I was watching Superman Returns once, and while in between nodding off and actually falling asleep, one thing really stood out to me. For some reason, one of the things I remember is the article that won Lois Lane the Pulitzer Prize, "Why the world doesn't need Superman." Now I didn't actually read the article, because I still have somewhat of a life. It seems crazy to think that a world wouldn't need someone like Superman. I mean, who else could Metropolis count on to stop Lex Luthor or those three people from Krypton in the space parallelogram? The article sounds completely idiotic and would simply contain the bitter feelings of a mother who watched her son's father, Superman, skip town and the planet entirely. (Sorry to those of you who haven't seen the movie, but I saved you like three hours of your time.)
Back to the point of the actual article. As soon as I saw Lois Lane's article, I though two things. First, someone needs to give her a sandwich. Second, that sounds an awful lot like the situation that the Cleveland Cavaliers are currently in. It would seem absolutely stupid to think that the city of Cleveland and the Cavaliers wouldn't need King James. Who else could possibly stop Kobe Bryant or those three Celtics from Boston that I wish could be hurtling through space in a parallelogram? The man is pretty much the entire city has to offer sports fans. He has brought the Cavaliers from worst in the NBA in 2003 to the Finals in '07. If the ping pong balls didn't fall right, who knows where the franchise would be or whose image would be plastered on a building next to the Q? (Darko Milicic?) Without him, there is also no way that Cleveland is getting the 2020 Olympics. (C'mon IOC, can't you just imagine the aquatic events on Lake Erie or the Cuyahoga?) But seriously, Clevelanders would lose almost all hope in sports and the city would lose tons of money. The Cuyahoga might be lit aflame for entirely different reasons this time, along with the entire city. The livelihood of the city would rest of the shoulders of Eric Mangini.
I am going to list four reasons why Cavs fans should hold off on drinking that spiked fruit punch and that the Cleveland Cavalier franchise would actually still continue. Who knows, this blog might be totally useless in a month or two.
4. What have they won with him?
Okay, bear with me. I am kind of grasping for straws with this one, but just listen. Like I said before, James has pretty much single-handedly brought the Cavs to Cleveland's first title since 1964, but that is only one step further in the playoffs than the likes of Mark Price, Larry Nance, and Brad Daugherty took the Cavs in the early 90s. That conference title in '07 was great, but that doesn't end the city's title drought. The Lakers or Celtics don't brag about their long list of conference titles. Last time I checked, there's only one LeBron James. So that means that teams without James have somehow been able to win a title. Why would the Cavs have to be any different? Granted, it would take a few years, but constant rebuilding is something that many Cleveland fans should be used to. All it takes is one good draft and a free agent or two. Which leads me to...
3. Free agent classes of 2011 and 2012
A lot has been made of this free agent class. And why not, just look at the names that could possibly hit the open market: Dwyane Wade, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, and of course James. A team's fortunes could change with the signing of just one of those players. But look at the Classes of 2011 and 2012. While they lack the star power of 2010, they have many good supporting players. With these classes, a team could go out and sign two or three players on this list. I think it has been proven that LeBron can't single-handedly win a title. But, if the Cavs were to give James a max contract, how much money would be left over to add on to the supporting cast?
2. Possibility of a sign-and-trade
Now it seems that some people believe that if James would leave, it be under a sign-and-trade. I had to look this up myself, and for those of you unaware of the details, it's when a team signs a free agent only to immediately trade him. It would allow James to sign for more money than he could get from any other team. It would be absolutely impossible for any team to offer fair value in a trade for James. But look at the trade when the Lakers got rid of Shaq. By making the unpopular trade, Mitch Kupchak set the Lakers up for where they are now. Granted, they already had Kobe, by getting rid of O'Neal opened up cap space to go out and sign other supporting players. Had the Lakers kept Shaq, would they have won another title and have the success they are having now? If the Cavs were to make this deal, they would undoubtedly get a few players and a draft pick. With one or two good drafts, a team could have a serious future. Oklahoma City saw their fortunes change in just one draft night. While still the Supersonics (sorry, Seattle) they traded franchise player Ray Allen, which netted them Jeff Green and in the same draft, got Kevin Durant. Add in Russell Westbrook and they go from 20-62 to 50-32 in two seasons. It might hurt in the short-term, but losing James in this situation could be great in the long-term.
At first, this would seem the most crazy. LeBron James is only 25 years old. How could his age possibly a negative? Remember that LeBron came to the NBA right out of high school. Therefore, his body made the jump straight to the NBA. He didn't have college to adjust to what he might expect. Just look at how many years he has already played in the NBA and the amount of mileage that has been adding up on James over the years. He is at his most effective when he drives to the basket. But after seven seasons in the NBA, how many more years can he possibly be the dominating force he is now by attacking the basket? Ask yourself, are LeBron's best years behind him? A look at some of the other stars who entered the NBA out of high school would illustrate that after about 10 years, they start to break down a little: Tracy McGrady, Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, and even Kobe Bryant. They all have hit a physical wall and their games have all declined in some sort. Now Kobe is still possibly the best player in the game, but even he is picking up some minor injuries and isn't the player he was two or three years ago. And with Kobe, he is nowhere near the physical player that King James is. The question I ask is, do the Cavs really want to tie up that much money and years in a 7-year veteran who could possibly be past his prime in a year or two?
Now don't get me wrong, I would love to see the Cavs keep LeBron. But sometimes, you have to find the silver lining. Maybe the city of Cleveland doesn't need their Superman.