I’m Going to Make Him an Offer He Can’t Refuse: Windy City

The Great Race for LeBron James is, in my opinion, down to two teams – Chicago and Cleveland.  And for good reason.

Though the Bulls were knocked out of the 2010 playoffs rather easily by the more talented Cavalier lineup, they made well in their audition for the King.  Derrick Rose proved his worth as one of the best point guards in the game of basketball and Joakim Noah did his thing as, well, a wild thing.  Rose was outstanding in the series and made play after player to keep his team in the game.  He, like Rajon Rondo and/or Jason Kidd, is a transition player’s dream.  And he’s certainly an upgrade from any point guard LeBron James has ever played with.  Noah provides the toughness and activity in the paint – much like one of LeBron’s favorite teammates, Anderson Varejao.

But, perhaps most intriguing for the King, the Bulls have the cap space to bring in two big name free agents this summer.  That means James could possibly have the opportunity to take the floor with a lineup consisting of Rose, himself and Chris Bosh.  Three all-star caliber players.  Three winners.  And one absolutely dominate team in the East.  They’d be something like Boston’s “Big Three”…only younger and better.

The downside, though, is that Chicago is home to arguably the greatest player of all time – Michael Jordan.  They’ve been spoiled by multiple championships coming at the hands of His Airness.  LeBron will play in the shadow of Jordan and will forever play second string to the Hall of Famer unless he comes up with about six championships of his own.  And that is a particularly lofty request in the NBA today.

As well, with a team of Rose, Bosh and LeBron, expectations are going to be incredibly high.  If they don’t produce a championship together in the first year or two, they will be deemed failures.  They will be failures because Chicago has had the opportunity to taste the sweet taste of victory.  On the other hand, Cleveland has not.  LeBron’s playoff woes will always be blamed on the city’s bad luck.  He will be the alpha-male, a man among boys, the moment he chooses to resign with the Cavaliers.  Championship(s) or not, LeBron James will be the King of Cleveland.  It doesn’t work that way in Chicago.

Topics: Cavaliers, Cleveland, Cleveland Cavaliers, KJG, Lebron, Lebron James, LeBron James, MVP, NBA, Playoffs

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  • Sean Carlos

    There it goes again, the “Jordan’s Shadow” arguement. So Bird couldn’t shine in Boston because of Russell, and all the championships they won? Magic, and Kobe can’t shine in L.A. because Wilt and West played there? If he’s going to be the greatest, he’s going to be compared to Jordan wherever he goes, just like Kobe is now… so that arguement needs to be put to rest. Chicago has the most globally recognized team in the NBA, and the most fans worldwide.

    Cleveland is a great city to be King of but…. c’mon, lets keep it completely real… Cleveland kind of sucks. I mean, compared to other great cities. Obama, Jordan, Oprah, LBJ…. period.

    • http://www.cavfanatic.com/cnorman2?pref_tab=my_site Cody Norman

      Sean Carlos- Thanks for writing in. While I don’t particularly agree with the “Jordan Shadow” argument 100%, it is something to take a look at. LeBron has played his entire career (thus far) being compared to Michael Jordan. However, he has also said that he wants to do something that no one has ever done before.

      That’s where the “Jordan Shadow” argument really takes effect. Jordan has won championships for Chicago. He has put the Chicago Bulls on the map across the globe. LeBron James prides himself on “putting Akron, Ohio on the map”. That ‘something different’ that he has always talked about could, in fact, be putting the Cleveland Cavaliers in the minds of every basketball fan in the world.

      It’s not that he cannot shine in Chicago because of Michael Jordan. It’s that he cannot be different in Chicago because of Michael Jordan. That is my only argument.

  • Sean Carlos

    Chicago was his favorite team growing up. Also, what can he do that is so different? The pinacle is winning championships. The Celtics won too many back in the day for him to say he’s going to win more championships than anyone, and six is a large feat in this league. So what can he do? He can become the first billionare athlete. China is a new market that Jordan didn’t reach, and James can be the first NBA player to truly dominate that reigon… Kobe holds it now, but King James could do wonders with a few championships under his belt.

    He can put Cleveland on the map, but… why? He’s true to Akron, not Cleveland. I mean, what would you do if you were Lebron and you could go to that next level, and actually take on a challenge… instead of being adored for doing nothing but putting on a good show? Its too easy there in Cleveland, all he has to do is show up and dance on the sidelines..throw some powder in the air, and he’s God. He needs more pressure. This will force the growth he needs to become the best ever. IMO

    • http://www.cavfanatic.com/cnorman2?pref_tab=my_site Cody Norman

      I couldn’t disagree with you more. LeBron James is not the typical basketball player in the sense the he wants to be something bigger. It isn’t about what he does to be different; it becomes an issue of how he does it. It’s all about the story with him…

      It’s about being different. There have been very few (if any) athletes who have taken their home team – who has never won a title – and morphed it into something spectacular…something for everyone to marvel over. A home town boy (I can say hometown because Akron is not far from Cleveland) who takes a starving franchise, a starving city and creates a kingdom of perennial MVPs and championship teams. There’s no better story than that.

