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Justice Is Served


November 3, 2009 3:26 PM

New LeBron rumor: L.A. is his next stop

I would give credence to speculation like this from only a handful of NBA writers. Marc Spears of Yahoo! comes to mine, so does Chris Broussard of ESPN. I can mention a few other names as well, but the list is short: shorter than the reins Kobe Bryant has on the mercurial Ron Artest to fit in with the Lakers.

But it is hard for me to ignore the speculation when Sam Smith trots out a scenario on where LeBron James will end up next season.

Probably no player in NBA history has had his future examined through a crystal ball (or tea leaves, perhaps?) the way LeBron has had his. The constant forecasting of where LeBron will sign when he becomes a free agent after this season has, at times, been tedious to read. The talk has taken away an appreciation of one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

Most of that talk has LeBron packed and wrapped with a first-class stamp, and the package addressed to the Knicks or the Nets. The contention is that LeBron wants the bright lights of Broadway, turning his star into a supernova.

Smith, though, dismissed the New York angle. He posited an alternative that would bring LeBron the glitz and glamour he can’t get in Cleveland. Read what Smith said:

“Well, at least I’m fairly sure now where LeBron James is going to be playing next season.

“Los Angeles, most likely the Lakers.”

In his article on LeBron’s tomorrows, Smith backtracked a bit when he said the consensus is that LeBron will remain in Cleveland. No reason for him to leave, Smith said, for fame elsewhere, because in this global economy, LeBron can market his basketball brand in Tucson or Timbuktu, if that’s where he decided to play.

All of this speculation is unsettling in Cleveland. I think fans here have tired of it as well. They wish LeBron would end it and let everybody know what he wants to do.

But that would be LeBron. He’s asking a lot from the Cavaliers, a team that has tried to build a winner around him. In the NBA and in life, nothing comes with a guarantee, and if LeBron is leaving because he doesn’t think he can win here, then, well, good riddance. Go West, young man, should L.A. be where you decide to go.

I’m not about to argue that LeBron shouldn’t go where his heart takes him. He and Kobe Bryant make a dynamic one-two punch in the West. LeBron has left hints here and there that he does want to remain in Cleveland.

I just want the rumors about the man's future to end -- for everybody’s sake.

Smith, who covered the Jordan era for The Chicago Tribune, might be right; LeBron James might have an L.A state of mind. For now, however, he’s a Cavalier, and he looks good in the Wine and Gold.

Clevelanders should enjoy that sight for however long it lasts.

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