New Jersey Has Cap Space, The Sky Is Falling: Part I

LeBron on Fortune MagazineWith the story of LeBron’s “inevitable” journey to New Jersey in 2010 being such a popular story in major media outlets and blogs alike these days, we take a grim look into the eye of the beast and examine the ramifications of a LeBron James exile to Jersey. This is Part I of the “Sky Is Falling” series out of however many articles is necessary between now and D-Day.

There’s this Great Lie that permeates NBA media and blogging circles. It’s everywhere you turn. It’s suffocating. It’s pollution. It’s founded solely in rhetoric and innuendo. And it’s demeaning to a city, a state, a player, and a collection of fans who follow all 3 (city, state, and player). The Great Lie is that LeBron James is leaving Cleveland in 2010. The Great Lie tells the city of Cleveland that it’s not worthy of a person like LeBron James. The Great Lie tells the state of Ohio that it’s too backwards to qualify for housing a star of LeBron’s caliber. The Great Lie tells LeBron James that he’s an idiot if he isn’t scheming his escape from Ohio’s backwoods wilderness now already. The Great Lie tells us Cavaliers fans that we shouldn’t bother. The NBA isn’t for us. We aren’t good enough to watch our own homegrown hero succeed. The Great Lie is evil. The Great Lie is counterproductive. The Great Lie needs to stop.    

It’s as thick and all encompassing as the humid air of a warm August night in Ohio. It’s everywhere we turn these days. John Hollinger started this latest round for ESPN.com. For some reason Charlotte, North Carolina decided to chime in on this subject. Mike Lupica talks about what Knicks fans can only dream about. For some reason the Boston Globe thought their readers might like to be let in on the Great Lie. Drew Sharp wonders aloud if the Pistons should throw their hat in the ring. I could keep going, I really could. There’s probably a good 40 more where these came from. But what’s the point?

The basis for all of this is simple. The Nets traded Richard Jefferson, thus freeing the $15 million dollars he’s due in 2010 from their roster. As of right now, the only money the Nets have locked in for 2010 is the $17 million due to Vince Carter. So, according to the popular sentiment, this means the Nets are lined up to bring LeBron James aboard in 2010. Ok, so the Nets also have team options for Yi Jianlian and Sean Williams, and they will have qualifying options for Marcus Williams, Josh Boone, and Maurice Ager. So there you have it. Your 2010 Nets. Perhaps Devin Harris will still be there. Harris, Vince, LeBron, Yi, Boone, a pair of Williams’, and an Ager.

What the great lie doesn’t tell you is that the Cavaliers have $0 tied up for 2010. It’s possible that Delonte West and Daniel Gibson could both still be there. J.J. Hickson and Darnell Jackson will likely still be there. Who knows who else the Cavs may sign or trade for between now and then. The biggest thing the Great Lie overlooks, though, is the fact that LeBron will be a Qualifying Veteran Free Agent. You might know these better as players who hold their Bird Rights. Tonight I went through and read the Collective Bargaining Agreement line by line in an attempt to better understand the Cavaliers’ unique advantage in keeping LeBron. You know what I found out? I could barely understand one single paragraph of that thing. Legalese is like a foreign language to me. Thankfully, I found this nice little tool to assist me in understanding how Bird Rights work.

Basically, once a player has played three consecutive seasons for the same team without being waived, he becomes what is called a Qualifying Veteran Free Agent. This is meant to give teams a distinct advantage in keeping their own players. Under the CBA, there are maximum contracts for players, but through various exemptions, teams can get around certain loopholes when trying to sign a player. The CBA’s max contract is dependent on the number of years of service. For a player who has played 7 years, which is what LeBron will be in 2010, the max contract is the greater of a) 105% of the final year on his previous contract, b) 30% of the salary cap, or c) $11,000,000. In LeBron’s case, his final season will pay him $15,779,912. 105% of that number is $16,568,907. We can’t say with any certainty where the salary cap will be at in 2010, but if you use the existing rate of growth of the cap, we can project that salary cap is expected to be in the neighborhood of $57.309 million. 30% of that number is $17,192,830.

