Four years later, and we’re at the same spot again. LeBron James trying to make up his mind on whether to stay with the Miami Heat or go somewhere – Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers. It seems every team in the NBA has some sort of angle on how to convince the best player in the NBA to play for them. It seems the entire league is waiting for him to make up his mind.
Often, staying where you always have been makes the most sense. The Miami Heat are in for a overhaul, but staying withing the confines of somewhere you know – somewhere comfortable and somewhere which has brought you the most success makes sense. James wants championships. Yes, he cares about his portfolio and financial future (which is already set). However, his legacy and his name once he leaves the NBA seems to be the most important thing.
So what do the Heat offer in this sense? Well, the Heat, like the Cavs four years ago, are hanging on the phone, waiting to hear that James is staying. Whether or not he takes a pay cut along with his two Big Three teammates, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, is a different matter. Pat Riley says he has a contingency plan for whatever choice the trio makes as it comes to their contracts. The more they decide to give up, the better the Heat can become.
Playing next to stars is fun and has its advantages. But James is almost in the same spot he was in Cleveland. Wade is rapidly declining, and needs long periods of rest to keep playing at a high level. Chris Bosh is an All-Star, but the Heat are weak almost everywhere else, which eventually showed against the Spurs. Finding someone, a small forward to give James some relief minutes, might be more important than ever, as he’s grown tired of carrying the team on his back without enough help.
The Heat aren’t the only team that can offer him prizes in the form of championship rings. The Houston Rockets with their two All-Star players in James Harden and Dwight Howard aren’t such a bad place to land in. The Rockets need to move players in order to create the cap space, but it is possible. If James acts for a sign-and-trade, anything can happen. The Rockets, a team on the rise (especially if they ditch their coach) aren’t a bad option.
There’s that team out West that used to be great but now is being held ransom by someone named Kobe Bryant. The Lakers can’t wait to get their hands on a superstar. Stars seem more natural when they’re wearing Lakers gold. But playing next to Bryant and on a team with a lot of things missing just doesn’t seem so enticing. James isn’t in the mood to lift a franchise on its feet once again like he did with Miami.
The Chicago Bulls always sound so good when they’re mentioned as a free agency option. A solid roster, a city with rich basketball history, championship aspirations. James won’t be alone there in terms of good and even great players if Derrick Rose will finally be healthy. Bulls fans haven’t been exactly loving to James over the years, but that will immediately change if he chooses to head north and spend some time on the shores of Lake Michigan.
The Cleveland Cavaliers can keep dreaming. There’s nothing there that can interest James, who is keeping the cards close to his chest. The San Antonio Spurs is another fantasy option that will probably remain in dream land. Almost every team in the league can think of a reason of why James should join them. We probably won’t be seeing a clip made by the Dallas Mavericks to get him to join them. The Miami Heat are still his number one option and most likely destination, although no one is very certain anymore, especially not with the amount of certainty they had about his decision going into the NBA finals.