Tracy McGrady. Jason Kidd. Pau Gasol. Baron Davis. Vince Carter. Kevin Garnett. Any of these names mean anything to you? In addition to being multiple time All-Stars, these are just a few of the notable names that have been traded since LeBron James entered the NBA. Cleveland, meanwhile signed Larry Hughes as its most notable free-agent signing during the King's reign of the past seven years.
The Cavs have heard a couple of these names floated around, most notably Kidd's, a couple years ago as LeBron made a public proclamation that he would love to play with the former number 2 overall pick and a PG who had led the Nets to back to back Finals appearances earlier in the decade. Nothing came of it.
Two years ago after watching King James walk off of the floor after a memorable battle with the Celtics and Paul Pierce in which LeBron dropped 45 in the deciding Game 7 and getting no help offensively from anyone else on the floor, it became clear that LeBron desperately needed another superstar to play with.
But the bad sign for Cleveland fans was what LeBron didn't do. He didn't pull a Kobe Bryant, who just the prior summer had requested to be traded from LA after being stuck with a roster that was unable to get out of the first round of the playoffs and was rewarded later that season with the Pau Gasol trade that dramatically altered the paths of both the Lakers and the NBA in general. Instead, LeBron said nothing. He went on to play with the Redeem Team including stars like Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, who were in similar situations with their own ballclub.
Now why is that a bad sign you may say? Because in the case of Bryant, while he publicly demanded to be traded, he cared enough to bring the argument public and in essence put the pressure on Lakers management to make a move or risk losing the games best player the following summer. LeBron made no such comments, and to anyone who has had dealings with women before you know that silence can speak louder than any words sometimes which to me speaks volumes to how frustrated he was with the organization and their inability to surround him with championship level talent. (Not comparing LeBron to a woman, just trying to use an example that I'm sure we all can relate to)
Why not the Knicks you may ask? Good question, especially with everyone speculating that if he were to leave Cleveland, New York would be the most likely scenario. Well, two reasons on why it won't be NY: Eddy Curry and Jared Jeffries. Now I've heard people say that if LeBron comes to NY in 2010 that those contracts will be gone by 2011 and the Knicks will have another $18 million to spend. But why would LeBron, who has continually stated that he wants to win multiple championships, go to NY with a promise that we "may be better after this season" if you can just hang in there with us. Only one person was crazy enough to fall for that, and that was Mike D'Antoni, and he will be going on year 3 of the "rebuilding process" next year.
Another possible destination I thought about heavily was the Clippers. Bill Simmons proposed this idea last season, and I found myself intrigued by the possibilities. But after hearing the news last week that Blake Griffin will be out for the year, as well as the oft-injured Chris Kaman is down again, I thought that LeBron won't go somewhere where there are that many question marks. Plus it's the Clippers. And for LeBron, would he really want to play second fiddle to the Lakers in "the house that Kobe built." (Not to mention this would be a nightmare scenario for the NBA. The best two players playing most of their games at 10:30 PM ET.)
So why the Bulls? Well first, they already have another superstar in waiting in place in Derrick Rose and a solid core of players in Hinrich, Deng, and Salmons. Second they will have the cap space to give LeBron a max deal and it's a city big enough for him to make the big city marketing dollars that NY fans swear only exist there (Just ask MJ). Now I know some of you will say if he didn't want to play in Kobe's shadow in LA, why would he go to the city that the GOAT called home? Well, I must admit I pondered that decision myself at first, but after hearing one of LeBron's recent comments, it convinced me of this answer.
LeBron recently asked the NBA to permanently retire the number 23 from all NBA teams in respect to his idol, Michael Jordan. LeBron then stated that he will wear the number 6 next year (The number of titles Jordan won). LeBron has come into this league with more hype than anyone else in league history, and the only way for him to exceed the hype and be known as the GOAT is to at least pass the number of titles MJ won. What better way to do that than in MJ's own backyard. LeBron is a noted historian of league history and has watched Kobe arguably surpass Magic as the greatest Laker of all-time. How does LeBron trump both Kobe and MJ. Not only repeat history, but exceed history where it was initially made.
In closing, I believe that if King James wins a title in Cleveland this year, he undoubtedly will set himself in a position that no other NBA'er past or present can match. By providing the title hungry city of Cleveland a title and then following the steps laid out earlier in this article, LeBron sets himself apart from all others in sports history with maybe the exception of Brett Favre if he wins a Super Bowl this year in Minnesota. That, ladies and gentleman, is why LeBron will be Running With The Bulls in 2010 and beyond.