LeBron James owes the city of Cleveland nothing.
If anything, Cleveland owes it's last, bare minimum of life to the King. Time and time again, LeBron has given Cleveland magnificent chances to become the NBA Champs.
Yes, time and time again James has carried the struggling city on his back throughout the regular season and in to the playoffs. Yet time and time again, the Cavaliers have hung him out to dry.
Now just think about that.
Within the past four years, (arguably more) no other individual in all of sports has been burdened to carry their city more than James. No other entity in basketball, can acclaim their success to one individual more than the Cleveland Cavaliers within this time frame. (Yes D Wade and Miami, even you had some big help during your title run.)
As of late, people have been jumping on the LeBron bashing bandwagon, mostly the same people who were hyping up "LeShot" in Game Two.
Despite his recently wrong post game conduct, there is no single player left in the league that is pound for pound better than James. The rest of the argument is up to you.
With that said, this year's elimination was the last nail in the coffin for Cleveland sports. There's no doubt that this heartbreak hurts more than the 2007 Finals sweep. Back then there was a glimmer of hope that just didn't come true. Now, it was sure destiny that was somehow "magically" taken away.
I truly believe that there is no "next year" for Cleveland. From here on out, every single positive coming from the Cavaliers will be overshadowed by this moment. Until The Cavs actually win the NBA Title, fans will always be skeptical in the back of their minds.
Even worse for Cleveland fans, this year will more than likely cement his desire to leave his home and join the New York Knicks.
Which is exactly what he should do.
It really, doesn't have all that much to do with James becoming a legendary icon through the media of New York City. Sure, it's nice to get that much more recognition across the globe, but this isn't as much of a factor as most would presume. LeBron, in all likelihood, is more than content with his fame as it is.
LeBron James desires to become a billionaire athlete, but desire is not quite the same as need. He's certainly not drooling over New York just for the money alone. It would be great to get a contract of the sorts never seen before, in addition to NY's lucrative media deals, but even money will not dictate the King alone.
If LeBron James joins the Knicks in 2010, it'll be because of one primary, dominating reason.
The NBA Championship.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were built to win the title this year, and are not built for the long term future. You've older guys within reach of retirement, such as Zydrunas Ilgauskus, Ben Wallace, Joe Smith, and even Wally Szczerbiak.
Those guys are repaceable, but does James really want Delonte West, Anderson Varejao, and Mo Williams after next year?
Only time will tell, but unless the Cavaliers repeat as one of the NBA's best regular season teams and go on to win the NBA title, their future seems questionable. (76ers, Bulls, and Pistons all seem guaranteed to become dangerous.)
New York City on the other hand, can only get dramatically better.
The Knicks already have pieces that, with James, could rival this year's Cavs. David Lee and Wilson Chandler are both solid forwards, and Nate Robinson could stick around as a formidable backup point man.
In addition to James, the Knicks could still go after Dwayne Wade, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Manu Ginobili, and Joe Johnson with their cap space.
Don't forget that guys will instantly flock to the team for less money as well. Even stars like Dirk Nowitzki (who seems like a firm lock in Dallas even after 2010) could suddenly change their agendas.
While many have said that a Mike D'Antoni team is incapable of post season success, I beg to differ. With D'Antoni's run and gun system, LeBron James will offer another lethal element to his game.
Can anyone imagine the likes of Stoudemire and James, or James and even Dwayne Wade running down the floor?
No one can guess where the Knicks will go, but their future looks a million times better than that of the Cavs.
LeBron could choose to stay with the Cavaliers, and once again stick with what he has. If these guys don't bring home the title next year, then LeBron will most likely endure his team's third major overhaul in Cleveland.
If James chooses to sign with the Knicks, he could immediately begin contending for the NBA title that year.
And don't forget about James signing possibly the biggest NBA contract in history. Don't forget that NY is the only place left that could make Bron bigger. Don't forget that LeBron could truly become King of New York.
So what is there to do after next season?
Do the right thing, of course.