As I said yesterday, the Great Race for LeBron James is probably down to two teams. Especially if LeBron only cares about winning like he says he does.
After two consecutive seasons of sporting the best record in the league, the Cavaliers were ousted before the NBA Finals by seemingly better teams. Or better coaches, maybe. They’ve been criticized for their inability to win the big games. And most specifically, LeBron James has been criticized for not being able to win the big games.
Whether it was due to an aching elbow or an apathy for the game with free agency approaching, something was wrong with LeBron James in the 2010 Playoffs. He shot poorly. He defended poorly. He passed poorly. And he played poorly.
But, whereas some stars may have been chastised by the city, the city of Cleveland held true to their superstar. Let’s hold it right there though. I want to clarify that I am not saying that LeBron James should remain in Cleveland because he’ll be King regardless of whether he wins a championship. What I am saying, though, is that the city of Cleveland truly loves their superstar. We/They have been spoiled for 82+ games a season for seven seasons now while having the opportunity to watch one of the game’s greatest athletes. And we are aware of that. We expect a championship out of LeBron James. We expect a championship for the Cleveland Cavaliers. But we are willing to stand by him through thick and thin. And that is hard to find in a starving city.
In Cleveland, LeBron is at home. He grew up not far from the city and owns a beautiful home in Bath Township. His two kids, along with his wife/girlfriend Savanna, have grown up in the great state of Ohio. And LeBron knows that it is a great place for him to raise his family. He has a tight group of friends who receive first class treatment at the Quicken Loans Arena – something they likely won’t receive elsewhere.
LeBron has an owner in Dan Gilbert who is willing to spend, spend, spend in order to field a championship caliber team. He has done his best to surround James with as much talent as possible – thought it hasn’t paid off yet. Cleveland is certainly in the best position to win now because, quite frankly, they’ve come pretty darn close over the last few years. The only way LeBron joins a better team is if both he and Chris Bosh join the Chicago Bulls – but even that is a stretch.
Tonight promises to be a late night for LeBron James and the rest of the NBA free agent class. But before we close up shop tonight, let’s take a look at the LBJ free agency odds brought to you by the SBR Forum:
Who will LeBron James sign with for the 2010-2011 season? (odds updated as of June 30, 2010)
Bulls: +300 (3 to 1)
Cavaliers: -200 (1 to 2)
Clippers: +1500 (15 to 1)
Heat: +450 (9 to 2)
Knicks: +500 (5 to 1)
Nets: +700 (7 to 1)
There you have it, folks. Rest in peace tonight. Our King will remain in Cleveland – the odds say so.