With LeBron in play, he immediately becomes the undisputed No. 1 target for every team that has ever harbored an illusion about having him on its roster.
Ultimately, it’ll come down to where Lebron wants to play. He could pretty much choose any team he wants, and they’ll find a way to make it happen for him. With that being said, there’s only a handful of teams that are on his radar. Here’s my thoughts on who could potentially land Mr. James:
Cleveland Cavaliers: I’m predicting and hoping he goes back home to Cleveland. Right his wrongs, create a great story for the second half of his career, and steer a young core of talent to a championship.
New York Knicks: what better way to continue his legacy than by joining Phil Jackson in New York? I highly doubt this is even possible though, due to cap reasons. From what I’ve read, I don’t think New York has room to make any type of big moves this year. Even with Carmelo Anthony opting out and on a similar quest for a new team, The Knicks won’t be able to strike a big free agent until the 2015 off-season, though I’ve seen crazier things happen in the past.
Chicago Bulls: he could bring the ring back to Chicago, where Michael Jordan led the Bulls to six championships. LeBron could team up with Derrick Rose and possibly Carmelo Anthony, creating a new Big Three.
Los Angeles Lakers: joining forces with Kobe Bryant and maybe even Kevin Love, this could be a very appealing destination for LeBron James, especially with two big factors to consider: he’ll be the new face of the iconic Lakers team, and he’ll live near his good friend, Chris Paul.
Los Angeles Clippers: why only live near Paul when he could play along side of him? I don’t think this is possible—unless the Clippers part ways with Blake Griffin, which would make the roster less appealing—but if there would be a way to keep Paul and Griffin together (and maybe Deandre Jordan?), there’s no doubt in my mind that LeBron would have the most fun playing with Lob City and the best point guard in basketball. As a fan of the Clippers, this is only fantasy talk to me. I highly doubt this will be his destination, but it was fun to consider.
Houston Rockets: the Rockets have built a strong foundation with Dwight Howard and James Harden. LeBron James would have no problem dominating in Houston (the pieces are there for him to have an instantly contending team), but even with no state taxes, I can’t see James going there. If he decides to play in a dominant Western Conference, in my opinion it’ll only be to play in the bright lights of Los Angeles.
Miami Heat: I guess we can’t rule the Heat out as a potential place for James to return to, but I just don’t see it. I’d like to believe that he sees the writing on the wall: the Heat, even though they could still easily come out of the East, don’t have anywhere near the ammunition needed to beat the top teams in the West. And while the West is getting better, Dwayne Wade and the Heat looked like a shell of themselves in this year’s NBA Finals.
The only certainty right now is that the “Superteam” from four years ago just doesn’t exist anymore. There’s one superstar in Miami, and two guys who are overpaid and getting older. Outside of Wade and Bosh, the supporting cast was never great, but now it’s shakier than it’s ever been. That’s where we are with the Heat.
LeBron has the Heat and the NBA on notice, things are about to change—and no matter what team he chooses, this looks to be another exciting off-season for the NBA.