Do the Cavaliers seem desperate to keep LeBron James in Cleveland? They should. They have good reason. About 250 million reasons.
Losing LeBron would drop the Cavaliers franchise value by $250 million, according to a story in Bloomberg News.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cavaliers in a year or two are below the league average in terms of value,” said Michael Cramer, the former president of baseball’s Texas Rangers and hockey’s Dallas Stars who teaches sports business at New York University. “One player has a tremendous impact, especially in the NBA, and especially when you’re talking about one of the top two or three visible, recognizable players not only in the league, but in all of professional sports.”
The last Forbes estimation had the Cavaliers worth $367 million.
Right now Cleveland sells out and has sponsors tripping over themselves to be associated with the team. They are on national television as much as contracts allow. They sell a ton of merchandise.
All of that goes away if LeBron goes away. The Cavaliers become another struggling mid-market team. And that doesn’t even count the psychological damage to a city that has had more than its share of emotional damage inflicted by other sports franchises. Art Model, I’m looking at you.
So if the Cavaliers pitch to LeBron includes owner Dan Gilbert on his knees begging, I can forgive it. Whatever it takes.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.