So, LBJ and his friends are going to get together in their club house to decide how to divide and conquer the NBA free agency market in the coming weeks. My gut tells me that is bad for the Cavs, probably good for the Miami Heat. I can really see Pat Riley getting the moolah together to get the King to South Beach for an Olympic reunion with LeBron and D-Wade. As painful as that is to say as a Cleveland fan, its a realistic thought. Those two love to play together. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in that room though.
We alread have enough to worry about. Let’s not do LeBron James any favors and push him away over one bad game. Everyone has an off night, the guy just won the MVP and has to carry his team every night. Let’s not keep pounding him on the radio and the newspaper before its warranted. The Cavs are going to be fine. LeBron, Shaq and Mo Williams and the boys are going to pick it up. Defensively they’ll keep focusing on the big 3 and who cares if Rajon Rondo scores a billion points. The Cavs WILL win game 6 and 7. Its our job to get behind them as much as we can for as long as we can. We’ll have the entire off season and a tumultous summer to torture ourselves if something goes wrong.
2010, not to be confused with the RUSH album 2112, has become a year of interest for NBA fans everywhere. Its the year that just about every good young player not named Kobe Bryant become free agents(For the record Kobe becomes a free agent this summer). Most importantly, its the year that LeBronJames becomes a free agent. Two years ago, James, and Dwayne Wade negotiated smaller 3 year deals in order to line up the ability to make more money quicker as well as be able to get the “max dollars” from teams. From there other players like Carmelo Anthony followed. Now what we have is a dream team list of players on the open market in the same year that teams are clearing their payroll and playing with Y-league caliber players in order to reap the benefits in 2010.
So who’ll be going shopping for a new team you ask? Try these names on for size, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Tyson Chandler, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, Joe Johnson, Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Redd all be come unrestricted free agents in 2010.
Alas the crown jewel is King James. Every radio jockey, beat writer, talking head and blogger for that matter think that LBJ already has his bags packed, and Jay-Z’s plane all warmed up for New York. Heck, the Knicks have cut, traded and fired anyone that might cause them not to make an offer to James. The New York media builds a frenzy around everytime he comes because they know he loves it, and seems to be not a matter of if, but of when and how much it will take LeBron to come. I’m hear to tell you a different story. I’m hear to tell you that the Cavs are poised to keep LeBron and even sign another big name this year or in 2010 to complete the King’s court.
First, LeBron James is probably the second most marketable face on the planet next to Tiger Woods. Aggressive endorsement deals will follow him where ever he goes. They’ve come to him in Cleveland, they’d come to him in Oklahoma City, they would come, no matter what. Yes, his exposure to different opportunities would be greater, but companies are already seeking him out to hauck their stuff, he’s in Cleveland, not in hiding. LeBron has shown that he is very selective when it comes to the items and image he wants when he’s looking at endorsements, so its probably not as huge as we think. Oh by the way, he would be a big fish in an even bigger pond. He’d be competing with the Giants, Jets, Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Nets, Knicks and even Rutgers football for attention. Think those teams have a few marketable stars that New Yorkers love?
Second, most of the teams that would have the space to sign him would be worse then his current situation. The Knicks, Nets, and Bulls, all teams that have been mentioned as possible suitors in the LeBron sweepstakes have a combined record of 70-92. The Cavs are 41-11 and have reached the play offs or been the the finals in the past 5 years. Knicks, Nets and Bulls=0 finals appearances in the last 5 years. So what does that mean, they don’t have enough talent to make the push at the end. There is no doubt that LeBron’s skill could take any team into the playoffs, but he’ll need help to win. Right now the Cavs situation is better the all three of those teams combined. The other three teams are in the rebuilding stage and don’t really line up with LeBron’s goals of winning multiple championships. The Cavs have made every move LeBron has asked for in order to find a winning chemistry, and they are closer then ever. The Knicks, Nets and Bulls have been fighting off scandals, disgruntled players, stadium movement plans and roster re-working every year.
So what can the Cavs do? They can be just like LeBron and get aggressive. They’ll get the final swing at the fences when it comes time to sign James, and there is no doubt they’ll match or exceed any offer. Dan Gilbert is no chump. Next, they’ll find a big name and sign them. My vote(despite my cousins opinion) is D-Wade. You could argue that since the Cavs are in the East that they should get abig like Chandler or Amare Stoudemire. I want Wade. Wade and James grew extremely close this past summer at the Beijing Olympics. Can you imagine what Cleveland would be like with D-Wade and Bron Bron lighting up the scoreboard and tossing dimes everywhere at the Q. Clevelanders would be naming their first borns and quitting their jobs to get tickets. That combo would be like Pippen and Jordan all over again. Teams have shown it can work to have huge names on the same team. Insert Boston Celtics here. Yes the Cavs have a very capable and deep set of Guards, but what that spells to me is leverage. By packaging picks, Wally, Eric Snow, Anderson Varejou, Boobie Gibson,cash or a few other names together in any combination of deals they could get it done. They have plenty of depth to make something like this happen and still have a bevy of talent to go and win a title. So two dominate guards isn’t your cup of tea, how about Amare Stoudemire. You could probably start engraving the letters on the championship trophy now if that happened as well. Stoudemire would be athletic enough to move some of the Eastern bigs around to open things up for LeBron and his shooters. He could also run the floor and get other PF and Centers out of the game.
So don’t just think the Cavs and the city is going to just sit back and let our King move to another place to rule, we plan on putting up a fight. We plan on getting a ring, and this time everyone else can be a witness.