The Reuters global sports blog
Is home where the heart is for LeBron?
The one lingering question that hangs over LeBron James head has nothing to do with his performance on a basketball court. The question fans, the media and even NBA Commissioner David Stern want an answer to is where will James call home next year?
When James signed a three year contract extension in June of ’06, Cleveland Cavalier fans were banished to LeBron limbo. Every time they delighted in King James on-court magic, the thought of the superstar bolting for another team on July 1st as a free agent brought them back down to earth.
Throughout the year James has said he’ll wait until after the season to make his decision, which left fans and media to speculate every time he discussed his future.
During his acceptance speech for his second consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player award on Monday in his home town of Akron, just outside of Cleveland, James made a few comments that were just vague enough to cause speculation. “No matter what might be ahead of me, throughout my whole life, I will never be gone from this. Akron is my home. It will always be remembered. Akron, Ohio, is my life. I love this city.” He went on to say, “I’m not just carrying myself but I’m also carrying this city to bigger and better heights.”
LeBron’s recent comments swayed Bodog.com to make Cleveland the odds on favorite destination for James after July 1st.
It’s interesting that this story is getting more coverage than the actual playoffs, a fact not lost on Stern. “We do have this thing called the finals,” he said, “and we have some great playoff games left.”
But even Stern couldn’t help discuss the situation and revealed Cleveland is his preferred destination for James. “That’s the way it should be,” he added. “It allows teams to keep their own players.”
The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement gives teams the ability to pay more and add an extra year to the contract for their own free agents.
Although James hasn’t given a definitive answer to what jersey he’ll be wearing next year, fans in Cleveland have to be breathing a little bit easier after Monday’s press conference.