the rest of the organization says "how high?" Right now, LeBron's mother and girlfriend are treated like royalty whenever they set foot inside The Q.
If LeBron commits to the Cavs for another five years, will that continue, or will the special treatment for LeBron and his family start to wane?
If LeBron tells the Cavs "no" or "I don't want five years," many fans will probably throw up their hands and say, "I knew it. He's gone. Start stitching his last name across a Nets jersey." But that might not necessarily be the case.
The Cavs stand to lose something if LeBron doesn't commit to Cleveland for the next half-decade. But LeBron might stand to lose something if he does.
There are two sides to every story. In Cleveland, sometimes we forget that in our rush to feel sorry for ourselves.

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