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December 11, 2008 1:00 AM

LeBron James Will Stay King Of Cleveland Even If He Leaves

Back in June we made a Top 10 list of Draft Picks That Shaped A Franchise. LeBron James just made the list at number ten. How could we really rank a player that had only played five seasons for a team much higher? Especially considering there’s a chance he will leave in 2010 when he can become a free agent. But even if LeBron James leaves the Cavaliers he will still go down as the best and most important player in franchise history. This topic isn’t even debatable. On Tuesday LeBron passed Mark Price as the all-time franchise leader in steals and did it in 170 less games. He already is first in point scored by nearly 1,000, 8th in rebounds, 2nd in assists, 8th in blocks, and 4th in 3-point field goals.

Let’s assume LeBron leaves Cleveland in 2010. Don’t worry Cavs’ fans it’s simply an assumption to prove a point and has nothing to do with LeBron’s love for NYC or his buddy-buddy relationship with Jay-Z. LeBron James has been healthy his whole career and given his physique there is no reason to believe he won’t stay that way for the next couple years. If he stays healthy he will be playing in about 136 more games before the end of 2009 season. If LeBron puts up the numbers he has averaged over the last four-plus seasons (I eliminated his rookie year since he was still developing) he will be amongst the top in all career statistical categories for the Cavs franchise. This table shows his projected career stats at the end of the 2009 season and where that would rank him in Cavs' franchise history:

CategoryLeBron's Projected Numbers Cavs Franchise Ranking
Points15,152 1st
Rebounds3,815 4th
Assists3,615 2nd
Steals981 1st
Blocks448 5th

If he gets just 2 more blocks and gets to 450 he would be tied for fourth place in Cavs' history. But maybe the more amazing part is he'd just be 8th on the list of games played as a Cavalier. No, that's not the most amazing part. The most amazing part is LeBron James turns just 25 at the end of this month. If he were to leave at age 26 he could still break franchise records with another team. If he does leave Cavs' fans should revere him and remember him as the greatest player in the Cavaliers' history because he is exactly that.

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