Cleveland’s musical pitch to LeBron [video]

So many adjectives for this one: inspired, funny, true…and a little pathetic.

One thing that is often overlooked with regard to LeBron’s pending free agency is just how much of an economic impact he has on the city of Cleveland. One pundit suggested that the value of the Cavs’ franchise would drop $100 million if he signed elsewhere and obviously the tickets and merchandising would plummet as well. And this is a city that can ill-afford a loss in revenue like that.

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Who is the best sidekick for LeBron?

John Hollinger examines the rumored big-name sidekicks that LeBron may find himself playing with next season and tries to figure out who’s the best fit. This article requires an Insider subscription, so I don’t want to excerpt too much, but it’s an interesting read if you are a numbers guy (or gal).

The four criteria Hollinger used were: 1) he will not hog the ball (low Usage Rate, relatively speaking), 2) he will space the floor (Long 2 %), 3) he will be offensively efficient (True Shooting %) and 4) he will crash the boards (Offensive Rebound Rate).

Hollinger combined those factors in the following way.

Using this data, I created a “LeBron Rating” for each player by taking three-fourths of the player’s true shooting percentage, subtracting half his usage rate, adding his offensive rebound rate and subtracting twice his turnover rate.

I don’t really like it when stats guys start arbitrarily adjusting numbers by “taking 3/4,” “subtracting half,” “adding” and “subtracting twice” to adjust the numbers. I would probably adjust each stat from a level of 1 to 100, or maybe pull in the league average to come up with a factor for each stat.

But this isn’t my exercise. Here’s what Hollinger found:

The perfect companion: Chris Bosh
Bosh hits every check mark on the list above. He’s an outstanding midrange shooter who would provide a fearsome weapon on the pick-and-pop, something James has never really had in Cleveland. His offensive rebound rate (9.9 percent) was in the top third of power forwards, which is amazing considering how often he played outside. His turnover rate was in the bottom third and his TS% (59.2) was outstanding.

I don’t think this should come as too big of a surprise. Even though Bosh has said he thinks he’s a player that a team can build around, his game is ideal for a sidekick role with another really, really good player. A LeBron/Bosh pick-and-pop would be devastating, and he’s good enough on the block that LeBron can take a breather on offense every so often.

Click here to see the rest of the list. A few names at the bottom are Baron Davis, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade and Devin Harris, who are all guards who dominate the ball.

If I were building around LeBron, I’d want to add Bosh (or Stoudemire) to give him a good pick-and-roll/pop guy. At the other three positions, I’d have two guards who are good defenders that can shoot the three (and take it to the hole occasionally) and another big who can crash the boards and hit 15-footers from the baseline.

So how do LeBron and Bosh hook up? The Knicks would be the easiest, because the franchise has the cap space to sign two big-name free agents outright. Miami would also have room to sign two max players if they are able to move Michael Beasley in a salary dump. The two could also meet in Chicago if the Raptors or Cavs would want to take on Luol Deng and another player.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Leaving is the easy thing to do

Heading into this year’s playoffs, the conventional wisdom was that if the Cavs won a title, or at least made it to the Finals, LeBron James would likely re-sign to continue his quest for a championship. But if the Cavs suffered another pre-Finals flame out like last year’s Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Magic, he would sign elsewhere.

Well, we all know what happened. An aging but experienced (and cohesive) Celtics team basically dismantled the Cavs in the last three games of the series. Every Celtic knew his role and team flat out executed better, both offensively and defensively.

Where does this leave LeBron? He said after the game that his team had “a plan” and was going to execute that plan. Forget the fact that a few questions before he was asked if he had a plan and answered with a resounding, “No.” Of course he has a plan. He’s being disingenuous when he says that he hasn’t thought about the different scenarios that could play out this postseason and offseason.

He’s clearly not happy with Mike Brown. And he can’t be happy with Antawn Jamison, Shaquille O’Neal or even Mo Williams, who scored well in Game 6, but was very up and down in the series. Shaq won’t be back, and Brown is probably on his way out too. He had a tough task of trying to keep team cohesion with the mid-season introduction of Jamison and the late-season loss of O’Neal. But the bottom line is that over the past two seasons he’s had more talent than his opposition and hasn’t gotten it done. If Dan Gilbert thinks that firing Brown increases the possibility that LeBron will re-up, then he’ll do it in a New York minute.

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Look at what’s riding on Game 6…

With Boston’s impressive win in Game 5 on Tuesday night, the series has once again swung the Celtics’ way, and they have a chance to close out the Cavs in Game 6 on Thursday.

Has there ever been more riding on a conference semifinal playoff game?

While there are those that believe LeBron James is more likely to leave Cleveland if the Cavs were to win the title, the general consensus is just opposite. If the Cavs suffer another pre-Finals flame out, most NBA fans believe that LeBron will sign elsewhere this summer.

But it’s not like LeBron had one of his monster near-triple-double games and his teammates let him down. The other Cavs shot 46% from the field, 45% from 3PT and hit 18-of-22 free throws. Shaquille O’Neal posted 21-4 (hitting 7-of-10 free throws) along with four blocks.

Meanwhile, LeBron shot 3-of-14 from the field (0-4 from 3PT) and scored just 15 points. For the first three quarters, he settled for long jumper after long jumper and missed most of them. Once again, his unwillingness to go in the post limited his options in a game when his jumper just wasn’t falling. Two of the game’s great wings — Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant — made/make a living on the block, especially when they were having trouble scoring elsewhere.

Defensively for the Cavs, it was another story.

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Great Quotes: LeBron James

“I think, honestly, this free-agent talk is getting old. It’s getting old and I think it’s probably the last time I answer anymore free-agent questions until the offseason.”

LeBron James, via

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