This summer has been a whirlwind for the NBA in more ways than one. As soon as the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA title against the Boston Celtics, we turned to the one-hour long, multimillion-dollar question: where was LeBron James going to end up?
He shocked everyone by announcing he would be taking his talents to South Beach to join the Miami Heat. I'm sure those words are engraved into your mind deep and thorough, especially if you're a Cleveland fan.
But as soon as LeBron announced that, it was as if an atomic bomb fell from his mouth and hit the NBA without warning. The fallout was a dark sense of uncertainty for many NBA franchises who fear that the same thing could happen to them in a phenomena known as the LeBron James Effect.
This very effect is what has gotten the Denver Nuggets to offer a contract extension to their prized superstar, Carmelo Anthony and for Chris Paul to propose a toast, more like proposition, to any team out there, to have him join another Big Three like the newly-minted Miami Thrice.
This is sure to cause trouble out there for teams who were hoping they could forever keep their superstar. Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony aren't going to be the only ones. More will rise from underneath the rubble and debris from the fallout of LeBron's decision, I guarantee it.
Here's the next line of big name superstars on other teams who are likely to bolt for the same team to form a dynasty, the new and sexy trend of the NBA, talk about peer pressure at the NBA level.....
The most obvious of this group, Carmelo Anthony is the first superstar that will bolt his old team and head for a luxurious duo to complete the trio that is the new NBA mantra for a title.
All indications are Carmelo will head for his hometown New York Knicks and join Amar'e Stoudamire and possibly Chris Paul, if he is traded there. He will leave Denver at the end of the day because they have been worse than the Cavs were in trying to satisfy their superstar with a title. Denver has gotten "The Answer" aka Allen Iverson and "Big Shot" Billups, but it hasn't translated into a title and it won't.
Chances He Leaves: 78% *
(All chances are within 6 years for chance at superteam)
Danny Granger can best be described as this. He is to Bud Light like LeBron James is to Vodka. I mean that in a good way and not to say he is a bad player. He is probably the next best LeBron James-type player out there. Granger can rebound, block and steal as well as score although he doesn't do it in the amounts that LeBron has done it.
Last season, Granger averaged 24.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.8 APG, and 1.5 steals per. The latter two of which are his career bests. He is a superstar that many teams would covet and the Indiana might have to give up in order to rebuild. Their fortunes' forever changed in the Palace Brawl of 2004. How long ago that was and how vivid it still is.
Indiana can afford to keep him but if they can get the players needed, Granger is probably out in Indiana. He might join the likes of Chicago or New York.
Chances He Leaves: 69%
I'm sorry to say this Memphis fans, there is no way O.J. Mayo stays in Memphis forever. He might be intrigued to go back to the sunny and sandy beaches of Los Angeles to be with the Clippers or join the Lakers as a sidekick to Bryant while he can still do it.
Mayo may have suffered the infamous sophomore slump last season, but he will bounce back to be one of the best in the league this season. Who knows where Mayo will end up but if the opportunity arises he might join a team who is building a dynasty as well, like a San Antonio or Houston.
Chances He Leaves: 65%
Andre Iguodala is essentially LeBron James minus the scoring. Many don't see that but here is why: 17.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.7 SPG last season. Those numbers were pretty low for him but great for any NBA team. Evan Turner's arrival might signal the end for another A.I. in Philly.
He might leave within the next couple of seasons, even though he signed a contract extension of six years in 2008. It adds incentive to any team obtaining him because he comes at a bargain price of less than $100 million for a guy who can be a playmaker on a great team. A.I. was involved in trade rumors last season and might get traded this season for help at PG and down the middle.
Chances He Leaves: 59%
Brandon Roy might not have to leave.....IF....The savior of New Orleans lands in Portland to stay. IF Chris Paul is traded to the Trail Blazers then Roy stays, but until then he is a likely defector of Portland, a franchise riddled in curses (Michael Jordan and Greg Oden).
Roy signed a four-year extension with a his option for a fifth year in 2009 and, again, it halts his pursuit for a dynasty for now. After that's over with, he will be free to join a dynasty in the making.
Chances He Leaves: 53%
Brandon Jennings caught everyone attention when he scored 55 early in the season last year. He put everyone on alert he is a superstar in the making and he quite possibly is likely to join another superstar team in the future. Milwaukee will try to keep him and I think he'll come to realize that a dynasty is the new trend.
