Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Why LeBron James Will Stay in Cleveland

I am sick of all the stories about LeBron wanting to go to New Jersey, New York, New Dehli, etc. The time is now for the Cavs to bring in that elusive 2nd banana that LeBron has never had, which will become the reason that LeBron will stay in Cleveland because the 2nd banana will help LeBron win at least one championship.

Assets the Cavs Have
The Cavs have Wally Szczerbiak's $12 million expiring contract, Anderson Varejao ($5.8million, player option for 2009-2010), and, if the Cavs want to get absurd, they can also trade Eric Snow's $7 million contract. With Anderson Varejao and tons of expiring contracts (they also have Joe Smith's $5 million contract, and Damon Jones's $4.5 million contract), the Cavs can trade for virtually any player in the league, because they can instantly give the other team a boatload of cap space.

So, without further ado, here are the top logical choices I can find as trading partners for the Cavs. By logical, I'm not including a trade with division rival for Chauncey Billups, or a logic-defying move for Carmelo Anthony where the Nuggets give up on Carmelo.

PLAN A: Summer 2008 Trade Possibilities for LeBron's 2nd Banana

1) Shawn Marion, Miami Heat, 6'-7" SF, 30 yrs old - Marion could become expendable as the Heat realize that they are not winning it all this year so instead of just letting Marion and his $17 million contract expire at season's end, the Heat could get themselves Varejao and $18 million (or more) in expiring cap space!

2) Ron Artest, Sacramento Kings, 6'-7" SF, 28 yrs old - You want to play with fire? Bring in Artest! He still has skills and still is crazy. If Michael Jordan could keep Dennis Rodman under control, surely LeBron can keep Ron Artest under control. Right? The great thing is, Artest is only under contract for one more season, at $8 million, so you could even trade for him, and wait until after the season to decide what to do, meaning this just becomes a one-year gamble. As an FYI, Artest still was able to get 20ppg during last season's campaign on 45% FG shooting, and he still had one of the highest +/- on his sub-par Sacramento Kings' team, as Artest posted a +1.8ppg, and a -7.3ppg.

3) Jason Richardson, Charlotte Bobcats, 6'-6" SG, 27 yrs old - The Bobcats just got Richardson last season. They still even have cap space this summer (though it probably will be used to sign Emeka Okafor to a big contract) and Larry Brown is the coach, so they may be unwilling to move Richardson. This transaction actually becomes even more unlikely when you realize that the Cavs' GM is Danny Ferry and the Bobcats' GM is Michael Jordan. Ferry once tried to connect with TWO WILD ROUNDHOUSES on Jordan's face. My memory is foggy on whether Ferry actually connected, but I'm sure this did not create a good impression on Jordan.

PLAN B: Mid-season Trade

Of course, if none of these three options work out for LeBron, there will be more players available come January, when some of the Western Conference teams realize that they can't make the playoffs when 12 teams have legitimate shots of making it.

PLAN C: Summer 2009 Shopping Spree!

Worst case scenario: summer 2009, the Cavs have boat loads of cap space after Wally's, Snow's, and Damon Jones contracts come off the books, for a total of almost $24 million. The Cavs can then use that money to go after someone like: Danny Granger, Devin Harris, or even... to orchestrate the homecoming of Carlos Boozer! If that doesn't make headlines, I'm not sure what will!

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