1

“The Decision 2: Electric Boogaloo” – An HP Discussion on LeBron James’ Free Agency

Jun 12, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) sits on the sidelines during the second half of game four of the 2014 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s Note: The crew at Hardwood Paroxysm is, like the rest of you, collectively losing their minds while waiting for LeBron to pick a team and spent much of this morning arguing via email. These are those emails.

Sean Highkin: The part of this that doesn’t add up for me is that LeBron hasn’t actually met with the Cavs in person, and he’s never met David Blatt, and he doesn’t really know their new GM.

Evans Clinchy: It’s almost like he’s not going there.

Kris Fenrich: It’s all very confusing. That part where Bron hasn’t personally met with the Cavs overrides everything else I’ve seen/heard.

Eric Maroun: It’s the Cavs fan in me talking, but I’m not buying the story that he never met with the Cavs directly. For that to be true, on Sunday, a plane that’s previously been used almost exclusively for Cavs related travel flew to Florida, altered its original landing location in mid-flight, landed at a private airport to avoid media, and is now blocked from being tracked by the public…and it was because Gilbert had business about a mall his company is building in Florida?

Clinchy: Was LeBron in Florida? I know he was out of the country on vacation, and I know he was in Vegas, but…

Maroun: Pretty sure that was the in between period after he got back from vacation and before he left for Vegas. Plus, Blatt is for sure in Vegas for summer league. Not sure about Griffin and Gilbert. Not exactly a reach to say they could have connected there this week.

Fenrich: LeBron seems like a hella busy dude. If I just played 100+ games that culminated with me busting my ass while the rest of my team got run off the floor, I’d need more than a week to clear my mind and rest my body.

Jack Winter: It sucks that this has made a certain portion of the public turn on LeBron again. It’s not his fault we’re obsessed with his choice. And as many of you guys have said, it makes perfect sense for anyone – let alone a presence like LeBron – to take time to make a career decision. It’s not like he’s actually done or said anything that’s fueled this rampant speculation, either.

Highkin: Plus, the obsession with him is completely warranted. It’s not like with Tim Tebow where the media was determined to turn him into a cult figure and ran him into the ground despite his not actually being, like, good at football. LeBron is the best basketball player in the world and where he signs is the most important thing that’s going to happen in the NBA for the next several years.

Maroun: Yeah it’s a weird situation where BECAUSE he hasn’t done or said anything, it’s fueled rampant speculation.

I’m still 50/50 on where he ends up, but I keep coming back to the fact that every single person who has sources one way or the other insists it’s Cleveland, and no one from LeBron’s camp has leaked anything suggesting otherwise. I just have to think that given Rich Paul’s relationship with the Cavs front office, him having a client on the Cavs in Tristan Thompson, and him having the headquarters of his company in downtown Cleveland, he would have leaked SOMETHING to quell any of the rumors floating around to avoid the backlash from Cleveland fans for the second time in four years.

And if the decision really is going to be announced on his website, is he really going to build up an announcement that simply says that everything is status quo and he’s staying in Miami? I know LeBron realizes that he should have handled things differently with The Decision the first time around and is on record as saying as much. But everyone knew as soon as The Decision was announced that he wasn’t going to hold a one hour special just to say he was staying put. I just can’t believe that he’d do the same thing on a lesser scale this time around. Obviously if the whole announcement on the site thing is false, then that’s a moot point.

Highkin: Is it really going to be announced on his website?

Maroun: No one knows. I’ve seen it talked about in a few places but no idea if their source was valid or not.

Amin Vafa: If it’s not being announced on his LeBron App, I’d be surprised.

Sam Vecenie: VERTICAL INTEGRATION, GUYS.

Maroun: Isn’t the app only available on Samsung phones? Obviously it’s going to go viral instantaneously, but seems weird to immediately exclude the 70% of the market that doesn’t have a Samsung phone right off the bat.

Vafa: It is only available on Samsung phones, but I bet it’s going to get screenshot and tweeted a googolplex number of times.

[Ed. note: Jack Donaghy would be proud of all this product placement. Good job, friends.]

Jared Dubin: I can’t help but notice that none of that reasoning has anything to do with actual basketball, which we have seen and been told numerous times is how LeBron will make his decision, whatever it is. Miami literally just went to the Finals and was far superior to every other Eastern Conference team, and likely would have won the Finals had they played anyone but the Spurs, who actually played perfect basketball for five games. Maybe the tea leafs (TM) are pointing toward Cleveland, but I’ve yet to hear a good basketball reason he should leave the Heat for the Cavs, whose best players are a score-first point guard and a center who can’t last more than 30 games without getting hurt and doubles as the only good defensive big man on the roster.

Clinchy: “Miami literally just went to the Finals and was far superior to every other Eastern Conference team”

…and no one from that team but Norris Cole is still under contract

Robby Kalland: No, but they have the financial wherewithal to put much of that team back together.

Clinchy: …much of which is old and breaking down. Compare and contrast with Andrew freaking Wiggins.

I still think LeBron picks Miami, so I’m kinda just devil’s-advocating here… but yeah. I understand why Cleveland is in the conversation.

Maroun: And that’s totally fair Jared, but are we sure we can even operate under the assumption that the choice he makes is going to be 100% driven by basketball? He’s got two kids, one of which will be getting ready to go to high school at the end of LeBron’s contract if he signs a 4 year deal. There’s been reports that he wants his kids to attend St. Vincent-St. Mary’s like he did. He still loves the area, is involved in the community, and heads back to Ohio every year. While Miami makes the most basketball sense, that doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s what he’ll choose.

Dubin: I love Wiggins and I think he’s going to wind up being a terrific player. I said all along he was the surefire No. 1 pick for me, even if Embiid was healthy. But I don’t get this thing where people pretend he’s going to be better than Bosh the next 3 years.

And Eric, that’s totally fair, but are we sure we can even operate under the assumption that the choice he makes is going to be 100% driven by family? He has a track record of choosing the best basketball situation, is famous for being one of the most process-driven basketball decision-makers ever, and it has been both reported and said that he’s going to make the best basketball decision. While Cleveland (might) make the most family sense, that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what he’ll choose.

Highkin: McBob is a legitimate upgrade from anybody outside of the big three on the roster last year. So is Granger, honestly.

Curtis Harris: Granger is an upgrade if his body doesn’t fall apart.

And really, that’s what it boils down to: Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger. Your move, LeBron.

Hardwood Paroxysm

  • Yu-Hsing Chen

    Which ever way it goes down I’m sure all the reporters are licking their chops