Thursday, July 22, 2010

LeBron leftovers: Part Two

For some reason, I fully expected Sports Illustrated last week to revisit one of its most famous covers. You certainly remember the one depicted on Dec. 4, 1995.

How can you forget the cartoon that showed Art Modell sucker punching a Cleveland Browns fan, SI's way of decrying the unconscionable move of one of the National Football League's most storied and successful franchises for no good reason.

That cover is indelibly stamped into the memory banks of many Cleveland sports fans. Modell did not like the depiction (nor should he have), and it did little to mollify the anger that gripped Browns Nation at the time.

That's why I expected SI to come up with Part Deux of the Cleveland Torture Saga when LeBron James decided he wasn't good enough or strong enough or man enough to take the Cavaliers to an NBA title. It was a perfect opportunity for the magazine to tap back into that saga.

The cover, this time, would show LeBron gently ushering Modell to the side, saying, "Step aside, sir. My turn." And then LeBron whacking a Cavaliers fan upside the head because that exactly how it felt. Not a pretty sight, but one that more than accurately describes what happened on July 8, 2010, a day that will truly live in Cleveland sports infamy.

SI missed the boat on this one, choosing instead to slap on its cover the up-close-and-way-too-personal visages of the Miami troika, complete with fesces-eating grins, that turned NBA free agency into a joke.


And then there's the curious case of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a shameless self promoter who has made an art from of sticking his nose where it doesn't belong. What planet is this man living on where he calls out Dan Gilbert, who called out his star player for leaving Cleveland in cowardly fashion? Runaway slave is the term Jackson used to tie Gilbert and LeBron together. To reply to that statement would be to dignify it. So . . .


Of course, it's way too early to determine just how well LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will play together in Miami. Sometimes, you can have too much talent on the floor if egos spoil the party.

The big question is whether there will be enough shots for them. For example, the Miami Heat averaged 80.37 shots a game over the last two seasons and Wade took 24.6% of them. In Toronto over that same span, the Raptors averaged 72.3 shots a game with Bosh attempting 18% of them. LeBron the last two seasons took 24.45% of the Cavaliers' 78.32 shots per.

Together, they averaged slightly more than 57 shots a game. That large number is certain to rise when the three take the floor together since whoever else is on the floor at the time will be nothing more than a role player. The majority of shots, as it should be, will be taken by LeBron, Wade and Bosh. And you can bet 57 will be on the low side.

What hasn't been determined -- and with these guys it might never be determined -- is whether there's enough space on the floor for them to operate at peak efficiency. That's a problem coach Erik Spoelstra will have to figure out.

Who knows? This just might work if one or two of them willfully subjugate their egos to the point where they will function on a team-oriented basis. And that's where Spoelstra will find his greatest challenge.

The key is LeBron, who needs to cut way down on his shots and become a facilitator much like Magic Johnson was with the Los Angeles Lakers more than 30 years ago. If he can't and longs for the days of leading the league in scoring and winning MVP awards, there's no way this is going to work.

Why do I get the impression LeBron never wanted to play in Cleveland? I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but the more I read and hear about his formative years with the Cavs, the more suspicious I become that he was unhappy when the club won that draft lottery seven years ago.

Oh, he was the good soldier. What else could he do at 18? The NBA rules were set up so he had no choice but to play for the team that drafted him for at least seven years, so he might as well make the most of it. And he did. Magnificently. Everything seemed to be heading in the right direction.

Little did we know, of course, what was being plotted behind the scenes. And then came the blockbuster news. It sounded very much like LeBron couldn't wait to leave. If he wanted to stay, he would have actively recruited Wade and Bosh to Cleveland and said it was either Cleveland or you're on your own.

(LeBron's high-fiving journey down that runway in Miami in gala fashion with Wade and Bosh takes its place in my memory bank with Modell's triumphant arrival in Baltimore that Monday in December of 1995.)

If Cleveland and his beloved Akron meant so much to him, LeBron would have strong-armed those talents to join him in Ohio and Gilbert would gladly have paid whatever luxury tax was involved.

Nope. I don't believe him when he says, "I never wanted to leave Cleveland. My heart will always be around that area." That's what he told well-known broadcast prostitute Jim Gray that fateful night when he informed the nation he was "taking my talents to South Beach."

You can put salve on the wound, but it will never go away. It'll keep coming back in scab form.


