The LeBron James rumor mill is about to jump into high gear and there is going to come a point where people are going to get tired of hearing about it.
I won’t be one of those.
I will sit glued to my TV praying he signs with the New York Knicks. If someone told me LeBron would sign with the Knicks, but I have to jump off a 10 story building and both of my legs are going to break, I would do it.
There are fans from Chicago, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Miami, and pretty much every other NBA city that would do the same thing.
Whether one of those teams has a chance to get LeBron James comes a very simple question: Does James think the Cleveland Cavaliers’ current core can win an NBA Championship? If James does re-sign, the roster we saw Thursday which lost to the Boston Celtics 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals will be similar to the one we would see the next two seasons.
Danny Ferry has given the Cavs little flexibility with the salary cap the next two seasons if they are to keep LeBron. Any major move would have to be through a trade (they also have their mid-level exception, but that would require them to go further over the salary cap and pay more luxury tax money).
Next year they have $45,531,659 between Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams, Anderson Varejao, Delonte West, Daniel Gibson, Jamario Moon, Anthony Parker, Sebastian Telfiar and JJ Hickson. Oops, that might not be good.
In 2011/12 they have $41,225,085 between Jamison, Williams, Varejao, Gibson, Moon and Hickson. Hickson’s contract is a team option, but I think it is fair to assume they are going to pick that up since they didn’t want to trade him for Amar’e Stoudemire. A little side note – looking two years down the line is actually pretty pointless. The NBA collective bargaining agreement ends after the 2010/11 season and the salary structure for the players could be completely different. I am just doing this for more background evidence on why Danny Ferry might end up being known as the reason LeBron James left.
Mo Williams will earn a little bit under $30 million next three years to disappear in the playoffs.
Jamison will cash in a little under $30 million next two years. This was not Ferry’s work, but he did acquire it.
Freaking Varajao is signed through 2013/2014 for around $31 million, and there is a team option in 14/15 for over $9 million. Varajao has a contract that is comparable to Lamar Odom, Paul Milsap and Marcus Camby. Luis Scola probably gets a contract in that price range this off-season, and he is a better all around player. Varejao is a good role player; he isn’t worth that much money.
Daniel Gibson gets over $4 million a year until 2012/2013, which makes his contract one of the worst in the entire NBA.
*I think I just found Danny Ferry puking in a toilet at Gund Arena – those are all really not good.*
Ferry and the whole state of Ohio better pray LeBron likes playing with that core of players.
If he does, he stays in Cleveland, takes all the extra money for signing with the team he was drafted by and gets Mike Brown fired to make him the scapegoat. Brown does deserve some of the blame; last year he got abused by Stan Van Gundy, this year it was Doc Rivers. He just took the top spot in the clueless coach in the NBA playoffs poll. Mike Woodson fell a couple votes short.
From what Adrian Wojnarowski is writing it sounds like Kentucky Coach John Calipari and James could be linked together. Insane that James would take this kind of risk with a guy who failed so miserably in the NBA the first time around.
If LeBron does not think the current core can win a championship and doesn’t want to be stuck with them for the next two years he is gone, no questions asked.
LeBron will never say it but, if he decides to bolt, this is the obvious reason.
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