Now that LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers have been unceremoniously ousted from the NBA playoffs in the second round, and the league MVP can declare free agency this summer, tongues are wagging left and right about where he’s gonna go in the off-season.
Granted, there is absolutely NO denying that LBJ is a legend, but I’ve gotta think that the Cavs’ performance in the playoffs after winning more games than any other team this season will reflect badly on his reputation. No, he doesn’t have the world’s best supporting cast, but Jamison, Varejao, Shaq and what’s the crackhead-looking kid’s name? Delonte West! They should have carried the Cavs past the geriatric (and banged-up) Celtics and into the Eastern Conference finals, dont’cha think?
At any rate, they didn’t…and now a city is sitting on pins and needles wondering what it’s biggest star’s next move is gonna be. The way things look right now, he’s headed in one of three directions-either to Chicago to play with the Bulls, to New York to play with the Knicks, or to New Yo…uh, New Jers…um, Brooklyn to play with the Nets. Of course, there’s also the possibility that he will stay with the Cavs. I think the ultimate determining factor will be what those teams do to ensure that he stays.
New York might be a media capital, yes. But what does LeBron really have to gain by going there? His media profile and his endorsement deals haven’t suffered a hell of a lot from him being in Cleveland. Let’s start by ixnaying the Nets. That organization is in shambles. Unless that team’s management can cough up the big bucks and persuade multiple superstars to play in the swamps, LBJ is NOT going in that direction. The Knicks are more of a possibility. Despite the fact that the have the King of Idiots, James Dolan, running the team, they’ve managed to clear out mega cap room in order to make a run at James and the other superstars like Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade, who are free agents this summer. Would LeBron like to play in the media capital of the world? I’m sure. But does he want to play in the media capital of the world FOR A SHITTY TEAM? Unlikely.
That leaves Chicago and Cleveland. If Bron’s a loyal dude, he’ll stay in Ohio. But (and this is a big BUT), Danny Ferry has to bring LeBron players that can play with him. No one wins a championship alone. In order for Magic to do it, he needed James Worthy and Byron Scott in addition to Kareem. In order for MJ to do it, he needed Pippen, Rodman, Horace Grant, etc. LeBron’s supporting cast pales in comparison to the average supporting cast on a superstar team. Which makes me wonder if he shouldn’t make a run to Chi-town. The Bulls have been on the precipice for the last couple of seasons. Derrick Rose is a superstar. Kirk Hinrich is a solid player, as are Luol Deng and Joakim Noah. Bring in one or two more solid role players, and Chicago immediately moves into a place as a contender in the Eastern Conference, which, save Orlando, could be wide open next year. LeBron stays in the midwest (although jumps into a bigger market) and all is right with the world…maybe.
No matter where LeBron goes, one thing’s for sure, It’s gonna be an interesting summer for basketball fans.