Tag:LeBron James
Posted on: November 11, 2009 7:28 pm

LeBron: No more 2010 talk

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The King has spoken: No more 2010 talk for the rest of the season.

Our long national nightmare is over.

In a strange turn of events that could have -- some would say, should have -- taken place weeks, or even months ago, LeBron James announced Wednesday night that he will not answer any more questions about his impending free agency until after the season.

"Honestly, you know, this fee agency talk is getting old," LeBron said at the end of a seven-minute interview session with reporters before the Cavaliers played the Magic in a rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals. "You know, it’s getting old. I'm gonna stop; I think tonight will probably be the last time I answer any more free agent questions until the offseason. I think I owe it to my teammates, I owe it to myself. It’s just getting old."

For a player who carefully calculates every word he speaks publicly, this seemed like a spontaneous decision. It was only five days ago when James went to New York and soaked up the atmosphere provided by one of the teams unabashedly clearing salary cap space for him. As he always does when visiting the Big Apple, LeBron seemed to relish all the attention being on him. He entertained every question, carefully constructing every phrase in a way that only further stoked the speculation.

On Wednesday night, prior to Cleveland's first meeting with the Magic since losing to them in the conference finals, James entertained several questions about free agency. At one point, he even admitted that he and pal Dwyane Wade -- whose Heat host the Cavs Thursday night -- have talked privately about playing together. (In case you've been hiding under a rock, both LeBron and Wade can opt out of their contracts next summer and become unrestricted free agents.) 

Then, when someone exceeded the "last question" limit that had been set by one of the Cavs' media relations people and asked James again about playing with Wade, he fidgeted nervously and made his no-2010-talk proclamation.

"I'm focusing on this season and this is going to be a really good season for us," James said. "I don’t want to have any more distractions to my teammates, to my organization, to my family. This will be the last time I answer a free agent question for the rest of the year."
Posted on: November 7, 2009 12:34 am

LeBron hurts shooting hand; X-rays negative

NEW YORK -- LeBron James had everything he wanted Friday night: A star-studded packed house at his favorite arena, handshakes with his favorite Yankees after the game, and a win. What he could've done without was an injury to his shooting hand.

James, who scored 33 points -- 19 in the first quarter -- as the Cavs beat the Knicks 100-91, had his right hand in a bucket of ice in the Cavs' locker room afterward. He appeared to be in some pain, and a member of the Knicks' training staff examined him. After his postgame news conference in a crowded interview room, James walked to the Knicks' training room for a precautionary X-ray, which was negative, according to a source. It was a huge sigh of relief to the Cavs, as James appeared to be in some pain after the game and spent his entire postgame news conference clutching the injured hand. He didn't know how he hurt it.

The part of the hand that concerned James was the bone leading from the knuckle of the ring finger to his wrist. Though it was painful, James was in good spirits after the game, joking with teammates and performing his usual singing routine. His good mood was justified when the X-ray results came back. Just another night at the office known as Madison Square Garden.

Category: NBA
Posted on: October 30, 2009 9:22 am

To Rondo or not to Rondo

The looming deadline for extending the contracts of 2006 draft picks presents an intriguing dilemma for the Celtics -- and for Rajon Rondo.

The deadline, which originally was Oct. 31 but was extended to Monday, the next business day, is in place to force teams to either commit to draft picks after three seasons or play the risky restricted free-agent game with them after the fourth. It's a balancing act for Celtics president Danny Ainge, who joined coach Doc Rivers in chastising Rondo during the summer, urging him to become more of a leader.

Let the deadline pass without an extension, and the Celtics are taking a big risk. As important as the Big Three are to their success, the Big Three soon will become the Geriatric Three. Rondo is the future. I would argue he's as much a part of the present as any of the Hall of Famers to whom he passes the ball. Rondo makes the Celtics' engine run, and with a little experience and knowledge, his on-ball defense will be right up there with any guard in the league.

Two factors work in Boston's favor. First, restricted free agency is a tough way to live. Just ask Paul Millsap, Raymond Felton, David Lee, and Nate Robinson. Under the current collective bargaining agreement, the home team holds all the cards in the restricted market. And second, Rondo and his fellow '06 picks who've yet to sign extensions -- such as Rudy Gay in Memphis -- have extra incentive to get their money now. Why? Negotiations are under way on a new CBA that is expected to be more favorable to the owners.

So if you're Rondo's agent, Billy Duffy, you play it out in your mind this way: If there's no extension, Rondo can get paid under the current salary structure by signing a lucrative offer sheet next summer. The Celtics can either match, or not. But who knows what the RFA market will be like in the final year of the CBA? Wouldn't owners want to wait until a more favorable one is ratified before going on a spending spree? LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and a few others will get max deals. But will Rondo be in that group? If the Celtics win another title and Rondo is a big part of their success, then yes. If not, then maybe not.

The worst-case scenario for Rondo would be no extension, followed by a one-year deal with Boston for next season. Then, his long-term deal would come under the new CBA. Translation: Less money.

But that's only part of the risk-reward game Rondo is playing. It sounds cool to be part of this vaunted 2010 free-agent class. But when teams survey the landscape, I believe they'll view restricted free agents with even more suspicion than they did this past summer. With so much unrestricted talent available, teams will be very careful not to get bogged down in the seven-day waiting period for an RFA. Imagine losing out on Bosh, Amar'e Stoudemire, or Dirk Nowitzki while waiting to see if Boston will match your offer sheet for Rondo. Some of the impediments that make restricted free agency so restricted are expected to be loosened in the new CBA. But for Rondo, the rules are what they are.

Speaking about the looming deadline earlier this week in Cleveland, Rondo said, "It'll take care of itself. I just need to worry about doing my job." As a player, that's the smart way to play this. The hard part is up to Ainge and Duffy, whose staring contest will end one way or another by Monday.


