How LeBron’s Thoughts Could Change If The Cavs Lose Now


LeBron James coming to New York has always been a slim possibility.  Well, unless the Yankees are playing, then he’ll come.  But joining the Knicks?  Probably not.  For me, the most compelling reason for him to come, as I discussed in an older post, is that legacy-wise, for some inexplicable reason, winning championships in a major market carries more caché.  To me, because of his otherworldly abilities, I assumed his free agency thought process would really be more about “Where would I like to get some rings?” rather than “Where can I get enough help to win a championship?”  If he loses now, in just the second round, would that change his mental approach to the latter question?

There are still games to play, and I wouldn’t be surprised if LeBron willed the Cavs to victory yet.  And if he does go out now, it might not even effect his mindset at all.  However, since idle (or idol) speculation is all we’ve got left in New York right now, let’s look at possible ways that the King’s summer free agency could be effected by this surprise turn of events:

1. A Solid Foundation

If LeBron goes out now, he’s gonna want to win a ring more than ever.  Let’s be honest, even if we got LeBron and say Chris Bosh, we’d still be at least a year away from winning it all.  It might only be a year or two of a rebuilding process, but I dunno if LeBron’ll want to wait around.  I would think that a team like the Bulls or Mavs which already have several pieces in place might be more attractive.  It’s easier to go from 30 to 60 than 0 to 60.

2. Supporting Cast

With the exception of Game 1, Mo Williams has been a no-show in the playoffs this year and last.  Antawn Jamison and Shaq have made cameo appearances here and there (props to the Big Shaqafella for netting 21 points in Game 5).  Everyone on team, save JJ Hickson, has hit their peak and plateaued already, or like with Shaq & Big Z, they’re declining.  That said, if LeBron was healthy (& thus aggressive), I believe he could win a championship with this crew.  The question is will this make him lose confidence in them, or at the very least, long for better bandmates?

If so, then for the Knicks to have any chance, their pitch can’t be “Come to New York — it’s great!”  It becomes all about that space they cleared up to get a second max player.  They have to do a joint recruiting process: “LeBron and Bosh/A’mare/Joe Johnson, if you two team up you can wreck havoc!”

3. The Stigma Of Individual Failure

If LeBron wants a team that has a solid foundation and someone great to support him, it would seem like the perfect combo would be joining the Miami Heat and Dwayne Wade.  However, if he does that it’ll always hang over his head that he never won a championship without Wade.  You can say sure, well if he joined the Bulls or the Mavs then they could say he never won a ring without Derrick Rose or Dirk Nowitzki.  The difference is that neither of the D-Boys (Dirk or Derrick) ever won without LeBron either, and he’d clearly be far and away Option #1.  Wade’s shown he can win without LeBron, and since LeBron would be joining Wade’s town, at best LeBron would be #1 and Wade #1a.  There’s even a decent chance that Wade would be #1 and LBJ would be #1a.  The D-Boys would clearly be #2.

Not to sound Knickself-serving, but if LeBron and Wade both came to New York, only then would the King clearly be #1.  However, the stigma would remain, plus I think there’s no way that Wade comes here, so no way it happens.  But I can fantasize.

4. The Booing

If the Cavs lose game 6 in Boston, then LeBron’s last image of the Cleveland fans will be of them booing him.  It’s not like that’ll be the only thing he’ll remember, but you gotta figure it ain’t a great last taste to leave in his mouth.  A couple of thoughts on this.

First, TrueHoop wrote a post blasting Cleveland fans for booing LeBron.  I say boo on TrueHoop.  If LeBron was simply missing shots and the fans booed, well that’d be lame.  They were booing the lack of effort and desire.  Players are allowed to have off-nights.  They’re not allowed to take the night off.  That said, TrueHoop is right-on in ridiculing people’s post-game comments that this irretrievably ruined LeBron’s legacy or proves he has some fatal flaw.

Second, how ironic would it be if booing did turn him off a bit from Cleveland and caused him to go to New York where he’s sure to be booed relentlessly?  Okay, not relentlessly because for the last couple of years LeBron has brought it to every game before his elbow injury.  However, the New York fans (& media) wouldn’t have waited this long to rip him apart.  Many would’ve complained about his lackluster start to Game 1, and then they would’ve tore him a new one after (& during) Game 2.

Truthfully I don’t think the booing will have much of an impact, but it’s always fun to talk about booing.  And boo on you if you disagree with that.

5. The Lack Of Offense?

Okay, this one is totally stretching it due to my homer-ism.  Cleveland’s been known for having a fairly unimaginative offense.  In Game 5, the Cavs were only able to muster 88 points.  Is it possible that LeBron looks at that and thinks I want to play on a more free-flowing, high-scoring offense?  If so, where better to look than Knicks’ coach Mike D’Antoni?  Here the points will never run dry.

Fine, fine, so maybe the other half of the equation is that the Celts also scored 120 points, and perhaps defense was more of a problem.  ‘Course LeBron would be hard-pressed to find a better defensive coach than his own Mike Brown.  So maybe LeBron should see how the other half lives and check out the World O’ Unending O.  In NY, perhaps he can disprove the old credo by showing that y’know what, sometimes offense can win championships.

…Yeah, I still don’t think he’s coming either.