First things first. The writer of the article, Brian Windhorst, has now known LeBron since the self proclaimed King was a high school sensation in Akron. (Brian thinks of himself as a sensation as well.)
I've got Jerome James on my speed dial and Windhorst has LeBron. Okay, so life isn't fair. I also know that Brian has his resume sitting in the sports office of every New York newspaper and is ready to pounce on one of our jobs should LeBron sign with the Knicks.
I sometimes think that Brian wants to come to New York more than LeBron. He's a huge "Sopranos" fan and fancies himself as LeBron's underboss.
I'm guessing it absolutely killed Brian to write that LeBron is leaning toward staying. It must be true because Brian desperately wants to get out of Ohio and is essentially the best thing the Knicks have going for them: a spy on the inside working on their behalf.
But it appears that LeBron's next move will be to re-sign with Cleveland for the next three years. As for Brian, it essentially means the parole board has rejected his early release from Cleveland. Three more years for you as well, buddy.
Seriously? Brian Windhorst is a spy for the Knicks organization? Wow.
Windhorst is, in my opinion, the best 'mainstream' beat writer in the game. If you want to have any understanding of the Cavs and LeBron, Windy's work for the Plain Dealer is essential reading. The article he wrote for ESPNNewYork.com actually (gasp) made a case for Cleveland (meanwhile, ESPN's most popular personality has movie stars on his podcast begging LeBron to join the Knicks).
As for the article in question, well, I wouldn't say I'm convinced LeBron is re-upping (I won't be sold til he literally signs the paper and has a press conference), but I'd rather read this read this than its opposite:
The vibe being sent out from James' camp -- whether it is private conversations or discussions about new business or plans for the near future -- is that James currently is leaning strongly toward re-signing with the Cavs.
That may sound vague and, as always, it continues to be fragile. Yet there is no denying the gradual shift within James' circle and, it is assumed, by James himself.
James has declined to talk publicly about free agency since November. But as one source said, "I have never been so sure that he's going to stay in Cleveland than I am right now."
So ya. I don't know if you'd read this and rush to renew your season tickets, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.
I was actually going to write about this article anyways (before I read that the Cavs beat writer is a Knicks spy), because Windhorst actually quotes some people 'close to LeBron,' something I wish more writers would do.
A few times over the past couple of years, I've gotten into fairly heated email exchanges with two national NBA writers (for ESPN and Yahoo) over some of their 'LeBron to New York' coverage (no names, please). Both guys stated to me (paraphrasing), "look, I've talked to LeBron's friends and this is what they're telling me, do you want me to ignore this?" No, of course not (as I told them), that's not my issue.
My issue is, too often these stories read "LeBron is unhappy" or "LeBron can't wait to leave" rather than "a friend close to LeBron says that LeBron is unhappy" and the like. It's one thing for them to hear from LeBron that he's unhappy, it's another to hear it from a friend or member of his entourage. Maybe I'm nitpicking but I feel that's a meaningful difference. As a reader (let alone a Cavs fan) that's all I'm asking for. Everyone has an axe to grind. I mean, if I'm a hanger-on or groupie, I'd much rather LeBron be based in New York City rather than N.E. Ohio (that's not even a contest, no?).
As a Cavs fan, the fact that Windhorst actually quotes some people (anonymously, but still) saying LeBron is leaning towards staying gives me some peace of mind. Of course, the fact that the Cavs have led the NBA in wins the past two seasons gives me a much greater peace of mind.
And if Brian Windhorst is a spy, he's a fucking great one. He had me totally fooled.