Again, these are all estimated numbers, and everything is based on an admittedly loose understanding of the finer of points of the CBA, but we can estimate that the max contract for LeBron in 2010 will start at $17.193 million. Here’s where things get tricky. Because the Cavaliers hold LeBron’s “Bird Rights”, they will be able to offer him more years and a larger yearly raise than anyone else. If anyone else signs LeBron, the most they can offer him is 5 years and an 8% annual increase over the base year on his salary. That shapes up to $17.193 million, $18.568 million, $20.054 million, $21.658 million, and $23.391 million for a total of $100.863 million over the 5 years. That averages out to $20.173 million per year. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, can sign LeBron for 6 years with a 10.5% annual increase over the base year. That works out to $17.193 million, $18.998 million, $20.993 million, $23.197 million, $25.633 million, and $28.324 million for a total of $134.338 million over the 6 years. That averages out to $22.390 million per season.

Which contract LeBron chooses to accept will affect his max contract moving forward, as well. Because a player’s max contract can never be less than 105% of his last year’s value, the next contract LeBron signs will start at $24,560,187 if he signs with New Jersey. If he signs with Cleveland, though, his initial year on his proceeding contract would start at $29,740,485. That’s almost a $5 million difference. So not only would LeBron be leaving $33.5 million on the table by signing outside of Cleveland in 2010, he would also be leaving $5 million off the base year on his next contract he could sign after the 2010 deal. We’re getting close to $40 million in lost money already.

The common belief amongst many people is that LeBron would just use the escalators in his Nike contract if he goes to New York to make up the difference. That’s fair. The clause exists, and we can’t ignore it. But you know what? The Nike contract was a 7 year deal worth $90 million and is set to expire the same time his Cavaliers contract does. Some people will say that this gives the New York market an advantage because Nike can steer LeBron towards the “big market”. The thing is, LeBron James holds all the cards. Lets not fool ourselves here. Nike isn’t going to let LeBron James sign with another shoe company. Not after they already invested the largest initial contract they’ve ever given to an athlete (Tiger Woods’ first Nike deal was 5 years, $40 million). If LeBron wants Nike to give him “New York” money in Cleveland, they will. Nike ripped up Tiger’s initial deal and gave him a $100 million deal. They’ll have no problem doing the same for LeBron. Tiger Woods didn’t have to move to New York to get his new deal. LeBron won’t have to either.

Everything LeBron has accomplished in his already remarkable life, he has been able to accomplish in Cleveland. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a junior in high school…..in Ohio. He has appeared on the cover of Fortune Magazine……in Ohio. He has been on the cover of Vogue Magazine…..in Ohio. He has been on the cover of ESPN the Magazine….in Ohio. He has hosted the ESPY’s…..while playing in Ohio. He has hosted Saturday Night Live…..while playing in Ohio. He has assembled an astonishing marketing team and built his image and self into a multi-multi-million dollar enterprise….in Ohio. He managed to get the NBA to send his team to play in China…..from Ohio. He became the highest paid player in the NBA in endorsement and salary…..while playing in Ohio. He has played in the NBA Finals….in Ohio. He has become the image of the NBA…..while playing in Ohio.

Which leads us to the biggest thing the Great Lie doesn’t want you to know, and that is that New York/New Jersey needs LeBron James a heck of a lot more than LeBron James needs New York. The Nets haven’t made the playoffs each of the past 3 years….the Cavaliers have. The Knicks weren’t on the brink of an NBA title just 2 years ago. The Cavaliers were. The point is, LeBron James is doing just fine from his global headquarters in Bath, Ohio, just outside of Akron. Sure, LeBron is friends with rapper Jay-Z, who also happens to own a small part of the New Jersey Nets. But playing in Cleveland isn’t stopping LeBron from hanging out with Jay-Z now, and it won’t in the future. LeBron is a savvy businessman and he’s not going to leave millions of dollars on the table just to play for a team his good friend part owns.

