If Cavs Falter, Why Would LBJ Stay?
CLEVELAND -- Why didn't he just come out and announce it Monday night, right there at midcourt in front of his fawning witnesses, right here in the beleaguered city that needs his long-term commitment like the rest of us require oxygen, food and Viagra? This would have been the perfect time for LeBron James to ease the intense local anxiety, shake hands with NBA commissioner David Stern, accept his second of numerous MVP awards -- career over/under: six -- and give the good people of northeast Ohio what they've wanted to hear since he arrived in the league as a prodigious man-teen.
"Relax,'' he could have said at the pre-game ceremony. "I'm staying five more years.''
But James refuses to soothe fears that he still might leave the Cavaliers in free agency this summer. He prefers to keep playing his public poker game and let it veer into a frantic climax come July 1, when he finally can negotiate with the Knicks, Nets, Bulls, Heat and even the Clippers and Wizards if his masochistic side prefers. Maybe he's remaining mum right now for a very good reason.
If the Cavs flop again in the playoffs, he might be looking for the nearest escape hatch out of town.