The 2010 NBA Free Agent class is one that has recently garnered more media attention than in previous years. Players like Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James are atop the class that are looking for long-term security from their next team. Some super stars are leaning toward staying with their current teams, but others are seeking new places of employment.
The Cleveland Cavaliers hope the former is true for their top free agent Lebron James. James is currently fielding offers from multiple teams including the New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, Miami Heat, and even the Los Angeles Clippers. The Cavaliers made their presentation to the star in his downtown Cleveland office Saturday.
New head coach Byron Scott was among the Cavaliers entourage to visit Lebron this weekend, and looks to convince James that he knows the formula to get his team to the NBA Finals. Scott took the lowly New Jersey Nets from the basement of the Eastern Conference, to back to back finals appearances in 2002 and 2003.
The Cavs representation drove the three blocks from their offices to another downtown building, and James arrived minutes later. Dressed in a black t-shirt and shorts, he emerged from a silver sedan and headed up the elevator to field the proposal from the Cavaliers.
Fans lines the streets with signs that read “Home”, and most were dressed head to toe in Cavaliers apparel. Some mimicked James’ pre-game ritual of throwing powder in the air. They hope that showing hometown support will help convince LeBron to stay near home. James hails from nearby Akron, Ohio where he attended St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.
Scott was in a group containing Cav’s owner Dan Gilbert and general manager Chris Grant. They are the fifth team to make a presentation to James, and hope to sign more players to support James. They might not be able to offer James the most money, but they do have the most resources already invested in James.
The Cleveland area has not celebrated a champion in any sport since the Browns won the Super Bowl in 1964. The drought has seen the Browns leave and become the Baltimore Raves, and the Indians fall short of winning a world series in 1997.
“Without him, we won’t be anything,” said 20-year-old Jordan Martin, who was one of the fans outside imploring James to stay. “If he leaves, the team and the city won’t be the same.”
Lebron is set to meet with the Chicago Bulls later in the day. The Bulls are set as the favorites by NBA sportsbooks to sign James at -300. The Cavaliers are tied with the Heat at +200 odds to sign James. The Knicks and Nets are both set at +700 odds, and the LA Clippers are set as the heavy underdogs at +1000.