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LeBron's choices: It seems like Miami now, but in this drama things change

Jul 8, 2010, 9:02 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for James_numberone.pngWe don’t know. We won’t really know until some time between 9 and 9:15 pm Eastern tonight.

What we have now is drama. Manufactured drama. And that makes every rumor suspect — if you were trying to create drama for a show like this, you’d leak different things to different people. You’d keep everybody guessing, wondering if it was Colonel Mustard with the candlestick or Professor Plum with the revolver. Miami or New York or Cleveland.

And so it is, a shifting sands of favorites. We don’t know and don’t trust much of what we hear anymore. We’ll be here tonight, live-blogging the end of act one of LeBron James NBA career and wondering what comes with act two. And if the setting changes. But we don’t really know.

Here is where things stand early Thursday morning.

The Miami Heat are your front-runners, and things seem to be solidifying for South Beach. Multiple reports have LeBron leaning strongly toward joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami to form the best three-man unit on a team since Magic/Kareem/Worthy (or maybe Bird/McHale/Parish). To do this, they would each have to take about $1 million less a year, but they could do that and say it’s all about winning. Miami would be an interesting basketball experiment — three superstars surrounded by the underwhelming Michael Beasley and nine minimum salary guys (all Miami could then afford). Can that team really win a title?

The Cleveland Cavaliers are everybody’s number two. It’s his hometown, where his worshiped as one of their own, something no other elite athlete really has. And if has a one-hour national television show to rip out the collective heart of a city, that could have a public relations backlash. (Really, no matter what he chooses there will be a backlash, this is a hard public relations sell after tonight.) The Cavaliers had the best record in the East two years running and have most of that roster back, but can LeBron and new coach Byron Scott get them over the playoff hump?

The New York Knicks are another team whose name you keep hearing in rumors. If LeBron’s ego is such that he doesn’t want to just win but needs to do so in a spectacular fashion, to create a true legacy, New York is the place. This would be good for the league. The Knicks have a top power forward in Amare Stoudemire and a system with Mike D’Antoni that would have unstoppable force that is LeBron driving the lane getting the ball in more open court situations. He could put up incredible numbers, and keep an army of tabloid gossip columnists employed.

The Chicago Bulls have bought their way back into the LeBron sweepstakes by landing Carlos Boozer. Combined with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and LeBron, that team is an instant contender. It would be by far the best supporting cast James has ever had around him. It makes a lot of on-the-court basketball sense. But Chicago has never seemed the preferred destination by LeBron — there was a reason that Chicago went hard after Dwyane Wade, they felt LeBron was not coming there early on. But if it really was just about basketball and winning…

The New Jersey Nets and the pitch made by Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov impressed James, by all accounts. And this is a franchise that will be moving to Brooklyn in a couple years. But that’s the problem — it’s in a couple years. Everything about the Nets says “in a couple years.” They have a good young core that needs to develop. LeBron is not likely to wait for that.

The Los Angeles Clippers… we have to mention them. They met with him. This is a big market team that is right there with Chicago in having the best on-the-court unit to put around LeBron — Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, Blake Griffin, and rookie Al-Farouq Aminu. But would you trust the peak of your career to owner Donald T. Sterling?

That’s it. That’s where we stand. Right now. But check back in an hour or two for when the leader changes. Because if you’re going to create real drama, you need to have multiple viable contenders.

152 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Bob - Jul 8, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    I don’t know if Blake Griffin ended up not hurting his knee last year, that LeBron doesn’t give the Clippers more interest. Wow. That sentence was rife with double negatives and then some. I would like nothing more than for LeBron to upset Kobe’s rest of the summer. Just imagine: A better player in LA with more public appeal. That would make my life so much more enjoyable.
    My prediction: Miami. The Three Amigos.
    My two words below are:
    ‘and’ + ‘satining’
    ????

  2. Mystery System - Jul 8, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    Oh my god, hurry up and pick a team already.

  3. Steve - Jul 8, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    Hey Bob,
    Until Lebron wins something. . . anything. . . he cannot be considered anything more than an underachieving, talented player. LBJ seems to excel at doing it when it doesn’t matter and choking when the big moment comes. As for where he goes, I will simply be happy when I can read the sports without “where will LBJ go, check our hour long program.” What a stupid, publicity grabbing stunt. He can’t win, so he has to do something to keep people talking about him.