The Cavaliers managed to salvage four future draft picks from the Heat in a sign-and-trade deal. Big whoop. With the Heat becoming one of the NBA strongest teams, finishing annually with one of the best records in the league, they'll wind up picking somewhere around 28th or 29th. Yeah, that should have a significant impact on the Cleveland roster.

Better than nothing? Yeah, I guess so.

Friday, July 16, 2010

LeBron leftovers: Part One

Nearly 60 years ago, Bobby Thomson of the New York (baseball) Giants hit a home run in a playoff game. It was known as the Shot Heard 'Round the World. The historic home run, which propelled the Giants into the World Series against the New York Yankees in 1951, became one of the most famous homers in baseball history. Even today, it is one of the game's most defining moments.

The man who delivered that ill-fated pitch was Ralph Branca of the Brooklyn Dodgers, a journeyman whose name immediately became mud in Brooklyn. Branca and Thomson were linked in baseball history. Thomson a hero to Giants fans; Branca a villain to Dodgers fans.

Branca never complained about the notoriety. But he wondered why he was chosen to deliver that pitch? Why not Carl Erskine, who was warming up in the bullpen with him at the time? He found out soon enough.

"This priest, Father Pat Rowley, who was (his wife) Ann's cousin, made it easier," Branca related later. "When I got in the car more than an hour after the game, Ann was with him. I said to him, `Why me? I love baseball. Why would it have to be me?' He told me, `God chose you because he knew your faith would be strong enough to bear this cross.' I think I've done a good job. I've taken the high road."

So what does this have to do with LeBron James and his thoroughly distasteful exit from the Cleveland sports scene? It proves that Cleveland is, indeed, a tough town, a strong town, a town that can withstand all kinds of setbacks and still bounce back.

Labeled one of the most tortured cities on the sports landscape -- you know the litany . . . The Drive, The Shot, Red Right 88, The Fumble and now The Decision a.k.a. The Betrayal -- God would not have chosen Cleveland for all this heartbreak if he didn't think the city could handle it.

Out of tragedy, out of misery, out of suffering comes an undeniable strength. Somewhere down the road lies a reward so large and so luscious, the joy that comes with it will be almost indescribable. More so than even when Boston ended 86 years of baseball futility several years ago. At least that city had the Celtics, Bruins and Patriots.

When the initial shock of LeBron's departure subsides and takes up permanent residence in our memory banks with the likes of Art Modell, Jim Thome and Albert Belle, we will move on and be tougher because of it. After all, we are Cleveland sports fans and we can handle it.


When Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert typed out his angry e-mail to the fans after LeBron left, little did he realize he also was jeopardizing the ability of his club to sign players in the future.

If nothing else, the NBA is a players-driven league. We saw a perfect example of that when the James-Wade-Bosh group manipulated the system to hook up in Miami. What they did was maybe a little below board in the execution, but perfectly legal.

And because it is a players-driven league, they saw what Gilbert said about LeBron. And don't think for a minute they wouldn't think twice before playing for an owner who, in a fit of pique, called one of his players a coward, a narcissist and a quitter.
That kind of talk does not sit well with the players.

So it would not be surprising if Gilbert strikes out often in the free-agent market as he tries to piece together a contending team. Money talks just so loud. Damaging remarks made in anger talk even louder. The only way Gilbert will be able to stock his roster is via the trade route and the draft.


If David Stern and his minions do not step in and prevent a repeat of the James-Wade-Bosh fiasco, it will happen again and threaten the credibility of the NBA. The commissioner must take steps to make certain the competitive balance of his league does not spiral out of control.

When Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets starts talking about him and Denver's Carmelo Anthony hooking up with Amar'e Stoudemire in New York with the Knicks in a couple of years, red flags need to fly. This cannot be allowed to happen a second time.

By sanctioning the Miami debacle, Stern has permitted a dangerous precedent to be set. Until he and his ownership group step in and put an end to such shenanigans with preventative legislation, he will have to deal with eroding fan bases. It will happen in Cleveland soon enough. Maybe as early as the 2010-11 season.

The idea is to strengthen the league from top to bottom. And allowing what just happened in Miami does not speak well toward that goal. Time to get tough and slam that door.


I would not want to be Erik Spoelstra this fall when the new Miami Heat gathers at training camp. So many new faces. So many superstars. So much aggravation.

Spoelstra, the second-youngest NBA coach at 39, will have the monumental task of making certain he can keep Wade, Bosh and LeBron happy. At the same time.

