LeBron James and Dwyane Wade: Franchise Faces for the Brooklyn Nets?

Jeffrey SantonAnalyst IMarch 7, 2008

Many national media honks seem fairly convinced that LeBron James will be departing from the Cleveland Cavaliers when his contract expires three years from now.

Hometown honks in Cleveland, on the other hand, seem to be putting their faith in LeBron staying.  After all, he is semi-hometown boy—James grew up in Akron roughly 45 minutes south of Cleveland.

James made a statement after the draft that made some nervous.  When he was asked how it felt to be playing in his hometown, he responded, "It’s not my hometown.  I'm from Akron."

Well, like most Akron natives, he's at least grown up a Cavs fan, right?


LBJ grew up rooting for the Chicago Bulls and his hero Michael Jordan—the Cavaliers’ nemesis who, in all probability, cost a few great Cavs’ teams shots at titles.

For that matter, LBJ was not a fan of any Cleveland teams.  His football team was Dallas.

Many will also remember the spectacle when, during the playoffs, LBJ showed up at an Indians’ game against the Yankees, sporting one of the evil empire's lids.  That’s right, he is also a Yankees fan.

Okay, so this hometown theory is complete garbage and is simply wishful thinking, right?

Not completely.

He just had a custom built home constructed in Bath, Ohio, equipped with bowling alleys and studios.  He has a couple of children now, and he may not be interested in shipping them off to a new city.

His family and friends can attend virtually every game.  Plus, James has made it no secret that he wants to become a billionaire one day, and Cleveland can pay him more money than any other team.

I’m also not so sure that LBJ is going to be quick to become the most hated man in the state of Ohio, in which he was born and raised.  Make no mistake about it, if he were to leave he would become the most hated athlete in Cleveland history, regardless of what he accomplishes while there.

That is not a possibility.  It's a fact.

Now, all that being said, it's also no secret that LeBron James and rapper Jay-Z are extremely tight.  Jay-Z is a partial owner of the Nets.

The Nets will be in Brooklyn when James becomes a free agent, and there will be some serious buzz supporting the big New York market behind the team.

Another one of James’ good friends, Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, will be a free agent as well that year.

Just imagine what kind of team Brooklyn could have immediately.  With those two acquisitions, any team in the NBA would become a instant contender.

It seems to be a perfect storm.  Brooklyn Nets jerseys would instantly become number one selling items.

Being a Cleveland native myself, I would never think of sporting an LBJ jersey if my city’s name did not appear across the front.  A Wade jersey, though, might sneak its way into my closet.

In theory, those two playing together for the Brooklyn Nets could become the greatest tandem ever.

Yes, ever.

I see the blogs beneath this soon-to-be-completed article reminding me of the famous Jordan-Pippen duo.  But I unfortunately feel these two together could spell longtime doom for the NBA's other participating teams.

LBJ and Wade originally agreed to only sign three year contracts with their teams because the new bargaining agreement would be agreed upon that season, causing the two to reap the benefits of free agency with a brand new max cap.

It was said to be a great business move on their parts, but was there more to the decision than appeared on the surface?

Are Jay-Z, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade planning to build a franchise in Brooklyn and an instant empire?

The record-breaking revenue, records, and worldwide recognition would truly be one heck of a way for a franchise to begin.

I suppose there is no way to know for certain if this is simply a cool new rumor or the future of the NBA.

But I do know this: I personally will be paying pretty close attention to the Nets’ cap in the next few years to see if they will be making room for two max contracts in the year 2011.