LeBron Watch: Cavaliers' Playoff Collapse Could Force King James from His Throne

Jenise RolleContributor IMay 14, 2010

CLEVELAND - MAY 11:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on while playing the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 11, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. Boston won the game 120-88 to take a 3-2 series lead. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers 2009-2010 season has officially ended, and it appears that LeBron James is officially fed up with the Cleveland organization as well.

It’s been seven years since Cleveland’s “Savior” entered the NBA, but the Cavaliers are still a franchise without an NBA title. The Cavaliers won 61 games this season and there were high expectations for the team going into the playoffs, but the more they played, the more they appeared to be a one-man show.

There is no doubt that without LeBron James on the roster, Cleveland would become a team that has to fight for a lowly seed into the playoffs, but that may be the exact reason why LeBron could be wearing a different uniform next season. During the Cavaliers vs. Celtics series, LeBron James averaged 29 points, 8 assists, and 9 rebounds per game, while the rest of the team struggled to get a steady rhythm offensively. Mo Williams only averaged 14 points in the postseason, until dropping 22 points in the series-losing game 6, against the four-headed Celtic monster.

LeBron James has one goal every time he steps onto the court, and besides being one of the best players in the league, his ultimate goal is to win a championship. But all of the other players that LeBron is usually mentioned with, have done one thing that LeBron has yet to do, and that is win an NBA title. Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, and even Michael Jordan all have championship rings to show just how great they are, and if LeBron wants to continue being mentioned in this elite category, which of course he does, he needs to get a championship soon.

If James decides to stay in Cleveland, he will be taking direction from a new head coach. Let’s face it, it seems clear that current coach, Mike Brown’s, tenure is up with the team, especially since the Cavaliers have taken a step backwards, by failing to even make the conference finals this season. During the regular season, the Cavaliers averaged 102 points per game, but in their second round playoff series against Boston, they failed to reach 90 points in a single game.

There is no doubt that the 2010 off-season has been a date marked on many team owner’s calendars, especially because of the talented free agents on the market this season. The New York Knicks have publicly stated their desire to free up cap space and get the “Akron Hammer” on their team next season, but the Nets and Bulls are also top teams in the running to land LeBron if he decides to leave Cleveland.

LeBron made $15.8 million this year, and James is expected to get $133 million if he re-signs with the Cavaliers next season, but what has the franchise offered him except a “Big Diesel,” with nothing left in the tank, and a group of inexperienced players to surround him as he competes for a title.

Before the chants about LeBron being a professional choke artist start, think about the players surrounding him each game. Antawn Jamison has not been as productive as the Cavaliers would have hoped, when they traded for him earlier in the season. Jamison averaged 16 points in the regular season and he went 2 for 10 from the floor in game 6 against Boston. Anderson Varejao has also been non-visible in the postseason, with an average of only 6 points and 5 rebounds per game.

James has had his fair share of unnecessary turnovers in the postseason as well. He had 9 turnovers in game 6 against Boston , but yet still managed to get a triple double with 27 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 assists.

For a man that wants to be considered a legend in the game of basketball, James will have his ears open to other teams that are willing to build around him with other productive players. The New Jersey Nets have a very high shot of landing the No. 1 pick in the draft, who will undoubtedly be Kentucky’s John Wall, who could serve as a very eye-catching piece to the “searching” LeBron James. Despite only winning 12 games this year, the Nets do have some decent players that could step up and help LeBron during the season. Players like Devon Harris and Courtney Lee could work well with James, and the team has $28 million dollars of cap space to work with during the off-season.

The Bulls could also be an attractive team to James. With Joakim Noah in the paint and Derrick Rose running the team, LeBron could see a potential future with Chicago as this young team continues to emerge.

Of course if LeBron decided to leave Cleveland, he would be taking about a $30 million dollar pay cut which could affect his decision making, but when all of LeBron’s endorsements, that total to about $28 million, are taken into account, that $30 million dollars may not seem like that big of a deal for a brighter future. If Cleveland fans want a championship, they need LeBron James, but this two-time MVP may have his eyes set on a new franchise, one that is willing to give a supporting cast that can turn him from being a one-man show, into a dominant piece in a championship caliber team.