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LeBron James: free agency countdown begins


I'm going that way. (AP Photo)


LeBron James created this spectacle, fueled the hype that the most attractive free agent since Shaquille O'Neal 14 years ago could be had, and made July 1, 2010, a date that NBA general managers had marked on their calendars for at least two summers.

James did all that he could to raise the level of anticipation of his potential departure, while simultaneously torturing a long-suffering fan base that thought he could end a curse that now stretches 46 years and fawned over him ever since he was a scrawny high school kid dazzling crowds in Akron, Ohio.

But he had no idea that he would have so much time to ponder his future, with the top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers getting upset in the second round of the playoffs by the champion once-removed Boston Celtics. For the next six weeks, there will be speculation about whether James will stay or go, and which destination is the ideal fit. After a disappointing 94-85 loss on Thursday, James said he was too wrapped up in what went wrong against Boston to be concerned about where he play beyond this season.

"I will approach this summer with the right mindset," he said. "Me and my team is going to figure out what's the best possibility for me. I love the city of Cleveland, of course. The city, the fans. It was a disappointing season to say the least, but at the same time, we had a great time together. We'll see what happens."

James has had a long-running flirtation with New York. He caused an uproar in 2007, when he showed at an Indians home playoff game against the Yankees wearing a Yankees cap. He wore special "Big Apple" editions of his signature shoe against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, a place he repeatedly referred to as the Mecca. And he is close friends with hip hop mogul Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, who is a part of owner of the New Jersey Nets franchise that plans a move to Carter's native Brooklyn in two seasons.


Parting is such sweet sorrow, but really, I just had some sweat get in my eyes. (Photo by Elsa/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Knicks and New Jersey Nets both strategically made deals, several years in advance, to have salary cap room in order to pursue James this summer. In addition to the presence of Jay-Z, the Nets also have a nice young core, featuring a former all-star in Devin Harris, one of the best young centers in the NBA in Brook Lopez and a potentially high lottery pick that comes with the team finishing with the worst record this season. They also have a new Russian billionaire owner in Mikhail Prokhorov, who is known to be very persuasive and proven to be highly competitive and savvy as he built a EuroLeague power with CSKA Moscow.

The Knicks have long been considered a frontrunner if LeBron decided to leave Cleveland, mostly because their fans have spent much of the past two seasons begging him to come. New York doesn't have much to offer from a basketball perspective, other than Coach Mike D'Antoni and enough salary cap space to add another maximum level contract free agent.

James could also go to Miami and form a truly dynamic duo with his good friend Dwyane Wade. The pairing would finally provide James with a comparable talent as a running mate and place him in less of a pressure cooker than New York.

But in recent weeks, Chicago has emerged as a seriously viable option, with a young core that pushed the Cavaliers during a hard-fought five-game series and features an all-star point guard in Derrick Rose. The Bulls don't have a coach, but James potentially will play a role in determining who gets that job, with rumors circulating that Kentucky Coach John Calipari could make a return to the NBA, given his close ties to James's agent, Leon Rose, and behind-the-scenes power broker and James confidant, William Wesley.

Chicago would seem like an intimidating location, with the shadow of Michael Jordan and his six championships. But James hasn't ducked from comparisons to Jordan, having worn No. 23 since entering the league. He recently decided to switch to No. 6 out of deference to Jordan, but he hasn't been afraid of pressure and expectations throughout his career. And with a solid supporting cast, he wouldn't have to do it alone.

Then, there are the Cleveland Cavaliers, who appear to have little to no flexibility to improve this offseason. They took a serious risk in acquiring Jamison, since his contract -- with two years and $23 million remaining -- basically eliminated their chances of being a major player in free agency. James will have to decide if he's going to leave a city and a franchise in shambles and have his inability to win a title in his home town hanging around him.

"First of all, I want to win," James said. "I mean, that's my only thing; that's my only concern. It's all about winning and I think the Cavs is committed to do that. But at the same time, I've given myself options to this point."

Now the basketball world is left to wait and speculate until he makes up his mind.