Dealing with a superstar ego is difficult enough for a coach with only one on his team. But three? And although they all say they are more than willing to subjugate those egos for the good of the team, I don't buy it. And that's where Spoelstra's greatest test lies.

Winning games, of course, is the primary goal. Far more important on a team such as the new Heat is assuaging and massaging those huge egos. That's a delicate enough job for a veteran coach, let alone one who is a relative neophyte at his job.

Hazarding a guess: Erik Spoelstra will not be the Heat coach by midseason. Pat Riley, Spoelstra's hovering shadow with the Heat, will take over either just before the All-Star Game or shortly after it.

Take it to the bank? No. I'll leave such statements to Gilbert.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Time to move on

I remember the night as if it were yesterday.

It was a big night in the sports department of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Thursday night May 22, 2003. I worked on the copy desk at the time.

It was the night of the National Basketball Association draft lottery. It was a night that could eventually change the Cleveland sports landscape. LeBron James was the prize and the moribund Cavaliers needed to get him.

The anticipation of getting LeBron welled up inside many of those who worked that night. The evening couldn't go quickly enough.

After all, LeBron was a local kid. So what if he was just 18 years old. He was 18 going on 28. He had that certain "it" factor coming out of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary's High School. We had seen him grow up and at one time or another, most of us had handled a story about him from our high school writers.

Then again, this is Cleveland and almost nothing good happens to Cleveland's professional sports teams, right? So why should we expect a miracle? Even though the Cavs and Denver Nuggets shared the worst record in the NBA that season and had an equal crack at LeBron, you just knew there was no way Cleveland would get this lucky.

And even when the Nuggets wound up finishing third in the LeBron sweepstakes and it was down to the Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies, you just knew LeBron was Memphis-bound. That's a Cleveland thing, if you know what I mean.

Then when league official Stu Jackson (at least I think it was Jackson) opened up the penultimate envelope and said Memphis owned the second pick, shrieks of joy, amazement and disbelief rang out. Not in just in the sports department, but all over the newsroom.

For once, Cleveland had won something big. The miracle had arrived.

And for the next seven seasons, LeBron delivered. He was everything we expected (sometimes unfairly for such a kid) and then some. He elevated his game to the point where he was considered by many the greatest player in the NBA. It was a crown he wore with what we perceived to be grace and humility.

LeBron took the Cavaliers to heights never before witnessed by the club's fans. He soared and took the franchise with him. He put Cleveland back on the sports map. It was good to be a Cavaliers fan. No. Check that. It was great to be a Cavaliers fan. He allowed Cleveland fans to finally feel good about themselves. He made Cleveland relevant, important on the NBA landscape, much like Dwyane Wade did in Miami.

The Indians were in the tank and the Browns scraped the bottom of the National Football League barrel. Cleveland sports fans needed a pick-me-up and LeBron provided it. They hadn't experienced pride like that since the Bernie Kosar days with the Browns.

And with one snap of the finger, it was gone. Just like that. It looks as though LeBron peeling off the Cleveland jersey after the Boston Celtics eliminated the Cavs from the playoffs this past season was more symbolic than I thought. The light that had beamed like a beacon to the rest of the sports world was snuffed out.

That's because LeBron made the conscious decision that the only way he could validate his greatness was to wear at least one championship ring. And he convinced himself that Cleveland was not the place where he could do that.

Never mind the fact that a lot of great athletes down through the years have never won a title. Ted Williams, arguably the greatest hitter of all time, never won a World Series. Appeared in just one. Ernie Banks never appeared in a World Series. Both men are in the Hall of Fame.

In the NBA, greats such as Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Allen Iverson, Dirk Nowitzki, George Gervin, Pete Maravich, Reggie Miller and Patrick Ewing have never won a ring. That does not in any way tarnish their greatness.

LeBron believed greatness would be better achieved down in Miami, where he could join Wade and Chris Bosh, his good buddies from the U.S. Olympic team. They would form the 3 A-Me-gos, a triumvirate of egos that very well could rival any in NBA history.

He chose Miami as his base for that goal. But if it is his desire to become a world icon, he's in the wrong city with the wrong team. The Heat is Wade's team. LeBron will find that out soon enough.

His ego, which was stroked unmercifully by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, will take a severe hit in South Beach. It'll be interesting to see how he handles not being No. 1 like he was in Cleveland.

In choosing Miami, he has damaged his brand. That which was Lebron is taking severe hits all across the sports landscape. The manner in which he ditched Cleveland on national television with the amateurish "The Decision" will leave several scars. And the cowardly way he let the Cavs know of his decision will never be forgotten.

