For now, King James will reign in Cleveland

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

Until he actually signs on the dotted line, news of LeBron James announcing he'd consider an extension this summer must be dismissed, at best, as a public relations ploy.

At the very least, it's a move to keep the news hounds at bay.

Fans in Cleveland, much like in Toronto, are so paranoid of a franchise player, real or imagined, abandoning their city that any sign of staying is viewed as a good thing.

In reality, it's all a game of image and political correctness.

With the Cavs playing like championship contenders and the club poised to make another major move to complement King James, LeBron's words arrived at the perfect time.

But that doesn't mean he'll agree to an extension.

All it assures is that followers of the Cavs won't have to fret about the future of King James, at least for now.

From the moment he entered the NBA as the first overall pick in 2003, James has been a vanguard off the court, while alternating between playing shooting guard, small forward and at times point guard on the floor.

Players such as Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh followed LeBron's lead in taking less money to stay with their respective teams.

Wade has won a title and is playing at a level that is reminiscent of his NBA final MVP.

Rumours of Wade one day leaving South Beach have been non-existent, but that doesn't mean he'll stay in Miami beyond the much anticipated summer of 2010.

Players such as James, Wade and Bosh are so sophisticated, despite their relatively young ages, that it would be foolish on their part to make any premature decisions.

What they do is keep all options open and give the media an occasional bone.

Some believe James has provided fans in Cleveland with hope.

In time, perhaps it is nothing more than false hope, but for the time being talk of James leaving for a big market such as New York is suddenly on the backburner.

You can bet the whole issue will be revisted if the Cavs falter or fail to surround James with more talent.

V.C. ON THE MOVE?

As mentioned, the Cavs are said to be on the cusp of dealing for another scoring option and perimeter presence.

It should be noted, though, that talk of Cleveland engineering such a trade has been percolating for weeks.

Vince Carter's name now is being linked with LeBron.

Carter and Devin Harris have evolved into the game's most prolific scoring backcourt combo on a New Jersey Nets team that is fun to watch.

As good as they've been playing, the Cavs aren't good enough to knock off the Boston Celtics in a seven-game series.

Shawn Marion's name has been floated in a rumoured deal involving the Cavs and the Heat.

While it makes for plenty of fun, rumours are often conceived by media members who have to justify their daily existence by crafting anything, even when it makes no sense.

Let's face it: Out of every 20 rumours, perhaps one has merit.

NO ORDINARY JOE

Joe Smith was taken first overall in 1995 when the NBA held its draft in Toronto.

Now 33, Smith is on pace to join an exclusive club of itinerant hoopsters.

Tony Massenburg, a one-time Raptor, Chucky Brown and Jim Jackson each played on 12 different teams.

Smith is expected to be either released or traded by Oklahoma City.

Smith has played for nine teams. He remains serviceable because Smith is a veteran who doesn't demand the ball, who will rebound and defend the paint.

POINT MADE

The Phoenix Suns are trying to give Steve Nash some help and staged a camp yesterday featuring the likes of Damon Stoudamire, Dee Brown, Troy Hudson, Darrell Armstrong, Eddie Gill and Walker Russell Jr., whose father served as a bird dog for the Raps during their early days.


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