By Michael Lee  |  May 14, 2010; 12:58 PM ET
 
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Next: 'We Are LeBron'

Comments

New Jersey Nets 2010 Opening Day Starters:

PG Devin Harris
SG Evan Turner
SF LeBron James
PF David Lee
C Brook Lopez

Posted by: gimmedat | May 14, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I'd bet on the Nets if they weren't playing a couple of seasons in Newark. But I guess Cleveland isn't much nicer...

Posted by: jaguar2490 | May 14, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

When Orlando crushes the Cs, just how far off the Cavs were will be even more apparent.

Gotta agree James was not his normal self. Usually he is clearly the most dominant force on the floor, even when they are losing. Last night there were times you had to check if he was in the game or not....despite his numbers, he seemed to disappear at times. Put the ball in Mo Williams hands too much, a true KING needs to dictate play.

All in all, not what anyone expected from him

Posted by: divi3 | May 14, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

and Shaq is still a LOAD. Acquitted himself fine as opposed to AJ who just stank

Posted by: divi3 | May 14, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Yeah I was starting to think last night that the Nets might be a viable option. Having a new owner with tons of cash and committed to winning is never a bad start. Having Jay-Z on board helps. Then the young pieces (including CLee and CDR along with Lopez and Harris) to build with. Plus a great draft pick, and still enough space to sign one other meaningful FA. They might even technically have enough to sign Bosh instead of David Lee.

Posted by: ts35 | May 14, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Cleveland brass has to reassure LeBron that the playoff loss was not his fault on any level. The best way to do that? They will fire HC Mike Brown!

Posted by: gimmedat | May 14, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

despite his numbers, he seemed to disappear at times. Put the ball in Mo Williams hands too much, a true KING needs to dictate play.

All in all, not what anyone expected from him

Posted by: divi3

I disagree. LeBron was definitely not at his best, be it because of the injuries or the Celtics' D. But there are 4 other guys on the floor, 3 of them former all-stars, who are supposed to be professional basketball players too. What were they doing to help the team win? I am all for LBJ bashing, but even if he appeared uninterested, the rest of those guys are supposed to be competing for a championship too. AJ had a picture of the trophy in his locker, why wasn't he playing with reckless abandon? There are things you can blame LBJ for, but most of the rest of his team laid down like dogs.

Only two other guys scored in double figures (Shaq with 11) and no one else with double digit boards or assists.

Jordan didn't start winning championships until he started trusting guys like John Paxson to make shots.....and Paxson did. Even the best players need something from their teammates.

Posted by: ts35 | May 14, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: rbpalmer | May 14, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

ts35... plenty of blame to pass around amng the Cavs, I agree.... but what good is a triple-double when it is packaged with NINE turnovers?

Posted by: khrabb | May 14, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

The revenge of the Wizards. This year we finally got to the Cavs. Though we could not beat them in the playoffs for years this year we got back at them even better. We sent them Antawn Jamison who in this seminal series for the Cavs couldn't play defense against Boston and couldn't score. I found it remarkable that Mike Brown continued to play him. In the Wizard - Cavalier rivalry, this year has to go to the Wizards. Not only did we help Boston knock them off we may have helped them lose their franchise player and the whole future of that organization. Good Job - Antawn. Unfortunately you might have to play with a James-less Cav team that arguably will be worse than the Wizards this year. Oh, and just reporting other former Wizard activity. Butler and Haywood sent to Dallas helped that 2 seed lose to the 6 seed Spurs. The Wizards sure made an impact on the league this year..

Posted by: Tom1 | May 14, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I am so sick of the "superstar" NBA game--and all its attendant fawning--that I find myself rooting for any team that even pretends to play as a team. Obviously, any team to which "the King" goes will be off my radar.

Posted by: nmik | May 14, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

SI.com is reporting that Brown has been fired. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/basketball/nba/05/14/brown/index.html

Posted by: rbpalmer | May 14, 2010 2:27 PM

If so, the stroking of LeBron's bruised ego has started in earnest.

Posted by: gimmedat | May 14, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Nets don't have a shot; they don't have the fan support regardless of Jay-Z, Russian Billy or a move to BK. He will go where he has a running mate Guard ONLY and that is DRose or DWade (with apologies to the now oft-injured CPIII).