  4. in FLORIDA - Jul 8, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    the good news is, if he announces by 9:15, as the TV people are indicating, that means at worst you can still turn to the USA network and you’ll have only missed (maybe) 15 minutes of an NCIS re-run.

  5. SpankYoMonkey - Jul 8, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    With 2 Unlimited’s “Get ready for this” playing in the background BronBron will announce to the world … ‘I’m staying in Cleveland” … wtf? … everyone will scratch their head and wonder why then all the hype? Reminds me of Geraldo Rivera opening Al Capone’s vault on live TV in the 80’s

  6. trex - Jul 8, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    A’ight foools … wasssup?
    dat b/ball player from the north, can’t swim … aint goin do the miami scene ..
    afraid of the drinky drinky on the boat, fallin off, shark get dat ass!!
    better off in NYC … wit da real killers and gang bangers

  7. ocgunslinger - Jul 8, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    EGO…..says it all. Who needs the one hour TV announcement? Sort of makes you want to start cheering for the opposing team or whenever he is playing against in the future.

  8. Anonymous - Jul 8, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    trex, while trying to come off as a cool, hip-hip, rappin’ balla’, just know this… you come off as an illiterate, nonsensical moron. try learning the english language. you might actually make something of yourself. not likely, but there’s an outside chance. in the meantime, stop posting meaningless crap. then again, i’m assuming you’re capable of actually reading this AND understanding it. that’s very unlikely.

  9. Donnie D - Jul 8, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    I would really hate to see him leave Cleveland seeing how he bought a twelve million dollar mansion in an akron suburb.
    All his rodes are there what is he going to give up that smack for them to move with him.
    Come on man he is the ICON of Cleveland and will be for atleast one decade.
    I live in Florida F dem they suck and always will there is no patronage in this state half of the fans going to a professional game here are for the other team regardless of the team and or sport.
    And F dem NY fans they suck canal water long distance.
    I’m OUT

  10. pjmjfan - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    LBJ, you’re cutting into my cigar time on the deck tonight. C’mon, get it over with already! The “king’s” pastic, vending machine crown is losing its shine. I truly hope you’re wise enough to know a championship and improved legacey does not await you in Miami….only more publicity and good times with friends on the court. Chicago, New York, LA Clippers…..these are teams where you might actually someday graduate to a true, jeweled solid gold crown. Please show the world you’re a true competitor driven by the ultimate prize, instead of even more insane amounts of money and fame.

  11. DCLAKERFAN - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    BEING A BASKETBALL FAN FIRST I WOULD LIKE TO SEE EVERYONE AT LEAST HAVE A CHANCE TO BECOME A CHAMPION BUT IN THIS CASE I DON’T CARE WHERE LEBRON LANDS BUT I HOPE NEVER WINS A RING. THERE IS NO ONE IN ANY SPORT THAT SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO SHOWBOAT LIKE HE IS DOING NOW.IF YOU ARE GONNA GO SOMEWHERE SAY SO..DON’T USE CHARITY HAS AN EXCUSE TO BS THE PUBLIC. YOU WANT TO DO SOMETHING FOR THE BGC HOLD A 10 MIN PRESS CONFERENCE,STATE YOUR NEXT EMPLOYEE THEN STROKE A CHECK ON THEIR BEHALF. THERE IS NO ATHLETE IN ANY SPORT THAT SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO DRAG FREE AGENCY ON LIKE THIS. IF YOU WANT TO WAIT TILL JULY 32 FINE THATS ON YOU. BUT TO DELAY TO HOLD A SPECIAL ON ESPN IS TOTALLY STUPID!!!! ESPN IS JUST AS BAD FOR ALLOWING THIS. IF ANY STATION SHUOLD DO THIS IT SHOULD BE THE CHILDRENS COMEDY NETWORK BECAUSE THIS IS PURE JOKE AND AN INSULT TO THE SPORT. THIS DOES’T BRING ATTENTION TO BASKETBALL IT’S ALL ABOUT EGO. GET YOUR MONEY LBJ BUT DONT LOOK FOR A RING(LIKE KOBES 5 SOON TO BE 6)

  12. Nate - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    No matter what Lebron does, I believe his image will take a serious beating b/c this whole ego parade is ridiculous. I hope he realizes that he should have went about his business quietly and then not only would he be in a good basketball situation but also have a good image. The way this is shaping up, he will be in a bad basketball situation and his image will get crushed. In a perfect world, he would learn his lesson, but alas…athletes live in a world of their own.

