The future of LeBron James is a topic we have debated regularly on this site. Our most recent edition debated the team that would provide the best fit for LeBron.
When the city of Cleveland was brought into the conversation, Sports Geek wrote about the various business aspects of why LeBron should stay in Cleveland, and pointing them all back to one single point – Cleveland gives LeBron the best chance to win a championship.
Obviously, that statement is debatable (especially in light of the latest rumors that Miami could be poised to sign Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, AND LeBron). What is not debatable, however, and what ultimately leaves the city of Cleveland in the absolute BEST position to keep LeBron is this: No other team can offer LeBron James the long term salary that the Cavaliers can.
I know that LeBron talks about wanting to play in a city that gives him the best opportunity to win a championship, but every single team in the NBA can make an attempt at that argument. What those teams cannot do is pay him.
LeBron James could make as much as $30M EXTRA by staying in Cleveland. For him to leave the Cavaliers and play somewhere else, he would essentially be PAYING $30M just for what he PERCEIVES as a better opportunity to win a championship.
Is LeBron James at a point in his career where he is so DESPERATE for a championship that he would actually sacrifice $30M that was on the table to get it? I don’t think so.
If we are still having this conversation in another ten years, and LeBron STILL has not won a championship, then I think his level of desperation would put him in the mindset that sacrificing money for the legacy of a ring would be worth it.
That is not the case today.
LeBron James is only 25-years old, and is the most talented player in the NBA. He has won back-to-back league MVP awards, and no matter where he ends up playing basketball, that team will be a postseason threat.<br.
There can be no denying that LeBron James has a very bright basketball future STILL ahead of him, and that he will remain in contention to win a championship every single season of his career no matter WHAT jersey he wears. Time is not yet running out for LeBron, and he knows that.
While he may be hungry to win that first championship, it is a mistake to classify him as desperate.
As much as LeBron talks about wanting to win a championship, or loyalty, or any of that other fluff, his motivating factor is and always has been his ego (I don’t mean to imply any negative connotation from that). As with all of us, LeBron is going to make the decision that best serves him. Every choice he makes will be made to provide maximum boost to his already well-established legacy.
While he has publicly stated a desire to win a championship, he has ALSO publicly stated that he wants to be a billionaire athlete, and that comes only one way – making as much money as possible, as quickly as possible.
For LeBron James, there is only ONE team in the NBA that gives him the opportunity to meet BOTH of those goals – the Cleveland Cavaliers.