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View Poll Results: Will LeBron Leave?
Yes 3 30.00%
No 5 50.00%
Maybe 2 20.00%
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Old 04-11-2005, 09:21 PM   #1
doublee
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Default LeBron: Will he Stay or Go?

Listening to the Jim Rome Show today and some of the games on TV the past few days rumors are starting to percolate that LeBron is growing increasingly dissatisfied with the state of affairs in Cleveland and may either demand a trade this summer or opt not to sign an extension with Cleveland and leave via free agency. To further complicate issues for Cleveland LeBron has incentive clauses in his major sponsorship deals that stipulate that he gets a significant monetary payout if he were to end up in NY, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

If he ends up bailing on Cleveland the logical choice may end up being Chicago. He gets his sponsorship payouts for playing in one of the major NBA markets, gets to stay close to his home in Ohio, the Bulls will have cash to spend after the '05-'06 season, and they have a good young core of talent where LeBron could be the missing piece to restoring Chicago back to dominance.

Chicago also may have the right combination of young talent and expiring contracts to put together an attractive deal for LeBron. Obviously if LeBron is coming into the fold then Deng and/or Nocioni become fairly expendable and throw in Antonio Davis whose rather beefy contract expires after next season and maybe Duhon or Gordon. Any such deal is going to have to include Deng or Gordon, if not both, and probably at least one other player/draft pick. That leaves them with, at the very least, Hinrich, LeBron, Chandler, and Curry and probably two or three of the aforementioned guys in Gordon, Duhon, Nocioni, and Davis.

New York has no real wiggle room salary-wise and nothing of real value to trade outside of Stephon Marbury. The Lakers do not have anything of real value to trade outside of Butler, Kobe, and Odom and if I am not mistaken are not in real great cap shape for a couple of years yet. Even if the Lakers could swing it financially I am not so sure LeBron and Kobe would be a great fit.

The Clippers would be an intriguing possibility, and probably a better fit talent-wise, if LeBron is interested in playing in LA. Wouldn't a Kobe v LeBron rivalry in the City of Angels be mouth-watering? The main strike against the Clippers is their lack quality talent depth-wise to make a deal for LeBron if Cleveland decides to try and move him. One has to assume that Elton Brand is untouchable so would the Cavs be willing to trade LeBron for a package involving Maggette, Simmons, and/or Livingston? LeBron and Elton is a fabulous foundation to build on but it would leave the Clips with little secondary talent to help them out.

If the rumors are true LeBron going to Chicago seems to be the most viable scenario given the Bulls talent situation and LeBron's sponsorship deals. But, of course, that is if the rumors are to be believed and LeBron decides it is in his best interests to pursue other career opportunities.
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Old 04-11-2005, 10:44 PM   #2
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i think he will stay put. hes playing at home, living in ohio, and im sure hes going to get a hefty contract to stay there, i doubt he will go anywhere.
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Old 04-12-2005, 12:44 AM   #3
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oops. I ment to say no. Can oh well. LeBron will stay a Cavalier.
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Old 04-12-2005, 05:06 PM   #4
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LeBron James isn't going anywhere.

James was quoted last week saying "People that know me know I'm focused on what's at hand. The fans in the city of Cleveland have nothing to be worried about at this point. I'm here."

And in today's Orlando Sentinel, King James added "I just try to keep positive, stay level-headed. A lot of things have been going on, but I have to be here for my teammates. You can't show them you're frustrated, especially because I'm the leader of this team."

James again added "The fans of Cleveland have nothing to worry about right now, I'm happy being in Cleveland."

I think this is the media trying to stir up drama with another young, rising NBA star because the league continues to struggle bringing in new fans and creating storylines on the court. How many are honestly that excited about a possible Shaq vs. Pistons II in the playoffs? NBA fans yest. Casual fans no.

Although it wouldn't surprise me if LeBron did demand a trade. Just take a look at this past offseason.

Shaq wanted out of LA. Vince wanted out of Toronto. Tracy wanted out of Orlando. Baron wanted out of New Orleans. All four granted.

