Two-time NBA MVP, Rookie of the Year and All NBA six times at 25. That is LeBron Raymone James. Everyone has put a death sentence on his future in Cleveland as if he was a member of the Browns. The possibility that he might come back home to Ohio is not even a footnote in most minds. As the Celtics defeated the Cavaliers tonight, LeBron even in his triple-double statistical output did not play LeBron like. Nine turnovers, and nine million headaches later, the Cavaliers are done.
The inspired play of the Celtics is of no consequence of course, this was LeBron's night good or bad. Now, the fate of many franchises is held in the palm of the king. Like another King Arthur, he could use the help of a few knights at the round table of ball. He will receive many requests and pieces of advice in the coming months as to where he should play. With this in mind, I have put together the most reasonable options available to LeBron and the impact these choices could have on the league.
Option No. 1: He Goes to the Big Apple
The Knicks want him more than David Stern likes to fix games (open for another article). The Boston faithful chanting "New - York - Knicks" during your free throw attempts is an indication that the world believes he has a first class ticket to NYC. With the free agency of many of the Knicks including David Lee and the possibility that very few of the Knicks from last season will come back, we could see an entirely different Knicks team next year led by LeBron. They could possibly be led by LeBron, Dwayne Wade/Chris Bosh and a cheap veteran of savvy such as the prolific shooter Ray Allen. This is strictly preliminary talks at this point of course, but this seems to be the most logical change of scenery at this point.
Option No. 2: He goes to the Jay to the Z
These lights will inspire you! Sean Carter's newest anthem might just be a plea that he wants to be paying Jesus off for LeBron this coming year. New Jersey is moving into a new location and has a new Billionaire owner to boot. The question that remains is even if LeBron arrives, who will help make them a winner. He could end up in the same position he is in currently as a stud with mediocre ownership and general managing. This also raises the point of whether they will be able to pull in a Robin to his Batman. It would be assumed that some star player would like to play alongside LeBron, but it is a wait and see approach along those lines as well.
Option No. 3: He learns the Triangle
Phil Jackson is an anomaly. He is a one of a kind persona and could be working his way back into Chicago and replacing Vinny Del Negro seat. There is of course curiosity why Phil would like to leave L.A. to take on this windy city question mark. The answer may lie in LeBron's hands. If Phil can land in Chicago, it might persuade LeBron to take on the same route as Michael and Kobe (couldn't hurt him) and be able to play under maybe the greatest coach of all-time. With Derek Rose and Joakim Noah as young building blocks of the team, they could have many upon many NBA titles together.
Option No. 4: I Love L.A.
I don't expect Randy Newman's vocals to be played in the Staples center for him in the gold and purple. No, if LeBron goes anywhere in the West look for it to be the L.A. Clippers. Yes, this sounds outrageous and high unlikely but it has two major motives for LeBron. No. 1. He can truly Challenge Kobe for King of L.A. Kobe rules L.A. as his own, but could you imagine if it belonged to LeBron as a Clipper? No. 2. Try to make the Clippers a winner. Dealing with Mr. Sterling is enough of a problem, but taking the most doomed franchise in professional sports and making them a winner? Well, that's the Hoosiers and Mighty Ducks all wrapped up in one.
Option No. 5: Stay Home
LeBron could stay at home like he has for the first Quarter-Century of his life and remain a Cavalier. He is familiar with the setup, he has control of the city, and still has the burden and pressure to deliver a title the Browns and Indians are nowhere near giving the city. The team has many question marks at many positions that has no clear cut solution at this time. If LeBron comes back to Cleveland, he will inherit relatively the same team he had this past season.
Is LeBron going to be a Cavalier next season? I say no, he has never truly left the nest and lived somewhere else like your typical college student has. Also, he has not had a chance to truly explore his options within the league and the power with which he controls it. If it weren't for LeBron, many individuals such as myself would have almost no interest in the NBA. The league over the past decade has been down competitively and so has the interest to the hardcore fan.
I see LeBron going to New York most likely and bringing one of the other high name free agents with him. With Dwyane, Chris or even a Joe Johnson alongside him it will cause mass hysteria for the rest of the league. Look for players such as Rudy Gay to receive ridiculous contracts at the same levels of Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon last year with the Pistons. If all goes to plan, LeBron will be taking a big bite out of the apple next year.