NEW YORK — Mom said it’s not polite to beg. But that hasn’t stopped politicians, power brokers and sports stars from pleading with Akron, Ohio, native LeBron James (FSY) to please, pretty please sign with their NBA team.
Unlike five-time champion Kobe Bryant (FSY) of the Los Angeles Lakers, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ superstar is the King without a crown. The two-time MVP has not won a title in his seven seasons with the Cavs.
James, 25, heads a star-studded free agent class that includes guard Dwyane Wade (FSY) and forwards Chris Bosh (FSY), Dirk Nowitzki (FSY) and Amar’e Stoudemire (FSY). But the dominoes start to fall with James.
Teams, cities and states see him as a savior who can reverse their franchises’ fortunes, fill empty arenas and drive economic development and expansion.
When the clock hits 12 a.m. Thursday, James officially becomes an unrestricted free agent — and the offers will fly in.
James, in his only public comment, told CNN’s Larry King the Cavaliers have the “edge.” But that was weeks ago.
Despite leading the team to an NBA-best 61-21 record, head coach Mike Brown was fired by owner Dan Gilbert after the Cavaliers lost in the playoffs to the Boston Celtics. General manager Danny Ferry quit two weeks later. Michigan State’s Tom Izzo turned down the coaching job, in part because of the uncertainty around James and the team.