Or how about Kidd wanting out of New Jersey or Peja wanting to leave Sacremento. All though they didn't happen, their public banter during the preseason certainly didn't help their respective teams. From the above statements, I think LeBron understands it won't help his team or his public image to want to pack up and leave for greener pastures.
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Old 04-12-2005, 07:19 PM   #5
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See, here is the thing toby, his statements deal with the here and now and don't address the future:

"I'm focused on what's at hand"
"nothing to be worried about at this point. I'm here."
"nothing to worry about right now, I'm happy being in Cleveland"

One could take that to mean that I am here for now and my 'team' and I will sit down and evaluate what is best for me at the end of the season. Nowhere does he say he looks forward to staying in Cleveland and winning many championships, or he hopes to be here for years to come, you know the typical things athletes tend to say when confronted with these types of questions and rumors. On top of that Vince Carter maintained in the press that he wanted to stay in Toronto while his agent is working behind the scenes to work a trade. Athletes tell the media they are happy where they are all the time. Time will tell this summer when Cleveland starts negotiations on an extension.

Ultimately, a lot will depend on who they settle on as Head Coach and GM after they inevitably fire Paxson after the season. A lot will also depend on what steps Cleveland takes to acquire the necessary talent to take them to the next level.

As for getting a hefty contract he can more than make up the difference in salary from endorsements obtained playing in a much larger media market as opposed to Cleveland.

As for his public image it will be a minor inconvenience if he works a deal to get out of Cleveland, especially if he goes to a larger market like Chicago, LA, or NY that have much broader fan bases than Cleveland does. Have Shaq, Vince, and T-Mac really suffered that much from getting what they wanted?
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Old 04-12-2005, 10:23 PM   #6
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I think he's gone.

I agree with doublee that a bad public image is a minor inconvenience, if it indeed happens. Who the hell views Shaq as a lesser man in Miami than he was in L.A.? Perhaps someone on dope, or Kobe, the paranoid ego maniac.

Vince Carter had a good image to begin with? T-Mac not a headcase before going to Houston? Sure he was, we all knew that. Baron Davis from losing team to losing team in cow towns? Who cares?
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Old 04-12-2005, 10:37 PM   #7
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Well, if you believe what T-Mac has said recently his issues seemed to have more to do with a personality conflict between him and the GM currently in Orlando. T-Mac has been a model player this year and looks rejuvenated playing in Houston.

Vince Carter? He was borderline, fact of the matter is folks are still paying to go see him play though, and he has banked some goodwill with his play since moving to the Nets.
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Old 04-12-2005, 11:32 PM   #8
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Good points doublee. You know as well as I do though these guys have got miles to go ( I personally don't think they will ever have it in them) to get to a ring. Lebron still has the ability to do so. It is one thing to have a bad image and be a guy not associated with a ring or chance for one, and being one who scores points and moans all the time. Why do you think Kobe gets so much junk, not just from me of course?
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Old 04-12-2005, 11:34 PM   #9
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T-Mac has the best chance to win one if Yao ever gets his 'NBA legs' and decides that he wants to be the next Shaq.

I don't see Vince winning one in NJ anytime soon unless the Nets do something to acquire more of a post presence. They really miss the tenacity that K-Mart brought to the table.

When was the last time Golden State ever contended for a title? I think it was when they were still in Philly.
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Old 04-13-2005, 12:06 PM   #10
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I know demanding a trade would do very little to damage the public image of LeBron James. But this is a guy that was touted as "the next Michael" at 17 years of age. LeBron came into the league during a time that the league was struggling. Kobe Bryant was involved in a scandal. The bland MVP Tim Duncan appealed to true NBA fans, but not to the mass audience. The NBA knew LeBron was charismatic and likeable and had appeal to the mass culture. The Caviliers knew if they had a terrible season, he would be almost a deadlock as the number one pick and would instantly make fans in Cleveland, Ohio and America talk about the Caviliers once again.

LeBron quickly became one of the league's most well-known stars, outside of the most dominate player in the game Shaquille O'Neal and outside of Kobe Bryant whose image has been tarnished in non-NBA fans eyes (and in NBA fans eyes, as well) for off-the court issues.