The least LeBron could have done was man up and give Gilbert a call personally. He said what he did was based on a business decision. Well, that's the way it's done in the business world. Not having one of your lackeys make the call.

Gilbert then compounded the situation by reacting like a petulant child with a scathing open letter to the fans, savaging the man who helped put his team on top of the NBA world. LeBron hurt him and he wanted to hurt the superstar right back. Tenfold. Hundred fold.

He called LeBron narcissistic, which was true, but failed to note he fed into that narcissism. LeBron got everything he wanted. Gilbert did not know how to say no to his meal ticket. And the "cowardly" label was right on.

But when he "personally guaranteed that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled former 'King' wins one," and "you can take it to the bank," he went too far. It no doubt felt good to write that at the time. But when he looks back on it, that's a declaration he will regret.

Not once, though, did Gilbert mention the real reason for the letter. LeBron's departure hit him hardest in the wallet. The Cavs will take a significant hit at the box office. The team Gilbert bought from Gordon Gund isn't nearly as valuable now as it was a month ago. In his vituperative letter, he pandered to the emotions of the fans.

(Sudden thought: Too bad David Stern can't step in and void the deals in the best interests of the NBA like Bowie Kuhn once did in baseball many years ago with Charlie Finley of the Oakland Athletics. Lawsuits would follow and Stern, an attorney, knows he would lose.)

The Cavs now drop back into the middle of the NBA pack. They go from an annual 60-victory team to one that will struggle to win 35. Lost will be the roughly $25-$30 million in revenue LeBron had generated downtown. Some business will have to be shuttered as a result. Gone also will be the 25-30 times Cleveland and the Cavaliers received national TV coverage.

You can bet that when the Cavs and Heat meet four times this season, all four games will be somewhere on national TV. The drama will be palpable, especially for the first game in Cleveland.

It's not like an Art Modell situation where the former Browns owner will never show his face in Cleveland again. (And no, LeBron did not displace Modell as the No. 1 hated man in Cleveland. But he did move into slot 1-A. Modell took a franchise. LeBron took just himself.) LeBron has to come back to what can be best described as a hostile situation. It will be incumbent on Gilbert to make certain nothing happens.

But no one can save LeBron from the public outrage he is certain to face when he returns to his Bath, Ohio mansion every offseason. His friends will still be his friends. "Akron, Ohio, will always be home to me," he says. But it is problematical how he will be treated when he goes out in public. Wonder how much he can get for his 35,000 square foot digs?

In the end, there is no question LeBron became intoxicated with the notion that he could fill one hand with championship rings and perhaps two or three more for the other hand.

If nothing else, this should prove once and for all that athletes do not care about the fans. All they care about is themselves. It has always been that way. The players hear the cheers and are emboldened by them. But in the end, they don't care about you.

So which NBA team are you going to be rooting for this season besides the Cavs? I know who I'm going to be rooting for. Any team that is playing Miami that night.

The sign read: Born Here. Raised Here. Played Here. Stays Here.

Change that last line to read: Betrayed Here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pass the Pepto please

I've got the strangest feeling in the pit of my stomach right now. And it's not a good feeling.

The emotional roller coaster, a.k.a. Where In The World Is LeBron James Going To Wind Up?, has my intestinal region tied up in knots. The immediacy of the Internet and television has been a major contributor to that feeling.

One minute it looks as though Lebron is headed for Miami because Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have signed a pact to play there together for the Heat. And why wouldn't LeBron want to join those two and because he so badly wants to conquer the NBA.

Superstar status achieved. Getting to the NBA finals achieved. Best regular-season record in the NBA two seasons running -- achieved. A championship ring on the finger? Ooops. Wade and Bosh certainly can help LeBron hurdle that last obstacle.

No. Wait. Hold on. It might not be Miami.

Now comes the news that Carlos Boozer signs with the Chicago Bulls. Adding LeBron to that lineup elevates the Bulls to championship contender territory. It's certainly enough to make him think twice about Miami.

And now we learn the big announcement will be made tomorrow night on national television in Greenwich, Conn., located a stone's throw from the backyard of the New York Knicks.

First, it's Miami. Then it's Chicago. And now here comes New York. What about Cleveland? The big money is betting against Cleveland. No one seems to know for certain.

As it turns out, this whole charade is about only one thing. LeBron James, LeBron James, Lebron James. It appears as though his enormous success has spoiled him to the point where he has taken ego to a level so stratospheric, he has morphed into someone northeast Ohioans don't know any more.

