I read this on ESPN.com
A. I keep writing about this, and everyone in Cleveland keeps sending me hate mail, and I don't really know what else to tell you ... but people around the league swear that there's a clause in LeBron's Nike contract (already worth $100 million) that doubles the money if he plays for an NBA team based in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles AND that some of his other endorsement deals have the same clause. Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger.
B. We know that LeBron and his peeps are already positioning himself as a multimedia presence, someone who could potentially emulate Magic and P. Diddy and own record companies, movie theaters, clothing lines and everything of that ilk. You need to live in a big city to pull this off -- either New York or L.A
C. The Cavs blew their cap space last summer (more than $160 million spent on Zydruans Ilguaskas, Damon Jones and Hughes) and have no real way to improve. If you remember, by the end of the Detroit series, poor LeBron was a one-man show. Do you think he wants to spend the next eight to 10 years carrying a mediocre supporting cast?
D. LeBron becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2008. He could sign an extension with the Cavs this summer, but there's really no reason to do so. Thinking logically, he could break any bone or blow out any ligament over the next 24 months and STILL get offered a max contract by every team with cap space. So why not see how this season unfolds and keep his options open? No injury short of paralysis could hurt his value over the next two years.
E. From the NBA's standpoint, nothing would generate more interest in the 2006-07 season than the running subplot, "Is LeBron staying or going?"
F. The first day that teams could offer max extensions to rookies from the 2003 draft class: July 1, 2006. We know that Denver offered one to Carmelo (quickly accepted), Miami offered one to Wade (quickly accepted), and Cleveland offered one to LeBron (NOT accepted -- plus, neither LeBron nor his agent has commented publicly and it has been six days and counting). The silence has been deafening. Repeat: Deafening. In fact, it's developing into the biggest sports story of the summer and nobody seems to give a crap. But they will. Just wait.
G. Everyone in Cleveland is having a collective heart attack. And with reason. If LeBron ends up fleeing the Cavs, that would be the biggest non-injury/non-death blow to a professional team in sports history. Unless they were able to sign-and-trade him for a mother lode of players and picks (like the Oilers did with Gretzky), basketball would die in Cleveland and the team would have to move. Imagine living in Cleveland, watching LeBron pass through town like a comet -- the next Ali/Tiger/Pele/MJ -- then he spends the heart of his career playing in another city? How do you bounce back from that? The answer: You don't.
H. There are dozens of reasons -- literally -- why Isiah Thomas is one of the worst executives in sports history. But his failure to create cap space for the summer of 2008 just in case Facts A-thru-F played out remains his all-time dumbest move. Yes, even dumber than the Curry trade.
(Note: If Bron-Bron re-signs with Cleveland this month, disregard everything in the previous few paragraphs and move him to No. 1 on this list. You never know. And just for the record, I hope he stays in Cleveland because LeBron splitting town would be one of the cruelest sports stories of all-time, even if it was overwhelmingly predictable from day one, and no fan base deserves to get kicked in the collective groin to that degree. Well, unless he goes to the Clippers. Then I would wet myself. Repeatedly.)