It may be exceedingly grandiose, but The King has decided to make his announcement on Thursday night for a live prime-time audience.
What this means for the LeBron Watch is that two candidates have now risen to the top...
... and all the others can more or less count themselves out.
It's good news primarily for the Cavaliers. In fact, one can now call them a super front-runner.
There are no shortage of good reasons why Cleveland is in the driver's seat, but here are four of the most glaring:
1. LeBron would not have set a deadline for his announcement unless he knew where he was going. And Cleveland is the 'safest' bet of all. He knows what he is getting.
It's hard to imagine that he has already made up his mind to choose New Jersey, Chicago, or Miami with so many unanswered questions and pieces not in place (note: his announcement predated the Bosh/Wade announcement).
2. LeBron supposedly loves his home-team fans—would he really dump them live on national TV? Probably not.
3. The market failed him. The options presented to him appear to have underwhelmed the King. And, let's face it, they just weren't that compelling.
Nobody doubts that The Russian made some intriguing points. And Miami could bend over backwards to conjure up some salary-cap wizardry...but let's face it...there were no obvious moves here.
But is New Jersey or even Brooklyn a big upgrade over Cleveland? Nope. He'll re-sign for three more years and test the waters again later.
4. His entourage. The local boys appear to have won his heart, and they are plenty happy in good old Akron.
You can't blame The King for staying loyal to those who were always his friends...not when he rose to fame that quickly and had no idea whom to trust.
All that said, the Knicks fans have to be happy with this news. If their chances were 5 percent 48 hours ago, then they will not complain with being the second highest odds.
You can safely say that the Knicks now have a 20 percent to 25 percent chance of landing the big prize. Here are a few key reasons:
1. They have their act together. Wait—don't start laughing yet.
The most pathetic franchise so far this millennium did exactly the right thing in signing Amar'e Stoudamire. They showed that they were serious.
They also get points for keeping communication lines open with LeBron throughout this process. And that little memorandum that proved he could only be a Billionaire in Manhattan? It may or may not be true...but it gets a man thinking...
2. Their course was clear at the time of the Thursday Night announcement. Let's remember that no other team had any clear pieces in place when LeBron announced when he would make his decision.
This is good news for Cleveland, but also for New Yorkers. LeBron is guaranteed to play with at least one other star, and for all his success on the Cavs, The King never had a teammate on par with Stoudemire.
That matters. He doesn't need the 1992 Dream Team at his side to win a championship...but he does need another huge threat.
3. Somebody is putting him up to all this. The Twitter account. The prime time special. The charity fund-raising.
Even the secrecy is a masterstroke when it comes to captivating his audience. Doesn't it all seem just a bit too New York?
He's a busy man with a basketball camp to run this week...somebody is behind the scenes putting this show together. And maybe it's the first in a series of Broadway acts.
4. Momentum. There is no force on earth more powerful than Momentum. At this time last week, the Knicks were dead. They weren't even on the radar any more. Hasta la vista.
But hearts have been beating. Names are being thrown around. The horizon has expanded to include the 2011 free agency market.
There are reasons to pick New York now. Some of those reasons—like Tony Parker and Carmelo—may be long shots. But prayers can go a long way, and New York is hot again...
... has anyone even talked about New Jersey or Chicago in the last 12 hours?
In short, the safe bet is that the Cavs have their man, at least for a few more seasons. But Knicks fans can rejoice, because for at least one more day, they can live and dream and rely on hope.
And for Bulls fans... today is the longest day.
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