First of all, welcome back to all of our loyal readers (if indeed we have any). We apologize for our time away from the blog -- the end of the law school semester and our mutual departures for summer jobs led us away from the job we'd really like to be doing (writing on this blog). But, we're back -- just in time for an exciting new season.
So, on to the season. Justin, Jordan, and I will be writing season previews for our teams very soon. But, right now, I'd like to focus on a topic that's been, of course, everywhere over the offseason: LeBron's "impending" departure to New York/New Jersey.
I know others have made similar arguments, but I'm going to attempt to break it down simply.
The Brooklyn/New Jersey/Brooklyn/New Jersey Nets:
Why Bron would go: They're moving to Brooklyn! Jay-Z! Exciting young core! Chinese guy for the global icon! Young point guard!
Why he won't: Let's be real, people. The Brooklyn thing just isn't happening. Bron and Z are best friends right now; I don't think Bron going to Trenton is going to advance that relationship -- and it's certainly not going to make Bron any happier. The "exciting young core" is made up of a guy who can post up, well, a folding chair. And this guy. Who's also the exciting point guard.
Look, I know the arguments for, but it's starting to look like it's just not going to happen. In 2010, the Nets will still be in New Jersey, and Vince Carter will still be a Net (at least for now). They won't be competitive -- I just don't think Harris and Yi are going to get it done, though they will be in their prime along with Bron. Ultimately, I think the case for NJ is getting less likely.
The New York Knickerbockers:
Why he'll go: Mike D'Antoni! Running! New York!
Why he won't: Mike D'Antoni is exciting, but if Mike Brown can actually install this uptempo offense he's been promising, that takes away D'Antoni's best argument. Plus, D'Antoni has had playoff success, but there's still so much skepticism about whether it can win a championship that I don't know if LeBron will buy in all the way. Remember, Bron's time in the NBA has been dominated by the Spurs and Celtics -- two teams that play a game similar to Mike Brown's (great playoff D and decent halfcourt offense).
Plus, the team is just not going to be good. David Lee's on his way out -- and he's the only player to really get excited about (sorry, I can't get that pumped about Danilo when he already appears to be having Ben-Wallace-esque back problems). Plus, the Knicks have a huge problem (that NJ also does) -- they can't go after two guys as easily. They don't get Bird rights on any of the big free agents -- meaning that if they want to get two (which is, I think, the only way they are players for Bron) they will basically have nobody else on the team. They just won't -- can't -- be as competitive as the Cavs.
The Cleveland . . . . Cavalieeerrrrrsssss:
Why he'll stay: Bron gets all the big stage he wants right now. He gets the benefit of both worlds, actually -- adulation in New York when he goes, and the unconditional love of a fan base in Cleveland. He grew up watching the Cowboys and the Yankees -- teams that built dynasties around iconic players (Aikman, Jeter, etc.) Note that the "hired guns" in Dallas and NY were never as beloved as the core guys (see also, Irvin, Smith, Posada). He also grew up watching Jordan -- who became the iconic figure for an entire city in the way LeBron is now. He's also seen how people react to Boozer and knows the reaction to him leaving would be a million times worse.
Plus, we're going to be competitive. We have a solid young core -- Mo, Boobie, Delonte, JJ, and Darnell aren't the best five in the NBA by any means, but they're all around LeBron's age and will be comfortable playing his game. We can also afford to go after one of the other big free agents since we'll have 1.) cap space and 2.) Bird rights to Bron.
Look, I'm not an optimist by nature. Everyone who knows me knows that. But I'm starting to think that if we perform the way we should the next two years, it's going to happen. We have Wally's expiring, Andy, and a full slate of draft picks to potentially move this year. We have Ben Wallace's expiring (let's be honest, Z isn't going anywhere) next year, which is just massive. And we have some young players we could move if necessary. In short, I think we have the best mix of young players and trade assets to keep Bron around, and I'm starting to believe that we'll be able to keep this banner up outside the Q.
Again, welcome back, everyone! Looking forward to an exciting NBA season. T-minus 13 days.