      Ohio is his home. Cleveland is his home. The Quicken Loans Arena is his home. He isn’t going anywhere…

      • neuronomics

        Ok, but why would all-stars want to come to Cleveland? Just because LeBron is there? That is a huge challenge. You, as a Cleveland fan, want him there for the city. It has nothing to do with him, and whats best for him. Thats understandable. And you are right, it would be amazing for him to do that.

        But I think Lebron has larger plans in mind. He wants to be a billionare. He’s said it himself, and his brand is whats important to him….long term. He’s also said that himself. If you understand branding, you’d understand that he NEEDs to win championships for that to be possible. This is why he also says a Championship is his priority.

        Flashy slam dunks, and half court threes won’t get you respect globally, titles do… especially multiple titles. He also has said he wants to ‘make the league better’. Unfortunatley the league is ‘better’ with contenders in top markets. Ratings increase dramatically during the playoffs and finals. There is a reason why he would generate 2.7 billion in Chicago.

        I, personally, would love a good story…and if he stays in Cleveland it would be a hope for humanity. But, also, I KNOW (being in the music business) what motivates the ‘elite’. Especially Jay Z. Beheath the surface he has an agenda, and it’s not pretty. It’s about branding, and controlling pop culture, and athletes play a big part. Since he is so close to Jay, I know he has ben exposed to a more ‘global’ agenda that includes more than just basketball.

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  • http://www.cavfanatic.com/cnorman2?pref_tab=my_site Cody Norman

    Neuronomics- I definitely see where you’re coming from and do understand that, if he leaves, it is a decision based solely on LeBron’s brand and his desire to be a billionaire. My only argument against that at this point is this: LeBron has spent his entire seven year NBA career putting together this flawless persona based first upon loyalty. He advertises for his brand using his high school teammates and holds MVP ceremonies in the places that mean the most to him. He is one of very few athletes in this league that we can truly say is defined by his family and his friends – and it’s not a bad thing.

    After painting that picture for his brand based around his loyalty and being the hometown boy, I believe it would hurt his brand to make the move now. If he’s not loyal, if he’s not a hometown hero, then who is LeBron James?

    As well, he has said on multiple occasions that his one goal is to win a ring for the city of Cleveland. If he leaves now, he will upset a lot of people and quite possibly become Public Enemy #1 in the place where he grew up. That is NOT what LeBron James wants.

    • Sean Carlos

      Again, I agree. Who is LeBron James? That’s what the world will say if he doesn’t win championships. Is he a circus, who is playing ‘god’ in his hometown, or is he a serious professional athlete who is the most talented ever and can win titles? Honestly, I’m not even an LBJ fan. I’m a Kobe fan, because Kobe is a winner. Period. I haven’t seen his documentary or anything, and I kind of think he is a pretender to the throne. Some of that dancing has turned me off. And all that is because he hasn’t won anything yet. How much do people outside of Ohio care about him being the ‘hometown’ boy? People in the US, and especially people worldwide? Of course it’s cool that he grew up there, and yes..I’m very sure that he targeted this aspect while branding. But it hasn’t worked…yet.

      He needs a support system. His brand will take a hit if he leaves Cleveland, but if he builds a dynasty on another team then he’ll be alright. If he stays in Cleveland and doesn’t win anything, then.. he’ll still be loved by Ohio no matter what, and he can stay there forever and be loved for doing nothing but growing up there. Its a very interesting situation.

      I assume you are from Cleveland? I’ve been to Cleveland, have you ever been to Chicago?

    • Sean Carlos

      Wait, also..the fact that he’ll be HATED by Ohio if he leaves doesn’t sit right with me. Thats like your high school sweetheart who is a 6, and not attractive….and holding you back from reaching your dreams absolutely hating you for doing whats best for you, even if you support her financially when you have moved on to your perfect 10. lol

      I mean, how do you hate a guy for playing on his dream team, and going after his dream if you REALLY love him like you say you do, and are his ‘FAMILY’? Its a farce. That aint love.

  • http://www.cavfanatic.com/cnorman2?pref_tab=my_site Cody Norman

    The world already knows who LeBron James is, Sean Carlos. Hence why he is the number two jersey selling basketball player in the world – next to Kobe. And the moment he chooses a team (Cleveland) and dons that #6 jersey, his sales will skyrocket past Kobe Bryant.

    The fact that Kobe is a proven winner is obvious; I can’t argue with that. But LeBron James is 25 years old. He has an owner in Dan Gilbert who is willing to spend, spend, spend in order to build something special for the King. He has proven this time and time again. The moves they made to acquire Shaq/Jamison/Moon/Parker last season were great moves and, undoubtedly, were signed off on by LeBron.

    And, to be honest, I am NOT from Cleveland. However, I am a Cleveland sports fan up-and-down (other than the Browns). And the life of a Cleveland sports fan consists of betrayal, heartbreak and always falling short. If LBJ leaves town, he is joining a group of athletes that will forever be hated by true Cleveland sports fans because he is just another stuck up millionaire athlete. He will prove to us that he doesn’t care/never did care about us the way he claims to love Cleveland. You ask how LeBron James can be different… He can be different by going against the haters (William Wesley included) and reclaiming his throne in Cleveland. Winning a title for Cleveland. That is different; and that sets him apart from nearly every other athlete to ever play this game.

