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Free Agency Feeding Frenzy

July 5, 2010 - Al Stephenson

We should know in a couple of days.  For those who have had trouble sleeping at night; hang in there, the end is near.  You are about to scream - either in joy or agony.  Soon I say.

LeBron James will make his decision.  He will stay and try to bring Cleveland its first championship or he will hightail it to the Big Apple or the Windy City and leave Clevelanders in a funk.  It's his choice.  All of his suitors have placed a pile of cash and "who knows what" off the court incentives to bring the superstar to their arena. 

James, along with a host of other NBA stars, are about to back their luxury cars up to the vault.  NBA teams, despite the recession we are supposed to be in, have unlocked the bank doors.  Take all the money we have, just bring your talents to our floor.

This unprecedented free agency feeding frenzy is ridiculous.  People have lost jobs all over this country and yet a few gentlemen with some athletic skills will become richer than they already are and richer than they deserve to be.  I don't fault the players.  If I had the ability to do what they do, I would try to see how much I could get to, I suppose.  It's still ridiculous.  No one should be getting this kind of money for playing a game.

So who is to blame?  We all are.  If you attend a game, buy merchandise or watch the game on TV, you have helped create this madness - and yes - I am as guilty as anyone.  I love sports.  I don't particularly care for the NBA, but I follow baseball and football very closely.  As a Cleveland fan, I root for the Indians, Browns and Cavs.  My hobby of going to major league baseball stadiums (at current count, I have been to 53 with Target Field my destination in a couple of weeks) has helped create this disturbing financial situation.

The dominoes are about to fall.  Joe Johnson reportedly is close to resigning with the Atlanta Hawks for a max deal.  Hopefully he will be able to make ends meet with a contract that is worth $120 million over the next six years.  Hey Joe!  How about donating half of it to the people who's lives have been forever changed by the oil spill in the gulf.  See if you can survive on a measly $60 million.

Let's get it over with LeBron.  Tell us what the decision is.  Allow me to say one of two things.  If you leave: "well I knew it was coming."  If you stay: "well I'll be damned."

The view from my seat suggests that when this week's frenzy is over the landscape of the NBA is likely to be changed. What does this mean to me? 

As long as my retirement check keeps coming - nothing! 


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