For the majority of the 2009-2010 NBA season, rumors regarding where LeBron James will be playing next year have conquered the media.
While many experts claim that King James is destined for either the New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, or the more recent reports of the Chicago Bulls, one team with a significant chance of signing the superstar has been vastly overlooked. That team is the Miami Heat.
The free agent class for this offseason is one of the best in years, with Amar'e Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming, Paul Pierce, among many others, have options to play elsewhere in the 2010 season.
LeBron James fulfilled his dream, growing up in Akron, Ohio, leading his hometown team through multiple playoff runs, but was unable to win the big one, despite the Cleveland Cavaliers doing "everything" possible to put winners and competitors on the floor alongside the King.
However, the time has come where it is evident that LeBron James will be moving on to bigger and better places. Places that fit his bigger than life persona. While most of the media believe that location is in New York, playing in Madison Square Garden, or New Jersey, due to their extreme cap space, or playing for the Bulls, the team that his hero led to numerous championships.
Instead, I think Miami is the ideal location for LeBron James to suit up in 2010, as long as Dwayne Wade stays, which is expected.
The Heat, under GM Pat Riley, have managed their funds pretty well recently, much like the rest of the league, all of whom hope to land a star free agent.
The Heat's youngsters Michael Beasley, Daequan Cook, and Mario Chalmers under contract in 2010, and adding LeBron and Wade could bring the Heat back to their championship days, when Wade was teamed up with Shaq.
South Florida sports fans are fair weather fans and will only show up if their is competition in front of them. When the Florida Marlins won the World Series in 2003, Dolphins Stadium was sold out. Now, they play in front of scattered 4,000 fans a night. When the Heat brought Shaquille O'Neal to South Beach, season tickets were selling at a record pace.
Pat Riley has made statements declaring that he would be interested in coaching the team next season, which would bring a wider appeal to a top-notch free agent than playing under Erik Spoelstra, who has coached the team for two seasons, bringing them to the playoffs, but getting knocked out in the first round.
Miami is the perfect location for a person like LeBron James. It is not the media capital of the world, but it sure is the celebrity capital of the United States. Miami is the place to be, and LeBron wouldn't have to pay a dime in taxes out of his max contract to play 41 games in Florida, as every other team is required to do.
King James wants a ring, and needs a ring to end the talks of the star that can't win the big one. Dwayne Wade is a warrior and a winner on the court, and if James' relationship with Wade is as bona fide as reported, the Miami Heat would feature one of the best one-two punches we have seen in a very long time.
James and Wade both have the ability to make the players around them better, and in the case of the Heat, opposing teams wouldn't be able to game-plan for them. Who do you double-team? Wade or James? This opens opportunities for young Michael Beasley, who is still taking time to develop and coming into his own, Mario Chalmers, the tenacious point guard, or even Daequan Cook.
While nobody knows where LeBron will end up this summer, definitely do not rule out the Miami Heat as a top contender as that destination.
Players with Options: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Amar'e Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, John Salmons, Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming, TJ Ford, Michael Redd, Richard Jefferson, Tyson Chandler, and Peja Stojakovic