07-24-2009, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Cavs waiting on the Summer of 2011
As the Cleveland media has put their pens away on any information regarding the possibility of LeBron James being offered an extension, the strategy being used by Danny Ferry is certainly one that merits some attention.
The Cavaliers have signed Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker to two-year deals. Moon and Parker will improve their size and athleticism on the wings and the money each player will make will not be huge, but it eats away at the cap room they could have preserved with the hope of signing a second max player to put next to James in the summer of 2010.
Re-signing Anderson Varejao to his massive $50 million contract made a pairing of James with either Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade a possibility -- depending on whether or not the cap shrinks as much as the league projects -- only in New York or Miami. But the Cavs are still preserving cap space for 2011.
Foregoing cap space for 2010, which may not have even yielded a second max player due to a potentially declining cap wasn't a risk worth taking for Cleveland. They are in a perpetual must-win-now mode and have been in that situation since the summer of 2004.
One aspect that is becoming more clear to anyone willing to take a second, closer examination is that the 2010 summer may be postponed to 2011. LeBron could exercise his player option for the 10-11 season if he thinks Cleveland is too close to leave or if New York, Miami or Chicago are too uncertain.
In that 2011 summer, Carmelo Anthony may become a free agent by exercising his early termination option; Yao Ming, Tony Parker and Pau Gasol will be free agents. Rajon Rondo will also be a free agent if things between his camp and the Celtics remain tenuous and in the longshot column, restricted free agents could include Kevin Durant and Greg Oden.
The Knicks will be in an even stronger position in terms of the salary cap during the 2011 summer as the contracts of Eddy Curry and Jared Jeffries expire. New York's current salary obligations for the 11-12 season comes in at just $8.19 million, with Danilo Gallinari, Jordan Hill and Toney Douglas under contract, with Wilson Chandler's $3.1 million qualifying offer also factored into that number.
This is the same core that the Knicks hope will lure LeBron away in 2010, but by waiting one year he can join that same core while bringing in a second max player and a third player making about $10 million.
Waiting one more season accomplishes three things for LeBron:
1.) Gives himself one additional shot of winning a title in Cleveland. His legacy will be far greater if he wins in his home state and he realizes this.
2.) Allows overall economy to recover, which will be a factor on salary cap and potential endorsement deals that may or may not be improved by being in a particular market. (This could conceivably backfire, as the new max can be reduced when the cap expires following the 10-11 season.)
3.) Most importantly, it allows LeBron to make a more informed decision on which team he can commit to for the next three to six years to give himself the best odds possible to win a championship.
Imagine the Cavs with Melo + LeBron