Posted by: kahlua87 | May 14, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

The Nets don't have fan support because they lack a superstar. Put LeBron in a Nets uni and they will come.

Posted by: gimmedat | May 14, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Two years in a NJ nets jersey sales ??, then in a Brooklyn jersey sales ?? don't forget the throwback cavs jersey sales?, pick another free agent pal to go with to NJ options?, Wade or Amare no one else, he needs all around players not role players (bosh, boozer, johnson, etc. majority international owner for exposure? part owner urban icon Jay z - homey ? can mold a team in two years with trades, draft etc to be #1 when move to Brooklyn, unlimited financial resources, his promotion/agent/marketing business will be more successful, superstar/entertainment/sports N Y connections? open coaching vacancy, plz everyone if you were in his shoes no disrespect to cavs fans (i understand) this would be your destiny. And to end it with a little inside info cav fans stop reading now ------ its more beneficial to Lebron to win his first title with NJ/BKLY in a financial sense, and his attitude and playing style in these last two games showed it.

Posted by: tvdorsey | May 14, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

SI.com is reporting that Brown has been fired. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/basketball/nba/05/14/brown/index.html

Posted by: rbpalmer | May 14, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

ESPN says no.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5189101

Posted by: rbpalmer | May 14, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone confirmed yet that James will not exercise his team option for 2010-11 yet? Until we know that, all of this is mere speculation, hype and assumption...

Posted by: vscorpio30 | May 14, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Financially, it makes more sense for him to opt out, even if only to re-sign with Cleveland. More guaranteed $$$.

Count me among the speculators.

Posted by: gimmedat | May 14, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

You know if you watch the games 5-6 Boston found how to defend James. THe started colapsing and he would have 3 guys around him and he could not drive to teh basket and his team mates were not in positions he could hand off to. 4 against 1 in the NBA doest work and if you watch that was what it was. Cavs need more than just James to win.

Posted by: dukeameye1 | May 14, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Of course he can use the team option, but he wants to win. After the cavs performance in game 6, with zero 2nd half production from anyone but Lebron, do you think he will stay put for a few extra mil? No, he will go to the team who has the best talent and can give him a max deal.

The wizards will have the cap space to give a max deal and another healthy contract. If they could get two stars like Lebron and say a Bosh or Boozer then Washington would be an attractive place to go for other free agents who might take a little less money to play on a legit contender.

Posted by: pharringt | May 14, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

James passes the ball more than Jordan ever did, which was exactly part of the problem last night. Something was up with him, normally people claim he's ostensibly the PG on the floor given how much he handles the ball and dictates. Not that he didnt do that at all last night...but it wasn't the same, and the question goes was it more the Cs defense or his phantom injury?

Posted by: divi3 | May 14, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Come to DC. Help out Gilbert! LeBron, you cursed Arenas' career at the free throw line that time and he has never recovered. Not cool. Here is a way to make it up.

This is realistic if the Wiz get the top pick in Wall (who can defend Rondo and Rose). In many ways the Wiz should go with Turner #1, but to compliment LBJ, Wall is the better pick.

Posted by: jaguar2490 | May 14, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

The wizards will have the cap space to give a max deal and another healthy contract. If they could get two stars like Lebron and say a Bosh or Boozer then Washington would be an attractive place to go for other free agents who might take a little less money to play on a legit contender.

Posted by: pharringt

Except that if they sign LeBron and another FA like Boozer (Bosh is going to get a max deal), between that money and Gil's salary, they would have no cap room to sign any of those FAs they might become attractive to.

Posted by: ts35 | May 14, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

ts35... plenty of blame to pass around amng the Cavs, I agree.... but what good is a triple-double when it is packaged with NINE turnovers?

Posted by: khrabb

It's not like he had a Jason Kidd triple double (10pts 10rbs 10asts). He put up 29, 19, and 10. So the 9 turnovers hurt, but not as much as 2-12 from Jamison, only 7 shots for O'Neal, 2-7 from Varejao, yada yada. Maybe if anyone else steps up, he doesn't have 9 turnovers.