Posted on: September 9, 2009 3:17 pm

Could Knicks give LeBron his own channel?

This from Frank Isola of the New York Daily News: The latest piece of the LeBron-to-New York puzzle has the Knicks' parent company, Cablevision, ready to give LeBron James his own channel as part of a free-agent package to lure him to the Knicks in 2010.

It's all grist for the rumor mill at this point, as Isola points out. But such a plan would present an interesting twist in terms of how the value of such a channel would circumvent NBA salary cap rules. On one level, it would be no different than marketing income that teams in large cities can use to lure free agents. On the other hand, it's not fair that a team that also happens to own an entire cable system serving nearly 3 million residents in one of the largest suburban areas in the nation would be able to dangle that asset as extra compensation not governed by the cap.

I live in Queens -- not Long Island, which is Cablevision's stronghold -- so fortunately I won't be subjected to WLBJ-TV if and when it hits the airwaves. If there are any Cablevision customers out there, riddle me this: What's currently on channel 23?

Category: NBA
Posted on: August 7, 2009 3:17 pm

The LeBron-o-thon continues

LeBron James is often criticized for sitting on the fence when it comes to his intentions for 2010, when he currently has the ability to opt out of his contract and test the unrestricted free agent market. But there was no mistaking LBJ's position on Friday, when he said unequivocally that he will not sign an extension with Cleveland this summer in order to preserve that flexibility.

"I signed a contract in 2006 with an option," James said at an event in his native Akron, Ohio. "It would make no sense for me to sign that contract if I didn't keep my options open. I'll let you fill in the blanks."

So there you go. No filling in necessary.

No extension. The drama lives for another year. The LeBron-o-thon continues.

I can't blame LeBron, nor can I say I'm surprised. He will still have the ability to sign an extension with the Cavs after the 2009-10 season -- and before July 1, 2010 -- that would lock him in under the current salary scale and rules before the CBA takes an expected turn in favor of the owners in 2011. His best option financially, under the current collective bargaining agreement, is to re-sign with Cleveland or participate in a sign and trade because either scenario would get him a sixth year and bigger annual raises after the first year.

But given that we've already crunched the numbers and determined that LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh -- who have identical contracts -- would be leaving between $2.7 million and $5.2 million on the table over the next four years by foregoing an extension, LeBron's own words tell you everything you need to know about his intentions.

His words don't reveal whether he's staying or going. But they do tell you without a sliver of doubt that waiting to see how close he is to a championship in Cleveland is far more important to him than a few million dollars.

Cavs fans, I'm sorry to inform you that your King is going to hold court with your collective hearts for another year. That means another year of rampant speculation, attempted mind-reading, and hype.

Oh, and guess who visits Madison Square Garden in the first week of the 2009-10 regular season? His Highness faces the Knicks on Nov. 6.

Posted on: July 22, 2009 4:43 pm

Wanted: Video of LeBron making a sandwich

I am embarrassed to admit that I just watched the infamous video of LeBron James getting dunked on.

The only thing I can say is that the preceding Hellmann's commercial on how to make a good sandwich was far more interesting and informative.

What a waste of time. I'd rather read user comments excoriating the blog I wrote earlier today urging Lamar Odom to re-sign with the Lakers. Or watch Doyel and Freeman having a staring contest on Skype. Or better yet, watch somebody make me a sandwich.

Category: NBA
Tags: LeBron James
Posted on: July 13, 2009 10:52 pm

Revised 2010 scenarios

LAS VEGAS -- Loyal readers will notice that I've made some mathematical changes in the two pieces on the 2010 decisions for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.

I am here to explain why, because that's the kind of guy I am.

The premise remains the same: All three would be better off financially in the short term by signing extensions this summer. The part that I missed -- as did some cap experts I consulted in working on the stories -- is the fact that the Big Three can only sign three-year extensions this summer. That's because only Bird free agents and players on rookie-scale contracts can get the maximum extension of six years.

The other factor that changed some of the numbers was the fact that by opting out next summer and staying with their teams -- or participating in a sign-and-trade -- LeBron & Co. would be eligible for bigger raises after the first year of the deal than if they signed with another team. Of course, they'd also get a six-year deal by re-signing with their current teams or participating in a sign-and-trade.

Here's the revised column reflecting the changes, and here are the updated scenarios. The numbers have changed, but looking at the next four years and the total values of the potential extensions and new contracts really illustrates how much the shrinking cap has changed the game as players decide whether to re-up or go for one more long-term deal before the salary structure is drastically changed by a new collective bargaining agreement.

One more thing on this topic: Writing about this is not meant to evoke sympathy for athletes who obviously make an incredible living most of us can only dream of. The point is not that we should feel bad for highly paid performers losing out on a few million dollars. The point is that all the decisions that determine how good the teams that you root for will become are made based on complicated financial factors like these. Pointing them out and trying to explain them should give you a little insight into why players and franchises do what they do when faced with such decisions.

Posted on: July 12, 2009 7:23 pm

Wade receives extension offer from Heat

LAS VEGAS -- The Miami Heat have wasted no time offering Dwyane Wade a contract extension.

Wade's agent, Henry Thomas, confirmed to CBSSports.com that he received an offer from Miami on Sunday, the day Wade's one-year window for signing an extension opened. Thomas declined to discuss specifics, but the maximum Miami can offer under the collective bargaining agreement is a four-year extension worth $86.6 million.

Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh signed their current three-year extensions three years ago this week. They become eligible to sign extensions on the three-year anniversary of signing their current deals. Wade was the first to sign, and his window -- which lasts until June 30, 2010 -- was the first to open.

Wade has said that he wants to wait and see what moves Miami makes to bring the team closer to championship contention before he decides on signing the extension.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com