We’re not being naive here. We know there’s a chance LeBron could leave Cleveland. We know there’s always a pull to the bright lights of the New York market. But for LeBron James to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers to go to New York, I think two things have to happen. One, either the Nets or the Knicks need to prove that they are on the brink of winning a Championship. LeBron is a strong competitor and he’s not going to walk into another rebuilding project. The team needs to be NBA Championship ready when LeBron walks through the door. As of right now, I don’t see either the Nets or the Knicks being in that position. The other thing that needs to happen is Danny Ferry needs to fail in putting a Championship caliber team around LeBron. Some of us would say the Cavs aren’t there yet, and despite the fact the Cavs fought the Celtics harder than anyone else in the playoffs this year, I would agree. Ferry has some work to do. But with a plethora of contracts set to expire in the next two years, Ferry is about to have the means to finally do something to improve this roster. If Ferry can get just one more marquee player on this roster, you’d have to like the Cavs chances. And if that happens, it’s hard to see LeBron leaving the city he was born in, the city he was raised in, the city he was drafted by, the city that caters to his every wish, and the city that adores him unlike any other.

Take a deep breath. Sit back and relax. Let the Great Lie consume the other markets who are so desperate for LeBron’s star-shine that they will write anything they can to create the illusion of inevitability. But don’t be fooled by it. We know better. The Cavaliers aren’t where we need them to be in order to keep LeBron just yet, but I like their chances. And I, for one, will continue to refuse to let ESPN, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, or anyone else tell me any different. I’ll reserve judgment for 2010 when any of this actually matters. For now, I’ll continue to just enjoy watching LeBron and the wonderful places he has taken our beloved Cleveland Cavaliers.

  • Chris

    I understand the literacy rate is northern New Jersey is probably comparable to some small third world countries, but let’s take a look at what Rock said, since apparently the east coast homers lacked the capacity to read his explanation of what he said.

    “The Nets haven’t made the playoffs each of the past 3 years”

    They did not make the playoffs last year, hence they did not make the playoffs each of the past 3 years. That is all.

  • Chris
  • Da_Kidd

    I don’t know what English literacy you’re referring to but to me, “each of the past 3 years” means missing the playoffs for all those 3 years.

    Forgive me for making a DUMB mistake.

    Bravo to you Chris.

  • MacNip

    Someone please explain to me how Lebron is more marketable in NY. Do you think there are actually people out there that don’t know who he is already?

    Usually the big market is needed as a needs to bring in money. The Cavs do not have that problem because they have Lebron. Gilbert maes cash hand over fist due to the fact that Lebron is already global.

    Lebron would ruin his image if he turned his back on his hometown. The only way he could leave Cleveland and not ruin his reputation is if the Cavs have made no progress towards winning a championhip in the next 2 years.

  • buu

    i cant believe you said that the nets missed the playoffs for each of the last 3 years when they made the playoffs for 5 straight seasons and even played (and were beaten by a horrible cavs team) in 2007!
    i know skimming through 100+ comments is tough, but come on…

  • SambofromOH

    As I said before this is a great piece, but I had no idea how many NY/NJ fans would get riled up trying to tell us that he will sign there. I find it rather rediculous that they are so focused on a chance of our player joining thier team.

    Doesn’t thier adamant desire to obtain him show the fact that he is a huge icon in the USA? That -Gasp!- plays in a place like Cleveland?!? Lebron wants to be the first billionaire athlete, and he is on pace to do so just because he is that prolific. NY wont help him get there. He doesn’t need “extra exposure” to reach that level.

    He has an opportunity here in Cleveland that there isnt anywhere else. He can, singlehandedly, lift the Cavs into history. He has already sniffed the Finals and he is only 23. He is getting older and better, the championships will come.

  • Ricky

    Everyone is just repeating themselves now, and there are a lot of dumb, entitled people from the northeast that are just being silly and irrational

    Beaten by a horrible Cavs team last year? What does that say about the Nets then? And lets be real, its a good thing the Nets are indeed moving to Brooklyn, because they would have absolutely 0 chance of landing Lebron if they were still in New Jersey. Some people think Cleveland is a shithole (they are wrong), but everyone knows that Jersey is the armpit of America (they are right)

  • Bobby

    Yeah good article!

  • Jack

    Well-written article, thanks for looking through the Birds.