Want some good insight? Read Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski's latest piece entitled "State of LeBron: Live at 9 from his ego." In part, he writes:

"Everyone ridicules Cleveland, makes it a butt of jokes, but LeBron James has the chance to change all of that. And even then, it has to crush Cleveland’s sporting psyche that James could still walk out. If one of our own won’t stay, what does that say to the rest of the country?

"That’s the hardest part here, and that makes the possibility that James would go on national television – with those split-screen shots of stunned fans in Akron and Cleveland – and completely crush those people so impossible to believe. He couldn’t be that cold, that callous, that cunning? Or perhaps, maybe this is all a rollout – the (reconstructed) Web site, the Twitter page and the infomercial – to introduce a new LeBron, a new city, to the world."

Thus, the most surprising statement LeBron can make tomorrow night is to say he will remain in Cleveland. I'd be shocked if he said otherwise and I don't shock easily.

Decision time

It's time for LeBron James to say what he means and mean what he says.

The Cavaliers' superstar says he's all about winning. Its not the money, he says. It's about winning.

If that's the case, then ether is no question he will forsake his beloved northeast Ohio and sign his next contract with the Miami Heat.

Can there be any other way, especially since Chris Bosh has decided to join Dwyane Wade down in South Beach? Place LeBron on that team and the Heat automatically becomes the favorite to win not just the Eastern Conference title,, but the whole thing.

It might even persuade Pat Riley to come out of coaching retirement and lead the team.

LeBron says he is all about winning. Remaining with the Cavaliers is no guarantee he would achieve his goal. With no cap space, the Cavs are marching in mud, sinking in quicksand.

And LeBron is smart enough to see that. So if he's willing to take far less money to join Wade and Bosh down in Florida, which has no state income tax by the way, he is Miami bound.

But if he truly means what he says about his home area and his heart strings have formed a permanent attachment to the Akron-Cleveland area, he stays. And if he stays, it will be with the full knowledge that winning a championship might be be in sharp focus as it would be if he were to join Wade and Bosh.

Tomorrow night, LeBron is going on national television to make the big announcement while northeast Ohio holds its breath. Right now, it's 50-50 at best that he remains with the Cavs. Would not have said that as recently as 24 hours ago.

If Miami wins out, kiss quality basketball in Cleveland goodbye.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Arm-twisting time

LeBron James is known arguably as the most talented player in the National Basketball Association. He has reached a point in his life -- on the court as well as off the court -- where he calls his own shots.

That was more than evident with the manner in which he orchestrated the parade of teams into Cleveland last weekend as the LeBron ego-massaging cavalcade unfolded. He was a master at conducting his once-in-a-lifetime concert in the key of L.

But now that a decision has to be made, the Cavaliers superstar has to rely more than ever on his reputation as a mover and shaker as he charts his immediate future. And right now, it appears he has every intention of remaining with the Cavs.

That's because, if the rumors are to be believed, he is engaging in some serious arm twisting with fellow free agent Chris Bosh in an effort to team with the former Toronto Raptors power forward in a Cleveland uniform.

LeBron evidently sees Bosh as his Scottie Pippen, the key ingredient to the success of Michael Jordan all those years in Chicago. Bosh is the piece of the puzzle that has been missing in Cleveland the last few years as LeBron desperately seeks to place a championship ring on his finger.

The Raptors have indicated to the Cavaliers that they would be open to a sign-and-trade deal involving Bosh. So far, so good. Bosh has indicated he would love to play with LeBron. Just not in Cleveland. And that's where the Cleveland superstar's powers of persuasion will be put to the test.

Bosh has had enough of the cold winters in Toronto. If he is to land where the snow flies during that time of the year, he'd much rather be in Chicago, thank you very much. Otherwise, Miami is the preferred stop.

Only problem is the Raptors have no intention of going the sign-and-trade route with those clubs, figuring they can extract more talent from the Cavaliers than either the Bulls or Heat. That's the only way Bosh can extract a max contract out of the deal.

So it is incumbent on LeBron to grab hold of Bosh's lanky arms, sit him down and sell him on Cleveland. It won't be easy, but if anyone can do it, he can. It has become an imperative.

The thought of those two on the floor together, along with what would be a solid complementary lineup and bench, conjures up thoughts Cleveland sports fans have been longing for all these years.

