Matt on 03 24, 2010
LeBron James is an unrestricted free agent this summer, (have you heard?) and there are ridiculous amounts of hype about him possibly leaving. He’s the best basketball player on earth and only 25 years old. Everyone wants him. Some Knicks fans are convinced they’re getting him. Nets fans are holding out hope. Even the Clippers are going to make a run at him. I have a buddy who’s convinced he’s leaving, and I told him there’s no way he’s leaving.
There’s too many reasons for LeBron to stay. First of all, transcendent athletes, the best of the best, don’t just bounce around. Why? Because they know their legacy will be tarnished to a certain degree if they bounce around. Look at Shaquille O’Neal, for example. The guy’s played for five different teams in his career, but he clearly shouldn’t have. He’s one of the greatest talents ever, and clearly a franchise guy. Five teams? Really, Shaq? Common. When it’s all said and done, Shaq’s career will be looked back on negatively because the guy couldn’t get along with anyone. The point is that great players like LeBron should stay with one franchise, and remain classy. LeBron knows that.
Yes, there are many marketing opportunities in New York, but LeBron can pursue those after his playing days, too. Money will never be an issue for LeBron; he has more money than he knows what to do with. He probably wipes his nose with 20 dollar bills. The guy is from Ohio, and he would simply feel too guilty if he abandoned the state. He knows Ohio needs him, for their sanity. He wants to bring the city a championship very badly.
The Knicks roster is terrible, and LeBron only wants to win championships. Seriously, what are the odds that the Knicks would be able to get LeBron and Wade or Bosh? Even that still wouldn’t guarantee a title. The Cavs have a very nice supporting cast around him right now, and will have some cap space this summer too, with Shaq’s monster contract coming off the books. I’d definitely want to re-sign with a team that has Mo Williams, Delonte West, Antawn Jamison, Shaquille O’Neal, J.J. Hickson, and some nice other role players. They’ll probably try to add more pieces around LeBron after they re-sign him, too. The Cavs have put a lot of effort into getting help for the King. Sure, he hasn’t found a Pippen to his Jordan yet, but he has a lot of good players around him. It’s not easy to get two superstars on a team (unless you’re the Lakers, and teams donate players to you).
For those who think the Nets and Clippers have a shot at him….gimme a break. LeBron isn’t going to sign with putrid franchises like these two teams. Yes, it’s going to be boring when LeBron re-signs with Cleveland this summer. It won’t really be the big news that people were hoping for. My guess is he’ll sign a shorter contract to keep flexibility with his future, and keep management on its toes. If LeBron leaves, ESPN anchors will go berserk. You’ll have to tranquilize them… Thank god he’s staying. And if he actually leaves, you can have a full refund for this column.