    Notsogoodnews:
    From ESPN:
    “James listed New York as his favorite city Monday (his hometown of Akron, Ohio, came in fifth behind Washington, D.C., Dallas and Los Angeles) as he took part in a one-day USA Basketball media blitz.”

    And Ricky, check wikipedia for highest income counties in the USA,
    New Jersey: #7, #10, #13 and #21, #42, #80, #92, #93, #100
    Ohio: #35, #79, none of the others make the list

    But yeah, I’d much rather live in midwest in a dilapidated blue collar town than have a house outside the greatest city in the world.

  • Matt P

    Um, the Nets have missed the playoffs one year in a row, not 3. Nice research. In fairness, it’s not like the took the Cavs to 7 games last year. Oh wait…

  • Adam

    Can we just agree that no one here actually cares how many times the nets have made the playoffs? kthx

    There are a lot of cities I would rather be in than in Ohio but New York City is not one. New Jersey would be horrible. It makes my top 10 undesirable places to live. Keep your higher salary because you’re paying 2-3x as much for housing.

    If LeBron leaves it’ll be for the BROOKLYN Nets, so please stop pimping NJ.

  • Matt P

    Adam,

    What are your other top 10 undesirable places to live?

    Here’s Money Magazine’s top 25:

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2007/top100/index.html

    Notice there are 2 places in New Jersey on there. And 2 in New York. All pretty close to Brooklyn (or East Rutherford).

    5 places in NJ are listed before the first mention of city in Ohio (46).

  • Dave

    First off, Lebron’s not playing in the city he was raised in. He’s from Akron, and there is a distinction as he’s always the first to point out to anyone who will listen. Also, the extra money Cleveland can pay him will not factor in. He will make it back in endorsements times 10 if he goes to NY. And he’s got more than he can ever spend anyway. He’s going to a big market to bring them a title. He wants to conquer the world, as he’s said before. You don’t do that in Cleveland, sorry, the Cleve is nice though. Ferry is a dullard, he’s not getting it done. They needed a point, and he passed on Chalmers. This team will never win without a legit point.

    Also, if the Nets are even a .500 team that will be enough. Lebron is good enough that he turns a mediocre team into an instant contender. Look at your Cavs last year. That’s a 25-win team without Lebron. So the Nets or even Knicks will not have to be that close. Sorry, but enjoy these last 2 years, he will be gone to his favorite borough of Brooklyn.

    Cheers.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    WFNY: Where Northeast Demographic Studies Happen

  • Pingback: What Cleveland Must Do to Reach the 2009 Finals | Sports On My Mind()

  • http://deleted buu

    this comment section is getting as good as a yaysports.com comment section!

  • openhead

    What’s up fellas………. First, I am not a Cavs fan, or from Ohio. I’m born & raised in New Jersey. I assume most of you are not from the NY/NJ area.
    I’ve been following the Nets potential move to Brooklyn since Bruce Ratner acquired the team a few years ago.
    The Brooklyn move is not a sure thing at this point. Community groups in Downtown Brooklyn have been taking Ratner & his development company to court for years over this proposed new arena.
    Most of you are seriously (I repeat, SERIOUSLY) underestimating the significance of a move to BK. I hear some of you on hear complain about an “east coast bias”. But you, as non residence of the greater NY metro area fail to see (and how could you?) that the NY media plays these types of games even within the NY area. When the Nets play well, the NY media doesn’t praise them, they ask “why can’t the Knicks do this?”
    The Nets, New Jersey, Long Island, The Islanders, The Devils, Connecticut all get ignored by the NY media. This alone will deter Bron from making the jump in 2010.
    If you want to keep Lebron, pray the Nets move to Newark instead of Brooklyn. I, as a NJ native, want the Nets to stay in Jersey. In essence we want the same thing. Lebron is enthralled with NY. If the BK move happens, I don’t see him in Cleveland in 2010.
    Visit http://www.developdontdestroy.org
    121 5th Avenue, PMB #150
    Brooklyn, New York 11217

    Thanks for reading this……………………….. Salute from Jersey.

  • openhead

    “New Jersey would be horrible. It makes my top 10 undesirable places to live.”

