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Most experts think LeBron stays in Cleveland

Feb 12, 2010, 1:46 PM EDT

nba_james2_250.jpgThere is nothing quite as much fun as speculating on where LeBron might go this summer. New York? New Jersey? Chicago?

However, the smart money has always been on Cleveland. When Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thompson asked 12 team executives, seven said he was staying for sure and three more said it was a 50/50 call. Just two said he would go to New York.

There’s the money argument for LeBron — the Cavaliers can offer about $30 million more for him than any other team. However, with what he makes in off-the-court endorsements that is not a huge consideration. What helps those endorsements is winning a championship, and despite what a handful of myopic New Yorkers think, the Cavaliers roster is far deeper and better than the rebuilding project that is the Knicks.

Thompson adds that there is the love factor.

The other reason for LeBron to stay in Cleveland is that he needs to be loved, not only because he is a naturally affable guy, but because his goal of becoming a global icon along the lines of Michael Jordan depends on people really, really liking him. The Cavaliers are not just any franchise; they are James’s hometown team. If he were to walk out on a struggling city — where unemployment is nearly 11 percent — then he’ll find a lot of people suddenly cheering for him to lose. Said a Western GM, “If he leaves Cleveland for New York, he’ll never sell another shoe in the Midwest and another shoe in a small market, because people will be so insulted.”

Right now, the Cavs are the best team in the NBA and in an increasingly interconnected world he does not need to be in New York to be a global icon. No matter what New Yorkers think. The bottom line is that for once, Drew Carey may have been right: Cleveland Rocks.

  1. Donk - Feb 12, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    LeBron’s staying in Cleveland. Bank it. Too much to lose by leaving, including the certainty of being on a playoff team, not too mention he does not want to be a villain, which is what he would become if he left.
    The grass is always greener, but it doesn’t always mean it’s a better high.

  2. WR - Feb 12, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    Money talks. Everybody walks. No man is an island and no man will say no to Manhattan Island.

  3. JA - Feb 12, 2010 at 5:57 PM

    You’re right. Money talks. And nobody can give him more than Cleveland can. End of story.

  4. king leo paih - Feb 12, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    i think right now if james leave the cavs next season no body we be his fan. right now he is the best player in the nba and every like that so i guarantee lebron should stay with the cavs.

  5. sT - Feb 12, 2010 at 6:37 PM

    Yeah, he will probably stay in Cleveland, why would he go to a re-building team, the team he is on is not bad at all. Even Shaq may come back for the vet minimum to have a chance to get more rings with the King, he just better not get one this year.

  6. Bob R - Feb 12, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    LeBron is the best thing that has happened to northern Ohio in my 50 some years of life. I can only hope that he understands the risk of losing that if he skips out for something like money!
    Hell, with the ownership, the surrounding cast and the fans he has right now, there is no better place to be than at HOME.
    Yes it is business but the people are the ones who support your business ventures.
    I “escaped” Parma decades ago but I still miss it and at times wish I was still back (mainly because of the butcher shops and pizza at Antonio’s).
    LeBron would be doing the community, his family, his friends, his teammates, his fans and himself a disservice by leaving.
    Please don’t disappoint America and the fans of Cleveland sports.

  7. Eric - Feb 13, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    Who cares?

  8. Erasmo Gloodt - Feb 13, 2010 at 10:16 PM

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  11. Me - Feb 18, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    Lebron stays.

  12. ameer Azzam - May 12, 2010 at 10:59 PM

    lebron has his home town here and he is black he will stay here

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