With less than a month to go before the free agent frenzy shakes up the NBA, we still have no word on where the greatest basketball player on the planet will reside come next winter. LeBron James has admitted that his home state has a slight advantage in signing him, but is Cleveland the best fit for King James? The two time MVP has stated that he will meet with other free agent stars including Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to discuss their future destinations as well. There are a lot of options for His Highness, and we’ll go ahead and break down which are the best fits for LeBron and which teams don’t meet the needs that the All Star demands.
We’ll go ahead and start with Cleveland. First of all, it’s his home state. He will always have a connection to the state of Ohio and the Cleveland fans that have supported him from the beginning. As far as talent goes, he has plenty of competent players around him, but for some reason they just can’t get back to the Finals. They traded for Shaq. They traded for Antawn Jamison. Yet the Cavaliers continue to struggle in the postseason. With the firing of head coach Mike Brown, you have to wonder if it was simply bad coaching all these years that denied the Cavs a championship. Whoever Cleveland hires as their next head coach, which WON’T be Tom Izzo, could be the determining factor on whether or not James will stay, and if a reputable coach makes his way to the Quicken Loans Arena, then we might see not only James in a Cleveland uniform but in the near future a championship ring around his finger.
So, what needs to happen for LeBron to remain a Cavalier?
1. The Cavs need to hire a prestigious coach with a history of winning in the postseason.
2. Brand new GM Chris Grant is going to have to reel in one of the big names in the offseason. Both Amare Stoudemire and Chris Bosh would make a great fit in the paint for Cleveland and Joe Johnson would be an excellent scorer to help out LeBron in putting points on the board. Grant needs to find a way to bring one of them to Cleveland or he might be losing the greatest player in the NBA.
3. Every man has his price. Give the guy an enormous raise and perhaps he’ll stick around for a while.
And like Jay-Z said….on to the next one!
New York Knicks
Speaking of Jay-Z, if you haven’t heard, LeBron and the east coast rapper are quite the pair of friends. Jay-Z has always said that he would love to run the streets of New York with King James by his side, and whether that’s in Brooklyn with the New Jersey Nets or at the Madison Square Garden, Jay-Z is excited at the thought. Both have talked about getting James involved in more than just basketball-business. The hip-hop legend has been doing his best to convince LeBron that there are more opportunities for success and money outside of basketball. What attracts LeBron to the Knicks is simply the exposure. Playing in front of 20,000 crazy fans at the most historic arena in the NBA gives LeBron all the attention he craves. Kobe Bryant is the King of the West Coast-he’s the greatest player in the biggest city in the West side of the United States. LeBron could be that same figure-the face of the East Coast-the greatest player in the biggest city in the United States. But there is one thing wrong with heading to the Knicks…their talent. The Knicks haven’t won a playoff series since the year 2000 and haven’t even made the playoffs in seven years. The continued struggle of New York basketball has left fans disgruntled and disappointed. Other than the hiring of head coach Mike D’Antoni, the Knicks haven’t shown many signs of improvement. Al Harrington and David Lee are the only two players with a decent amount of talent but other than that it’s either a bunch of 21 year olds or washed up has-beens. Now, LeBron did say he was going to meet with other star free agents, and if he could convince one of them to join him in NYC, then we may see LeBron wearing blue and orange.
Along with that, here’s what else needs to happen to get LeBron to the Knicks franchise.
1. GM Donnie Walsh needs to convince LeBron that the Knicks will be a championship caliber team sooner rather than later.
2. The Knicks are going to have to pay him significantly more than what any other team is offering.
3. Jay-Z better have some business propositions lined up and ready to go at James’ arrival.
It’s pretty clear that Dwyane Wade wants to stay on the beach, and that leaving Miami is a last resort. Within the next couple weeks Wade plans on contacting all of the big name free agents and recruiting them to join the Heat. Miami has a lot of potential with young rising stars like Mario Chalmers and Michael Beasley, and that’s something that LeBron James notices. If Wade could get an inside presence like Carlos Boozer to commit to the Heat, we could very well see LeBron James playing alongside Dwyane Wade. Yikes.
What do the Heat need to do to get LeBron James to Miami?
1. Dwyane Wade has some talking to do. He needs to put the image of winning a championship with Miami in James’ head. The two are good friends, and I’m sure LeBron wouldn’t mind playing with his fellow Olympic champion.
2. Miami is a beautiful city. Much better weather than up north in Cleveland. This is just one of the perks that Pat Riley and company need to pound into LeBron’s head.
3. LeBron may see the Heat as young and underdeveloped, and therefore not a championship-contending team. Riley and Wade need to let him know that although they are young, they actually have talent- unlike the Knicks.
New Jersey Nets
See New York Knicks but consider the Nets are even worse. On the plus side, they did recently hire former Coach of the Year Avery Johnson to try and turn things around, so at least the Nets are moving in the right direction in the coaching staff realm. The Nets will move to a $700 million arena in Brooklyn soon, so that might attract LeBron as well.
Alright, let me make this clear. The Chicago Bulls have a better chance of getting Michael Jordan to come back and sign with them than they do signing LeBron. It’s just not going to happen. Why? Because James does not want to be in the shadow of Jordan. The comparisons would never end. “Jordan would have made that shot.” “Jordan is a better team leader.” There is no way he could avoid it. Plus his ego is bigger than the oil spill out in the gulf.
What Chicago needs to do:
1. Convince LeBron that Michael Jordan never played for Chicago, he actually played for Cleveland. That would get LeBron up and out of Cleveland in no time.
What do I think is going to happen? If James doesn’t stay in Cleveland, I think his next option is New York. But only if he can bring another talented free agent along with him. New York has some serious moves to make, and if they can’t get LeBron to the Big Apple then they have never-ending woes ahead of them. If he chooses not to go to NYC or stay in Cleveland, I could almost guarantee that he’d take the offer from Miami. There’s just too much talent out on that coast, and he and Wade could do some serious damage together.
Well, that’s my two cents. Who knows what’s going to happen one month from now? Not even the King himself. Whether he elects to remain Cleveland or decides to move his throne elsewhere, LeBron James will instantly give whatever team he plays for a legitimate shot at the title, regardless of his peasant teammates. Let the waiting begin.