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Has LeBron James played his last home game in Cleveland?

May 11th, 2010 No comments
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Hell yeah, baby!

The exceedingly long odds that are LeBron James being lured to South Beach just got a major shot in the arm when the Boston Celtics dismantled the Cavaliers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. It was the worst home playoff loss in team history.

Kiss him goodbye, Cleveland?

Not just yet. LeBron and his soldiers have already taken a game off the Celtics at TD Garden. He’s still the best player on the planet – certainly capable of willing his team to two straight victories.

I’m quite interested to see what the Vegas odds will be for Game 6 on Thursday night. Let’s assume the Celtics hold serve on their home floor and dispatch the Cavs earlier on in the playoffs than anyone could possibly have projected.

You’ve got to figure LeBron James will leave. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has unlocked the vault and at least tried to surround LeBron James with the talent to earn the king a ring. But the team has had trouble winning any game that he did not dominate. There doesn’t appear to be much of a core in place for the future either.

The February trade for Antawn Jamison was billed as the last piece to a title contender. Now it looks like the questionable acquisition of a 33-year old forward who is still owed a whopping $24.8 million over the next two seasons on the downside of his career. Shaquille O’Neal certainly isn’t getting any younger, and is clearly not much of a difference maker anyway. And the team is out of money with which to improve.

The Cavaliers are reportedly projected to post a financial loss between $10 million and $15 million this season. The club lost nearly $20 million per season over the previous two seasons.

Even if Gilbert is willing to shell out the big bucks in an effort to persuade LeBron that home is where his heart should be, the salary cap simply doesn’t allow him to. If James signs on, the Cavs would have a total payroll of $66.6 million going into next season. That puts the team way over the projected $56.1 million salary cap, and right up against the $68 million projected tax threshold. Having already used up their bi-annual exception (which is available every other year) to sign Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the Cavs would be left with nothing other than the mid-level exception (which I am projecting at approximately $6.0 million) and trades. Read more…

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