LeBron James is going to be the hottest free agent maybe in the history of the game. Arguably the best player in the league today, the chance to pull the most explosive played in the game has GMs and owners foaming at the mouth. Many people have speculated on what they think The King will do once free agency begins July 1. The only problem is that there's a lot of bias in where people think he'll end up. I've read article after article and heard analyst after analyst talk about where he'll end up. But I think there's always a certain bias in where people think he'll end up. I've seen really horrible arguments made as to why he stays or goes. All based on the person's bias. So I've decided to write a neutral argument on what I think he does and what factors will play into his decision. Hope you enjoy.
This will be the big and probably deciding factor in where The King ends up next, if he moves at all. He can't win with the same roster that the Cavs have in place right now. The big problem is the lack of clutch scorers and defenders. They can play well when it's just a regular season game, but when it's a big playoff game with alot at stake, they disappear. This can't happen if they're going to bring Bronnie his first championship ring.
So, if he does leave, where does he go? Sources have said New York, Chicago, and Miami among others. I think the best fit for him is Miami, if he were to leave Cleveland. He would have another top tier player in Dwyane Wade, he would have the potential for a great coach in Pat Riley, he would have part of the supporting cast in Michael Beasley and Mario Chamlers, and he would have a very supportive fanbase. The only problem is if they can sign him with and Dwyane and maybe another star or two. Another problem would be that there could be a power struggle between the two and possible others over who has power over the team on the court. Their egos could get in the way a very possible championship run.
Chicago has probably been everyone's favorite place for LeBron to go as of late. They have a young team with stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah at the forefront. But the thing I don't like about the Bulls is the lack of a head coach. I think they'll get Jeff Van Gundy to coach them, but with the uncertainty, why would LeBron want to risk signing with a franchise like that? He wants to win now, and that team has at least a couple years before they can really contend. Orlando and Boston aren't gonna sit idly by as the Bulls revamp their roster. They'll be pushing to sign a big free agent or two. So I don't think this will happen. They don't have a bench to back up the starters and don't really have a third guy if LeBron would be there to help out him and Rose with the scoring load.
Then there's New York, the Big Apple. They have plenty of room to sign LeBron and another free agent or two to big money. But the problem is that it'll be a makeshift team with no chemistry. It would be like the Lakers of 2002-2003. They were a makeshift team that didn't flow like a team, but a group of individuals. They were like a robot that only played basketball, but didn't have the heart of a team that could face adversity and strike it between the eyes.Also I don't think they have the bench to support what he can do. They can't go out and extend a lead when he's resting. That will be a big issue if he does sign there.
The coaching will always make a good player great. Unfortunately for LeBron, he doesn't have that in Cleveland. Mike Brown is more of a fan of LBJ than a coach. He just seems like he's awed everytime he sees LeBron play, but doesn't reprimand him when he plays selfish. Whenever LeBron is holding the ball until he finds an open shot instead of passing to his teammates, Brown has to be the one to tell him to do that. As a coach you have to make your players better, no matter how good they are before. LeBron's play hasn't improved at all, it's kind of plateaued the last couple years. Until you win a championship, there's always room to improve, even for The Chosen One.
The coaching situation in Chicago may be a turnoff for LBJ. When you've got GMs punching head coaches over playing time of players, you know you've got a front office problem. That's not conducive to winning and is unacceptable for anybody in sports. Everyone has to be on the same page for things to work out. That's why I don't think he ends up there. That front office is a mess and will hold back the team until some new personnel in place.
The Knicks don't have a coach that can bring them to the promise land. Mike D'Antoni couldn't do it with the Suns because he refused to let them play defense. Everything about him was all about offense, and LeBron is a good defender, he's gonna play defense whether you like it or not. He also doesn't trust the bench much, so LeBron will get a lot more playing time than he did in Cleveland, which probably isn't attractive for The King. LeBron wants a team, not a group of people centered around him.
Then there's Miami, which has the second best coach to ever coach the game as their GM. He also said that he's willing to coach again if it will bring in a free agent to help them win. So is James wants a solid coach to help better him, he won't find any better than Pat Riley.
I think this is the weakest case anyone can make for LeBron leaving Cleveland. He's got commercials, mag covers, shoe deals, Gatorade commercials, etc. This guy is a star in his own right. He was a star even before he got to the NBA. He doesn't need to go somewhere else to be a star. Without him, the Cleveland Cavaliers fanbase would only consist of the natives of that area. That means that he's made them popular, not the other way around. When you're a star you can shine anywhere. It's not the city who makes the man, it's the man who makes the city. No mater where he goes, he'll draw the media with him. When you're a star, you can do that.
This also matters not. LeBron has said he would like a bigger challenge, but the place he plays at, regardless of location, will be big. When you're a star, everywhere you go is important. Everyplace you play at is the place to play. MSG or anywhere else won't make you a star.
The Cavs are also the most bandwagoned team in the NBA, so no matter where he goes, he's gonna have the high expectations and pressure that he has in Cleveland. There won't be any increase or decrease. Everyone has their hopes in him. If he doesn't deliver, then no matter where he goes he won't hear the end of it.
Another weak case for LeBron leaving Cleveland. Money is not an object if you're trying to sign arguably the best player in the NBA. Anyone who tries to sign him will put enough money on the table. The big issue is the chance to win the title. Wherever he goes, if he goes, he'll get paid, and he knows that. But he wants a legit chance to win an NBA title. He makes millions as it is, so he's not worried about his bank account at the end of the day. He's more worried about his trophy case and reputation than anything.
I'm a firm believer that history has no bearing on the future. You live it, learn from it, and move on. But do people really think that history will play a part in his decision? If he cared about history he would've wanted out of Cleveland years ago. It's not like they suddenly became a bad sports city this year. He's not gonna base his decision on Cleveland sports teams' lack of success.
Same goes with New York. But some people like to say that they have a rich basketball history. Of losing I say. They haven't won the finals since 1974. LeBron wasn't even born then, so he won't remember it. It doesn't matter what happened 36 years ago. Sports is a "what have you done for me lately?" business. Just cause they won a title in the mid-70s, doesn't mean that they're better than the Cavs. It's like the Spurs fans thinking that the Spurs are better than my Suns cause they have 4 rings. Who got swept this year?
Chicago has the best history of all the potential suitors. They housed the best player to ever play the game and won 6 times during his tenure. But again, history doesn't make you better than another team. Then there's Miami, who have won a title the most recent of all the teams. History doesn't matter here, except that they still have the best player of that series and the guy who coached them to that title win. But all-in-all, history doesn't play a factor at all.
To come to conclusion, I've compared the big three destinations for The King and the place he's already in. I don't think Chicago would be a good fit cause he won't have enough parts around his. That team also is in need of a head coach and possible rebuilding process, not something LBJ will want to be involved with. New York was everyone's favorite picks, but they will just be the Cavs of 2004-2006 all over again. Not enough to bring him anywhere close to a title. The logical destination for him, if he were to leave the Cavs, is Miami. They have the other star player, the role players, the coach, and the cap space to bring in another star and a good bench player or two. But I think he stays put and the Cavs do a rehaul of their roster. I think they fire Mike Brown, release some cap eaters and pursue some trades. I think they'll land Joe Johnson during free agency cause Atlanta's going nowhere. I also think they try and trade up to draft a big man early, cause the big post presence is why they lost against the Magic last year. I could see them getting Jeff Van Gundy as their coach and working with LeBron to improve his clutch shooting. I think the Cavs keep him cause they'll bring him the best chance of winning than any other team out there.