Public Enemy No. 1?

LeBron and Jay-ZLeBron James and Jay-Z Host First Annual “Two Kings” Dinner

A lot of times it’s much easier to dish out the advice than it is to follow your own advice. I literally just wrote a couple days ago that we need to all collectively just sit back and enjoy the LeBron show while we can and stop frantically worrying about where LeBron may or may not go in the summer of 2010. “Every time I think I’m out….they pull me back in!”

Henry Abbott at TrueHoop wrote a blog entry this week called “The Boys of 2010”, in which he discusses all the great players who will be free agents in 2010. He writes,

“A lot of teams want to have cap room in the summer of 2010, because that’s when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and various other blue-chip players are eligible to taste unrestricted free agency. Contract extensions and opt-outs will prevent many of these players from playing the market, but at the moment the list could theoretically include Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Rip Hamilton, Kobe Bryant, Amare Stoudemire, Manu Ginobili, Carlos Boozer, Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki, and others.”

Quite a staggering list, indeed. Obviously, the crown jewel of that crop will be a still very young 25 year old LeBron James. Abbott goes on to talk about why the Nets may be the front runner for LeBron’s services,

“The Nets have plenty of rebuilding to do, certainly. And there are the big contracts of Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson to address (one would have to be moved to get New Jersey far under the cap that summer). But getting Devin Harris would certainly seem to add to the Nets’ allure:

  • A long and athletic point guard in his prime, who is noted for efficient scoring and tough defense.
  • A variety of bigs like Sean Williams, Josh Boone, and DeSagana Diop.
  • Co-owner Jay-Z (who is hosting an event with LeBron James this weekend in New Orleans).
  • A franchise due to be reborn in Brooklyn — where millions of sports fans have been waiting for something to get excited about since the Dodgers left.
  • Plenty of shots for a primary scorer.

It’s still more than two years away. But I’d bet my eye teeth Rod Thorn has been thinking a lot about the summer of 2010, because his team is setting up nicely for that summer.”

Now, to be fair, Henry’s not exactly talking about just LeBron here. His main point is that the Nets, as of right now, seem to be the team most actively looking to set themselves up to be a player in the 2010 market, in the hopes of getting any of those players. Obviously LeBron is the top choice, but even if he happens to re-sign with the Cavaliers (hahahaha, I know), the Nets will still have their pick from a pretty good litter of players.

But lets be honest here….the Jay-Z line was especially directed at LeBron. I’m not sure exactly how excited Dirk Nowitzki or Yao Ming are at the prospects of playing for the Jiggaman himself. But I can promise you it means something to LeBron. LeBron and Jay-Z have become quite good friends. It’s well known that LeBron admires Jay-Z for building the media empire for himself that he has, and that LeBron fashions much of the LeBron James, Inc business model after the Sean Carter model. The two friends even co-hosted a celebrity dinner and party this week in New Orleans.

There should be little doubt that were LeBron to look to leave Cleveland, the first place he will turn is to his good friend. I suppose that’s really just another reason to be happy the Cavaliers aren’t trading for Kidd, and another reason to be happy the Kidd deal with Dallas is literally crumbling apart. It would have been the ultimate irony if the Cavaliers traded for Kidd and in the proccess gave the Nets the financial flexibility to go after LeBron in 2010. Even still, with the trade looking like it may not happen (thank you Devean George and Jerry Stackhouse), the Nets are still in good shape to have the cap room to sign LeBron in 2010. The main difference is the lack of a young star in Devin Harris to team up with. Does LeBron want to go to another team where he would have to carry the load on his own again? Another team without a true point guard? It seems highly unlikely.

The war for LeBron may still be in its earlier stages, but this small battle could be a victory for Cleveland. Or, perhaps more likely, a victory for the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, or Los Angeles Clippers as they may be able to take over the role as favorites for LeBron. I wonder if Jay-Z has ever considered selling his share of the Nets and buying up a portion of the Cavaliers. Has anyone seen Usher around lately anyway?


  • Scott

    Well written. It sure does seem like the Nets are gearing up for 2010…let’s just hope we get a year ahead of them and add the right pieces in 2009…

  • Matt

    yeah, jayz could just buy ushers share of the team…oh wait we aren’t 30 minutes from new york city. part of me just wants to enjoy the few years we have left the other part of me says he’ll retire a cavalier.

  • Vegas Watch

    It’s *Shawn* Carter. As opposed to *Sean* “Puffy” Combs. Sorry. OCD.