It's now up to LeBron to make it happen.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A prediction

For what it's worth, here's what's going to go down in the new several days. Cutting to the bottom line quickly.

LeBron James will not sign a contract with the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets or Miami Heat. He will re-up with the Cavaliers, but not for the max contract. He will repeat what he did the last time. Sign for three years. And here's why.

He is only 25 years old. He's still young enough where he can get bigger bucks later. He loves the Akron-Cleveland area. This is where he's most comfortable. And most important, he'll have a new coach in Byron Scott.

Don't underestimate the latter point. In Scott, he has a coach who has been to the championship game as a player and coach. He knows what it takes to get there.

LeBron will be willing to give Scott a chance to take him and the Cavaliers to that lofty goal. And the new coach will be given a three-year shot at doing what Mike Brown was unable to do.

The timing would be perfect for the superstar and the franchise he has helped become a power. It's a win-win situation. If it doesn't work out with Scott, LeBron will be only 28, still very much in the prime of his career, with plenty left to accomplish his goal elsewhere.

LeBron said recently that his greatness will be determined on how many championships he wins. That's where he got it wrong. Ted Williams was one of the all-time great hitters in Major League Baseball history and yet never won a World Series. He appeared in only one. The great Ernie Banks never appeared in a World Series. Both men are in the Hall of Fame.

Greatness isn't determined by the number of rings you wear or championships you win. Greatness is determined by how well you play the game. And it's safe to say LeBron James is one of the greatest basketball players -- maybe the greatest -- who ever laced up a pair of sneakers.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A little creativity

It's safe to say that tomorrow will be the most important day in the 40-year history of the Cavaliers.

When the Cavs and LeBron James' people get together in downtown Cleveland late tomorrow morning to discuss the superstar's future, the life of the franchise will be on the line.

That's why it's imperative that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and his people show up with more than a generic plan in an effort to persuade James and his group that there is only one place for him to ply his trade. Selling home sweet home won't be good enough.

That's all well and good, of course. But if that's all the ammunition they bring to the table as they attempt to keep LeBron in northeast Ohio, they might as well not even show up. That won't do it.

Gilbert is a smart man. He is a self-made multi millionaire who has used creativity as a stepping stone to that wealth. And now, he must tap that fountain of creativity if he is to retain the biggest jewel of his NBA team.

To walk into that meeting tomorrow morning without an inventive plan, minus something that stirs more than just the imagination, absent a presentation that jolts James' people say and causes them to say, "Wow," is the wrong approach.

Yes, LeBron's heart is in the Akron-Cleveland market. Yes, he is aware how much it would dramatically affect the sports culture of northeast Ohio if he were to leave. And yes, he is more than cognizant that if he did decide to stay, it would take something dramatic to cause him not to leave.

The Cavs already fulfilled one of James' wishes when they hired Byron Scott as head coach. But it'll take a lot more. Such as the makeup of the Cavs roster and what needs to be done to improve what hopefully will be LeBron's supporting cast.

Great move on the Scott hire. It was the move I was hoping the Cavaliers would make. He was the only coach available capable of making James even greater than he is. Had Scott coached the last three seasons instead of Mike Brown, the Cavs would own at least one NBA title and we wouldn't have to go though the current nonsense.

As for Scott's new job, it's been generally reported that James wanted no part of selecting the new Cleveland coach. If you believe that, you'll believe anything. Somehow, some way, James' fingerprints are all over the Scott hire.

Does that mean he'll stay despite the extravagant presentations put on by the New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls? No. But it can't hurt.

One also can imagine how awkward tomorrow morning's meeting will be. The parties know each other, of course. But for the first time, James will meet with Gilbert & Co. as a non-employee.

It's the stage James had hoped for when he decided to test the free-agent terrain. And he's done it the LeBron James way. Make them come to see him instead of the other way around. No question as to who is in charge.

No doubt he has enjoyed the entire circus. It turned out to be exactly what he expected. Teams falling all over themselves, placing him on the highest of pedestals, offering him riches, in some cases beyond even his dreams. All fit for a King.

But perhaps this King should give his good friend Warren Buffett a call. Grab hold of that speed dial and ring him up. In Omaha, Nebraska. Maybe the 79-year-old gazillionaire will impart the most sagacious advice anyone can give LeBron.

Buffett, you see, didn't need New York or Los Angeles or Miami or Chicago as a base to accumulate his $47 billion cache. Omaha was just fine, thank you.

No reason LeBron can't do the same in Cleveland.