Jennings started a trend of NBA players and possibly high schoolers going to Europe to play and get paid, it got everyone talking of LeBron or even Kobe going to play there for loads of money. Jennings might be the follower on this one, his number saids it all. Three is the magic number for a championship and he is one part of that equation.
Chances He Leaves: 50%
Another star that is overlooked is Deron Williams. Williams waved goodbye to Boozer and he may just say goodbye to Utah. Williams has often be compared to Chris Paul because both came up to the NBA at the same time. In fact, Williams might just be better than CP3. They both have similar playmaking ability and are missing a ring. Certainly Williams has a couple years left with an option for a third go around.
Williams has said they are "a few pieces" left from contending from a title but they just lost Korver and Boozer who are pieces for Chicago and their title hopes. Deron might opt to leave if there is a hope elsewhere.
Chances He Leaves: 45%
Curry is a talented player for Golden State and I would hate for him to leave, but again, he is young and great, all elements needed to leave your struggling team for a better hope elsewhere. It's the simple beauty of it.
I know you must all be thinking, most of these players are on Team USA this summer, and they are. This is the same situation where LeBron, Wade, and Bosh were in when they conspired to join each other (as a joke and pie in the sky), well nobody is laughing now. Who knows whether there are mini summits in Las Vegas right now with these future and current superstars talking about the same thing?
Curry has the chance to be be real good, like Chris Paul good and more. Curry can score and rebound and dish like a pro and he has only played a single season. Still, he has only played a season, so typically, a good player stays with his first team for 5-6 years at least. Currently, he has Ellis and just got David Lee, but if all else fails, then what? Join Kobe?
Chances He Leaves: 40%
You got to wonder what Kevin Durant is thinking when he looks up and sees those championship banners. When will I get one? Certainly he has a long and tough road in Oklahoma City, a team that has been built around him since it's move to the Midwest. Durant is by far the biggest name of the list other Carmelo and another top guy you'll see further down.
Now there are many things against a move from Oklahoma City, one being that he signed an extension at a time where LeBron James, Amar'e Stoudamire, and Chris Bosh switched teams. Durant also had this to say in his Twitter account shortly after the big moves: Now everybody wanna play for the Heat and the Lakers? Let's go back to being competitive and going at these peoples!
He might be the anti-LeBron James, but again, to quote another superstar (Kevin Garnett): Anything is Possssiiiibbleeee!"
He too stayed in Minnesota and was a fan favorite but felt that it was best to leave, Durant's Thunder might be competing now, but so were LeBron's Cav's (making a single trip to the Finals).
Chances He Leaves: 35%
Evans would want to hold NBA Finals MVP versus the hardware he held in his hands in this picture. I doubt Sacramento is the place for titles, especially in California that the Los Angeles Lakers own. The Kings have lost stars like Mike Bibby, Chris Webber, and Brad Miller. They do have Evans, so the chances might be slim but they're still there.
Evans won Rookie of the Year last season and is going to be a superstar, no doubt about that. An All-Star Game start is in the future for Evans.
Chances He Leaves: 33%
Ahh yes, the last player on this list is also the biggest one of them all... John Wall.
Wall was picked by the Washington Wizards with the first overall pick in this year's draft and is going to be one of the best players in the league when it's all said and done.
The North Carolina product is only 19 years old and is looking at 20 years of great moments in the NBA. Those moments may come with a different uniform other than the Wizards, perhaps a Bobcats uniform to play for the hometown team and play for MJ? Maybe Brooklyn with Jay-Z and the Russian?
Chances He Leaves: 25%
These type of news conferences, like the one on the left, won't happen everyday. In fact, its a first in the NBA. Most of the names I mentioned won't leave, I'm not Nostradamus, but I can say some will.
One things for sure the Miami Thrice dynasty in the works is a once in a lifetime thing. It may not happen again while you breathe and it may never happen until the next millennium. These three guys are all potential Hall of Famers (Wade and LeBron more so than Bosh).
Yet, at the end, championships are what people remember you by, not how much money you earn in a certain year but by the bling on your finger in the form of a championship ring. It's not about getting a Slam Dunk Title or being NBA First-Team but about the rings, baby. This is the ultimate temptation and the new era of the NBA, like it or not.