Everyone has something to say about the possibility of LeBron James playing for New York in 2010, so I figured I may as well take a stab at it:Who knows, who cares, and can we all just shut up about it for the next two years?OK. I know I'm being naïve. I know there are a lot of people (read: sportswriters) asking, "But if we don't talk about LeBron coming to New York, what are we gonna talk about?"Well, how about the team LeBron currently plays for? How about these Cleveland Cavaliers? How about the Cavs receiving my vote for Team Most Likely to Knock Off Boston in the Eastern Conference? How about the awesome stuff that's actually taking place ON THE COURT?I know, I know. Bor-ing, right?Wrong, if you ask most people who really care about the NBA. Wrong, if you ask the Cavs themselves. Heck, wrong if you ask LeBron."It's not the market you're in, it's all about winning with me, and that's what this league has always been about," James said after the Cavs trounced the Knicks, 119-101.And if you saw what the Cavs did to the poor Knicks on their own home court, and how they seemed to go up by 30 before Spike Lee even had a chance to sit down, and how the game was really nothing more than 48 minutes of garbage time...well, it's just hard to imagine James picturing this as the Mecca of basketball.I mean, the man proved he can share high fives and hugs with Jay-Z and Beyonce in Madison Square Garden whether he wears a Knicks uniform or not.If it sounds like I'm leaning toward the idea of James NOT leaving the Cavs for the Knicks, well, I am. And it's not because I live in Akron, Ohio, or spend most of my evenings covering the NBA at Quicken Loans Arena, or was born in the same hospital as James (albeit like 212 years before him).It has more to do with the fact James can sign a bigger, longer contract with the Cavs. That's it -- no other reason. I don't think championships won, or how good the Knicks eventually become (and I do think they'll be pretty good by 2010), or the state of the economy, or the color of the latest Nikes, or anything else will have a single thing to do with it. And no, there is no Nike bonus awaiting James if he signs with the Knicks. That expired like five years ago.So if James leaves for the Knicks, it will be for more exposure, but less $$$. Name any other big-time athlete who's ever done that? There are a few, but not many. Some of them say it's not about the money -- but it's ALWAYS about the money. Or at the very least, almost always.And if James thinks his every move is recorded in New York now, just wait until he gets there on a daily basis. Does he really want to put himself through that?
NO DECISION COMINGEither way, James won't decide until 2010. Or if he does decide before then, he'll keep quiet about it -- and continue to put forth All-Everything performances in the process. Really, that's all NBA fans need to know or care about.Of course, that concept doesn't seem to sit well with too many of my peers.It seems like every time Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports writes a story about James, he mentions the time when Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said talk of James' possible departure was the result of "bored sportswriters."Wojnarowski may be the best reporter covering the pro game today. His writing is exceptional. But he needs to stop acting offended at the Gilbert comments -- because if you ask me, Gilbert is right. So let's give it a rest.As Peter Vecsey wrote in the New York Post: "In the intervening 19 months, we can count on speculation, devoid of restraint or furnished fact, regarding what path the chosen one (and the horde of other elite free agents) is leaning toward taking to swell to harebrained heights."Devoid of restraint or fact? Let me be the first to say amen.Another thing a lot of people don't realize -- Gilbert is one of the smartest and most competitive owners in all of sports. This isn't Ted Stepien we're talking about. Gilbert is willing to spend money, to go over the salary cap, to pay and do whatever it takes to try to bring a championship to Cleveland. (I recently heard a forlorn Cleveland Browns fan ask what it would take to convince Gilbert to buy that team.)Gilbert is in tune with the fans and extremely determined to make the Cavs more than just good. He even once suggested that when it comes to the esteemed free-agent class of 2010, everyone else had better worry about the Cavs going after their best players, too. Tough talk? No doubt. But what choice does the man have? Someone has to stand up and be the voice of reason. It might as well be someone who's built an ultra-successful business from the ground up.Well, I just did exactly what I didn't want to do. I wrote about LeBron leaving for the Knicks. I failed to shut up about it, and I have only myself to blame.But if James does leave for New York, guess what? There will still be NBA teams all over the country, and the Cavs will likely continue to exist. I mean, they somehow survived before James got there for oh, what, 30 years?Truth is, no matter how much we talk, write or debate about James, his contract doesn't expire for another two years. Personally, I'd just as soon not have to hear (or care) about it before then.