From the comments

Graham:

Hey, did you guys read this little bit from ESPN’s TrueHoop?

Something about this just really hits a nerve – even worse than everything else that was blatantly anti-Cleveland. Maybe it’s the subtle condescension towards Cleveland and its fans, or that Abbott usually doesn’t come off as a shill for ESPN’s media gimics. LeBron eventually said something about Darfur, so he’s probably just playing to the Cleveland fans??? Gimme a break. Am I overreacting here?

and Erik:

Henry Abbott is definitely on the “LeBron’s leaving Cleveland” bandwagon. He responded, I think, to both Ben’s blog and my blog last year when we called him out for having an anti-Cleveland bias.

His response to my blog post was particularly rambling, where he went off on some tangent about actually loving Cleveland, but that he had credible sources that told him LBJ is just putting on a front for Cleveland and he’s really out the door on July 1, 2010.

So, whatever. ESPN’s company line is “LeBron to New York in 2010.” That’s what sells subscriptions and pumps up their TV ratings.

What really seems like a slap in the face is when Chris Sheridan pens an article, as he did today, featured on the front page, noting that D-Wade plans to sign an extension in 2010. In the same article, he notes that the Cavs live in “mortal fear” of LeBron leaving.

Again with the whole idea that D-Wade should never want to leave Miami, no
matter how bad the Heat are, and LBJ should never want to stay in Cleveland, no matter how good the Cavs get.

I don’t know if it’s arrogance, coveting, what it is, but I’ve never seen so many people hope one team fails so that one player will leave that team. It’s amazing. I guess it’s one more way people in this region are going to have to persevere. Even in our moments of triumph, there is still an underlying current of worry and/or misery.

TrueHoop:

Now, is this really true? Is he really not going anywhere?

He’s the same guy who a few weeks before the Olympics couldn’t imagine a situation whereby he would not speak out about Darfur. You get the sense he has the ability to say what the crowd wants to hear.

But … I’m sure it’s nice for Cleveland fans to know that he at least understands how to say these words. The thought is not foreign to him. That’s worth something.

And as he said it, he was not wearing a Yankee cap.

(THE YANKEES CAP MEANS NOTHING!! NOTHING! HE’S ALSO A COWBOYS FAN! WHERE ARE THE MAVERICKS RUMORS?)

I had a fairly long back-and-forth email conversation wtih Abbott awhile back about LeBron leaving (my beef at the time was that every piece of Cavs news was viewed through the ‘LeBron is leaving’ filter. Despite what people think, there are other players on this team- and this still the case. If there’s an article about the Cavs, 2010 is always prominantly involved). In the end, they were fairly long emails where we just managed to piss each other off.

His basic point was that those close to LeBron have been saying he’s good as gone… that the media isn’t just making stuff up; those close to LeBron are saying he’s gonna bolt.

And maybe that’s true (I mean, I really don’t know), HOWEVER, it’s never reported that way. The articles never state: “sources close to LeBron James say that he’ll leave the Cavaliers in 2010”. It’s always: “LeBron is as good as gone… why? Because it’s Cleveland, that’s why”.

Also, here the thing: no one (not even James IMO) knows what he’s gonna do in two years (do you?). Which is why this whole situation seems like an exercise in pissing off Clevelanders. I mean, Bill Simmons was POSITIVE that James not signing his last extension within 24 hours meant that James was out the door (he also predicted James would demand a trade last season). How’d that work out?

I mean, say the Cavs trade Wally’s contract for Emeka Okafor or Joe Johnson… you still think James is leaving in 2010? I’d say the odds would decrease a tad. What if the Cavs use their own 2010 capspace to sign Chris Bosh or D.Wade and just use LeBron’s Bird Rights and go over the cap? That’s a possibilty that no one talks about. Danny Ferry has set the Cavs up pretty well for the Summer of Doom (only James, Hickson, Williams, Gibson and West are under contract).

Look, by no means am I taking the statement James (or for that matter, anyone) made at a political rally as set in stone (I’ve seen too many Tribe players walk after uttering similar phrases). And hey, Abbott may be right, James could just be saying what people want to hear. However, it never crosses their mind that he could be doing the same thing to New York and Brooklyn. If we’re gonna be questioning his motives for telling Cleveland fans he’s staying, shouldn’t we be also questioning the whole favorite burough crap?

I’ve always said that LeBron’s decision to stay or go will hinge on the Cavaliers longterm prospects in the summer of 2010. A deadline deal (or lack thereof) in 2008/09 isn’t going to make or break that decision.

James could be just telling us what we want to hear. He could really be planning on leaving for New York. Maybe all those ‘close to James’ are dead on and he’s as good as gone. But I don’t know who is saying it, I don’t know what is actually said. But I have heard these words from LeBron’s own mouth: “I love Ohio and I ain’t goin’ nowhere. I’ll be here.”

And until I hear something different, I’ll be good with that.

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