The LeBron James Debacle

For those who have been living in a cave, LeBron James, perhaps the best-known (if not the best) player in the NBA, held a glorified one-hour press conference last night to announce that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team the Akron, OH native has called home for the past 7 seasons, to sign with the Miami Heat, where he will join forces with fellow Olympic teammates Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

Predictably, the Cavs organization was outraged. Owner Dan Gilbert went as far as to accuse James of betrayal, and I’m sure many fans are some combination of depressed and furious.

I actually don’t blame James for leaving. Yes, it’s agonizing to a fanbase when a marquee player leaves, but the Cavs weren’t winning titles no matter what they did. They made a concerted effort to surround James with quality teammates (Antawn Jamison, Shaq, Moe Williams), but none of the moves they made led to playoff success. From a basketball standpoint, it didn’t make sense for James to stay and carry the franchise on his back when he could win elsewhere. It also didn’t make sense for Cleveland to give him a max contract and remake the roster every year (like the 76ers did with Allen Iverson) only to keep coming up short. I feel bad for Cavs fans, but whether now or 5 years from now, this separation had to happen.

That doesn’t mean the way it went down was right. First of all, if James was really concerned about winning a title (a valid, albeit selfish motivation), he would have chosen the Chicago Bulls rather than the Heat. The Bulls already have one of the best young point guards in the league (Derrick Rose), a hard-nosed center (Joakim Noah) and some emerging talents in Taj Gibson and James Johnson. They also added James’ erstwhile Cleveland teammate, Carlos Boozer - an elite power forward when healthy. If that isn’t a winning foundation, I don’t know what is.

Instead, James chose Miami and a chance to play with his friends Wade and Bosh. That trio might be the most talented threesome in the league, but without a decent supporting cast, they won’t win many games. The Heat literally have no center and no bench at the moment. Will some players take salary cuts to join up with James and Co? Probably. But the Heat lacks the salary cap flexibility to build a contender.

Not only did James pick the wrong team, but his whole handling of the situation was shameful. Instead of giving Cleveland a heartfelt goodbye, he created a massive amount of hype for what amounts to a stab in the back.

At a critical junction in his career, James had the opportunity to step up and demonstrate his leadership. Instead, he blew everyone off to have fun with his friends in South Beach and join a team where he doesn’t have to be the best player on the court every night. In the course of a week, he’s gone from a beloved icon to the epitome of cowardice and immaturity. I, for one, can’t wait to see the Heat lose.

What say you all?

Re: The LeBron James Debacle

I thought the whole ESPN special was over-blown, over-done, and not necessary and only a marketing thing for LeBron James and a stab in the back to Cleveland and it’s fans as a whole. As a Cavaliers fan from the days of World B. Free, and the teams that always got stopped short by Michael Jordan and the damn Bulls. Oh well… that’s the way the basketball bounces ya know? Life will go on.

As for me, why would I take part in the massive burnings that are going on around the area. Fans in Akron, Cleveland are burning LeBron stuff like you would not believe. Me, I am not going to do that. I prefer to remember the good timesand not the bad times. I am not going to take down my framed pic of LeBron dunking over an opponent that a friend of mine took, I am not going to burn my Cavaliers throwback jersey, and I am not going to step on my LeBron fathead that I have on my wall.

To me, that is immature. I admit when the Browns moved, I took down my Browns stuff, cause at the time I thought we’d never get another team back. This time, I don’t know what will happen. For me, I did my bit, I got drunk of my arse on Wednesday night and early Thursday when I saw the indicators on ESPN that he was going to Miami and not staying. No, I did not watch the special, as I felt it was over-blown, and not necessary and just done for his ESPN handlers and those who wanted him in a larger market and not and smal, tiny Cleveand.


Re: The LeBron James Debacle

I was really hoping for the Knicks.

Re: The LeBron James Debacle

Meh. Whatever. I’m not big on sports.

Re: The LeBron James Debacle

Plasma, I’m a Knicks fan too, but I don’t think LeBron would have turned the team into contenders. Signing him to a max deal would have killed cap flexibility and prevented the team from filling other needs (like a point guard, which they now have in Raymond Felton). Plus, I don’t know how well he would have handled the pressure of playing in New York. I have no doubt he would have put up awesome stats and increased attendance, but there’s more to the sport than that.

Re: The LeBron James Debacle

I had a talk with one of my buddies, who is also a die-hard Cavs fan and we both say one thing, fuck him. We’re going to move on and we both liked the owner’s message to the fans. I personally wanna see us strap it on and shove it straight up LeBron’s ass. Pardon my profanity but I am rather emotional these days… as a true Cleveland fan will be

I can’t wait to see what happens with all this. This makes for good drama. I am still rather cheesed off about it, and will be for a while. You all have to remember, I am fifty-odd miles from Cleveland, I was at the game on March 17, 2008 when LeBron became the leading scorer for the Cavs, I was at a nationally televised game for the Cavs at home on ESPN against Detroit and the crybabies, I love my team.

I will ALWAYS root for the Cavs. GO CAVS!!! GO CLEVELAND! I also will still go to the games when I luck my way into a ticket.


Re: The LeBron James Debacle

This same stuff happens everytime a big name player decides to move to a different team. I am from Orlando and I remember when Shaq announced he was leaving the Magic for the Lakers. Everyone thought he had betrayed the team and so on. Life went on for the Magic and so will Cleveland.