    I just caught this. I tried to be nice & just talk about this particular situation, but…………… Per Capita Income, High School Graduate Rate, Individuals holding At least A Bachelors Degree, Depression Rate, Diversity Of Population, Location (I could go on) all favor NJ. You’re from Ohio. Don’t complain about the NY media & then use a NY media tactic people. Taxes are high, housing costs are high & yet there are upward of 8 & 1/2 million people in a state the size of Israel. It’s not for lack of other places to live.
    I live on a tree lined suburban block less than 10 minutes outside of Manhattan where crime is almost nonexistent. Sounds like a good deal to me.
    What’s that saying about stones & glass houses???????

  • Adam

    I’ve been to Totawa and you can’t get anywhere in 10 min.
    /small sample size

    Everyone in New England thinks everyone in Ohio lives on a farm, or in a run down small town. Everyone in Ohio thinks everyone in NY either lives in the ghetto or has a 2 hour commute.

    http://xkcd.com/386/

  • Aaron

    Only think I would like to point out is his financial numbers are very skewed. LBJ will not be walking away from $33 mil if you really work the numbers out over equivilent time periods. He forgets to include that after 5 years with another team he will be getting his first year of a new max deal with that team again. This would be the same year he is in the final year of his deal with the Cavs. If you look at it correctly……6 years after his contract with the Cavs expires he will make a total of $125,424,901 with another team compared to $134,339,336 if he signs a 6 year max deal with the cavs. The amount he would actually be walking away from is only about $8.9 million, not even close to the $33 million Rock would have you believe.

    Nets Cavs
    Year 1 17,193,000 17,193,000
    Year 2 18,568,440 18,998,265
    Year 3 20,053,915 20,993,083
    Year 4 21,658,228 23,197,357
    Year 5 23,390,887 25,633,079
    Year 6 24,560,431 28,324,552

    Total 125,424,901 134,339,336

  • eric

    the truth. thank you.

  • http://blog.crabrising.info derek

    Thanks for this article.

    If baseball’s salary rules were like basketball’s, MLB would be worth watching after the All-Star Break.

    It’s all up to LeBron and I think that he will stay loyal unless the Cavs jerk him. I think winning is more important than a bigger market.

  • cvnpok

    brandon hoffman is wrong about the cap. like, super wrong.

    heres what he said, “Brooklyn would then have the financial resources (just like the Knicks have now) to far exceed the luxury tax. Meaning they are better equipped to surround James with the best team that money can buy.”

    sorry but u cant just exceed the cap. its not like baseball. once a team reaches the cap they can only overspend it with certain exemptions like the mid-level exemption and the biennial exemption. or if u can exceed the cap to sign your own players, like gilbert and antawn this year.

    theres a reason why only a few teams can go after the high price free agents every year. teams cant just offer gilbert, or baron or elton the max. ITS AGAINST THE RULES.

    also, i take exception with the statement that the cavs dont have the resources. dan gilbert obv does. the cavs have a huuuuuuuge payroll. 4th highest in the league and hes eating tons of luxury tax. despite that the cavs are still gonna sign delonte and gibson and proly spend the mle this year.

    brandon u confuse basketball with baseball. bball teams cannot operate like the yankees no matter how much revenue they bring in or how rich the owners are. bball teams must operate under the rules of the salary structure.

  • cvnpok

    i should add that the reason the knicks have such a high payroll is bc they repeatedly traded expiring contracts for longer term high priced contracts.

    this is not good bc now they cant sign any free agents. even if they wanted to offer gilbert arenas the max, they simply arent allowed to by nba rules.

  • openhead

    “I’ve been to Totawa and you can’t get anywhere in 10 min.”

    Good thing I don’t live in Totawa then……….

  • Tsunami

    Now that Stephen A. Smith has guaranteed that LeBron will be a Knick in 2010, 99.9% of sports journalists guarantee that LeBron will be a NET in 2010, and John Hollinger has pointed out that since LeBron listed Washington D.C. as one of his favorite cities, the WIZARDS should not have resigned Arenas and Jamison and INSTEAD should have dumped their team to free up cap space……[takes deep breath]

    I WONDER how many franchises we can get to DUMP their team for the LeBron sweepstakes of 2010?

