4. CLEVELAND CAVALIERSIf anyone wants to wonder why Cleveland fans can get pissed off at the World Wide Leader, this is a perfect example:
What's better than winning a championship? For the Cavs, it's getting LeBron James' signature on a contract extension. That alone made it a celebratory offseason in Cleveland, even if James signed for only three extra years as opposed to the maximum five ... and even though Cleveland lacks the financial flexibility to chase more glamorous free-agent help for LBJ than Scot Pollard and David Wesley.
The flip side to the glee, of course, is that pretty much everyone signed by the Cavs in their summer of 2005 spending spree -- Larry Hughes, Donyell Marshall, Damon Jones and Zydrunas Ilgauskas -- faces an uncertain future with the club because Cleveland is pressed right against the luxury-tax threshold. The Cavs are thus forced to trade their way into roster upgrades between now and LeBron's free-agent summer of 2010, meaning everyone not named James is at risk for possible relocation.
That alone made it a celebratory offseason in Cleveland, even if James signed for only three extra years as opposed to the maximum fiveSee, Stein is saying the James signed for 2 years less. But he didn't. The max contract James would've signed was a 4 year deal with a player option for a 5th year. So yes, 5 year max, but 4 years guaranteed. The contract James did sign? A 3 year deal with a player option for the 4th year. One year difference. That's it. Am I overly touchy about this? But when comparing the two contracts he uses the maximum number of years for the longer one and the minimum number of years for the shorter one, he's being dishonest.
Naturally, Dwyane Wade's shorter deal didn't come up in his blurb about the Heat.