"“He doesn’t want to tamper,” senior adviser to the president — and former Bulls season-ticket holder — David Axelrod said. “But as a Chicago fan, the president thinks LeBron would look great in a Bulls uniform.”"
Despite my post disagreeing with Bill Simmons‘ diminished assessment of LeBron, he does bring up some interesting points about free agency. Actually, one point which he brings up as something that won’t bring a title, I think is the opposite and is the way that Cleveland can get LeBron to stay:
"Staying in Cleveland, hiring John Calipari and sign-and-trading Jamison and Hickson to Toronto for Chris Bosh"
He says that won’t solve the problem, but uhhh, it seems pretty good to me. Maybe as a Knicks’ fan I shouldn’t have posted that here, ‘cuz we don’t wanna be giving the Cavs any ideas…
Much better is Simmons’ explanation of the possible reason to come to New York:
"Of course, [going to the Bulls] doesn’t have the same upside as New York: Biggest market, great fans, most meaning. If LeBron saved professional basketball in New York and brought Knicks fans their first title since 1973? That’s the best available accomplishment in team sports right now. Name me a better one. You can’t."
Even best is his summarization of LeBron’s choices and what they mean:
"It’s one of the greatest sports decisions I can ever remember: LeBron can choose winning (Chicago), loyalty (Cleveland) or a chance at immortality (New York)."
Although of course you could substitute Miami, Dallas or various other cities for Chicago.
TrueHoop has an interesting article that compares LeBron’s current journey to KG’s:
"to take the next step and actually rule over the NBA, King James might have to leave his initial team. Just like Garnett did."
"[…] Even though so many seasons were fruitless, ending the exact same way, Garnett stayed in Minnesota for 12 seasons, bound by a sense of loyalty to the franchise that drafted him as an unproven teenager […]Now he has an even better perspective that comes from an additional 10 years of living. And he says he was wrong.“Loyalty is something that hurts you at times because you can’t get back youth,” Garnett told reporters Thursday night when asked about LeBron’s free agency. “If I could go back and do my situation over knowing what I know now, I’d have [left] a little sooner.”"
That said, I think LeBron wisely has put himself in a different position than KG ever was. By signing a short-term contract that ended this year, LeBron is able to put more pressure on management to get him help OR to leave if they don’t do that. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that Cleveland needs to go hard after Bosh in a sign-and-trade. To me it seems like a no-brainer that Bosh has to leave Toronto. They have no cap space to sign any help for Bosh, so if he wants to go to a contender he’s gotta go. And Toronto realizes that, so they’ll be amenable to a sign-and-trade now versus say if Cleveland had brought up the idea during the season. Rather than let Bosh disappear for nothing, don’t the Raps have to strongly consider the Jamison & Hickson for Bosh deal?
Basically, whatever LeBron does, he needs to make sure he gets a legit #2 by his side. Even a productive younger Jameson (plus Caron Butler) wasn’t enough for Gilbert Arenas (when he was healthy a few years ago). Mo Williams definitely ain’t it either. Except for the one year when Sam Cassell returned to life and was a force, KG never had a legit #2 either. But all he could’ve done was whine about it, which wasn’t KG’s way. If the Cavs can’t pull off a sign-and-trade with Toronto, then James needs to make sure he ends up somewhere with either Bosh, Wade, Joe Johnson, A’mare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, Derrick Rose, Dirk Nowitzki or some other perennial All-Star. Remember, the year Jordan left the Bulls, Pippen still lead that team to like 50+ wins. If LeBron leaves the Cavs, does anyone think they’d even make the playoffs?
ESPN polled some of its’ columnists about LeBron’s future, and amazingly, only Mark Stein gave the Cavs a better than 50% chance of retaining The King (Stein put it at 60%). Henry Abbott went with 40%, Chris Broussard had 37%, JA Adande put 36%, John Hollinger 15% and Chris Sheridan 10%. The majority of them said he’d go to Chicago, with Miami coming in second. In fact, Chicago seems to be the spot that everyone’s talking about, including several GMs. Of note though is that it’s not like LeBron chats with various GMs throughout the league about his plans: it’s all speculation.
I think it boils down again to what The Sports Guy said: winning versus legacy. Obviously Chicago and Miami are both better set up for LBJ to win instantly, but legacy-wise they’ve got their huge detractions: playing in the shadow of Jordan or Dwayne Wade. Then again, the truly ridiculous talk involves Miami getting rid of Michael Beasley and others to clear even more room, and then getting both LeBron and Bosh to join Wade. If that were to happen, who’s to say they couldn’t literally win the championship for the next 8 years straight? That’s gotta look pretty good on your Legacy Resume. But then again, it could just be viewed like the 2000 Olympic team as a stacked group that of course should have won, but no one really raves about them (or remembers who exactly was on it).
Lastly, here’s an amazing video made by all the biggest names in Cleveland. Yeah, you won’t have heard of ’em, but somehow they even got the friggin’ Governor to come do this. Guess the man must be real busy…