LeBron's DECISION (caps for emphasis) is about an hour away, and I, like all of you, am still guessing as to where he will land. When projecting something like this, I've always found that the true answer lies in which option has the least significant cons as opposed to the most significant pros. Since I'm up against the clock, here's an abbreviated version of all of the cons from LeBron's possible destinations:
1) They've tried to build a contender around him, and have failed to do so. Despite having the best record in the East the past two years, the Cavs have flamed-out spectacularly in each of the last two postseasons. 2) They have zero cap flexibility and are tied into a lot of long-term contracts. They have attractive trade options, but working sign-and-trades is a lot more complicated than just throwing $100M in someones face. 3) It's Cleveland. Comparing Cleveland to Miami, Chicago, and New York is like comparing a hot dog from a street vendor to filets at St. Elmo's, Shula's, and Ruth Chris. Sure, it's home, but he can maximize his earning potential elsewhere.
1) You're stepping into Michael Jordan's shadow - a shadow that will never fully go away. Six rings is asking a whole lot. 2) The whole "LeBron needs a point guard" belief is a myth. He needs to have the ball in his hands. I think he cancels out what Derrick Rose (running the offense) does best by putting him on that team. 3) You're joining a team with a brand-new and therefore unproven head coach in Tom Thibodeau. Is that a risk LeBron is willing to take?
1) LeBron + Amar'e Stoudemire + .....? Danilo Gallinari? Toney Douglas? The Knicks aren't an instant Championship favorite like Miami and Chicago would be. 2) Knicks' fans would literally flip out with LeBron chose to come to New York, but they wouldn't be star-struck forever. Eventually fans would come to expect things (i.e. multiple Championships), which may make the latter years a struggle. 3) The Knicks do have Eddy Curry's expiring contract coming off the books next year, but they're already lost their 2012 First Round pick. Gallinari is the only young piece with All-Star potential, as the ceilings of Douglas and Wilson Chandler are pretty low.
1) LeBron is having his own one-hour primetime TV special to announce his decision, and you think this is a guy that wants to go to Miami where he'll have to fight for the spotlight with Dwyane Wade? 2) The LeBron-Wade-Bosh trio sounds great on paper, but how would this really work? Remember the embarrassing Olympic (2004) and World Championships (2002) teams? The problem with those teams was that everyone was trying to get theirs. The same could result here. 3) Miami is a complete disaster of a sports town. I'm convinced there are more Knicks/Mets fans in that town than Heat/Marlins. He won't be beloved there like he likely would be in Cleveland, New York, and Chicago.
All in all, I think the Miami reports today, and the Knicks reports last night, were all smoke-screens. I think you'll see LeBron decide to stay in Cleveland, because it's the situation that makes most sense.
Calling all P&T Mailbag questions: Round 3
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