Everyone has heard this before: Put LeBron James with any four NBA players and that team has a shot to win.
Yes, LeBron James is good.
Maybe even that good.
But there's a difference between winning a single game and winning a championship. And if LeBron James wants to be a champion, he had better consider who he's surrounding himself with.
That's what Chicago Bulls fans are hoping will be his deciding factor in coming to the Windy City come July 1.
Not many teams can compete with the likes of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and Taj Gibson.
Here's an interesting question though: would those young players want to be on the same team as James?
This is the LeBron James who had his own series of commercials with Nike, titled "The LeBrons."
This is the LeBron James who wore a Yankees hat to an Indians game, drawing criticism and speculation about his desire to play in New York.
This is the LeBron James who walked off the court after the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals without shaking the Orlando Magic players' hands.
This is not the type of player you want to lead a young nucleus who pride themselves on playing hard and with heart every time they don their Bulls uniform.
Blame it on the elbow all you want, but James sure looked like he gave up in Game Six against the Celtics this season.
The Bulls could be trailing by 20 points with five minutes to play and Joakim Noah would be giving it his all.
We are apparently all witnesses to James, at least according to how he has been marketed.
Dwayne Wade, on the other hand, gets knocked down repeatedly, but always gets back up. A leader who wants his teammates to help him shine versus a star who is willing to sacrifice his body to help his team win. Without knowing the names of the players, the choice of a franchise cornerstone is simple.
Wade is the type of leader who does not need to be vocal, just like Rose.
That's perfect, because Noah is loud enough for the entire team. Gibson, Deng, Kirk Hinrich—all the top players on the Bulls are unselfish and lead by example.
James goes out of his way to jack up ridiculous shots before games, just to show off to fans.
Make no mistake about it: Adding James to the Bulls would make them among the contenders in the Eastern Conference. Rose, Deng, Gibson and Noah are better than an average group of four NBA players. They're better than a lot of starting NBA foursomes.
Two words lost in the LeBron hoopla: team chemistry.
The best case for LeBron would be to go to a team full of players ready to take a backseat to him in the spotlight. Maybe Noah notwithstanding, that description fits the Bulls perfectly.
But while it might benefit LeBron, it could also stunt the growth of the young core players.
With the talk of LeBron potentially taking a three-year deal in Chicago and possibly serving as a fleeting stop in his ultimate career path, signing him is not worth the risk of decimating the team once he's gone.
The Bulls have a great foundation to build on.
Of course, they have for the past five years, and they've never made the conference finals. The Bulls are in need of a star if they want to take the next step and approach championship level.
James is like the brightest star in the sky: it's the first place you look, and sometimes it can distract you from the others out there. James is the best individual player in this year's free agent class.
But a machine with a part that doesn't fit won't work.
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