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See? Even LeBron James is confused about where he’ll land.
Well folks, tonight’s the night: LeBron’s decision night, brought to you by Nike, Powerade, and anyone else who wants to jump in on the deal. With every team with a speck of cap room making their moves in order to sign King James, the world is abuzz with ideas of what LeBron’s new (or old) jersey will look like, and surely what headband will match best.
But amidst all this excitement, has anyone thought about the backlash for the team and players who aren’t fortunate enough to land the king?
There have been quite a few moves by teams under the assumption that they will bring King James’ throne to their city: Amare Stoudemire to the Knicks, Carlos Boozer to the Bulls, and Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade to Miami. All of these places have sacrificed serious money and will most likely sacrifice more in order to get LeBron.
But what happens after tonight if LeBron goes back to Cleveland? Or goes to New Jersey? or Dallas?
Will Amare be happy being the only notable player in New York? Will Carlos Boozer be trapped in a city with a so-so, barely make the playoffs kind of team?
Not to mention, what happens to the organizations who were banking on LeBron to boost ticket and merchandise sales? Can Carlos Boozer really give those numbers the same meteoric rise Lebron could?
Well, the obvious answer is no. In fact, Lebron’s not signing with a certain team could have more of an impact than on the team he does sign with. I’m not saying that Lebron could single-handedly create the demise of a certain team, but the chain reaction of unhappy players stuck on so-so teams and lower than expected revenue that prevents the signing of other players in future seasons may hinder the growth of franchises that would have exploded with Lebron’s arrival.
That’s exactly why I think the Nets may come out of this as winners, LeBron or no. If they do get King James, they will have the best idea on what remaining moves they can do. If they don’t land LeBron, they won’t have disappointed superstars to deal with and will be able to structure the franchise for success under the iron first of Ivan Drag…. I mean Mikhail Prokhorov. Granted this success plan won’t be as immediate as if the Nets have LeBron, but they still have a solid chance at landing supporting characters to best compliment their roster, which combined with solid drafting in future years could make the Nets a playoff threat once again.I would say the same for the Clippers, but… they’re the Clippers.
Which brings me back to the title of this post, a reference to the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty. In a way, all of these teams vying for LeBron James are Humpty Dumpty: their survival teetering on the hope that LeBron James comes to their town. When those unlucky LeBron rejects fall off the wall, it may be tough for them to rebound this season.
-Tom Hagan ’11