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The Lebron Free Agency Saga

 

 

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If you would have asked me two weeks ago what the odds of Lebron re-signing with Cavs are, I’d have said 80% or somewhere around there. I couldn’t realistically see Lebron leaving his hometown team to make his legacy playing for someone else. It just didn’t seem right, but with the way the Celtics thrashed the Cavs in the playoffs, I’m not so sure. Lebron’s “supporting cast” has clearly been exposed to the point where it’s obvious that he isn’t winning a title with this ragtag bunch anytime soon. In Danny Ferry’s five year tenure as GM of the Cavs, he’s made shortsighted moves one after the other, picking up over the hill players and guys that didn’t help their previous teams win games. I just find it baffling that you have a player that good, who should be ridiculously easy to build around considering the Cavs haven’t had any bad contracts except the ones that Ferry has traded for, and they have nothing to show for it. Lebron has never played with someone that is even remotely close to being the 2nd best player on a championship team. Or even 3rd best player on a championship team. That is a massive failure. Two league sources have told SI.com that head coach Mike “A Random Fan From The Crowd Could Do A Better Job Coaching Than I Can” Brown is going to be fired and Ferry deserves to go with him. I think both of them need to be fired before Lebron even considers re-signing with the Cavs. With all this said, I’m going to take a quick look at some of the usual suspects as Lebron destinations and some other Lebron related news. This will probably be the last time I talk about the Lebron Saga unless something big happens, because there is going to be endless amounts of baseless speculation over the next two months as to where he will play next year.

 

Cleveland

KG’s Advice to Lebron: Loyalty is Overrated

Garnett advised James to put loyalty to the Cavaliers aside and do what’s best for himself and his family.

Noting the similarity in the two situations, Garnett said, “If I could go back and do my situation over, knowing what I know now with this organization, I’d have done it a little sooner.”

Garnett was traded to the Celtics after the 2006-07 season and won a championship with Boston the following season.

“Loyalty is something that hurts you at times because you can’t get youth back,” said Garnett. “I just told him, ‘Keep your head up, man. I’ve been there. You have a very, very, very bright future. Continue to work and make decisions based on you and your family.’”

It’s tough to argue with KG on this one. He was loyal to a fault and all it ever got him was a bunch of subpar teams that wasted much of his prime. If he’d have left the wolves instead of signing that contract, maybe he’d have 2 or 3 rings right now instead of just the one he got with the Celtics. As I previously mentioned, I think both Ferry and Brown need to be fired before Lebron should even consider re-signing with the Cavs. They also need to convince Lebron that they have some genius plan on how to get younger and more talented players on the roster. It’s definitely not going to be easy considering that they don’t have much to trade outside of Anderson Varejao and JJ Hickson, and those guys aren’t going to net you a real difference maker. I honestly have no clue how the Cavs are going to get better. Also, I feel dirty for linking to this, but there is a (totally unsubstantiated) rumor floating around the internet that Delonte West is sleeping with Lebron’s mom. As the story goes, Lebron found out about it before Game 4 against the Celtics and that’s why he played so poorly since then. Again, there is no reason to believe this is true, but if it is, that’s a totally legit reason to play like crap because this is some f****d up shit.

Lebron Lottery Odds: 40%

 

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Chicago

This is the “I don’t care if I have to play in MJ’s shadow, all I want to do is win” scenario. If Lebron does leave Cleveland, of all the scenarios out there this one would be most logical and met with the most acceptance by fans of Lebron (outside of Ohio). No matter how great of a career Lebron has, in Chicago he’ll never be better than Jordan. So this move wouldn’t be about legacy or being the best ever, it’d be about winning. The Bulls have Derrick Rose, who is already arguably a top 5 point guard in the league after only 2 seasons, and Joakim Noah, who is a defensive, rebounding, and hustle champion. They have gritty veteran guard Kirk Hinrich and promising rookie power forward Taj Gibson. Most importantly, they have enough cap space to offer someone a max contract. If Lebron were to sign with the Bulls, they could then do a sign and trade with the Raptors for Chris Bosh. An offer of Luol Deng and a 1st round pick would certainly get the job done, because it’s almost a given at this point that Bosh is leaving Toronto, and everyone there knows it. A team built around Lebron, Rose, Bosh, and Noah is guaranteed to win at least a couple of titles, and a few years from now, if they can get Rose and Noah re-signed, there would in all probability be many more to come. This all sounds good and nice, but DeRok made a very good point in the forums that we would quickly get tired of this Superteam dominating the NBA. I have to agree there. This would be fun to watch up until the point they win their first championship (which would probably be next season) and after that they’d probably be despised in the same way that the Lakers are. For that reason, I hope this doesn’t happen, because I like Lebron, D. Rose, and love Noah and I don’t want to start hating them.

