The first domino in "The Real World: NBA Offseason" fell last week.
The Chicago Bulls were able to move Kirk Hinrich in order to open up enough cap space to sign two max free agents this summer.
The rest of the league should be afraid. Very afraid.
With the departure of Hinrich, a potential basketball dynasty is brewing in Chicago.
Opening up room for two more potential All-Stars on what is already a solid, young playoff team could spell disaster for the current Eastern Conference powers-that-be. One free agent would've have made this team a contender in the East. Two makes them the perennial front-runner for the next five years.
What's even scarier is they don't even need LeBron, Bosh, or Wade now to be the best in their conference. People continue to lose sight of the fact that this was a solid, young Bulls team that has already has one All-Star in Derrick Rose as well the hated but still talented Joakim Noah.
(Let's get something out of the way right now. Noah is a solid NBA player. Go look at his playoff stats versus Cleveland. Not going to waste time arguing the Noah haters. He's good. Annoying and ugly as hell but still good.)
For the sake of argument, let's say Bosh and LeBron decide to go to the Knicks and Wade convinces one free agent to come play in the half-empty Miami Heat arena for the next five years. If the Bulls still sign Joe Johnson and Carlos Boozer, they are still better than any team in the East. And that's the worst-case scenario. I'm still feeling pretty confident if the Bulls are my team.
On the other hand, the best case scenario is downright frightening.
If LeBron and Bosh decide they want to own the NBA for the next five years, the option is now there. The King, Boshosauras (he looks dinosaur-like to me), Rose, Noah, and Deng is a powerhouse starting five.
Check that. That is a game over, let's not waste our time playing 82 games starting five.
Who can compete with that in the East? Nobody.
The anti-Chicago crowd is in the streets screaming that LeBron will not go to the Bulls to play in the shadow of Michael Jordan. They claim it'd be too much to walk past the statue of His Airness everyday when he goes to work. They claim to play in the same city as the greatest basketball player to ever grace the courts would be too much pressure.
At first, I agreed with those statements. I thought LeBron would want to create his own dynasty and not try to follow Jordan's footsteps. But if Bosh goes with him to Chicago and accepts the role of Pippen, Chicago will build the bronze statue of Bron Bron on the other side of the United Center.
Teams build a statue for a player after he wins multiple championships, and that is what will happen if Chicago lands Bosh and LeBron.
If there is something else we know about LeBron, he is also a student of the game and understands its historical significance. MJ created one of the most storied franchises in all of professional sports in his time in Chicago. Not only that, he created one heck of a legend as well.
LeBron has a chance to succeed that legend.
I'm starting to think that instead of looking at the "Jordon Shadow" as intimidating, King James should look at it the chance to becoming "the heir apparent" to His Airness' throne. There is a possibility he would accept following the legend of Michael Jordan in Chicago as a "passing of the torch" type situation.
Look at how people in Los Angeles feel about Kobe Bryant. Some are crazy enough to think he's the "greatest Laker of all time" after Magic Johnson, who at one point was the greatest player of all time before Jordan came on the scene.
King James has been consistently on the record of saying this will be about basketball, first and foremost. He wants to win a title and wants to go a team where it can happen immediately. If he's telling the truth, he will sign with Chicago in the next couple weeks.
Yes, the balance of power in the NBA will be shifting very soon. The next month could potentially determine the landscape of the league for years to come.
The scenarios for the Chicago Bulls range from good to potential dynasty.
The first move has been made. They can now sign two All-Stars to play alongside Rose and Noah.
The ball now lies in King James' court. It's time to see what his motivation is.
If it's to become a global icon and potentially resurrect the basketball city of New York, then he will head east. If it's to win and become a basketball god, he will choose Chicago.
My money is on the Bulls.
The rest of the NBA should pray to God that I'm wrong.