With this morning's announcement that Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have agreed to sign with the Heat, and the announcement that LeBron James will reveal his choice in an hour long special on ESPN, the speculation is rampant about which team LeBron will choose.
So, let's speculate!
I think that it is safe to say that the Clippers are not going to land LeBron. King James made it very clear that ownership and management are very important to him. The Clippers have the worst owner in the NBA in Donald Sterling.
While LeBron did say that money was not the most important factor in making his decision, he also added that he was not going to take less than a max contract.
So, even though Miami is attractive, it should be safe to rule them out.
LeBron has stated that he wants to be on a team that gives him a chance to win multiple titles. Cleveland may be his home, but there is no second elite player necessary to enable LeBron to win multiple titles. Maybe not even one title.
Cleveland cannot match up with the Lakers and its front line of Gasol, Bynum, and Odom. Kobe can score tons of points with LeBron. So, even though it appears that LeBron wants to stay in Ohio for emotional reasons, if he wants to win, he will leave.
Chicago is an enticing option.
They have a young, defensive center in Joakim Noah, but Chris Bosh had given every indication that he wanted to sign with LeBron. There is no doubt that it could have happened in Chicago.
So, if LeBron wanted to play in Chicago, then why did Bosh decide to play with Dwyane Wade in Miami? I strongly suspect that this means that LeBron has decided that he does not want to play for Cleveland's traditional rival in Chicago.
Furthermore, the Bulls have only one player who can shoot from long range. Luol Deng, who shot 38.6 percent from 3-point range. However, Deng plays the same position as LeBron.
Young Derrick Rose was only a 26.7 percent 3-point shooter. So, the Bulls would have trouble creating the proper spacing to maximize LeBron's talent.
That leaves the Knicks and the Nets.
The Nets have a rising young star center in Brook Lopez and a former all-start point guard in Devin Harris. They also have a coach with a winning history in Avery Johnson. They even have the richest owner in the NBA in Mikhail Prokhorov. He has a history of spending money on his other basketball team in Russia.
However, if there is one thing that analysts should have learned from the Cleveland-Boston series this year it is that if LeBron does not have a big-time shooter from long range to pass to, he can be defended by collapsing defenses.
The Nets do not have a player returning to their roster who shot better than 33.8 percent from 3-point range. So, from a basketball perspective, the Nets are not a good fit.
The Knicks are the best fit to win multiple titles with LeBron.
With the addition of Amar'e Stoudemire, the Knicks have a great pick-and-roll big man who might be the best finisher in the paint among power players. Stoudemire can play both center and power forward and was a 2nd team all-NBA player last year.
The Knicks also have an owner who does not care how much money he spends. He has already proved that he is willing to spend way past the luxury tax limits for a chance to win.
Unlike any of the other teams in the hunt, the Knicks have three players who shot at least 38 percent from 3-point range: Danilo Gallinari, Bill Walker, and Toney Douglas. The Knicks have the shooters to spread the floor.
Next, the Knicks also have a huge asset in Eddy Curry. Curry has an expiring contract in excess of $11 million. That means that the Knicks will have a lot of cap room next off-season or for a trade this year.
So, the Knicks (will) have the ability to land another all-star caliber player to play with LeBron and Amar'e. The Knicks can provide LeBron with a quality team right now and the chance to become much better within the next year.
No other team can provide LeBron with that opportunity.
Carmelo Anthony has been telling a lot of people that he will be playing for the Knicks next year if Denver does not trade him this year. If LeBron returns to Cleveland, he will face a Miami team of Wade and Bosh, a Knicks team of Carmelo and Amar'e, a Bulls team of Rose and Noah, a Magic team of Howard and Carter, and a Celtics team of Rondo and Pierce.
Meanwhile, LeBron has a declining Antawn Jamison as his sidekick. LeBron is great, but no one is that great.
On the other hand, if LeBron signs with the Knicks, then Carmelo can join him in New York using the Eddy Curry money to create a super team. Unlike Rose or Wade, Carmelo does not need to be the primary ball handler to excel. He scores playing away from the ball or in the post.
So, LeBron, Carmelo and Amar'e should be able to play together successfully.
When all is said and done, unless LeBron goes with his heart and stays in Ohio, he is going to go to the Knicks.
UPDATE: The LeBron announcement hour is going to be broadcast from Greenwich, Connecticut. This location is a suburb of New York City and minutes away from the Knicks practice facility. So, the signs are pointing ever stronger to the Knicks.
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