CLEVELAND -- On a cold, dreary day in the town that LeBron built -- I even saw a few snowflakes this morning, if you can believe it -- some dastardly news was unleashed on Cavaliers fans.
Hours before the Cavs were set to face a critical Game 5 against the Celtics, the website HoopsAddict.com published a Q&A with Buzz Bissinger, who has co-authored two books with LeBron James. In response to a question about LeBron's future, Bissinger said his gut feeling is that LeBron will leave the Cavs "whether they win the NBA championship or not." He makes it clear that it's only an educated guess, that he has no inside information, and that LeBron probably hasn't even made his decision yet. At the end of his answer, Bissinger circles back to how difficult the decision will be for LeBron and how important loyalty is to him.
All of it taken together is the most succinct and on-point assessment of the decision James will make July 1, when he will opt out of his contract and become a free agent. Here's the transcript:
Like everyone else, I have asked LeBron what he is going to do and he has flashed me that exquisite smile. I am not privy to any special information, but my gut tells me he will leave the Cavaliers whether they win the NBA championship or not. He has aspirations beyond basketball. He wants to be a billion dollar athlete. He likes challenges and bright lights. There is nothing like New York and the goal of making the Knicks champions again is an incredible one. So I say he goes to the Knicks, if they get the right supporting cast. And as you know that’s a big “if” when it comes to the Knicks. LeBron would own New York in a way that no athlete has ever owned it, except maybe for Reggie Jackson after game six of the 1977 World Series when he hit three home runs, and as we know the love affair did not last forever. It would be exciting as hell to watch and I think LeBron would luxuriate in it. But as you say he also loves Ohio, so it is going to be a very difficult decision and I don’t think he has come close to making it yet. And remember, the most important value in LeBron’s life is loyalty. Still, I say he goes. But once again, if anybody out there is a betting man, bet against me.
I like a good story angle as much as the next guy, but frankly all of this speculation is getting distracting even to me. The New York Daily News recently ran an op-ed piece begging LeBron to abandon Cleveland for New York -- a pathetic misinterpretation of the city I know and love, a city that doesn't give a rat's ___ if anybody likes it or not. Now, hours before a game that could go a long way toward determining James' future, his co-author's comments are speeding around the web and making Clevelanders even more nervous than they already were.
Hey, at least it stopped snowing. For now.