  13. Anonymous Hilarity - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    Anonymous, that post is hilarious!
    PS – I just listened inside a seashell and it told me that LBJ was coming to Miami to obliterate the rest of the East. Hey, a seashell is just as reputable as this Kurt Helin dude.

  14. cifey - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:04 AM

    Cleveland would be the boring choice. The Knicks would be interesting but they seem clueless about how to build a viable team.
    Miami is the most interesting choice, they built a winner just a few years ago. They wouldn’t need a great point guard, but getting a good rebounder/defensive center would be critical.

  15. Rob - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    Lebron’s going to spend ten minutes telling Cleveland telling them how much he loves the city and the fans, how he loved playing there, and how it will always have a special place in his heart. Then he’ll spend the rest of the time explaining why he’s going to Miami and the once in a lifetime opportunity to play with Bosh and Wade and win some championships. Miami is going to need a little bit more than the three of them and their minimum salary roster to win a ring though.

  16. Chaz - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    Did you come from a broken home, because you are a bonafide idiot or a moron.

  17. Donne D in Fla - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    Lets be real who buy’s a twelve million dollar mansion custom built three years ago and has a bowling alley . barber shop, gigantic game room and inside / outside pool. Not too mention what is he going to do move all of his family and his rodees. Hopefully he will stay in Cleveland where he belongs. They have a new coach that has played in the NBA and next year is LBer team . LBJ is going to raise the championship trophy in 2011 If he moves to Miiami he is gonna have to deal with THREE GIGANTIC EGO’S really relaxe I live in florida and can attest that half the fans at any given sport on any given game are for the other team , this is a transient state and sucks pond water just like all of the teams down here we win a championship and then the team is dismantled the very next year.
    I’m Out
    Donnie D

  18. romulus03 - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    LeBron “Jabroni” James, the ultimate overhyped choke….if he wins any championships and I repeat “if” outside of Cleveland, his legacy will be tarnished, he couldn’t get it done when it counted.

  19. Candy - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    It used to be that an NBA team owner could be rich enough to go out and buy a championship. Now a player is paid such an obscene amount of money that he could go out and buy a championship, as LaBron might be doing. I’m not blaming LaBron, because if I were him, I would NEED to do the same. To make sure that I’m worth the money I get paid, I would have to buy a championship to show my worth – there seems to be something strange about this statement! I know, LaBron is like an owner!

  20. alets - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    No matter who Miami gets, it is immaterial b/c keep in mind that Phil Jacksonnnnnnnn is backkkkkkkk. Having 3 ball hoggers but only one ball does not bode well for Miami. It will also not help to have 2 throw-ins as part of the starting five. Remember, a team is only as good as its weakest link. In this case, Miami will have three weakest links — the two starters not named James, Bosh, and Wade AND a non-existant bench.
    The four words that will reverberate in the back of everyone’s minds next season: Phil Jackson is backkkkkkkkkkkkkk

  21. Robj - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    For Lebron to go to Connecticut and appear in an hour long program to announce that…..he’s staying in the same damn place he’s played his whole career, doesn’t make much sense.
    My guess is he plays for a different team next year.

  22. pjmjfan - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    I don’t know man… I think the only thing “interesting” about Miami is the highlights of people geting postered by James, Wade, or Bosh…….during another Miami loss. The last Finals is proof you need a solid team, not just three superstars. LA and Boston came to the table with lethal squads and superior coaching, leading to a long battle like few before. The supporting players made the difference in nearly every Finals game. In Miami, the supporting players would be no where near the caliber needed to win a championship.

  23. alets - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    No matter who Miami gets, it is immaterial b/c keep in mind that Phil Jacksonnnnnnnn is backkkkkkkk. Having 3 ball hoggers but only one ball does not bode well for Miami. It will also not help to have 2 throw-ins as part of the starting five. Remember, a team is only as good as its weakest link. In this case, Miami will have three weakest links — the two starters not named James, Bosh, and Wade AND a non-existant bench.
    The four words that will reverberate in the back of everyone’s minds next season: Phil Jackson is backkkkkkkkkkkkkk

  24. robbie - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:24 AM

    Great point, Alets. Hard to argue against facts. I know i would fear those four words, if i were in the NBA.

  25. Mike - Jul 8, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    Does any really care???

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