    I know the laws behind LeBron leaving Cleveland are more solid than Newtonian Physics, but I just wonder if the experts realize that he can’t play for more than 1 team at a time…

  • http://adriennezurub.typepad.com Adrienne Zurub

    Rock!

    Good article. Thanks for the informative link regarding NBA salaries.

    Rock, LeBron is from Akron, OH. That city is where he was born and raised, not Cleveland. LeBron will always be loyal to and support the Akron area…no doubt.

    LeBron will leave. Why? It is the attitude of Cleveland, the lack of vibracy, the constant need to pull up it’s teams, and continually defend a divisive, slow city and it’s people. These problems drain someone of LeBron’s caliber, youth and energy in vampire-like fashion.

    Cleveland still offers the creeping residual of failed steel mills and manufacturing industries. Coupled with a notable segregation that persists with tenacity and ignorance into the 21st century.

    Our continual ‘wanting’ will not effectively sway LeBron from that which enlivens his spirit and feeds his promise.
    The cities mentioned other than New York City are Arcs; vibrant with success and the intersection of cultures (and a youthful demographic) actually mingling and engaging each other!

    These cities with their respected and valued cultures play (for the most part) like…teams to the betterment of their communities and city…go figure!

    A transcendent statement from Manohla Dargis, the New York Times movie critic in reviewing the Black superhero ‘Hancock’ is apropos to LeBron James as our superhero,
    “…his pain is existential, not material. He suffers at his leisure.”

    Let the ‘Bird’ go free.

    Adrienne
    http://adriennezurub.typepad.com

  • Budzteam

    Not a fan of the cavs or clevelander…., but really don’t see the King moving….Plus does anyone think that he’d be able to step foot back in his hometown if he leaves…somebody will shoot him.

    Elway once said something to the effect that the Browns moving was a terrible thing, but he personally was happy because Art Modell took his place as the most hated man in cleveland.

  • http://www.lebron.com LeBron is King Obama President!

    Adrienne, YOU ARE RIGHT! I am a Clevelander, and LEBRON has done more for his team city state, region, brands, friends, you name it.

    LET LEBRON GO TO NYC. HE WILL BE THE KING OF NY! and LIVE HIS DREAM!

    LeBron do what is in your heart man! Get money Live Life to the Fullest, it is bigger than Basketball!

    Get it!

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com Cleveland Frowns

    Great piece. Somehow missed it until today.

    Another point that gets overlooked in these “LeBron is leaving” pieces is that LeBron has every incentive to make New Yorkers think that he might leave for the Knicks or Nets. If he plans to stay in Cleveland, it certainly doesn’t hurt him any to have New Yorkers weak-kneed for another few years at the prospect of him joining their team. It only gets him more attention and helps him sell more shoes, and whatever else he wants to sell.

  • Adam

    Wow, I can’t tell you how much better I feel about everything in my life after reading this piece. Thank you. You just saved my summer.

  • Jeff

    It’s fun to read this article with real NBA knowledge and without wine & gold colored glasses. You are correct, in 2010 the Cavs should currently only have West, Gibson, Hickson under contract, however the Nets will have Brook Lopez, Sean Williams, Yi, Devin Harris, whatever they get if they trade VC & two high lotto picks in the next two drafts. All of those players possess more upside than anyone on the Cavs not having the initials of LBJ (and don’t retort with Boobie, who really is just a one dimensional shooter).

    Not only that, they could clear enough cap room they could invite Lebron to bring in whoever he’d like. But can’t Cleveland do the same? Sure they can, but there’s a difference in getting people to take a job in Cleveland, OH vs NYC (especially wealthy, highly visible young men).

    The bottom line is that in the summer of 2010 there WILL be better destinations for Lebron to leave to. If you all think that his Cleveland pride is enough to get him to stay, then I applaud you for your ability to live in ignorance.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick

    Well Jeff thank you for stopping by and informing us uneduacted Clevelanders on the facts of life. Guys close down the site. Implode the Q. Jeff thinks we’re wrong.

