News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.


Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us

Pluto: LeBron is older, wiser and richer – in many ways
Pluto says the decision to return sprang from a convergence of circumstances, including a change of agents.

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
Pluto says James knows the Cavs will take time. And it’s time he’s willing to invest because he genuinely feels, “If he can win one in northeast Ohio, it’s like worth 10 somewhere else."
Courtesy of Amanda Rabinowitz
Download (WKSU Only)
Like many Cavaliers fans, WKSU commentator Terry Pluto is stunned that LeBron James decided to return to Cleveland. James made the announcement though an essay published in Sports Illustrated last Friday and signed a contract over the weekend. Pluto says a number of things had to fall into place to make this happen, but he believes Northeast Ohio was the main reason he decided to return.
LISTEN: Terry Pluto on LeBron James

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:04)

Terry Pluto believes the essay was sincere. He also believes Northeast Ohioans get it.

“It’s hard to explain unless you’re from here. And I’m sure the people in Miami go, ‘You cannot be serious about moving back to Cleveland or Northeast Ohio.’ You’re only serious if this is where you’re from.”

A new agent who 'gets it' 
Pluto says the decision to return sprang from a convergence of circumstances, including a change of agents. In 2010, Leon Rose was James’ agent, and his cousin, Maverick Carter, was among those pushing James to take his talents to South Beach.

 “Leon Rose is not from here. These guys and I sense the Nike people were trying to push him out of Cleveland. Get him somewhere bigger market.”

But his agent is now Rich Paul, a Cleveland Benedictine graduate. “And Rich brought in a guy named Mark Termini to do the contracts. He’s an older guy. I’ve known Mark for 30 years, Cleveland Holy Name. These guys get it.  So they’re trying to figure out, ‘How can we make this happen and does it make sense.’”

Why sign a two-year deal?
Pluto says the only way to make it make sense was a two-year contract, one of which is at James’ option.

“LeBron makes a minimum of $50 million a year in off-the-court endorsements, sometimes as much as $80 million. But LeBron, for a variety of salary-cap reasons has never been the highest paid player on his team. So they were determined on year-to-year basis to have the highest contract.”

The NBA will have a new TV contract in 2016. And “generally what do they bring in? More money than the current contract. So the more money that comes in,  that creates a bigger salary cap, which creates then a higher salary contract. The point being this: They want to be in a position two years from now where they can start from scratch and get the highest possible contract when he would be at the age of 31.”

In Cleveland for the long haul?
But Pluto would be shocked if LeBron left early.

“I don’t’ think LeBron is coming here for one and done. When you read his essay, you can tell he knows its going to be more of a struggle.”

That’s because, unlike some zealous sports commentators and fans, Pluto says LeBron James knows the Cavs will take time. And it’s time he’s willing to invest because he genuinely feels, “If he can win one in northeast Ohio, it’s like worth 10 somewhere else. Remember who matters to him: The people here. I think he discovered that."

“I think he’s just grown up”
"If he wanted to win now," Pluto says, “He could have gone to Chicago, and you could just write them into the finals, right now.” Ditto with the Clippers because both teams are “just one superstar away from being in the finals and probably winning a title.”

Instead, he opted for “a rookie coach, a rookie general manager with a team that’s had the worst record in the NBA the last four years.”

But that challenge, says Pluto, has its own kind of charm.

“I think, too, it will be fun to watch him kind of try to coach these younger guys. For so many years he was always the youngest.” But, with 11 years in the league, he’s now the mature one. And “I think he realizes, ‘I’m going to be part of this process of building.’”

“Meanwhile, it’s transformed everything. The games are going to be worth watching now."

Terry Pluto on Browns owner Jimmy Haslam's $150 million settlment tied to Pilot Flying J scheme.
Other options:
MP3 Download (5:32)

Related Links & Resources
Cleveland Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert talks about the waiting game for LeBron James -- Terry Pluto

Related WKSU Stories

Akron says LeBron James never really left
Friday, July 11, 2014

Cleveland fans say they had faith LeBron would return
Friday, July 11, 2014

LeBron says "My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball"
Friday, July 11, 2014

Pluto: LeBron's decision was mature and committed to more than basketball
Friday, July 11, 2014

Fresh Brews foregiveness pays off
Friday, July 11, 2014

Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Backers of legalizing marijuana in Ohio promise to be back in 2016
We should be aloud to grow more than 4 plants and not have to register with the state considering it will be a free market.

Akron says it's had no second thoughts about welcoming refugees
What business does Councilman Neal own on North Hill? I'd love to support him. I am so glad to have the refugees in our neighborhood. I have lived here for 25 ...

Scarborough says the University of Akron is trying to rebuild relationships
In order for the University of Akron to grow and become a desirable place for students across Ohio and elsewhere, it must address the crime problem in the Akron...

Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite wants to end pay-to-play sports fees at Ohio's schools
You can bet Hite and Husted will also rush to the rescue of the Academic Challenge team, the speech-and-debate squad, the Science Olympians and the chess club. ...

Ohio lawmakers consider new gun bills
States that have gun restrictions/cities have reduced gun violence is false. CHICAGO has some of the toughest gun laaws/restrictions but yet fun violence is off...

Cleveland's public transit system considers fare increase for 2016
I work with individuals with disabilities. Yes some of my folks need more help than the average person. As a whole, the group I work with however can manuver ju...

Community group sues to re-open part of Wadsworth hospital
My father was part of the founding group of citizens which started the "new" Wadsworth/Rittman Hospital. For some reason the leadership for the future of the ho...

The Cleveland Museum of Art presents painters who loved their gardens
brilliant masterpiece, Greetings from

Ohio Sen. Tom Patton proposes bill for firefighter cancer benefits
Thank you Senator Patton. On behalf of all of those who love our firefighters; we appreciate that someone is standing up for them and their continued health. ??...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University