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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

LeBron James is not leaving Cleveland

It has been the hot topic of discussion since last spring: will LeBron James return to Cleveland Cavaliers after the end of the 2010 season or will he exercise his opt out clause and seek employment with another team? I am going to put to rest once and for all the rumors that King James' silence have undoubedtly created: LeBron James will be a Cleveland Cavalier next season. Many have speculated that LeBron will leave and head for a destination because he can make more money in places like New York or LA. To those people I would say news flash: LeBron already generates close to 100 million dollars in revenue when you take into account his salary combined with endoresments. For him its not about the money. Never has been. There are others who would point to the fact that he could not pass up the opportunity to play for a championship alongside someone such as a Kobe Bryant or Dwayne Wade. Again, I say news flash: LeBron is playing with what might be the most talented supporting cast he has ever had in Cleveland to date. and he is having a lot of fun doing it. Watching tonights game versus the Nets, it amazed me how deep the Cavaliers are, that Anderson Varejao, once a starting forward, is now a 7th or 8th man, and that is without having Shaquille O'Neal due to injury and Zydrunas Ilgauskas because they have to wait to re-sign him. Guys lke Jamario Moon, JJ Hickson, Anthony Parker, and Jawad Williams have become good role players carryovers from last year James and Mo Williams. Antwan Jamison actually turned out to be the better acquistion for the Cavs than Amare Stoudemire, because they add the scoring that Stoudemire would have produced without having to give up the defense that they would have lost by trading JJ Hickson. Should Daniel Gibson and Delonte West return in time for the playoffs they will have the deepest Cavalier team ever in the playoffs. LeBron is having fun with the Cavs, as evidence by his pre-game rituals of throwing the talcum powder in the air and horsing around with his teammates. He loves the city of Cleveland. So why is he being so secretive about his plans for next season? There are several trains of thought on this issue. The first is that LeBron just wants to finish out his existing contract, which techincally does not expire until 2011, and that being the consummate businessman any talk of reworking his contract before then wouldn't be prudent. The next is that this has all been a ploy by James to goad owner Dan Gilbert and GM Danny Ferry to make the off-court acquistions necessary to complete the Cavs quest for a champisonship. The Cavs decision to sign Shaquille O'Neal in the off-season, combined with their recent trade for forward Antwan Jamison, might have been enough to put them in positon to win the franchise's first title, and now all James wants to do for the rest of the season is focus on playing basketball. Finally, a team such as LA would have to do a major overhaul of its lineup, which could only mean parting ways with all-star Kobe Bryant, to have room under the salary cap to sign a player like James. Financially it does not make sense for other playoff contenders to try to absorb James' salary and still be under the salary cap. And James already having made it to the finals once would not want to be part of the rebuilding process that is New York, he wants to win now. Like I said before: come the summer of 2010, LeBron James will still be a Cleveland Cavalier.

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