Five years ago, LeBron James saved the Cleveland Cavaliers.
All you have to do to hear this is turn on any sports talk-radio station. They'll tell you of the franchise's impending doom that is sure to come with LeBron's likely trip to New York following his 2010 free-agency bid.
They're all wrong.
Five years ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers saved their franchise by drafting a local prodigy. The prodigy did not save them.
He did not draft himself and give himself his first contract. However, now there is this notion that every trade and every signing that the franchise takes part in is done simply to appease James.
Heaven forbid they would actually want to improve themselves if it wasn't for the presence of "King James."
The nickname is quite fitting actually. After all, he is essentially acting like a monarch with the goal of becoming the world's first billion-dollar athlete.
However, any notion that James has the ability to hold the Cavaliers for ransom is as ludicrous as James' three-point percentage (28.6%).
To understand the truth behind the LeBron James soap opera, all you have to do is look at the Boston Celtics.
For over a decade, the Boston Celtics were a product of nothing more than their own poor management. If the Cavaliers crawl into a corner and allow James' departure to be the downfall of their franchise, then it is their fault alone.
Much is made of the 2010 free agent class, and as teams clear salary cap space to make a run at the surplus of talent that will exist, people seem to forget that the Cavaliers can do the same.
So, Cleveland fans, how does Joe Johnson and Tracy McGrady sound? Would you be upset if you lost a little talent in James, but gained a greater desire to win in Dwyane Wade? Would James have come back too soon after dislocating his shoulder? Would he risk permanently damaging himself and his prospects of being the world's first billion-dollar athlete?
I don't know. Maybe he would. But I know Wade would because he has.
The 2010 offseason will be both intriguing and important for many NBA teams. LeBron James will be considered the best commodity, but he is far from the only top-tier commodity.
The Cleveland Cavaliers need to look to improve themselves when the time comes. Almost every other team is looking at it that way. Whether or not that improvement includes resigning James, it must happen.
If the Cavaliers do not improve themselves, it will be of no one's fault but their own. They cannot let LeBron James hold the future of their franchise for ransom.
LeBron James needs to get over himself. More importantly, everyone else needs to get over LeBron James.
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