gildedgirth wrote:Not much of a chance, but a slim one -- one that banks on Lebron's desire to play in a bigger market. I came across some older interviews with Lebron and he talked about how pro-active he is to have a business empire, like Michael Jordan. He said that he thinks of himself as a business man and not necessarily just a basketball player. He made some steps in this regard by hiring his cousins to run business side of things. At the time of the interview (maybe his 2nd year?), he didn't rule out the fact of leaving Cleveland to achieve this goal.
Shaq left Orlando for the lure of movies and fame of L.A. and I think for Lebron, there'd be even more incentive for him if he's serious about pursuing business opportunies, which he could do in L.A. Plus Hollywood would market this guy way more than Kobe, because of his untainted image and plus he's younger.
The two obstacles I see are:
1) Hometown attachment - LeBron grew up in Cleveland, and the Cavaliers have used that as leverage by employing some of his relatives into the organization and giving his family VIP treatment at games. So if Lebron wants to leave, he'll have a lot of pressure from his family to stay possibly.
However, perhaps the lure of Hollywood and L.A. would make his family want to move, if Lebron decides to move a lot of his family out here.
2) Max contract - Shaq didn't simply just come to L.A. and accept Lakers' offer. The Orlando Magic, had to agree to sign and trade the guy, once it became apparent he didn't want to stay, so that Shaq could get the highest contract allowable, something he wouldn't get if he simply just signed up with the Lakers as a free agent. He would have lost a lot of money if he didn't get max contract by Orlando. I suspect Lebron would want the same exact deal, and so the Cavaliers would have to be agreeable to do that, which they might not be.
However, if Lebron really wants out and the Cavaliers know they are going to lose him, the Lakers could sweeten the pot by giving some guys in the sign and trade deal. Didn't we give a pick or something to Orlando for the Shaq deal?
Its' in the realm of possibility, although pretty slim, but one can hope Lebron will want to leave. I really like the guy and think he might be one of the greatest players ever. Shaq, no one thought, would ever leave, but he did, despite getting to the finals with Orlando. They had a good team with Nick Anderson and Penny Hardaway and Horace Grant, but he still left. Lebron, despite having a better talented team that Lakers, might still find the allure of Lakers (and the coaching of Jackson if he's still there), too tempting to resist.
Combine that with Lamar Odom, Kwame, Bynum and Kobe getting better in the next two years, and making a deeper push into the playoffs year after year, Lebron may like what he's sees on the Laker team, but we won't know till 2007 and see if he decides to take his contract extension offer. If he doesn't then we have a shot at him in 2008 (as well as Elton Brand, Camelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, etc).
Shaq left as a free agent...there was no sign and trade.