While New Yorkers, and any media infatuated with New York, would lead you to believe that the Knicks are by far the biggest competitor to the Cavaliers when it comes to LeBron James and his home next fall, I have been of the mindset that there will be other teams that are in the running, perhaps of greater interest to LeBron than even New York.
One such place is Los Angeles with the Clippers. If LeBron is looking for a metropolis to help his start shine brighter, LA is much more attractive than New York, at least in terms of talent on the roster. Of course, I am not alone, as NBA Insider David Aldridge also talks about this option for LeBron -
Actually, if LeBron wants to play in L.A., joining the Clippers, with Baron Davis, Blake Griffin, Chris Kaman, etc., and with cap room next summer to make a major league offer, would make a lot more sense. After all, the Clippers, supposedly, came within a few hours of convincing Bryant to come aboard in 2004.
What Aldridge also does a nice job mentioning is the fact that the Cavaliers will also have some money to spend - to improve a roster that is already primed to make a deep playoff run this year, early struggles be damned -
Of course, no one seems to understand that Cleveland will have access to its own stash of millions next summer, when Shaq's $21 million comes off the books, and could sign its own max player to team with James, Mo Williams and company for the next five years. Who doubts LeBron's own very strong means of persuasion?
Then, there are the comments of Mo Williams. LeBron is very close with his teammates, and it is the loyalty towards them that will be the biggest pull on LeBron to stay. Williams agrees -
"I'm not really too concerned about it, because I know his heart and his love is here in Cleveland," Williams told me last week. "I know that. Just like anybody else, we love the New Yorks, we love the Miamis, we love the L.A.s, we love the Torontos. That's probably the most underrated city. We love those cities. But you can't underrate home."
I have always conceded that it is Akron, not Cleveland, that LeBron considers home, and while the national media may not get it , there is a difference. That said, LeBron is loyal to a fault, and fault are what drive people to love celebrities.
It is going to be a delicate balance, going through the season while dealing with all the LeBron talk - the price of have a superstar.