Fallout From Megaflop: LeBron Needs New Team
Take this uniform and shove it.
"LeBron is leaving! LeBron is leaving! ... New York Knicks! New York Knicks!" came the derisive chants of the Boston fans, knowing that the final seconds of the Eastern Conference semifinals very well could have been the final seconds of the James era in sorry, woebegone Cleveland. And really, why shouldn't Thursday evening have marked the end of a maddening early phase of what still could be an all-time career -- but only if he escapes to a market and franchise that allow him to win NBA championships? It's hard to believe James will re-sign with the Cavaliers this summer after the way he and his teammates wilted so feebly against the Celtics, who performed like a mature, purposeful, defensive-driven machine in a six-game dismissal of a team that wasn't well-coached or conceived, even with LeBron as the epicenter.
He needs a new residence, away from his native northeast Ohio, where he can shake the pressure of saving a city and replace it with more reasonable objectives of simply beginning his championship trail. After the 94-85 elimination loss in Game 6, he sat in the interview room and confirmed that, yes, he and his advisers will pursue an aggressive free-agency battle plan in the coming weeks. Presumably, he'll attack the process with considerably more vigor than he attacked the Celtics, who systematically diminished his skills to humble averages over the four series losses: 22 points, 36.8 percent shooting, 2-of-17 from the three-point line and six turnovers. Was this LeBron James? Or Mike James?
"I'm gonna approach this summer with the right mindset. Me and my team are going to figure out the best course for me," said James, who didn't wear a Yankees cap or deliver any other hint. "I love the city of Cleveland. It was a disappointing season, to say the least, but we'll see what happens.
"I want to win. That's my only thing, my only concern. I've always prided myself -- it's all about winning for me and I think the Cavs are committed to doing that. But at the same time, I've given myself options to this point. Me and my team, we have a game plan that we'll execute and we'll see where we're at."