LeBron’s Next Move

by Cleveland Frowns on June 24, 2014

LeBron James just notified the Miami Heat that he’ll exercise an early-termination option in his contract that will allow him to become a free agent this summer. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll leave Miami, and theoretically it improves the Heat’s ability to re-add LeBron to a retooled roster. At this point no one knows what LeBron will do next. What he should do, however, is obvious.

If LeBron is really interested in making the most of his enormous talent and becoming a global icon, a hero, and a truly great man instead of just a great basketball player, what he should do is announce that he’ll return to play for the Cavaliers, but only if Dan Gilbert sells the franchise. Since the NBA owners have naturally colluded to make a rule that prohibits players from owning franchises, LeBron himself can’t be the new owner, at least not yet. So he’ll have to demand that Gilbert sell the team at a fair market price to one of his good friends, or a conglomerate of his good friends, whom LeBron can trust to sell him the franchise once his playing days are over. Warren Buffet’s son Peter would be a great choice to head up this new interim ownership group, to name just one. A consortium led by Larry Hughes, Wally Szczerbiak, Ben Wallace and Shaq would work, too.

In any event, Gilbert, of course, would have no choice but to acquiesce to LeBron’s demand. It’s bad enough that Gilbert has turned the Cavaliers into the NBA’s zombie graveyard in such a short time. It would be completely unsustainable for him to be so culpable in preventing LeBron’s return to Cleveland, especially if he continues to flail about as the league’s worst owner, as he inevitably would. If Gilbert really wants what’s best for Cleveland, he’ll cash Team LeBron’s billion-dollar-plus check and vacate.

The worst-case scenario here is that Gilbert holds out against all notions of decency and sanity. In this case, LeBron would have to either work out a deal with another NBA franchise (he’d surely have some options) or else start a player-owned league. Even still, this scenario would expose the unsustainability of a system where men are as free as Gilbert is to interpose themselves between the public and nature’s resources (like LeBron’s athletic talent) to skim off billions of dollars while representing “nothing more than a tax levied on [the rest of humanity].” Even just the demand by LeBron would represent as bold of a strike for basic equality as there’s been in decades, and a giant leap toward a just and sustainable global order.

Best case scenario, of course, is that Gilbert sells to Team LeBron and we get the just and sustainable global order PLUS a Cleveland championship. LeBron, finally, will have earned his title as “The King.”

If James doesn’t at least give this plan a shot, even his most ardent supporters will have to start rethinking their fanhood.

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    It’s surprising and a sad comment on the state of media today that in all the talk about LeBron’s free agency nobody is talking about this option.

    • Keith

      It doesn’t seem surprising to me that nobody is talking about this. Is there any precedent for this sort of maneuver to oust a team owner? It would sound a little loony to a mainstream audience. While you, your readers, and I may appreciate that this would help make LeBron a “Great Man” by moving humanity “toward a just and sustainable global order,” it is impossible to imagine the general public viewing it this way.

      “Why would he want to return to Cleveland when he can play for any one of America’s great cities/NBA franchises? Just to settle a grudge against Dan Gilbert that he’s already won?” would be the most typical reaction.

      It’s a very appealing flight of fancy, but until LeBron shows some inclination to be a controversial champion of the people rather than just a champion of the LeBronJamesTM brand, I don’t see how you can be surprised that this ownership plan is being ignored by the media. LeBron wants to be Michael Jordan, not Mohammed Ali.

      • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

        If there had to be a precedent for everything then nothing would ever get done. LeBron is one of the greatest athletes on the planet and most powerful free agents in the history of free agency. The mainstream surely appreciates this, as well as the fact that Gilbert is an historically bad NBA owner. I think the mainstream is more than capable of putting 1+1 together here and I think that you’re selling LeBron short as well. He never said he wants to be Jordan. He said he wants to be a global icon. There’s no good reason why this shouldn’t be a lot more than just a flight of fancy. Though I agree that it’s less surprising and more just a sad comment on the state of media that more folks aren’t talking about it.

        • Keith

          I guess what it comes down to is whether there is a strong public appetite for “as bold of a strike for labor against capital as humanity has seen in decades.” Without public appreciation for the importance of such a development, I don’t expect LeBron to even consider it. It would be a controversial and risky move. I hope I’m wrong, though.

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            It would also be as bold a strike for basic equality as humanity has seen in decades. That’s probably a better way to put it. Though trading Gilbert for LeBron should be an easy enough sell without getting into that.

  • Biff

    Because it’s not even an option. It doesn’t even make any sense. And guess what: In a pissing contest between Lebron and Gilbert, most of Cleveland would side with Gilbert. That’s what happens when one guy leaves a city high and dry and the other one puts his reputation on the line to defend it.

  • Chris Mc

    “The worst-case likely scenario here is that Gilbert holds out against all notions of decency and sanity.

