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Take a deep breath, and read that title again. Rumors have been circulating for the better part of a week about Delonte West having an affair with Lebron James’ mother, Gloria James. Nothing has been confirmed or disavowed yet, but as the story goes, West has been with Mama James for some time, and Lebron found out about it before Game 4 with the Celtics, right before the Cavs lost big time thrice. Could the rumors, true or not, have been the solvent that destroyed the Cavs’ chemistry? Whatever the case, it’s not looking good for Cleveland.
The Cavs are up 2-1. Boston is doomed. Then, James finds out about his teammate and his mother. Whether or not he believes it, he can’t look at West the same way. He is distracted. The whole team notices, and as the shepherd goes, so does the flock. James and West can’t get anything together because they’re too busy harboring ill will. The team is too down in the dumps to pick up the slack, and Boston surges forward to win 4-2.
Clearly, James is out of his element. As a free agent, he can’t begin talks with teams until July 1, but the speculation is well-underway as to where he will end up. Someone of his caliber surely wants to play for the best, where he will be most likely to win a title (of which he currently has none). After what he has heard, Cleveland is starting to sound like it’s not the team he needs. If he does stay, West will surely be kicked out, but as far as title aspirations with Cleveland, the damage may be done; there are too many teammates that would stir up bad memories.
So that begs the question, where might James end up if he leaves Cleveland? There have been a host of choices, but with this new information, the odds of each team may have changed. If James is upset with Delonte West and the Cavs, then a great way to stick it to them would be to sign on with Chicago, Cleveland’s chief divisional rival these days. With Derrick Rose at guard and Lebron James at forward, nobody would know who to double-team, and a superstar would always be available to make plays for Chicago. Two huge players on the same team might have a hard time coexisting, but the Bulls are probably itching to get back to their glory days. And at a certain point, it doesn’t matter if you have to share the spotlight, just keep the checks coming.
Speaking of which, the Knicks have been busy lately clearing up plenty of cap space, enough for at least two huge names. Madison Square Garden, Jon Stewart, songs by Alicia Keys; James would fit well in New York. And as for the second star, James and Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh or so would make a huge tandem. Or they could sign a few players who are almost as good but don’t have the aura James does. That way, you get some great talent, a superstar, and can be a huge contender.
The Nets have some good pieces and great draft position, so they could also sign James too. But after last season, we are all still wondering exactly how well they can put the pieces together, even with James. Even the Clippers roster members want to work on actual Clippers; their top draft pick is coming off a year-long injury. And the Heat, while another market for James and Wade, have their own things to deal with. They have the rumors of Pat Riley coaching again to address, and the inability to beat Old Man Rivers and his Old Men Celtics to think about.
But of course, all this is still guessing, and we won’t know for sure where James will end up until negotiations begin July 1. And for that matter, we probably won’t know truly whether or not James’ mom and teammate should go on “Maury,” but the whole affair, catered or not, has changed the landscape of the Lebron James shopping spree. And we’re all itching to see who will come up with the winning bid.