Posts tagged New Jersey Nets

Cleveland Gearing Up For LeBron’s Contract Year Too

While the national media continues to focus on the fact that Cleveland is undoubtedly going to lose LeBron James, we here in Cleveland continue to think otherwise.  Maybe it is delusion.  Maybe it is desperation.  I don’t know for sure.  The fact is that nobody really knows for sure.  And now, I have a new take on the whole LeBron situation.  I haven’t read anyone else who put this argument together, but I am sure I will hear about it in the next few days if someone already has.

But before I get into my new take, just for the sake of completeness, here are the basic thoughts being tossed around already.  First the camp that insists LeBron has to leave:

  • LeBron has to leave because he is friends with Jay-Z who owns an infinitesimal piece of the New Jersey Nets
  • The New Jersey Nets are moving to Brooklyn and LeBron has to go help kick off the new era of the franchise
  • The Nets traded Richard Jefferson, meaning they are readying themselves for LeBron
  • There are escalators in LeBron’s Nike contract which pay him more if he is in a major market like NYC

Then the other side is basically:

  • LeBron likes his hometown
  • Nobody can give LeBron a bigger NBA contract than Cleveland
  • LeBron reached the finals in Cleveland
  • Terry Pluto’s brilliant argument that says you never know where the talent is going to be centered a year from now let alone two years from now
  • LeBron has stated that he wants to bring a parade to Cleveland because he knows we are suffering as sports fans (this interview answer is one that the national media NEVER mentions because it doesn’t fit their pre-determined storyline that Cleveland doesn’t deserve LeBron James)

Well, I have a new take.  Everyone was so quick to point out that the Richard Jefferson trade on draft night was definitely designed at getting LeBron to the Nets in two years.  Well, you know which team is gearing up to have a ton of cap space when LeBron’s contract year comes around?

THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

As of this writing, the Cavaliers don’t have a single player under contract for more than LeBron’s two year deal.  When next season starts the Cavs might have two players under contract for longer than LeBron and those will probably amount to somewhere in the $10-12 million dollar range COMBINED with Daniel Gibson and Delonte West.  That’s it.  Maybe some draft picks will end up with deals that range longer than LeBron’s two years remaining.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas and his nearly $11 million comes off.  Ben Wallace’s almost $15 million comes off.  In addition, LeBron’s salary comes off.  And guess what else.  Because LeBron is such an influential guy, the market is going to be flooded with free agents.  Dwayne Wade followed LeBron’s lead and only signed a five year deal when he was up for his first free agent contract.  Chris Bosh also followed LeBron’s lead in that department.

You will also remember that LeBron really did lead the charge on the 5-year deals at that time.  This means that LeBron has influence.  Who’s to say that LeBron wouldn’t be able to recruit some guys to come in and play with him in two years?  Could you imagine Dwayne Wade and/or Chris Bosh playing alongside LeBron?  The bottom line is that these types of situations can only occur where tons of cap space exists.

As long as Cleveland doesn’t screw this up and load up the roster with too much salary, the Cavs will have $40 million dropping off the cap in order to pull in top talent along with LeBron in his contract year.  Think about what the Clippers just did to try and keep Elton Brand in LA.

I am not guaranteeing that this will happen, but it is JUST as likely as all the presumed OBVIOUS scenarios that get bandied about by the national press when they are looking to pull the greatest sports figure in Cleveland history out of this town.

I Give a Standing Ovation to WFNY

WFNY? That’s Waiting For Next Year for all you non-Cleveland sports fans out there.  I have been talking about this ever since the draft and an article was written by John Hollinger proclaiming that the trade of Richard Jefferson from New Jersey was undeniable proof that LeBron James was on his way to the Nets when his contract expires in 2010.  I have grown tired of the east-coast-centric bullshit that constantly beats the Cleveland Cavaliers, the city of Cleveland, and their fans into oblivion because in those tainted writers’ filthy brains somehow Cleveland isn’t good enough for a superstar of LeBron James’ caliber.

Well, I never wrote the perfect rebuttal.  And now, I don’t have to bother trying.

RockKing (probably not his real name) at Waiting for Next Year has written it.

I won’t plagiarize it here, but he goes through it all.  LeBron has already achieved amazing media success in Cleveland.  He has made millions from the Cavaliers organization.  He holds all the leverage in the world with Nike already.  And finally, LeBron can’t possibly make any more money in the NBA than he can as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.  In fact, with a few mathematical assumptions it is reasonable to assume that LeBron would have to leave somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million on the table to leave Cleveland after years and escalators are taken into account.  You see, LeBron won’t definitely stay in Cleveland, but this whole air of inevitability that everyone seems to put on that he will leave is a bit ridiculous.

Enough of me paraphrasing.  Go read the article that finally smacks all those smug sports writers in the mouth.

$133,333.33 Per Day? Yes Please!

Bad news for the Cavs today.  Jason Kidd has been traded and he isn’t coming to Cleveland.  He is headed to Dallas to play for the Mavericks.  But the key to making the deal work, since Devean George used his no-trade abilities was a retired Keith Van Horn signing a $4,000,000 deal just so he could be traded to New Jersey to match cap dollars.  When the geniuses behind the salary cap put the rules in place, I don’t think this is what they had in mind.

Keith Van Horn hasn’t played a minute of basketball since 2005-06.  He has enjoyed being retired and being a dad.  For whatever reason, Dallas still has KVH’s rights as a player even though he isn’t under contract.  As a result, they can (apparently) sign him and trade him (and his salary) to another team to make sure that they measure up.

As a result, KVH signed a $4,000,000 deal to be traded to New Jersey and apparently he only has to report for duty for about 30 days.  That works out to an unbelievable $133,333.33 per day for 30 days so that someone could send their best player to another team.  Someone tell me why this makes sense to run a league this way?

I don’t have my thoughts together on this yet, but here are a couple of thoughts.

  • How is this good for the game of basketball to have worthless players attached to deals?
  • If the owners “locked out” the players in the late 90’s and they had all the bargaining power, how is it that the players seem to be winning out BIG TIME right now.
  • Even if this is technically within the rules of trading, it isn’t good for the game for one team to basically trade their best player to clear out cap space.
  • When transactions get this complicated it isn’t good for the fanbase to try and follow.

Maybe when I get a cohesive argument together and a possible solution I will write more.  For now, I wish I was Keith Van Horn and that is about all I know.

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