The Cleveland Cavaliers' Christmas Present to Their Fans: LeBron's Last Stand

Dan SmithCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2009

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 23:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers warms up against the Sacramento Kings during an NBA game at ARCO Arena on December 23, 2009 in Sacramento, California.  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 Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The Cleveland Cavs were in LA for Christmas. Their game against the Lakers headlined the five NBA games on Christmas Day.

Some people say that the NBA season doesn't even start until Christmas Day but that is a myth and I can prove it: the New Jersey Nets.

Their season started awhile ago and ended right after it started. The only thing the Nets opened on Christmas Day was a merciful day off.

The Knicks were not as kind as they played as bad as their uniforms looked against the Miami Heat.

I can debunk the Christmas Day myth but the LeBron to New York myth I cannot debunk. It seems to be gaining momentum.

Due to the NBA financial structure, high end free agents really have no market. Those free agents can make more money by staying with their team (it's called the Larry Bird Exception) than they can make by getting a maximum contract from another team.

LeBron James is a really good basketball player but he has it in his head that he can be more if he goes to a bigger market like New York. His job is playing basketball but his dream is to be a global icon.

Whatever that means.

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If he never wins a ring, he can still end up on TNT with Ernie Johnson. Charles Barkley is a global icon, right?

Michael Jordon has six rings and is a very average GM in his post playing days. MJ is a global icon, too, right?

I am getting ahead of myself. The Cavs gave their fans a great show in LA on Christmas. Going on the road in a nationally televised game and running over the best team in the West on their home court.

The Cavs are coming off a 66-win season but their early exit to Orlando in the East Finals forced them to bring in some new players. The Cavs spent the off-season in the 2008 season building their team to beat the Celtics.

Then the Magic beat the Cavs in the playoffs so the Cavs built their team to beat the Magic.

They brought in Shaquille O'Neal to match-u[p with Dwight Howard. They brought in Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker to give them athletic length on their front line to compete with Rashard Lewis and the other three-point shooters the Magic have.

The Cavs are now 23-8 and in second place in the East behind Boston. Mike Brown has a nine-man rotation that he has been playing with and the Cavs found a stride in LA that should put the rest of the league—well, the other four teams that have a chance to win the title this season at least—on notice.

The Cavs have everything they need to win it all this season. They have the size, the leadership, the depth and the superstar. The Cavs bring their defense with them into every game so they will be in every game.

The Lakers came out with a nice run on Christmas Day then the Cavs went on a run and took a lead they never let go of midway through the first quarter. The Laker fans were booing and throwing things on the court. Ron Artest fell down a flight of stairs after the game.

The future for the Cavs is now. They are coming together with their rotation and after what can be called early season struggles, they are right where they want to be: pushing the Celtics for the top seed in the East.

A nice present on Christmas is great but Cav fans want the big prize in June.

The pressure is on LeBron James in his last stand in Cleveland. If he doesn't get a ring this season then he will be part of the rebuilding process in New York starting next year.

It is safe to say that if LeBron doesn't get a ring in his last stand in Cleveland then he will be in jeopardy of never winning one.

He can still be a global icon, though, and that is more important to him than winning a ring or two.


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