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NBA / Feb 18, 2010 / 8:30 am

Antawn Jamison may be the man to keep LeBron in Cleveland

LeBron covers Dime #47

Just like everything else that has happened to the Cavaliers over the last seven years, Wednesday’s acquisition of Antawn Jamison inevitably has everything to do with LeBron James‘ future.

Going into the trading season, the only thing we knew was that Cleveland would make some move for somebody’s power forward: Whether it was Amar’e Stoudemire or Jamison or Troy Murphy or (gulp) Corey Maggette was the open question mark. And whichever player the Cavs landed, the move itself was bound to be a defining factor in — not just whether the Cavs can win a championship in 2010 — but whether the Cavs keep LeBron on their side when he becomes a free agent this summer.

Everybody knows what is at stake: You make LeBron happy, you ensure the best basketball player in the world over the next 8-10 years stays in your locker room. Give him enough reasons to lose trust in the organization, and you become the city of Seattle, watching and wondering for the rest of your life how you let the franchise slip away.

Amar’e was the No. 1 pick, a proven young superstar who is one of the five to seven best big men in the NBA. No matter what you think of Stoudemire’s flaws, his arrival in Cleveland would signal to LeBron that his team was willing to do pull the trigger on a risky move and surround him with elite talent. It would be a sign of commitment. And if everything LBJ says about wanting to win championships is true, seeing Amar’e in a Cavs uniform would rightfully make the front-office suits in New York, Chicago, Miami, and anywhere else LeBron was on the target board sick to their stomachs.

On the flip side, had the Cavs brought in Maggette, they might as well have asked the Warriors to include LeBron’s first-class plane ticket to anywhere out of Cleveland in the trade. Maggette isn’t horrible and he can definitely score for a team short on pure scorers. But LeBron would never forget that in a season where he was playing better than ever, the organization had multiple choices to get him an All-Star caliber sidekick and instead filled the “None of the Above” bubble on his wish list.

Jamison? He’s not on the level of Amar’e, but he’s no crappy consolation prize. He was an All-Star as recently as 2008, and this season is putting up 20.5 points and 8.8 boards a night. At 33 years old he’s less of a long-term option than Amar’e or even Murphy, but Jamison at least has enough in the tank to make the Cavs an even more dangerous playoff team right away.

I’ve gotten on Jamison for his shot-jacking in the past, but the bottom line is he produces. He’s like Zach Randolph in that he’ll get his 20-and-10 even if he frustrates you sometimes with his decision making. And you could even argue that the bad habits Jamison has picked up are more the result of being infected with Washington Wizards poison than anything. Given a fresh start on a Cleveland squad that has a real chance to win it all, Jamison could re-learn to keep his ego in check and be a difference-maker.

Jamison is a good pickup for the Cavs, and more importantly, a good pickup for LeBron. His arrival doesn’t guarantee anything, but put it this way: The chances LeBron stays in Cleveland beyond 2010 are better now than they were the day before yesterday.

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  • larrythelooter

    jamison is probably the better pick up than amar’e cause he can play alongside shaq when lebron is sitting. he can shoot 3s and slash a little. amar’es personality would’ve been a better fit because jamison is not lebron like flashy and outgoing. i think it will work and they’ll meet the lakers in july. too bad for the celtics!

  • Jordi

    I do kind of agree with this, but it’s like you said; Jamison hasn’t got a lot of years left.
    I don’t think it will keep LeBron in Cleveland…

  • kyle lee watson

    i think this is a great move for the cavs, even more so than the amar’e deal. Simply for the fact it gives them soo much options. and they didn’t lose much in the trade and picked up a 20-10 guy..

  • TJ

    Jamison is a much better fit than Amare. He has more range to spread the floor and will sacrifice for the team to win. We all know Amare won’t do that last thing…

  • ERIC

    I disagree.

    While I am a huge Jamison fan, he is 33 years old, has clearly lost a step and cant get his shot off in the post as well anymore.

    I still dont see much future potential with Cleveland as there is with the Clippers, Heat, Bulls, Wizards now, or even the Knicks..

  • ERIC

    all of these teams, with the LeBron, would be better than the Cavs.

    and that does not even factor in the coaching aspect.

  • Shakers

    I think Troy Murphy was a better fit for the Cavs, but this is still a move that easily makes them the team to beat in the East. The Cavs add an All-Star and the Celtics are about the swap a bench player for a worse bench player. Damn.

  • QQ

    Won’t keep Bron if he really wanted the big city life, but you gotta give it to Ferry. He’s working his ass off to keep his superstar happy and his team competitive.

    PS: I’ve given up on Mike Brown. Hire Fratello or Hubie Brown!

  • YOUNGFED

    Im about to stop watching basketball. This is getting ridiculous the good teams keep getting better while everyone else just watches. SMH!!

  • http://www.worldstarhiphop.com da real

    wow!! Sebastian and Lebron finally together!! haha. I think this will be very good for Bassy, he is a way better point than Boobie. Great move by the Cavs. If they cant win with this unit then Lebron is gone

  • Coop

    Frankly I think the possibility of Bron staying is very real and only the media are in disagreement (generally) and that’s because it sells. Bron makes unorthodox decisions sometimes (management group as an exmaple) and Cleveland clearly has a better chance of having a championship calibre team during his peak, and Bron surely wants to try and get a handful of rings in order to seal his place in history.

    P.S Jamison > Stat for Cleveland

  • Paul Peers

    Cleveland: Championship or bust.

  • the big fundamental

    i dont know how many years Jamison has left in the tank! this might work short term but not long term

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    Jamison is the better fit. Period.

    If Cleveland wins the chip this year and Lebron stays then Jamison is or was the long term solution because his arrival ensured Lebrons stay with Cleveland even if it was indirectly.

    I’m reading that if Sacramento buys out T-Mac then he wants to sign for the minimum with the Lakers or the Cavs. Imagine that…

  • imungloloupaw

    i think the only thing that hasn’t been stated here is the fact that jamison can join the cavs and automatically become one of its locker room leaders. You know he won’t complain if things go sour. Can’t say the same about amare.

  • K Dizzle

    Ironically, the best fit woulda been T Murph. Better defender than Amare and AJ, better rebounder than those two and shoots the 3 effortlessly. With Bron drivin and kickin, Mo and West creating and Shaq in the post, Murphy woulda really helped that team….
    oh well, Go Lakers

  • Alpha Goat

    I was hoping the Cavs would go with AJ over Amare. AJ can pull a consistent double double and he has post moves.The only advantage Amare had was his age but AJ is the more complete player and when the Cavs get Williams back & maybe the added bonus of Leon Powe and they all healthy, the Cavs are going to be a chinese algebra type problem for the Lakers, Magic, Nuggets and anybody else that THINK they want it

  • Alpha Goat

    And Big Z gets brought out and comes back after 30 days straight problemsssssss people I’m tellin you

  • J-Dog

    Jamison’s numbers are still above his career averages. He still has at least two seasons left before he starts losing serious production. And the Cavs won’t have to rely on him the way the Wizards did. All he has to do is play solid and LeBron will do the rest. Also, to comment #6; that’s just incorrect. The Cavs now with AJ are better than those team except the Heat and maybe the Bulls. Def better than the Wizards, Knicks, and Clippers, especially after the trades.

  • sh!tfaced

    Murphy, Jamison, Amare… Who cares who’s the better fit?

    They still won’t get over the hump until then because the Cavs’ coach is a moron.