By Roberto Pedone
WINDERMERE, Fla. (
) -- Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star LeBron James is a wanted man: In less than 24 hours, he is going to decide where he will sign to play in the NBA as a free agent. If you're a diehard Cavaliers fan, you're probably going to have some sleepless nights as July 1, the first day of NBA free-agency period, approaches. James is expected to fetch a five-year deal for $97 million or, if he stays in Cleveland, a six-year deal for $125 million.
There is also no doubt that with so much money at stake a number of
publically traded companies
could benefit off LeBron's final decision of where he wants to play basketball.
Team LeBron announced last week that James isn't going to go on a nationwide recruiting tour as many had expected. LeBron is passing on the private jets and high-end courting and instead staying in Akron, Ohio, preventing his free agency from turning into a spectacle. But don't let that fool you into thinking he's definitely going to sign with Cleveland.
In fact, one recent event indicates to me that he might have already made up his mind to leave Ohio. Recently, the city of Akron held a LeBron Appreciation Day at the University of Akron's InfoCision Stadium. James showed up late for the event, finally arriving 10 minutes before the jamboree was scheduled to end.
Then, to the 100 remaining fans of the original 4,000 who'd been in attendance, he called Akron "my home and my life" and said that everything he does he does for the city. "I'm going to continue to do great things," he continued. "I love every last one of you. Akron is my home."
Now, does that sound like someone who's planning on staying in Ohio? To me, it sounds like someone who's expressing his appreciation as he prepares to leave Cleveland for another stadium.
Cleveland has a small edge on re-signing James because it can offer him around $30 million more than any other team over the life of a max contract. But if James is serious about winning championships, Cleveland is probably not on the top of his list, since the talent surrounding him is mediocre at best.