LeBron James: What If He Hadn't Chosen the Miami Heat?

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2010

LeBron James: What If He Hadn't Chosen The Miami Heat?

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    MIAMI - JULY 09:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat is introduced during a welcome party at American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    On July 8, 2010 Lebron James announced that he'd "be taking his talents to South Beach."

    After months, even years of speculation, we all learned during ESPN's "The Decision" that, starting in the 2010-2011 season, LeBron would be a member of the Miami Heat. 

    The announcement came one day after Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh went public with their intentions to play in Miami.  

    Hence, the new big three was formed and it appears the only team that may be able to deny them a title is the Los Angeles Lakers.

    But what if "The King" had decided to hold court elsewhere?  What if he had chosen to "take his talents" to New York, Chicago, New Jersey, Los Angeles or Dallas?  What if he had chosen to stay in Cleveland?

    Let's take a look...

"Take My Talents to New York"

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    2010-2011 Starting Lineup:

    PG - LeBron James

    SG - Kelenna Azubuike

    SF - Wilson Chandler

    PF - Danilo Gallinari

    C - Amare Stoudemire

    Regular Season Record: 63 -19

    Playoffs: Lose in NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers

    Number of Titles in the Next Five Seasons: 2

    New York had the cap space to sign at least two big-name free agents this Summer.  

    After signing LeBron and Amare they would still pull the trigger on the David Lee to Golden State trade.

    The players they got back in that deal would make up a big chunk of this team's bench.

    This would certainly be an extremely exciting team to watch operate in Mike D'Antoni's system. 

    However, they would fall short of winning it all this year due to poor defense and lack of experience playing together.

"...Chicago"

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    2010-2011 Starting Lineup:

    PG - Derrick Rose

    SG - Ronnie Brewer

    SF - LeBron James

    PF - Carlos Boozer

    C - Joakim Noah

    Regular Season Record: 67-15

    Playoffs: Win NBA Title

    Number of Titles in the Next Five Seasons: 3

    Chicago had lots of cap space and could've signed James, Wade, and Bosh to slightly less than max deals.  

    A lineup of Rose, Wade, James, Bosh and Noah could've won 75 games but for the sake of this article we'll say Wade and Bosh still went to Miami.

    The lineup listed above with Brewer and Boozer would be a nightmare as well.  

    This would easily be the best defensive team in the league with Tom Thibodeau's coaching and the defensive prowess of James, Brewer, and Noah.  

    They would also have no problem putting points on the board with James, Rose, Boozer, and the sharpshooting Korver coming off the bench.

    I can't even see the Lakers beating this squad. 

"... New Jersey"

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    2010-2011 Starting Lineup:

    PG - Devin Harris

    SG - Anthony Morrow

    SF - LeBron James

    PF - Troy Murphy

    C - Brook Lopez

    Regular Season Record: 66-16

    Playoffs: Lose in NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers

    Number of Titles in the Next Five Seasons: 3

    This team would dominate throughout the regular season and look invincible heading into the playoffs.  

    With a great combination of size of and outside shooting, opposing teams would be lost when trying to defend them.

    The improvement from 12 wins last season to 66 this coming season would be the biggest turnaround in NBA history.

    People would be talking dynasty with this squad, since the only starter over 30 would be Troy Murphy.  Their youth, however, would also be their undoing (at least this season).

    The Lakers and all their experience would get the better of New Jersey this year, but they would win multiple titles in the years to come.

"... Los Angeles"

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    2010-2011 Starting Lineup:

    PG - Baron Davis

    SG - Eric Gordon

    SF - LeBron James

    PF - Blake Griffin

    C - Chris Kaman

    Regular Season Record: 63-19

    Playoffs: Lose in Conference Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers

    Number of Titles in the Next Five Seasons: 2

    This would instantly incite a ferocious rivalry in Los Angeles. Clippers/Lakers games would be monumental events.  

    They would battle it out all season long for Western Conference supremacy and town bragging rights.

    This lineup has a nice blend of youth and experience and I think LeBron's presence would motivate Baron Davis to play hard every night.

    They would be really tough, but ultimately Kobe and the Lakers would get them in the playoffs... at least this year.

"... Dallas"

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    2010-2011 Starting Lineup:

    PG - Jason Kidd

    SG - LeBron James

    SF - Shawn Marion

    PF - Dirk Nowitzki

    C - Brendan Haywood

    Regular Season Record: 68-14

    Playoffs: Win NBA Title

    Number of Titles in the Next Five Seasons: 3

    James and Nowitzki would make one of the greatest two-man combos in the history of the league.  

    Combine that with the veteran leadership and toughness of Kidd, Marion and Haywood and this team would be unstoppable.

    The Mavs were the one team in the hunt this summer that truly would've had to do a sign-and-trade to get James.  

    They would've had to part ways with Caron Butler, promising young point guard Rodrigue Beaubois, and a few draft picks but the price obviously would have been well worth it.

    The Lakers would give them a good series in the conference finals, but ultimately Dallas would prevail.

"I'm Going to Keep My Talents in Cleveland"

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    BOSTON - MAY 13:  LeBron James #23  of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts late in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA playoffs at TD Garden on May 13, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Had LeBron chosen to stay in Cleveland their lineup most likely would have stayed the same.

    The results would have most likely stayed the same. They would have torn up the East but ultimately fail to win it all. 

    People all over the country would question why he stayed in Cleveland as Kevin Durant would step in and take over Kobe's reign in a few years.

    Maybe after a few years, he could go play tight end for the Browns.

"Take My Talents to South Beach"

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    MIAMI - JULY 09:  Fans cheer as (L-R) Dwyane Wade #3, Chris Bosh #1 and LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat are introduced during a welcome party at American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    LeBron announced his decision to play for Miami on July 8, 2010 and he has stood behind that decision in the face of intense scrutiny.

    If he can forget about being the greatest of all time and instead focus entirely on winning than he made the right decision for himself.

    LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh make up what may be the most talented trio in the history of basketball.  

    What is scariest about this big three is that they are all just now entering the prime of their careers.  Barring injury, they all have eight to ten good years left.

    This season they could win anywhere from 65 to 70 wins.  They will wow sell-out crowds in every arena they play in this year.

    But can they win a title in 2011?

    This year Kobe will get his second three-peat and Phil Jackson will capture his fourth.  

    The Lakers still have a perfect blend of talent, size, experience and determination.  They will get at least one more before the sun officially rises on the Miami Heat dynasty. 

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