    • Sean Carlos

      Yeah, you’re right again. Your points are all valid. So why is he doing this? Why has he been talking about summer 2010, just to resign with the Cavaliers? Why not just say “I grew up here, I play here, I stay here?” Why put Cleveland through the heartbreak? Why explore options? He knows what Cleveland offers, and if that was important why do all this to the people of Cleveland. If it were me, and I was so LOYAL I’d be loyal through and through. When he signed his deal he said he was looking forward to 2010.

      Thats my only issue. Is it just to keep the NBA in the news during the offseason? Thats good for the league…I guess. Is it as a consideration for the teams who have been preparing for years for this day? Is he exploring his options to see if there is ‘an offer he can’t refuse’? And if so, you feel that he wouldn’t take it? Like he, and his camp, haven’t had this day circled on their calendar?

      I’m no Cleveland hater, I’m all for feel good stories..and it would be great for him to stay. I’m just saying, as a Chicago fan, he just may leave. But, why all the drama? Can you answer that?

  • http://www.cavfanatic.com/cnorman2?pref_tab=my_site Cody Norman

    That is a question only LeBron James can answer. I don’t know why he insists on holding the entire city hostage. But I do know that just as he did when he gave himself the nickname “King”, LeBron James enjoys the attention as much as anyone in the world.

    Yes, he may move. But I don’t believe he will. His loyalty will show if/when he resigns with the Cavaliers. And that will outweigh the heartache he’s caused over the last several weeks/months/years.

    To be clear, I completely agree with you in the sense that I honestly believe that he has made up his mind and has known where he’s going for quite a while now. Other than the attention, I have no idea why he hasn’t made his decision known yet.

    • Sean Carlos

      “July 1 of 2010 is a very big day,” James said then. “It’s probably going to be one of the biggest days in free-agent history in the N.B.A.”

      I’ll tell you this, I won’t be a big day if he re-signs with the Cavs. It’ll be a big day for Cleveland, but history of the league..I don’t think so. Shaq going to L.A. was probably the biggest thus far, and if he’d resigned with Orlando it wouldn’t have been so spectacular. So since Wade is probably staying in Miami, and if James stays in Cleveland, that just leaves Bosh to make a move. Bosh leaving Toronto is a far cry from the biggest day in free agent history. You’d have to agree.

      So what’s gonna make this a big day?

      Are the stars gonna come join him in Cleveland? I don’t think so. The problem with the world today is…. people just don’t care. People outside Cleveland don’t care if he stays in Cleveland, most want a change. If he leaves, polls have shown, people won’t think his legacy would take a hit. He gave 7 years to Cleveland, so I don’t know how much it would hurt his brand globally. Until a few days ago, I didn’t even know his brand was about loyalty. They don’t play those commercials out here…or anywhere else outside the Cleveland area.

      I don’t know man. I don’t think its looking good for Cleveland. What did Kevin Garnett say when they won? What advice did he give LeBron? Loyalty can kill you.

  • http://www.cavfanatic.com/cnorman2?pref_tab=my_site Cody Norman

    I understand exactly where you’re coming from, Sean Carlos. The FA class is already the biggest in NBA history simply because of the commotion it has caused. I just don’t think he’s going to leave Cleveland – and leave $30 million on the table.

    All I’m saying is that LeBron’s home is very near and dear to his heart. If he leaves now, he may very easily become Public Enemy #1 in Ohio. I’m not sure that’s something he wants at this stage in his career.

    On any note, we will all find out for sure soon…I hope. But I truly believe he’ll be in Cleveland. Just as I believe Wade goes back to Miami, Johnson goes back to ATL and Amar’e will (should) remain in Phoenix.

  • Sean Carlos

    Yeah, 30 million… thats a lot of cash. But again, that number is just based on the contract length and percent raise. If you think hard enough you’ll see that he can still re-sign with the ‘new’ team in that sixth year and make around 17-20 million starting in that sixth year. So that’s about 10 million on the table.

    Depending on the market, he may have more ‘off the court’ opportunities, and this is where the billionare aspect comes in, b/c he’s not making a billion with basketball salaries.

    If you look hard at the numbers and the possibilities, as a business manager, you’d see that that 30 million fades away. But we shall see, I wish you luck in the LeBron sweepstakes, maybe you’ll become a Bulls fan if he comes here?!

  • http://www.cavfanatic.com/cnorman2?pref_tab=my_site Cody Norman

    I’ve got news for you, Sean Carlos. I will NOT be rooting for the Bulls if LeBron decides to hit the road for Chicago. I’ll just have to do some renaming of this site (I’m thinking something along the lines of BurnedandBetrayed.com). Haha!

    Again, thanks for reading and writing in. It’s always nice to get a fresh (unbiased) perspective.

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