LeBron James ‘not tied to Cleveland’ per Stephen A. Smith

In the pattern of all bad news following Cavalier losses, the latest appears to focus on this coming July as well as all subsequent Julys until the end of time. According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who was on the radio discussing the Cavs and their recent string of concerns, LeBron James is by no means tied to the city of Cleveland in the event things start to go poorly.

Here’s a transcript via The Big Lead’s Ty Duffy:

One of the things LeBron’s inner circle religiously says is that, “Yeah, he’s back, but don’t you think for one second that he’s going to sit idly by and watch the franchise take him for granted and put too much excess weight on his shoulders the way that they used to when he was in Cleveland the first go-round. Think that he’s permanently going to stay in Cleveland if you want to. Do not try him.”

Yes, he is committed to trying to bring a championship back to Cleveland. And it does seem to be something that he would never do again. But don’t rule anything out when it comes to LeBron James.

I’m not saying this. I’m telling you specifically what I was told by people close to him, and I’ve been told that for months.

What everybody close to him continuously reminds me of is, “Don’t you dare take this guy for granted or think for one second he’s trapped into staying in Cleveland just because he came back. Don’t put it past him to get so annoyed that he’ll leave again if he feels like he’s being taken for granted, ran into the ground and essentially misused.” That’s what they say.

For those who choose to read what Smith is saying as a sign of impending doom or an exit strategy on James’ part, this sounds a lot more nuanced.  With one-year deals come a ton of leverage and truthfully: It’s James’ right to hold the team and the front office as accountable as the city and fans hold him.

Speaking as a fan, I know that I took James’ first stay in Cleveland for granted. Watching a 20-something single-handedly take a team to the NBA Finals, it was as if that one magical summer would simply repeat itself year after year, the Cavs ultimately coming up victorious and brining home that highly elusive championship. When James left for Miami, it stung. When he won in Miami, it stung even more, but it showed that it would not only take boat loads of talent, but existential things like luck and timing and cohesiveness. When James returned, I went from watching every game as if I was entitled to a highlight-filled win to taking each game in stride, knowing that it’s all a part of the bigger, incredibly-tough-to-reach goal.

Leverage is a fickle beast. Will James leave? Doubtful. When he returned to Akron last summer, along with handfuls of Foundation children in “I Promise” t-shirts, he intimated that his goal is to bring the city of Cleveland a championship. In his letter, announcing his return, he stated in no vague terms that doing so was going to take a ton of hard work, focus and dedication. If you want to win in the NBA, you have to have one of the best players in the league. And if you want to have one of the best players in the league, you can’t just rely on geography. A lot has changed over the last 18 months—new players, new coaches, new trials and tribulations—but the goal remains the same. As long as the Cavaliers are holding up their end of the bargain, one has to assume he’ll hold up his.

Source: MSN Sports

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