Posted by: ts35 | May 14, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

The goal for all of the top tier FAs is to put themselves in the best situation to win a title in the most immediate circumstances. That's not the Wizards. Even if they got a max player, they don't have enough other pieces. Most of the players they have under contract next season wouldn't even be starters on most playoff teams. If Wade, James, bosh and Co. wanted to sit around and wait for another rebuilding project, they could just stay where they're at.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

In what I'm sure surprises no one, the Hawks have booted Woodson.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5188712

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Michael -- how come you didn't list the Wizards as a possible landing spot for Lebron?

Posted by: dwill2 | May 14, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

and the question goes was it more the Cs defense or his phantom injury?

Posted by: divi3

both, and the part where none of his teammates were making shots. He stroked a couple of threes in a row in the 4th to draw them closer, so I don't know how much the injury affected him (not saying it wasn't affecting him at all).

No question mentally he seemed a bit different, but that doesn't explain why all of his teammates also seemed mentally out of it. If I'm AJ or Shaq, or any of the other guys on that team, knowing LBJ may leave and knowing that this might be my last, best chance at a title, I'm doing anything I have to to win that game. They didn't. For two games in a row, they let the Celts punk them. At least Mo Williams showed up for a half.

Posted by: ts35 | May 14, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Because I think he was listing the probable destinations for LeBron.

Posted by: gimmedat | May 14, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

ts35... plenty of blame to pass around amng the Cavs, I agree.... but what good is a triple-double when it is packaged with NINE turnovers?

Posted by: khrabb

It's not like he had a Jason Kidd triple double (10pts 10rbs 10asts). He put up 29, 19, and 10. So the 9 turnovers hurt, but not as much as 2-12 from Jamison, only 7 shots for O'Neal, 2-7 from Varejao, yada yada. Maybe if anyone else steps up, he doesn't have 9 turnovers.

Posted by: ts35 | May 14, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

great comment ts35. i'm all for accountability, but LBJ got nothing from his teammates and the all have to be held accountable. Look at the film, run throught the box score. 19 rebs from your star player, who deosn't even play the post is borderline amazing. AJ was considered an all star and and a leader around here, he was supposed to bring stability and scoring to their frontcourt. Unfortunately, Brown pushed a promising young player (JJ Hickson) down to the end of the bench in favor of AJ and they lost with him. just like we lost with AJ logging all the mins at PF. yall don't hear me tho

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | May 14, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

"No question mentally he seemed a bit different, but that doesn't explain why all of his teammates also seemed mentally out of it."

That's one of the downsides of having a team where everything is dominated so much by one guy. Everyone else on the team feeds off of him and his energy. When he plays flat and looks like he's going through the motions, that negative energy can filter down to the rest of the team. It's a natural consequence of any kind of group dynamic, really.

Also, everyone on the team is used to playing off him and getting theirs as a consequence of him getting his. It's in the game plan. When he's not getting his, it throws everyone else off because it changes how they've been conditioned to operate on that team.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Shaq was the problem as much as AJ. Jamison was supposed to open up the floor, but it's hard to do that with Shaq clogging up the paint. And both are terrible help defenders, so I don't know why Brown played them together.

Posted by: djnnnou | May 14, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Also, everyone on the team is used to playing off him and getting theirs as a consequence of him getting his. It's in the game plan. When he's not getting his, it throws everyone else off because it changes how they've been conditioned to operate on that team.

Posted by: kalo_rama

I'll buy that for everyone except Shaq and to a lesser extent AJ. Both guys have been major producers on other teams. And in Shaq's case, he has far more playoff experience than anyone else there including LeBron. He's not capable of hustling like he used to, but he should have been all over everyone else's case and demanding the ball more. You know Garnett's tired, but he was putting forth maximum effort. I didn't see that from Shaq. AJ made a lot of noise about wanting to win a trophy. 2-12 some times just happens. But 5 rbs?

In any event, just trying to say that it's not LeBron's fault alone.

