One of the main stories on Yahoo! Sports from yesterday was a piece written by AP Sports Writer Tom Withers titled “Stern Hopes James Stays With Cavs.”
In the piece, Withers reports how NBA commissioner David Stern has made it clear he hopes LeBron James doesn’t bolt the erstwhile franchise he’s made his home since he was drafted by them as the number one pick overall in 2003.
“Hopefully he’ll stay. That’s the way the system is designed,” Withers reports Stern saying.
He goes on to explain how Stern helped to negotiate the current collective bargaining agreement, and postulates that is why he would like to see Cleveland retain LeBron, since it was designed to provide teams the ability to pay their own players more than another team would be able to if the player bolted.
Of course the fans in Cleveland must have loved Stern’s words, as he made them while awarding LeBron James his second straight MVP award on Monday. However, as many of the commenters on Withers’ story attest, there are plenty around the country who believe Stern should have kept his mouth firmly shut on the matter.
One commenter writes, “I think Stern’s comment was completely irresponsible, and had it been any official associated with a team, they would be subject to a fine!”
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always felt David Stern was a weasel and a snake. As a fellow Jew, I’ve always felt he’s lent credence to the stereotypes that abound about Jews because of his sickening business practices.
That being said, I really don’t think what he says, or desires, is going to matter one iota.
The Boston Celtics showed everyone just how much of a house of cards the Cleveland Cavaliers are. Shaq is a shell of his former self, and the rest of LeBron James’ supporting cast just don’t have what it takes to get him over the hump, despite all the gaudy regular-season numbers they put up.
Add to that the fact that in my opinion, Mike Brown simply isn’t a championship-caliber coach, and I can see Cleveland getting bounced right out of these playoffs by either the Celtics, or the Magic if they’re lucky enough to get by Boston.
When that inevitably happens, I think David Stern is going to have to bite the bullet and deal with his worst nightmare happening, LeBron James bolting the Cavs, despite his ties to the state, and heading elsewhere.
Stern fears such a turn of fate because he knows all too well that this would devastate the Cleveland Cavaliers organization. They would instantly become the 2009-2010 New Jersey Nets of the 2010-2011 NBA season, and would be lucky to draw 5,000 to every game.
But, the question isn’t what would happen to Cleveland should LeBron depart. That question’s answer is obvious, as stated above. The real question is, where would LeBron depart to?
Many would postulate (especially those living in the five boroughs of New York) that he would be heading to the Knicks. After all, they have tons of cap space after making moves to free up as much as they could. In fact, they have enough to pay two max-contract free agents.
However, the Knicks franchise is a tale of total disaster over the past decade, and it’s hard to believe any free agent of LeBron’s caliber would see New York as a destination where they could easily win a title.
Chicago is also discussed quite often, as they have a young cast of characters, including Derrick Rose, who LeBron would probably love to play alongside, and they’ve freed up quite a bit of cap space themselves.
However, the Windy City’s basketball team also has some problems when enticing marquee free agents. For one, they just fired their head coach, Vinny Del Negro, and the management seems to be in disarray, with John Paxson having been accused of physical violence against Vinny.
There are, of course, a myriad of other cities who’ve freed up cap space for the free agent bonanza of 2010 as well, but I just don’t see many of them being a place where LeBron says to himself, “I’ll definitely get rings if I sign with them.”
Yes, yes, I’ve heard all the negatives and BS from all the people who think this is far-fetched. Heck, even most of the beat writers for all the Miami papers, and the featured columnists for the Miami Heat here on B/R say it’s a pipe dream.
Well, I think they’re going to find dreams sometimes do come true. And while it’ll be a nightmare for David Stern, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and all future Miami Heat opponents, it will be the grandest of dreams fulfilled for Miami and its fans.
Despite those who claim LeBron James and Dwyane Wade just can’t co-exist on the same team, the facts say otherwise. They’ve played alongside each other not only in numerous All-Star games, but for USA Basketball in the World Championships and the Olympics, and every time they have, it’s been a wonder to behold.
Simply put, Miami has the necessary cap space to not only resign Wade to a max contract, but to sign LeBron to a max contract as well, and to sign a third All-Star-caliber player such as David Lee.
They also, if they buy out the contract of James Jones for $1.9 million, would free up $3 million more in cap space, and would likely be able to resign players such as Dorrell Wright, Carlos Arroyo, and Joel Anthony. They have Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers already under contract, by the way. You can read how I believe Riles will build this South Beach beast here.
Add to all this the fact Pat Riley has all but assured the NBA world that he will be running the show next year as the Miami Heat head coach (which you can read about here), and who can possibly argue with a straight face there’s no chance LeBron James doesn’t appear in a press conference this summer holding up a No. 6 Heat jersey?
I know, I know, all the fans across the country will be screaming bloody murder. There will be a multitude of chants of “it just ain’t fair.”
Too bad. You don’t like it, find a way to entice LeBron to your city. Or, if you’re Cleveland, find a way to prove me wrong and win a title this year, for that’s the only way LeBron stays in your hellhole of a city.
As for me, I’ll be dreaming my lovely dreams of LeBron and Wade making a mockery of their opponents for the next five to seven years en route to numerous titles. Soon those dreams will be reality, I’m sure.