Win Or Lose, LeBron James Shouldn’t Leave Cleveland
It has been the talk of the NBA for the past few years, “Will LeBron James Leave Cleveland in 2010?” While many believe he will remain a Cav, the recent drubbing by the Boston Celtics in game five, which put the Cavs on the brink of elimination, has brought the topic back in full force.
Although some speculate LeBron could bolt for the big city dreams of New York City, upon further review, the move doesn’t make much sense. LeBron has taken charge of a lowly Cavalier team and shaped it all around him. From big men to point guards to coaches, James has been running Cleveland since his arrival back in 2003.
Great players build great teams. Michael Jordan did it as a Bull, Isiah Thomas did it as a Piston, Magic Johnson did it as a Laker and Tim Duncan did it as a Spur. None of these great players tucked their tail between their legs and ran when the going got tough. Remember how everyone was concerned with Michael Jordan not being able to get past the Pistons? Well he did it and after that it was smooth sailing en route to six championship rings. Nobody said it was going to be easy. But you have to buckle down, take your lumps and come back stronger.
If LeBron were to go to the Knicks, the pressure to win would be beyond inexplicable. Not to mention the fact the team the Knicks currently field has nothing for LeBron, outside of David Lee. Sure, they may be able to woo another big name, but that doesn’t automatically equate to a championship. Remember the Houston Rockets squad that had Barkley, Olajuwon and Pippen in their starting five? Where did that team go? Not far enough. Anything less than a quarter final appearance in his first season will be viewed as failure.
Why go somewhere where the city is bigger than you are? New York is New York. If you aren’t from there, you cannot become one of them without bringing instant success. More importantly, this is the opportunity LeBron has to become a city, not betray it. Jordan IS Chicago. Magic IS Los Angeles. Isiah IS Detroit. LeBron needs to be Cleveland. Going to New York will overshadow LeBron James as an individual. The microscope might burn him if he isn’t ready for this kind of spotlight. You can lose in Cleveland. They may be mad for a couple of days, but they’ll get over it due to the fact that they have never been this close to an NBA championship. You can’t lose in New York. If LeBron thought those boos were bad on Sunday, he hasn’t seen anything yet. They’ll boo him worse for missing a game winning three-pointer in a regular season game. And New York is known to dump a player in a heartbeat if things aren’t going right. Don’t think that LeBron will retire a Knick if immediate success doesn’t come. He’s just as disposable (if not more) than Patrick Ewing, and we all remember how that went.
Hopefully, this isn’t about the money. If it is, LeBron is already rich and the Knicks can’t make him any richer. Neither can any other team. The Cavs can offer the best contract that no other team can compete with. The biggest problem with the Knicks is the salary cap. It’s not like the Yankees where you can buy everyone with no penalty. The Knicks have some issues to take care of and it’s going to take a couple of years to right the wrongs that took place during the Isiah Thomas era. Simply put, there’s not a better team that can immediately be fielded around LeBron.
If the Cavs don’t win the championship, King James should suck it up, get over it and live to fight another day. That’s what true champions do.