Posted by: ts35 | May 14, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Also, everyone on the team is used to playing off him and getting theirs as a consequence of him getting his. It's in the game plan. When he's not getting his, it throws everyone else off because it changes how they've been conditioned to operate on that team.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

i feel u kal. when the leader checks out others usually check out. But i figured a class act, first rate professional would lay it on the line if a championship was what drove him.If 29 10 19 (and 9 Tos) isn't getting his what do you want to see. he can't go for forty every night. Imagine if he had a teammate averaging 20 pts. i magine if he had teamates who are spoken of as hall of famers vs 1 and 2 time all stars. We all know it's a one man show out there in cle, but they brought AJ in to fill it up. there are 14 other Professional basketball players on the roster, only Lebron and the guy who stands 2 ft under the basket all day hit doubles, unacceptable.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | May 14, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Despite the fact that Gilbert says the Cavs have not decided to fire Coach Mike Brown yet, I think after watching that series and the behavior of the team that the signs point to the team being done with Brown.

Even listening to some of the quotes made during the series (LBJ saying "There's a lot of other stuff going on" and Brown going off on his team after Game 1), I think the players may have turned on him and that may be the real reason for the negative vibe that we all saw from the Cavs.

Some experts pointed to LeBron seeming like he was trying to make a point in Game 5 and others even said that he might be frustrated with the cast around him.

I tend to think something may have "gone rotten" in the Cavs lockerroom and I think it involved some mix of LeBron, Moe Williams, Mike Brown, and maybe even Shaq. It may even have been all three were frustrated by the coach's recurring issues with substitution patterns and lack of offensive strategy adjustments.

Posted by: SportzWiz | May 14, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Shaq was the problem as much as AJ. Jamison was supposed to open up the floor, but it's hard to do that with Shaq clogging up the paint. And both are terrible help defenders, so I don't know why Brown played them together.

Posted by: djnnnou | May 14, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

because Metawn had to start. Where's jj hickson? JJ's game fit into brown's "system" of letting Lebron create/dominate the ball and then find others. AJ needs the ball in his hands to create a high % scoring opp for himself. He doesn't consistently finish strong enough at the basket. he takes low % shots while trying to avoid contact. i'd bet you Varejo shot more FTs than AJ.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | May 14, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"He's not capable of hustling like he used to, but he should have been all over everyone else's case and demanding the ball more"

As i recall, they started off game 5 by trying to get Shaq more involved and ended up getting blown out. Not saying there's a direct correlation between the two, but there was a good bit of chatter from the talking heads leading into Game 6 that the Cavs needed to worry less about Shaq and more about Lebron asserting himself.

Damned if you do . . .

"AJ made a lot of noise about wanting to win a trophy. 2-12 some times just happens. But 5 rbs?"

Well, that's mostly a consequence of (A) being matched up against Garnett and (B) spending even more time playing far away from the basket on offense than he did in D.C.

Ultimately it all comes down to fit. Shaq and Jamison were not great fits for this team, and it all came out in the wash.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

"there are 14 other Professional basketball players on the roster, only Lebron and the guy who stands 2 ft under the basket all day hit doubles, unacceptable."

I'm not disputing that Jamison played poorly, just pointing out that a lot of what happens for the other guys on the floor--good and bad-- is dictated by what James does. That's a fact of life when you're playing with a superstar.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 14, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

first sentence was "I feel U Kal"

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | May 14, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Well, that's mostly a consequence of (A) being matched up against Garnett and (B) spending even more time playing far away from the basket on offense than he did in D.C.
Posted by: kalo_rama

Those are bogus arguments. AJ's been a good rebounder his entire career, including in games against Garnett. He's also had good rebounding numbers since he came to Cleveland. The (b) argument only makes sense if he was standing still at the 3 point line.....which means he wasn't active enough anyway.

Posted by: ts35 | May 14, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

As many exucses as I just read for LeBron I would think this is a Cav's blog.

He got his butt whooped, take your beating like a man. I am sick and tired of hear everything from the power forward didn't do this, the popcorn saleman threw my attnetion off.

I guess the one good point is he didn't run off the floor crying like he did last year.

