Lebron ready to bolt?

NBA superstar Lebron James declined the Cavs offer of 5yr – 80 million max contract and instead signed a 3 year extension a players option for a 4th. The extension James has signed is worth around 60 million but the main issue: is Lebron already planning to bolt Cleveland for the chance to play in a market like NewYork or LA? Three years ago Lebron signed a 5 yr 90 million shoe contract with Nike but in the clause of his contract the money in that deal doubles if he bolts for a top 3 market ( Chicago, New York, or LA). There is also similar stipulations in other endorsement deals. The city of Cleveland hasn’t had a championship team since I don’t know the Civil War and Lebron is their only hope to deliver one to a city that is in dire need of a championship. Dwayne Wade signed the same kind of deal and it makes sense for both players to make more money down the road. Wade will be a 27 hitting his prime into unrestricted free agency and Lebron will be 24. That is scary!!!

The Cavs made strides last year led by Lebrons 31.4 ppg and came within a offensive rebound in game 6 of the semi-finals to advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals. Going into next season there going to be a contender for a NBA title only because of Lebron but it’s a long shot for them to come out of the East. Clevelands only hope of keeping Lebron in town for the rest of his career is to bring in some players to win a championship in the next three years. One problem with that is: The Cavs are up against the cap. Management threw loads of money at guard Larry Hughes who may still pan out to become a dynamic duo with Lebron but the biggest mistake the Cavs made was throwing 11 million per to Zydrunas Ilgauskas an aging center whose best years are past him. The Cavaliers are stuck with the team they have now for the next couple years and the city of Cleveland better hope Lebron can lead this bunch to a championship or the phenom who saved basketball in Cleveland may be making a permanent home in New York. With the bad luck Cleveland has of losing star players and even losing a team in the browns, Lebron is most likely already out the door dreaming of wearing the blue and orange or the Knicks and delerving a championship to New York not Cleveland.

The frustration has been growing on me for the past couple days at the lack of moves the Penguins have made. Shero made a couple good moves at the beginning of free agency but since then we haven’t seen nothing. The Penguins are in desperate need of a few scoring wingers to compliment Crosby and Malkin. Samsonov is off the market after signing with the Canadians today but he was never a option. Intriguing players who will command salaries of 2 million per or less that are still out there: Petr Skyora, Petr Bondra, Victor Kozlov. All are past their prime but could be assets. Bondra is the most intriguing because of the connection he had with Gonchar in Washington. Lets remember here: The Penguins were the second worst team in hockey so I get tired of reading on Penguin msg boards that the Penguins should just stand pat and build with the players they have. I agreed with Ray Shero not to pursue big money players but common; bring in a guy like Carter, Skyora or even Bondra to add some scoring.
Top 7 forwards on roster as of right now

Malone Crosby Armstrong
Leclair Malkin? Quellet
Ruutu

Rumors and my input

The Penguins are in talks with right winger Anson Carter at the moment. Carter is seeking 3-4 million per but the highest offer he has received is 2.5 million per from the Canucks. Carter is a finisher who had 34 goals this past season and a offer of 3yrs – 9 million will do it. Other teams interested are the Canucks, Kings, and Blues. Mark Recchi and the Penguins are close to a deal but the only sticking point is Recchi who has a 2yr – 5 million offer from the Rangers on the table. Recchi who resides in Fox Chapel has said he wants to return and expect a decision from both sides by Friday. Face off specialist Yanic Perruallt is also in talks with the Penguins and a deal could be done by the end of this week but I would say it’s 50-50 right now.

The NHL schedule has been announced and the Penguins have some intriguing games right off the bat. A good start to the season is crucial for the Penguins and they will have there work cut out for them facing the Flyers,Rangers,RedWings and Hurricanes in their first 4 games
Key October Home dates: October 5 – Home opener against Flyers
October 7th – Red Wings
October 14th – Carolina Hurricanes
October 18th – New Jersey Devils Crosby bobble head

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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