    Also, this seemed to fly under the radar yesterday as it was posted at 2am. I have no lawyer training so I really don’t know what kind of legs this (potential?) Chief Wahoo lawsuit has.


    Nice to see a fresh post Frowns.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com WFNYBen

    Shaq already owns a part of the Kings, so he can’t be in the ownership group.

    Wally is fine though.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      Shaq would sell his stake in the Kings to be a part of this just like Haslam gave up his Steelers ownership.

  • p_forever

    I fully endorse this idea, love frownie’s (eugene v.) debsian side, and am excited for lebron to unleash his own inner debs.

  • Eric

    I don’t want LeBron to have any stake in Cleveland Sports, ever. What you outline is a good plan in theory, and I don’t like Dan Gilbert any more than you do, but LeBron can stay away forever as far as I’m concerned.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      You’re really cutting off your nose to spite your face here.

  • Mad_Elf

    Actually, a move like that would literally start a new Renaissance, both in the use of the term “literally” and “renaissance”. But, you’d have to have ‘nads bigger than the balls he plays with to pull that one off, and I don’t think he has them. But, man, I wish he did.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns


    • bupalos

      The player and management collusion he pulled with the heat was no small stroke. I look for him to stay with the heat though and pull some more salary cap collusion in a more evolutionary style. But it would be awesome if the guy would just go for it.

  • smittypop2

    1)F Lebron and I have no desire to have that jerkoff back in Cleveland.
    2)You would be praising Mangini or any coach/owner you liked as forward thinking if they hired Blatt as a head coach.
    3)You retweeted a 5 day old article from Forbes that supposedly has inside info about Lebron/Gilbert and is clearly written by some guy who casually follows sports at best.
    Who gives a shit where this diva goes? He is now 2-3 in the Finals and has to “restack” the deck to try and win more championships. He might be the best person in the world, but he is eroding his legacy as one of the all-time greats with these repeated pussy moves. He is honestly better off just staying in Miami and seeing what he is really made of. If he goes to Chicago, LAC, etc he will be lose any respect I have left for him as a competitor. I do think it is ironic that he is doing exactly what you rail against in everyday life (ie making it an unfair playing field where he always has the upper hand).

  • actovegin1armstrong

    You may be missing the obvious and most likely connection.

    If Lebron leads the Globetrotters to the NBA Championship he will truly display his talent above all others.
    He may surpass Geese Ausbie.
    He may leave Sweetwater Clifton in his wake.
    Fly right by Sweet Lou Dunbar.
    If he can win 7, 8, 9, 10 Championships, he may even join the illustrious Ring of Honor with Goose Tatum, Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal.

  • bupalos

    And after Lebron closes this deal and creates the precedent, it’s only a matter of time for Cleveland’s other megastar steps into the Haslem breach.

    With apologies to Biki for the blasphemy…

  • Hopwin

    *insert tongue in cheek*
    You should read Animal Farm.

    Whoever Lebron puts on his team would have the same argument against Lebron that you have put forther vis-a-vis James vs. Ownership.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Hop, Everyone has read animal farm. 8th grade English class prerequisite, especially in Ohio.
      Would you think that “On the Road” would be more applicable in this instance?

      • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

        Grapes of Wrath.

        Hop, the difference between Gilbert and LeBron is that the NBA would miss one of them. I suppose I could have been clearer about that.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          A Tale of Two Cities

          It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way

          Good ol’ Chuckie Dickens needed Jim Gray too, he was also having a difficult time making a decision. Best, worst, which is it?

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    “Th[e] upper classes [of the Thirteen Colonies], to rule, needed to make concessions to the middle class, without damage to their own wealth or power, at the expense of slaves, Indians, and poor whites. This bought loyalty. And to bind that loyalty with something more powerful even than material advantage, the ruling group found, in the 1760’s and 1770s, a wonderfully useful device. That device was the language of liberty and equality, which could unite just enough whites to fight a Revolution against England, without ending either slavery or inequality. …

    “[O]ne-third of the population in the Revolutionary period were small farmers, while only 3 percent of the population had truly large holdings and could be considered wealthy. Still, one third was a considerable number of people who felt they had something at stake in the stability of a new government. This was a larger base of support for government than anywhere in the world at the end of the eighteenth century. In addition, the city mechanics had an important interest in a government which would protect their work from foreign competition. …

    “The Constitution, then, illustrates the complexity of the American system: that it serves the interests of a wealthy elite, but also does enough for small property owners, for middle-income mechanics and farmers, to build a broad base of support. The slightly prosperous people who make up this base of support are buffers against the blacks, the Indians, the very poor whites. They enable the elite to keep control with a minimum of coercion, a maximum of law – all made palatable by the fanfare of patriotism and unity.”

    – Howard Zinn

    God bless America, Johnny Football and the Biebs. Hope everyone is living life to the fullest this weekend.

  • bupalos

    >>>In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.

    I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.>>>

    Good letter but I’m surprised he felt he needed to take that swipe at Acto.

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