Not a single topic hotter right now than LeBron James. All the chatterjaws I know keep talkin about when LeBron was going to make his decision, but as we found out yesterday, Thursday night, prime time baby, King James gives the world his answer on where he’s gonna spend the next five years, and my friends, that answer is with the New Jersey Nets.

“Hold up, Bud, what are you talkin’ about, the Nets?  If LeBron leaves his home in Ohio, it’s going to be for the New York Knicks.”

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Right, because everybody wants to play for the Knicks, right?  Riiiight.

This isn’t Boston, folks.  Sure, the Knicks play at Madison Square Garden and they’ve got some famous fans, but they don’t have a history of championships like the Celtics.  When Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen met up with Paul Pierce up in New England’s hub to ride with Rajan Rondo to the NBA Championship, they did so because that’s a strong sports city with titles a plenty, and names like Larry Bird, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Red Auerbach and Kevin McHale in the rafters, right along with the championship banners.  The Knicks just don’t have that.  Patrick Ewing and John Starks never took them to the championship.

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While the NBA wants to see LeBron James go to New York City to play with Amar’e Stoudamire under Mike D’Antoni, that isn’t gonna happen.  The Knicks don’t have enough quality players for LeBron to get back to the NBA Finals, and their history isn’t good enough to be a draw.

What about Madison Square Garden?  Hell yeah LeBron wants to play there as much as possible.  King James lights it up every time he goes to MSG, but is he gonna make his choice for his future based on some old facilities that’ll never get refurbished?  Not likely, especially when there’s a better option not far away.

LeBron James has plenty of reasons to pick the Nets over the Knicks, and let’s face it, that’s what this choice comes down to, because he’s not staying in Cleveland.

The Nets are in New Jersey, which would seem like a drawback, except for the fact that the team is moving to Brooklyn in two years.  Until then they’re playing in Newark’s Prudential Center, a facility that’s only 3 years old.    He’ll still be plenty close to get into Manhattan for all his media and marketing opportunities, of which there will be heaps more now that he’s in the biggest market in the world, and he’s got one of the greatest contacts a guy could ask for – Jay Z.

Those two been friends since before LeBron joined the NBA, and the Nets weren’t in any position to draft him back then or even move up by trade.  This is their first chance to work together, and they’re going to make it happen.

LeBron James wants to make himself a global brand, and there’s definitely no place better to do that than in New York.  So why not the Knicks?  Because he’d have to compete with the name.  With the Nets, LeBron James is bigger than the franchise.  He pulls in new fans.  He makes that team legendary.  They’re still close enough to New York even before they leave Newark to have all the high profile people in New York come watch LeBron play, only this way he won’t have to fight the ghosts of Patrick Ewing or failed championship-caliber teams of the past.

With the Nets, the team is his.  He and Jay-Z can work together to make that team hip, the talk of the town.  He can make his mark; his legacy can be to take that franchise through the roof, surpassing the Knicks.  If he calls Madison Square Garden his home, all he gets to do is to help that franchise get back to the big time and finally take it home.  New Yorkers already think the Knicks should be a championship team.  Just like with the Yankees, they feel like an NBA Championship should rightfully belong to them.  With the Nets, there’s no prior expectations, so lesser accomplishments to start won’t seem like a failure.  Any wins help build his reputation.

There’s already some alright pieces in place on the Nets, too.  They’re going to be a lot better than last year’s record suggests.

What makes me so sure he’s not staying in Cleveland?  This press conference thing is a big indication of his plans.  Why would he setup an hour long show in prime time on ESPN and waste peoples’ time if he’s just going to resign with the Cavaliers?  When Michael Jordan came back to the Bulls, all he had his agent do was to release a statement saying he was coming back.  If LeBron James did that, the city of Cleveland would explode with excitement.

Doing this press conference, if he’s just going back to Cleveland, it’s going to ruffle some peoples’ feathers ’cause he’s just wasting their time.

He’s got this press conference to thank his home state of Ohio for all they’ve done for him and to get people hyped for his arrival elsewhere.  All you Jay Z fans, you’re gonna want to tune in tomorrow, ’cause I’d be shocked if he didn’t make an appearance.

Another reason is that LeBron could’ve just signed an extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers if he had intended on staying there.  He didn’t even have to hit the free agency market.  He could’ve just told them to give him a max deal and there wouldn’t have been any need for all this hoopla, and he’s not going to string along his friend Jay Z with false hopes of them being able to work together.  The fact that he ever became a free agent tells you that he’s not going to stay in Ohio.

If you think LeBron James is worried about his legacy in Ohio, don’t be foolish.  He knows they’ll always love him there, if for no other reason than he’s all they got!  When LeBron James goes into the Hall of Fame someday, he’ll be going in as a Cleveland Cavalier, no doubt about that, but for now, he’s not sticking around to see how the next few years play out.

And why would he?  The Cavaliers didn’t do anything to add any key pieces to make their team more apt to win a championship.  Because they CAN’T!  Without a guarantee of LeBron James being there, nobody really wants to go there, not for anything less than a huge contract – the kind of contract the Cavaliers can’t handle in that small market with a LeBron James contract already on the accounting books.

Real estate in Brooklyn is about to get a lot more expensive, so if you’ve got a fast acting real estate agent up in the Tri-State area, you better jump on it.

That’s the Bud View.