I pointed out demands of trades by players like Vince Carter, Jason Kidd and Peja because those guys lost respect from their fans and their teammates. So far in this league, LeBron James has far and away succeeded everyone's expectations. He has silenced the critics that said a young kid making too much money like LeBron will fall into the wrong crowd, i.e. Allen Iverson. LeBron has been nothing but a stand-up guy, and a player to respect and commend both on the court and off of it.

His public image won't be tarnished if he demands a trade. But their will be critics ready to say he is selfish for wanting to leave after two seasons. Their will be people saying he's not ready to be a leader, because he crumbled under that situation in Cleveland. Their will be critics claiming LeBron couldn't handle pressure situations.

Are these critics right? Of course not. Will it follow him around for years to come? No. Will it be discussed? You bet.

The fact is we are discussing the matter when the majority people on this board doesn't believe it will happen. And my above point of very few fans excited about this year's playoffs is true, because it looks like it's going to come down to San Antonio/Phoenix vs. Detroit/Miami. And while it saddens me, a Spurs/Pistons finals has no drawing power for the league or for ABC.

So to keep interest in the league, what does the media do? What are the two hottest topics being discussed in the NBA right now? Is LeBron James (arguably the league's top draw) unhappy and what cities might have the best shot at the young phenom? Or, Jermaine O'Neal (a high school kid that skipped college and entered the NBA, only to show maturity problems during a brawl in Detroit) believes restricting NBA players from entering the league until the age of 20 is a racial issue more than a discrimination issue.

Yet we are getting ready for this year's playoffs, and we aren't talking about them. We aren't talking about a possible repeat for the Detroit Pistons. We aren't talking about the Phoenix Suns turnaround of 50 losses a year ago to (one win shy right now) 60 wins this year. We aren't discussing the drop-off Minnesota has experienced, or who should win rookie of the year (Gordon, Okafor or Howard in what should be the closest race in the last few years).

We aren't talking about what makes the NBA great. We are talking about what makes the league terrible.
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Old 04-13-2005, 08:28 PM   #11
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I think LeBron, and the league, would like him to play in a bigger market. He's been in Ohio his whole life, and if I were him, I'd be getting sick of it and wanting to go somewhere bigger and better (no offense to Ohioans here I once lived there!).

First of all, if they want to keep him, they're going to have to get a first-class coach. It isn't helping that they fire Silas and then have no one to replace him with. I would love to see LeBron playing in the Big Apple.
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Old 04-13-2005, 09:07 PM   #12
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I doubt we will see LeBron in NY anytime soon. The Knicks have nothing worth trading for, outside of maybe Marbury, and they are pretty well capped out for the next couple of seasons and the Cavs will have to make a decision on him before the Knicks would have the cap flexibility to able to obtain him.
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Old 04-13-2005, 09:16 PM   #13
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It would be nearly impossible for the Knicks to land him via trade or via free agency. The salary cap situation is a complete mess and it is a disgrace how Layden and Isiah managed to dig the franchise into a hole. As of right now, the Knicks won't have much to work with until the summer of 2008 when only Marbury and Crawford's bad contracts remain.

This site explains the situation pretty well. It's sad that the Knicks can't even attempt to land LeBron. The move would at least give the franchise a much needed jolt of life. The next few years are going to be dim, dark times for the Knicks organization as a whole. The Knicks are beginning to look like a re-incarnated version of the New York Yankees of the 1980's and early 1990's.
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Old 04-13-2005, 10:26 PM   #14
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That is, assuming, Zeke does not go out and take on more bad debt the way he did at the deadline this year. Just when you think he cannot do it he manages to push the Knicks cap number even higher.

The sad thing is their projected salaries for next season are higher than this season's and that is without five guys currently on the team not contracted for next year. Are they going to be able to even re-sign Trevor Ariza after this season?
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Last edited by doublee; 04-14-2005 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:23 AM   #15
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If LeBron ends up in NY, it will be for the Brooklyn Nets.

Isiah will probably offer Kurt Thomas and Marbury for LeBron in an attempt to cram 11 small forwards and shooting guards onto one roster, but the Cavs will reject it.
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