LeBron = Loser

Posted by: dcinmd1 | May 14, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Les Cavs lost the game/series probably b/c they tried to go all star when they should have stuck with Delonte West and JJ Hickson.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | May 14, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

who cares if he does his nose picking and finger nail biting in NY or Chicago, the rest of the team needed to have stepped up, basketball is not boxing, there's five players who are just as responsible not one.

Posted by: geg5100 | May 14, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

"Those are bogus arguments. AJ's been a good rebounder his entire career, including in games against Garnett. He's also had good rebounding numbers since he came to Cleveland. The (b) argument only makes sense if he was standing still at the 3 point line.....which means he wasn't active enough anyway.Posted by: ts35"

I don't see that. I didn't see the whole game, but it sure looked to me like AJ was deliberately staying out of the lane on most possessions, probably because the coach told him to. Maybe to give LeBron a path to the basket... that will cut your individual rebound totals. Besides, looks to me like Cleveland outrebounded Boston 48-37. That's a heck of a margin.

To me, the game just pointed up the same weakness the Cleveland club had last year -- overdependence on one guy.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 14, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

The Celtics just kicked Lebron and the Cavs out of the playoffs. Some basketball fans may have missed that in the media frenzy to move Lebron.
There is still a NBA team in Washington. Why did the media lose its collective mind in their rush to cover Lebron? Did the media know that the playoffs continued even after we witnessed the demise of Lebron? Did the media know that there are several potential HOF players on the Celtics? Did they know that those players playing as a team could defeat the unbeatable Lebron? Is Lebron a creation of media hype? Is there any reporter who covered the Celtics winning? Does it make any difference if the Celtics defeated the Cavs is that a subject that the media should cover? Would the Celtics have been mentioned at all if the Cavs had one the series?

Posted by: vwallen@bellatlantic.net | May 15, 2010 6:14 AM | Report abuse

I don't see that. I didn't see the whole game, but it sure looked to me like AJ was deliberately staying out of the lane on most possessions, probably because the coach told him to. Maybe to give LeBron a path to the basket... that will cut your individual rebound totals. Besides, looks to me like Cleveland outrebounded Boston 48-37. That's a heck of a margin.

To me, the game just pointed up the same weakness the Cleveland club had last year -- overdependence on one guy.

Posted by: Samson151

- AJ was able to consistently pull down more rebounds during the second half of the season with the Cavs, presumably under the same offensive system

- Even if he was just supposed to hang outside the 3 pt line, he could still attack the basket after a shot went up. Somehow Mo Williams managed to grab 7 boards.

- And oh yeah, he's only on offense *half* of the time.

Not saying it's all AJ's fault any more than I'm saying it's all LBJ's fault or Shaq's fault or Mike Brown's fault. My initial (and continuing) point was that there were a lot of Cavs who didn't step up. Given their age and purported desire to win a title, plus their level of experience, you would think AJ and Shaq would have tried harder when it was clear that the team was faltering.

No doubt the over-reliance on LBJ played a role, but it's not the only factor.

Just my opinion.

Posted by: ts35 | May 15, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

James is the most over-rated, over-hyped player in NBA history. He's done nothing of note in his career except sulk.

He's not a leader, and he's not the kind of person or player who can propel a team to greatness. He typically gets beaten soundly in the playoffs, which is when great players are expected to actually be great.

Of course, he's also been on teams where he's the only A or B player, which makes him easy to defend. But unless he goes to a team with a hyper-intelligent GM who can get another couple A or B players to put on the court with him on the cheap, he'll continue to be second rate. And he'll demand so much salary that it'll be hard to sign a couple of good or great players to team with him.

Posted by: kemp13 | May 15, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

"- AJ was able to consistently pull down more rebounds during the second half of the season with the Cavs, presumably under the same offensive system"


That's a false presumption. For most of the regular season games that Jamison played with the Cavs, Shaq was out with an injury. That means that (A) there were more rebounds to be had than there were in the playoffs with Shaq back and (B) there was more space on the interior for Jamison to fill; once Shaq came back he had to clear the lane to give Shaq room to operate.

In other words, Shaq's return resulted in an undeniable change to the system that Jamison had become used to playing in during the regular season.

Posted by: kalo_rama | May 16, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

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