Since the trade deadline has passed and everyone's focus is back on this summer's star-studded free agent class, talk of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh potentially teaming up for next season has started to pick up steam.
Let's be realistic, though. While it is theoretically possible, the chances of this actually happening are slim to none. Depending on where the cap falls, there could be eight teams with enough money to sign two players to maximum contracts. But Wade and James have both spoken of their desire to contend and not just cash in with new contracts.
So naturally Bosh has entered the equation. Will Wade and James take a pay-cut to try and include the 24-year-old All-Star in their plans?
We have a long way to go before we'll know anything substantial about where the three superstars will go from here, but now is as good a time as any to break down their chances of joining forces for 2010.
Why they should do it:
Can you imagine what a team with these three would do? Just watch some footage of the 2008 Olympics, and you'll get a pretty good idea. LeBron, Wade, and Bosh would create one of the most impressive cores in NBA history, if not the greatest ever. The three of them would probably rack in championship rings as easily as they've been collecting All Star Game appearances. They've all talked about their desires to compete for and win championships; this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
While they would have to sacrifice a large chunk of salary to make it work, the trio would garner more endorsements than anyone in the NBA—more than enough to make up for the loss of salary.
When Wade's Heat won the 2006 NBA Finals, he went from a budding star to international mega star. His endorsements went through the roof, and Wade's image suddenly was everywhere in the country. That's the kind of effect the spotlight has. Wade, LeBron, and Bosh together in a major market like New York or Miami is a sponsor's dream. They would be showered with deals, they'd be the three-headed face of the NBA.
The L.A. Lakers have Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, Shannon Brown, and Jordan Farmar rounding out their rotation. That's the best roster in the NBA right now and the favorite to win the championship. A team featuring Wade and Bosh or LeBron and Wade might not be enough to take down the Lakers, but a team with all three stars would crush them.
Teaming up may be the only way to stop the Lakers from turning into another dynasty.
Why it won't happen:
As good as this move would be for LeBron, Wade, Bosh, and the team lucky enough to sign all three, it would destroy the NBA small markets. How could teams like Memphis, Portland, Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, Washington, Minnesota, and Charlotte convince their fans to purchase season tickets when they would be permenantly out of contention? And they wouldn't be the only ones with such an issue.
If Wade, LeBron, and Bosh teamed up, the rest of the league would suffer for it, and not just in the win-loss column. The NBA already has a problem with half-empty arenas. Yes, the trio would draw mammoth crowds where ever they traveled. But what kind of turnout could these cities expect the other 78-80 games a year? Probably not a good one. David Stern simply can't let that happen. The league means more than three players and championship dreams.
And with all the talk of potential slam dunks in free agency, one key factor is usually ignored. All three players may end up staying put. Wade has repeatedly said he wants to remain with the Heat. Bosh has had issues with the Raptors in the past, but in recent weeks has spoken fondly of the franchise and doesn't appear as ready to bolt as he once did. LeBron's Cavs are in championship mode right now; he may just return to the Finals this year.
By the time free agency rolls around, at least one of the three will not be hitting the open market. One of these names, if not all three, will remain with their respective team. You have to remember, when superstars ditch the cities that drafted them, they end up scorching the earth behind them. They're hated with a passion by those same fans who once showered them with love and affection.
LeBron, Wade, or Bosh don't really want to do that. They're just willing to if it comes to it. When these guys say they want to remain where they are, they're being sincere for the most part. If Cleveland, Miami, and Toronto show them they're committed to winning, it will be very hard to walk away; especially in the cases of LeBron and Wade.
At the end of the day, while such a pairing of the three would be fantastic, it remains very much a fantasy. It isn't going to happen.