Written by Erik Cassano

Erik Cassano
The Cavaliers contract extension offer has now been out there for five days, and LeBron has yet to say a peep. As Cleveland fans, we are taught always to expect the worst, and our fears are usually realized. In his latest, Papa Cass urges LeBron to verbally commit so that the Cavs can begin moving some of the other chess pieces around. With Villanueva in Milwaukee, Big Ben in Chicago, and Drew Gooden waiting to see what LeBron does ... Cassano implores LeBron to commit now.  Visit the Papa Cass weblog at http://papacass.blogspot.com/

Pardon me for sounding impatient. I know I'm probably speaking for a majority of fans, though.
LeBron James needs to agree to his contract extension as soon as possible.

For him to drag his feet is to hurt his own team's chances of making headway in what is becoming an eventful and highly competitive offseason.

All of the other studs of the 2003 draft are signed and sealed. Carmelo Anthony has agreed on an extension with the Nuggets. Chris Bosh has agreed with the Raptors. Earlier today, Dwyane Wade agreed to terms with the Heat.

Other teams are wheeling and dealing. In the Cavs' own division, the Bulls have nabbed Ben Wallace from the Pistons, reports say. The Bucks have traded T.J. Ford for Charlie Villanueva, brining another potential frontcourt star into the division.

And while all that is going on, the Cavs are stuck in suspended animation, waiting for LeBron's wavering thumb to move up or down.

Drew Gooden is said to be waiting on what LeBron does. If he signs his extension, Gooden will probably jump at what the Cavs offer him. If he doesn't sign, Gooden will probably begin pursuing other options, forcing the Cavs to match an offer and pay more than they wanted.

Gooden won't wait forever. If LeBron sandbags for too long, Gooden will be forced to make a move before all the money dries up. If Gooden signs an offer sheet for too much, or signs a front-loaded offer sheet like Carlos Boozer did in Utah, the Cavs might be forced to let Gooden go.

The longer LeBron's silence goes on, the more it is going to hurt the Cavs.

I don't know if LeBron is simply too busy to sign his extension, is legitimately undecided, or simply loves the fact that he is in total control right now, but pausing for dramatic effect is not a good idea at the moment.

If LeBron truly wants to give his team the best chance to contend in a very good division, he'll settle on his deal before the end of this week. To wait any longer could do lasting harm to a critical Cavs offseason.