Lebron Lottery Odds: 30%

 

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Knicks

This is the “Championships are overrated, I just want to be rich and famous!” scenario. I mean come on, the Knicks roster is awful, they have no draft picks until the next century, and Mike D’antoni is probably the most overrated coach in the league. Suns head coach Alvin Gentry has proven this year that he’s a better coach than D’antoni could ever hope to be. Gentry knows that for the SSOL (7 Seconds or Less) offense to be effective, there has to be some control among the chaos, and most importantly, you must play some defense. I doubt D’antoni will ever grasp this. Thus the reason he and Don Nelson never have, nor will they ever, win a championship. What the Knicks do have going for them though is that they have enough cap space to almost sign 2 max contract players and as everyone from NYC has told us 12 billion times over the past 2 years, they play in the greatest city in the world (this is unsubstantiated). Luckily for me I don’t have to keep going on about why Lebron signing with the Knicks is a terrible, terrible move, because Chris Broussard has already done it. I wish he would have written that article like 2 years ago to shut up all the Knicks fans about Lebron coming there. He really lays the wood to them in that article. What’s makes it even better is he wrote it for ESPN New York. Why you gotta do em like that Chris! It’s kind of like when Nas released Ether, his famous Jay-Z diss track. There isn’t any point in continuing to fight, because you already lost.

Lebron Lottery Odds: 10%

 

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Nyets

If you’re wondering why I chose to put up a picture of Dr. J, it’s because Bill Simmons has a great article on why Lebron is more like Dr. J than MJ. I would recommend reading it.

The Nets are the “I want to have my cake and eat it too” scenario. The Nets scenario combines elements of the Bulls’ young talented roster with the Knicks location of playing in NYC. 2 years from now the Nets will be playing in a brand new state-of-the-art arena in Brooklyn and Lebron would be surrounded by young, talented players. I say players plural because I’m basing this on that the Nets land John Wall. If they don’t, I don’t see Lebron going there. With Lebron, Wall, and Brook Lopez as their core, the Nets would have a promising future. Even more, they have additional young and desirable players such as Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, CDR, and Terrence Williams that could either be kept, or traded for other players that may fit better around Lebron and Wall. In addition, minority owner Jay-Z is Lebron’s best friend. That’s got to count for something. New Nets majority owner Mikhail Prokorov brings youth, enthusiasm, and deep pockets to the team and there is hope that he can do for them what Mark Cuban has done for the Mavericks.

There are a couple of reasons why the Nets may not have great odds of landing Lebron. First they need to win the lottery and get John Wall. That in itself only has a 25% of happening. Secondly, this scenario would require patience on Lebron’s part and he may not be willing to do that after 7 years of failure. This team would be very young and in all likelihood wouldn’t contend for a couple of years. Thirdly, as promising as young players look, there is always a chance that they don’t reach their full potential. This is the ultimate high risk, high reward scenario.

Lebron Lottery Odds: 15%

 

Everyone Else

The reason I lumped Miami in with the rest of the league is because I just cannot see Lebron going there. The Heat are D. Wade’s team and that isn’t going to change. It is probably one of only two teams in the league (with Kobe/Lakers being the other) where Lebron would be seen as the “sidekick” and wouldn’t be the most loved player on the team. Even worse, if Lebron did win a championship, there’s a good chance that people would say he won because of Wade and he couldn’t have done it without him. This happened with Kobe. Everyone said he only won his rings because of Shaq (myself included), but now that he has won one on his own, it has validated his other 3 championships in most fans’ opinions. And if that isn’t enough, I just don’t see Lebron and Wade effectively working together. As AI and Melo proved in Denver, you can’t have two alpha superstar scorers on the wing together. It just doesn’t work. Along with Miami, the Clippers seem to be a fairly common team thrown about in the Lebron Sweepstakes but that would be like career suicide. Not happening. As for the rest of the teams in the league, it would probably have to be a sign and trade for them to get Lebron so it’s impossible to predict anything with that until free agency gets closer. But who knows, just as it was looking like it was a lock for Lebron to re-sign with the Cavs, the Celtics threw us that massive curveball with their 2nd round smackdown. I’ll check back in in about a month or so on this situation, until then I’m going to try not to read all the speculation and clamoring for Lebron to come to so and sos favorite team.

Lebron Lottery Odds: 5%

 

 

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