In almost identical fashion to high school recruiting, this 2010 NBA Free Agency Class has gone on official visits, met with coaches, talked amongst themselves, and will now wait to see what the top recruit will do on the NBA’s version of national signing day.
Instead of Tom Luginbill, you'll have Tom Penn.
Instead of a coin-flip’s chance of success, the team chosen will have a sure-fire home-run. And instead of a college town having an 18-year-old to talk about during the spring, a city will have a hero and a king.
The magnitude of King James legacy lies within the kingdom he chooses, and the five choices below are ranked from least attractive to most attractive considering both his chance of his success, and highly-discussed brand value. Lets begin:
1. New Jersey Nets – Had this article been written around lunch time on Wednesday, the Nets would have been the most attractive pick.
(Please remember these choices are judged from LeBron’s point of view, considering his “LeBrand.” )
The reason it would’ve been most attractive it is the best place for him to be a star, and early Wednesday morning it looked like he could’ve been joined by Carlos Boozer. There is no question King James will be an icon wherever he goes, but Net’s Russian owner and self-made billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov knows a thing or two about brand positioning, and would make it his personal duty to make LeBron his own nike swoosh. Not to mention LeBron’s boy crush on Jay-Z and the Yankees would be fulfilled.
As far as the team goes, LBJ could join a top-tier point guard in Devin Harris, a rangy athlete in Brook Lopez, and another free agent in 2010 or 2011 such as Carmelo Anthony. That’d be a sick foursome, but since Boozer has agreed to play in Chicago, James won’t give Prokhorov a year to make the marriage work while watching former co-free agents Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade contend for a title.
It’s ok Mikhail, you’re still the 39th richest man in the world.
2. New York Kni cks – It is the Big Apple and all the New York stardom that has been overblown certainly applies here--but I just don’t see this happening.
Recently acquired Knickerbocker Amare Stoudemire can play some ball, but let’s remember he was playing with one of the best point guards to ever put on an NBA jersey (plus his defense is dodgy at best).
LeBron does have a relationship with Coach Mike D’Antoni from their Gold Medal run in Beijing, and he is the type of player’s coach that would let LeBron do his thing and be the “point-forward” he has always wanted to be. But sorry Spike, not enough to reel him in.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers - Many believe that LeBron’s recent attempt to court Chris Bosh to Cleveland is a sign that he will stay put near his hometown of Akron and be the hero Cleveland needs.
While he may not have the glamour and stardom in Cleveland he could in New York, he wouldn’t have to compete against Jeter, Broadway Joe, and Babe Ruth, and it has been said that if he wins a title in Cleveland it would be equivalent to a couple in New York. Can’t argue with that and you have to think that if he stays, Cleveland will make a move to acquire Brendan Haywood, David Lee, or one of the marquis names still out there.
Even if the Cavs don’t make a move for another free agent, they have already improved leadership with a proven coach in Byron Scott, and let’s not forget this team had the best record in the NBA the last two regular seasons. Hometown hero and a new coach, but even Kings need a change of scenery.
4. Miami Heat - Hands down the best chance to win. If he does decide to join forces with All-Stars Wade and Bosh they will not only be the favorite in the East, but they will be Vegas’ choice to overtake the Lakers for the crown.
Before Boston’s run in 2008, many believed it didn’t make sense to combine multiple All-Stars on one team. They obviously proved all the naysayers wrong, but that situation is night and day from this potential South Beach party.
First of all, in Boston you had three veterans who clearly put their goal of winning ahead of themselves, and you had a shooter, a slasher, and a big man.
In Miami you would have two slasher/scorer hybrids and a big man, and three stars in their prime who can’t possibly share the limelight to keep up with the stardom they have today. Tick tock, tick tock, the clock is running down – who gets the ball?
If LeBron cares about his brand like it seems he does, wearing MVP t-shirts and holding personal selection shows, then he will have to turn down his best chance of getting a ring to go elsewhere.
5. Chicago Bulls - Please forget about the MJ comparisons. The dude used to wear number 23. Those comparisons will be there regardless, and he will undoubtedly fail to compare to his airness. But that shouldn’t influence his decision.
The new #6 would be going to a huge market, a great sport’s town hungry for an NBA contender, would still be the man, and would have the best supporting cast he could ask for. Please imagine LeBron playing with not one but two dominant big men who can play defense and dominate the boards in Boozer and Noah and one heck of a facilitating point guard in Derrick Rose.
This scenario makes too much sense. He can be the star he wants to be and have the help he’s always wanted.
King James, you will never be MJ, swallow your pride and head to the Windy City and attempt to make Bulls basketball synonymous with the Lakers and Celtics for future generations.
No matter where LeBron ends up, his decision on this unprecedented NBA signing day is sure to change the complexion of the league for at least the next four years and possibly the entire decade. Stay tuned and watch amazing happen on Thursday night.