  • Jeff

    To say Lebron couldn’t show his face back in Cleveland if he were to leave really shows the true Cleveland fan character. Even if he were to leave, he’s already done more for Cleveland basketball than anyone else.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com RockKing

    “If you all think that his Cleveland pride is enough to get him to stay, then I applaud you for your ability to live in ignorance.”

    Always nice to have comments from people who don’t even bother reading the article. Thanks, Jeff, for the enlightening comments. My eyes have been opened.

  • Jeff

    I read the article and I understand your point about Lebron staying in Cleveland for a couple extra mil in contract money. I also understand he’s said that he will stay in Cleveland if the team is able to put pieces around him. It does seem to me that many Cleveland fans are holding their breaths and waiting for another team to give away a free superstar because they feel bad about Lebron not having a 2nd fiddle. However, doesn’t it make more sense that other teams knowing he’ll leave if he doesn’t get help will put Ferry in an impossibly desperate situation to make a deal? If other teams know that if they don’t trade their stars to Cleveland it increases the odds Lebron is an available F/A, they’d have an active reason not to help Ferry out.

    People point to the Gasol deal as an example of a steal of a trade, but ignore that Jerry West’s relationship with the Grizz owner is the main reason that deal went down. Maybe Ferry should start begging the Spurs for Duncan or Manu.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick

    The point of the article is that the rest of the world thinks it is a done deal that LeBron will leave. Everyone points to salary cap space that NJ and NY are creating and assume that Cleveland will never be able to compete with that. The financial point is that Cleveland can match or beat any offer on the table, and that LeBron does not have to live in NY or LA to be a global icon.

  • Jeff

    He doesn’t have to leave Cleveland to be a global icon, but it would certainly help tremendously. In Asia the #1 selling jersey isn’t Lebron, Kobe or even Yao…it’s T-Mac. Lebron going to the Nets and playing with Yi would be a boon in China. In England they’ve heard of the Knicks, Lakers or Celtics, but many people haven’t heard too much about Cleveland, OH much less the Cavs. If you don’t agree with me, think about the English Premier league, sure people know Man U. or Liverpool, but not many people here could name all the teams in the top division.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick

    Those people know who the top stars in the league are not because they play for LA or NY but because they are marketed to them and they are always in the playoffs etc…

    Most fans don’t know about the English Premier league in this country because soccer isn’t as popular here. Not because Manchester United play in a city people know about.

    Jeff you can’t expect to come to a Cleveland site and say something like “I have real NBA knowledge” and then bring weak arguments.

  • Jeff

    Weak arguments? Like Lebron is already a global icon because of Sprite and he’s on the cover of Vogue? How many people read Vogue in Russia?

    Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and many feel the Premier League is the best in the world. I thought we were talking about the world and global icons, but you’ve basically proved my point by saying that people here don’t know about the Premier league because it’s not popular….but it’s certainly more popular worldwide than the Cleveland Cavaliers or Lebron James.

    Other countries are vastly different than American, to say that Lebron is already a global icon because he’s got a bubblegum named after him that you can’t buy overseas, sponsers a beverage that’s hard to find outside of America, or is the first basketball player on the cover of an American magazine is very ignorant.

  • Jeff

    My intentions aren’t to start a fight, you guys have a nice site going here and you do a good job of presenting the case for Lebron to stay. After all, only one person can really answer the mystery and we’ll have to wait a bit to see where he picks.

  • Jay z

    NOPE we got this dude on lock

  • http://mvn.com/nba-cavaliers Amar Panchmatia

    Every time I read this article and then the comments after it I sit here and get all boiled up. I feel like turning into the incredible hulk and crushing every single human being on the planet that thinks LeBron is leaving Cleveland. I feel like going on a mission. A crusade. One by one, ripping faces, breaking jaws, crushing skulls. This feeling stays with me for five minutes as I fail to find anything acceptable to take my rage out on, then start wailing on myself. It is unhealthy, but then the feeling goes away after five minutes when I’ve had my fill of violence.

  • http://www.geocities.com/aloantilpayday/ Andrew

    LOL
    that doesn’t even make any sense!

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